With poor shrimping season, local shrimp more expensive to purch - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

With poor shrimping season, local shrimp more expensive to purchase

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

A "local pledge" is written on the wall of Motor Supply in Columbia's Vista. It's a promise that, when it comes to shrimp, is getting more expensive to keep.

Executive Chef Tim Peters is willing to pay a little more to ensure his shrimp are from South Carolina. But there just aren't as many this year.

"With the storm systems that came up last winter through the coasts it really disrupted first the soft shell crab season, and now the shrimp," said Peters. "Everything just got scattered and I think they're staying a little more off shore than normal."

The Department of Natural Resources says the excessive rain could have had an impact, too.

"I'm paying a little more right now," said Rogers. "I do expect it to go up, but, like all commodities, it ebbs and flows. Unfortunately, when it goes up it rarely comes back down to what it was."

Across town at Mr. Friendly's, famous for shrimp and grits, owner Ricky Mollohan is getting creative. Here, too, local products are a priority.

"When things fluctuate you try to make it up somewhere else," said Mollohan. "Raising the price of something to $20 that people have been paying $18 for a long time, just because your costs went up a little bit, is not the wisest thing to do. You just have to be crafty and find another way to make up for the food cost you might lose."

Mollohan says filling in the holes with shrimp caught from the Gulf is always an option, but not one many of his discerning customers would like. Peters agrees and hopes for more support for South Carolina shrimpers already struggling against high fuel prices and international competition.

"If we still want to see these shrimp boats off of Georgetown, off of Sullivan's island, we need to support these shrimpers," said Peters. "It might cost a little more, but the shrimp's also out of the water for a day or two as compared to a year, so this is important."

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

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