Editorial: Shrimpers deserve support

Shrimp boat

Public Information Officer
Coastal Resources Division 

As shrimp season draws to a close, it reminds us of the salty air, the hum of diesel engines, and nets heavy with the bounty of the sea – these are the hallmarks of Georgia’s shrimping tradition. But this age-old way of life is facing a rising tide of challenges. 

Imported shrimp, often produced under questionable environmental and labor standards, flood our markets at rock-bottom prices, squeezing out local fishermen. Fuel costs, ever on the rise, bite into their profits. And the aging shrimp boat fleet, weathered by years of service, strains to keep pace.

These are not just statistics on a page; they are the stories of families who have bled their lives into the sea, their calloused hands testament to generations of toil. They are the backbone of coastal communities, their livelihoods woven into the very fabric of towns like Darien, Brunswick, and Savannah. When they struggle, we all feel the ripple effect – shuttered businesses, lost jobs, and a fading sense of heritage. This year, there were 117 licensed Georgia-resident trawlers for the shrimp season. This is the lowest number in more than 20 years. 

Supporting Georgia’s shrimpers is not just about indulging in a delicious delicacy. It’s about protecting a sustainable, environmentally conscious fishery that respects our coastal ecosystems. It’s about ensuring the freshest, most flavorful shrimp on our plates, the kind that carries the taste of place and the sweat of honest work. It’s about preserving a vibrant culture, a legacy passed down from father to son, mother to daughter, that tells the story of our connection to the sea.

So, how can we help? Seek out Wild Georgia Shrimp by name when you shop, ask your restaurants to source locally, and support a level playing field for our Georgia fishermen. 

Let’s raise a fork not just to a plate of succulent shrimp, but to the men and women who bring them to us, and in doing so, ensure that the tide of change washes over them not with hardship, but with a renewed sense of hope and prosperity for generations to come.

Remember, the future of Georgia’s shrimpers, and the delectable taste of the sea on our tables, rests in our hands. 

Let’s choose wisely, and choose local, Wild Georgia Shrimp.