A shrimp farm owner in California’s Central Valley said he’s seen a surge in demand for the shrimp he sells there.
Steve Schmitz said he sells about 20,000 pounds a day for about $4.50.
That’s a lot of shrimp.
The price for the rest of the year is about $7.25 a pound.
That makes shrimp cheaper than many other California producers.
It’s also not cheap for shrimp farmers.
They’re already struggling to keep their plants running as the drought worsens.
The drought has made shrimp farming difficult, but Schmitzz said the rising demand for shrimp has led to a price spike.
“I’m in a tough spot.
It is not good for the people who own the shrimp farm, but it’s also a bad thing for the farmers, and for the consumers who want shrimp,” Schmitzes told The Associated Press.
He said his customers have been buying shrimp at a much lower price than they’ve done in years.
“We’re going to be losing money because we’ve got a lot more shrimp coming in, so we’ve gotta get out of this business,” he said.
Schmitz’s farm produces about 2 million pounds of shrimp a year.
He said the price of shrimp at the plant has gone up by more than 30 percent in the past two years.
A shrimp farm employee and the manager of the farm where Schmitzi is from said the shrimp industry in California is struggling as the state braces for a possible repeat of last year’s drought.
“The demand is growing faster than the supply,” said Pauline Schmid, the president of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
“It’s not like a flood of shrimp coming through and people are going crazy over it.
It just happens that we’re seeing a lot less shrimp in the market than we would normally.”
Schmid said shrimp farmers are trying to keep up with demand by raising the prices on their shrimp.
“Our shrimp are the cheapest shrimp on the market,” Schmid said.
“But we’re not raising prices.
We’re not gouging anybody.”
The California Department for Food and Agricultural Policy said last week that it has launched an investigation into whether shrimp farmers have violated the state’s food safety laws by overcharging for shrimp that is not in demand.