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Shrimping industry experiencing shortage of foreign workers

While shrimpers make final adjustments to their ships, they also continue to see a problem that's affecting the industry.

As shrimpers make final adjustments to their ships before shrimping season begins, some say they are continuing to see a problem that's affecting the industry.

"Just the people don't want to work anymore. They're not doing the job and its very, very unsafe," said Keil Burnell, who has been working in the shrimping industry since he was a young boy. "It'll be me and four other people, ideally. But right now, it’s looking like me and two other people."

With the lack of workers, it not only hurts the industry, but also can be dangerous. According to Andrea Hance, Executive Director of the Texas Shrimp Association, only about 30 percent of seasonal workers from Mexico and Central American countries with a Visa have said they'll come to help.

But they're not here yet, and even then, their arrival is not promised.

With it being peak season, seasonal workers play a critical role in the industry, and their absence could cost the industry up to $1 million per day.

"The whole coast depends on the H-2B workers. Even in Florida, the boats working depend on the H-2B workers. It's very critical when we don't get them and the solution is: Give us more H-2B workers. Or else, raise the price of shrimp high enough so it will entice the younger American men to come on the boat," said Charles Burnell, the owner of Shrimp Outlet.

In 2017 , the H-2B workers came late. However, this year, a lottery system will determine which businesses will get the extra manpower to fish.

As a result, not a lot of boats will be going out with a full crew this season.

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