San Carlos Island is home to one of the largest SW Florida Fishing Fleets. The Island’s shrimping industry offloads more Florida caught pink shrimp than anywhere else in the state.
We would first like to extend our appreciation to the Erickson & Jensen Seafood Packers – stationed along San Carlos Island’s fishing port, for allowing us the opportunity to tour parts of their operation. With that said, sit back and get ready to enjoy some cool photos, an attached featured video, and some informative dialog.
The morning air is filled with the smell of saltwater, fish and the exhaust coming from the resonating sound of the trawler’s boat engines. The sun is shining bright on the sea-worn wooden docks that anchor these bellowing vessels. What a fantastic day it is!
There is nothing like the succulent – sweet taste of pink Gulf shrimp. Rarely do people understand or even care where this delectable seafood is off-loaded and kept before arriving to their favorite local market and/or seafood restaurant.
Since the early 1950’s, shrimpers have been calling their precious catch, ‘Pink Gold’! It is quite an arduous task to get Florida’s delicious bounty from the Gulf of Mexico to your dinner table.
The shrimpers, when in port, work most of the day preparing for their next trip out to sea or helping to unload the weeks’ catch. The preparation also includes repairing the woven nylon nets used to hoist the hundreds of pounds of shrimp that are captured within its web.
Once the crew – usually 3 men and a captain complete their check list, the boat’s commander is ready to shove off for another outing. Depending if the boat is equipped with an on-board freezer or several large ice compartments, they can stay out at sea for up to 4 plus weeks at a time. They will have their nets in the water 3 to 6 hours a day, everyday.
A single trawler can bring in depending on its cold storage capabilities and season up to 40,000 lbs. of shrimp in one trip. On average, a 20,000 lb. total payload is considered a successful outing. This makes for a very happy crew.
Captains name their vessels for many reasons. Some are in memory of a spouse / partner, mother or other loved one. This particular boat, “Miss Alice” (shown above) is obviously named after a female acquaintance or family member.
When out at sea, the crews that man these fishing boats don’t do much more than work, eat and sleep. When arriving back to port after being out for several weeks, they are ready to take some well deserved R & R. They go home to see their family and friends and enjoy the comforts of their own home. Last but not least, a Shrimper’s boots are never far away from the dock and the boat they serve on.
The following video will offer not only a ground-level look at the docks and trawlers themselves, but also an aerial view of the back bay. It will provide a partial glimpse of the island’s fishing port and fleet.
Author: Anthony Scopel
Photography: Anthony & Maureen Scopel
Videography/Drone Video: Anthony Scopel & Crew
Article Creator & Formatting: Anthony Scopel
Video Production: Anthony Scopel & Matt Kemper
Associate Editor: Maureen Scopel
Technical Mastering & Web Support: Matt Kemper
Publisher: You, Me and The Dock
“We would like to give a special thank you to Darby at Erickson & Jensen for all her help in making this article a reality!”
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