Shrimping off the Ga. coast aboard the Lady Jane

Eating freshly caught wild Georgia white shrimp while on the Lady Jane, off St. Simons Island, is a culinary experience not to be missed. It’s a brilliant sunny day on the southern Georgia coast as the Lady Jane moves slowly through the channel. The islands of St. Simons and Jekyll rise above a sea of salt grass. Laughing seagulls – their actual name – swoop through the air behind the ship. “That’s a good sign,” comments Cliff Credle, “they know where the food is.”

The Lady Jane retired after years as an active participant in the Brunswick, Ga, shrimp industry. Today the 49 passenger USCG certified steel hulled ship makes two hour excursions that are as educational as they are fun. The Lady Jane is captained by Larry Credle, ably assisted by his son, Cliff, and first mate, John Tyre. Passengers learn firsthand what it’s like to be a shrimper.

The shallow waters, sheltered by St. Simons and Jeckyll islands, exclude any possible invasion of the shrimp beds by large factory ships. Shrimping remains a bastion of small boat fishing operated by individual entrepreneurs. The ship drags a modest sized net for about ten minutes at a time. Since these waters are home to the endangered Green Sea Turtle, all nets must be fitted with turtle excluder devices that release not only turtles from the net but other large sea life. According to John Wallace of Wild Georgia Shrimp, “These devices are not only good for conservation but a turtle stuck into the opening of a net will prevent shrimp from entering.”

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