DARIEN, GA –
In McIntosh County, shrimping is serious business.
But it’s not just a job; it’s a way of life and one that’s passed down through generations.
Robert and Noel Todd grew up on the water. Robert says shrimping is in their blood.
“Daddy has been doing it since 1981 and he’s been a captain of a vessel since 1987. His daddy captained a boat for 50 years, so it’s not just that it’s about family, it’s a legacy.”
Noel and Robert are 4th generation shrimpers and while they find their profit underwater, they say the blessings come from up above.
“The blessing is what we look forward to because it helps us get that satisfaction of hoping for a bountiful blessing, for a bountiful catch throughout the year,” Robert says.
But little brother, Noel says they all need it more than ever these days.
“The fuel price is really killing us. If you add in the hours that we put in, it comes to about four dollars, that really hurts ya.”
Even Georgia sprimpers are being hit by the economy. The high price of fuel, combined with having to compete with cheaper imported shrimp is causing a perfect storm where a lot of families are getting out of the business.
But Robert says that’s not the only problem.
“You have the price of ice and then not just imported shrimp but farm raised shrimp here in Georgia. It’s really hard seeing that because it makes us wonder, could we be in a situation like that?”
In 2011, fewer fishing permits were requested from DNR than in years past. But this year, Robert says things seem to be turning around.
“A good fisherman never tells you what he catches until maybe a year later. But, I will say it’s enough to make a day’s work right now.”
And that is definitely a blessing.
Fishermen are currently shrimping outside the three mile zone in international waters. The official shrimp season will kick off sometime late summer.