How Do Shrimp Boats Work?

Wondering, "How do shrimp boats work?" Summertime and the shrimpin’ is easy, but how do those shrimp boats work?  They work during the night and then clean their catches during the day.  Shrimp are called ‘pink gold’ and they are delicious in many dishes made across the world.  Fishing for anything is never easy, it is hard work and those that do this kind of work are a special breed of men and women.

If you want to go "shrimping", the best thing to do is to learn how this works.  The shrimp boats have large nets which they toss over the side.  The right side is called the starboard and the left side is called the port.  Easy way to remember that is port and left both have four letters.  There are grates attached to the nets which drag the bottom for the shrimp, plus a lot of other critters that are swimming along.  This is called by-catch and that is the stuff they hose off the boat once the shrimping is done for the night.  Crustaceans, fish, seashells and sea urchins can be found among the by-catch this also makes for a great fishing area for those fishermen the next day.  Fish follow the ‘chumming’ and the fishermen follow the slick that is left on the water.  So, it isn’t surprising that you’ll see regular fisherman around where the shrimp boats have been. 

Once the nets come up, they need to be careful as the cables and grates coming on deck can be dangerous.  The entire catch is dumped on the deck and picked through carefully.  Small shrimp can be among other dangerous sea life, so they use something to pick through the huge catch, like a wooden stake.  Then the shrimp are beheaded, weighed and stored in freezers.  When they are done, the deck is cleaned off and they spend most of the day resting and sleeping, until night time rolls around again for more trolling for the ‘pink gold’. 

In Georgia, you can actually go on a retired shrimp boat and learn how it is done for generations and listen to a few sea stories.  It’s not a bad idea for a family vacation, if you want to get into the action. 

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