For the love of shrimp!

A Brief History of Shrimping in Northeast Florida

At Timotis we love wild-caught shrimp, and for good reason. The shrimping industry began in Fernandina in the early 1900s, when a young Italian immigrant arrived from Sicily and launched the tasty crustaceans into a commercial empire right off the coast of Northeast Florida. Indigenous people had been harvesting shrimp for over 2,000 years prior, but it wasn’t until the technological boom that brought Salvatore Sollectio, better known on American soil as Mike Salvador, his new life in Northeast Florida. 

Before Salvador, most fisherman gathered shrimp utilizing nets that were tossed and gathered from rowboats. Due to the challenge of keeping it fresh, seafood carried a short shelf-life along with the fact that no one knew how to actually cook shrimp (tacos, anyone?)

Salvador was familiar with shrimp due to popularity in Europe and began to experiment with ways to effectively capture and transport them. He soon became the first to successfully use a powerboat with a net to gather shrimp, but it wasn’t until shrimping pioneer Billy Corkum came along and created the Otter net that the industry began booming. The otter net allows the gathering of larger shrimp found offshore, and thanks to Corkum, hundreds of boats lined the shores of Fernandina by 1920. 

Following World War II, the shrimp business in Northeast Florida met its peak due to a new international taste soldiers brought home with them. Shrimp is now consumed all over the world, and very much so in Timotis’ kitchen. 

Enjoy delicious wild shrimp blackened, grilled, or fried at our Fernandina and 5 Points locations, as well as our new Nocatee location opening soon!

bryan poynterComment