GRAND ISLE, LA (WVUE) - Louisiana shrimp season has not exactly kicked off. It has more like crawled out of the gate.
On Grand Isle, shrimp buyer and wholesaler Dean Blanchard estimates that business is approximately 1/3 of what it was last year at this time, and barely 1/5 the pre-oil spill levels.
Few boats dropped off early Tuesday morning. By late morning, no boats were dropping off shrimp.
After 30-years in business, Blanchard says he has never seen it this slow. He blames it on their proximity to the heavily oiled Barataria Bay.
"Barataria Bay was one of our biggest estuaries in the continental United States, if not your most productive estuary," said Blanchard. "And once they destroyed Barataria Bay, eventually it'll end up hurting everybody along the Gulf Coast because that's your nursery. If you blow up the nursery at the hospital, you ain't gonna' get no more babies."
For now, Blanchard estimates that the shrimp population has plummeted in about a 50 square mile area.
Government and private scientists are working to determine the impact of the BP oil spill on Barataria Bay and other areas in the Gulf Coast.