Brunswick Islands’ Shrimping Industry

Interesting Facts on Brunswick Islands’ Shrimping Industry

While most people are still fast asleep in their beds as the sun starts to rise on another morning, there is one group of people who are steadily at work. Casting their skimmer trawls—the nets attached to the side of the boat—into the water, they guide their boats along the shallow Carolina coastal waters as they gather the sea life below the surface. Known for providing North Carolina’s coastal line with the best quality shrimp, the fishermen have trawled the waters since the beginning of the 20th century.

VB DEJA BLUE SHRMP 2 DC 010

For years tourists from all over the world have traveled to the area just to take advantage of the delectable shrimp that North Carolina has to offer. Due to the relatively warm temperature of the water, there is a multitude of shrimp here, and the temperature is a trustworthy factor that fishermen use to determine what kind of harvesting season to expect.

If the winter is unusually cold, fishermen will expect a small shrimp population when spring comes. However, the state of North Carolina harvests about 10 million pounds of shrimp each year, a number that hardly seems to indicate a small population.

Shrimp begin their life cycle in winter on the bottom of the ocean floor as mud-dwelling creatures that travel in schools and are often eaten by larger fish. In the summer, the shrimp travel by tidal currents from the ocean into rivers and creeks. They find shelter in the safety of marshes, and with an intake of algae and plankton, the surviving shrimp undergo a tremendous growth spurt—up to two inches in one month. When they are almost fully grown, they swim to the ocean where they are caught by local fishermen.

Three types of shrimp are available in North Carolina:

  • White shrimp—the second-most abundant
  • Pink shrimp—harvested in spring and late fall
  • Brown shrimp—the most abundant shrimp that supports the Brunswick Islands fishing industry
  • Many Brunswick Island locals are passionate about preserving the local industry through Brunswick Catch, a non-profit organization that helps local fishermen by promoting the seafood industry in Brunswick Islands. They encourage residents and visitors to purchase only local seafood. The organization is composed of commercial fishermen, restaurant owners and other people who are interested in preserving and reviving the profitable industry.

    Shrimp cocktail

    Fresh Shrimp Cocktail

    By displaying the Brunswick Catch logo on all freshly caught shrimp, it helps buyers know that they are putting money back into the pockets of local fishermen and ensuring that they are receiving quality shrimp found in the waters of North Carolina. Their goal is to form a dominant presence in the county and provide a knowledgeable guide to educate people on which season shrimp is available, how to recognize it is fresh and how to cook it.

    Speaking of cooking, there are a variety of easy and delectable dishes to whip up while you’re enjoying your time in the Brunswick Islands. Try basic scampi with lemon, butter, garlic and white wine, or light the grill, and toss on some shrimp kabobs marinated in lime juice, coconut milk, rum and honey. Spice things up with a shrimp and sausage jambalaya, or make a classic calabash style served with cocktail sauce that the kids will enjoy.

    To learn more about the seafood industry in Brunswick Islands, visit www.brunswickcatch.com or www.visitnc.com.

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