A Look at the Brownsville Shrimp Basin

Local News

More than 70 years ago, a group of Louisiana fishermen and South Florida entrepreneurs were on a mission to track down the tasty brown shrimp, their search led them Brownsville, and the rest is history. 

It was a time when shrimp was typically only found in the East and Gulf Coast, while the rest of the country ate mostly meat and other foods. 

But when shrimp hunters made their way to deep South Texas, the rest of the country took interest. 

“Shrimp really hadn’t been marketed to the United States we were a beef culture,” said Eugene Fernandez, Commissioner of the Cameron County Historical Commission. 

And then with the advancement of technology, including refrigeration techniques, larger boats and stronger nets, Brownsville became the hot spot for shrimp. In response, the city constructed a dedicated shrimp harbor off of the main ship channel at its port in 1953.

In the 1960s and 70s, during the peak of the prosperous shrimp period, our local fleet built up to about 450 boats in the harbor, with many support businesses springing up, including commercial packing plants, cold storage warehouses, trucking, marine hardware, and many more. 

“There are several industries here in South Texas that really stand out that have a beautiful heritage this one is one of them,” Fernandez said. 

And although the shrimp industry in South Texas may have diminished, shrimp is still the most consumed seafood in United States, and our harbor may be the reason for that. 

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