Mississippi is famous for its seafood cuisine. Mississippi seafood includes shellfish such as wild shrimp, crawfish, lobsters, oysters, saltwater fish such as speckled trout, redfish, red snapper, grouper, Spanish, king and cero mackerel, dolphin fish (mahi mahi) and more. The state has the second largest fishing industry of the five Gulf states.
Mississippi’s commercial fishing ports are important sources of American seafood. Among these are Gulf Port and Pascagoula. The seafood and aquaculture industries are important parts of Mississippi’s economy as is the state’s recreational fishing sector.
Mississipi’s Gulf coast, reefs and oyster beds sustained severe damage by the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina. Restoration efforts have been successful and the commercial fishing, aquaculture and recreational fishing sectors are productive and flourishing once again.
Three members of the Penaeidae shrimp family found in Mississippi coastal waters are important commercially; brown shrimp, pink shrimp, and white shrimp.
Approximately 85 percent of Mississippi’s harvest is brown shrimp. Juvenile of the species develop in estuaries. Upon maturity, the brown shrimp swim into the open Gulf where they spawn. Brown shrimp are most abundant from June to October, in inshore and offshore waters.
White shrimp are found in shallow waters. They are most often caught during daylight hours, with best catches occurring during the Fall.
Pink shrimp are usually caught at night, being most abundant in winter and early spring. Pink shrimp tend to be associated with in higher salinity waters than some other species of shrimp.
Factors such as water temperature, salinity, available food and habitat area affect the size of shrimp harvests.
Mississippi leads the nation in aquaculture. Mississippi aquaculture operations produce alligator, crawfish, freshwater prawns, hybrid striped bass, tilapia, and catfish. Most American catfish farms are located in the Mississippi Delta.