Shrimp shortage threatening vendors' survival
Vendors in Middle Quarters, St Elizabeth, say their livelihood is being severely affected by the scarcity of local or imported shrimp.
When the Western STAR visited the area last Thursday, only one vendor was seen along the usually busy thoroughfare that is normally awash with sellers and their offerings.
According to Omega Johnson, a veteran shrimp vendor, frequent droughts in the breadbasket parish has hampered their ability to survive.
“We are experiencing a financial pinch in light of the shrimp shortage due to the drought,” Johnson revealed. “Shrimp short right now, (and) we are forced to find extra money to purchase imported shrimp to keep the market alive, but they are out too.”
“The shortage affects us greatly, because this is our livelihood,” she added. “Selling shrimp on a daily basis is what takes care of our family and our everyday needs. But we just have to stay home until it turns around.”
The vendors theorise that the shortage is caused by poor rainfall in the parish, and this has reduced the chances of fishermen being able to catch shrimp from the morass.
“We get our shrimp from the fishermen who go to the morass and get it and sell us by the pound so that we can supply our customers,” said Johnson. “we don’t make a big profit when we buy it from the established companies because the price is pegged to the exchange rate of the US dollar.”