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    Fishing Industries Along the Gulf Coast

    If you live in the area of the United States known as the Southern Gulf Coast, along the Gulf of Mexico, you live in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama or Florida. The Gulf Coast has been called the Fishing Capitol of the United States by many people. From Brownsville to the Florida Keys, fisherman go out into the gulf waters in their boats to make a living off of the fish, shrimp , crab, and other seafood they catch.

    Trawler is the name usually given when talking about the shrimp and fish boats that go out into the Gulf of Mexico along the established waters to bring in catches. These boats that go out in the gulf are generally about 70' long or longer and most all are refrigerated and steel hull boats now. The refrigeration helps the boat captain to stay out for extended periods of time, ranging anywhere from 3 to about 14 days. Before refrigeration was common on trawlers, the boats would have to go in to a port to dock and get more ice or come back to their home port frequently. Steel hull trawlers are much sturdier than the old wooden hull boats that could be easily damaged by storms, hitting sunken boats or other objects.

    Boats or trawlers have a bunk house (sleeping quarters), galley (kitchen), bathroom, and a wheelhouse. The trawlers are equipped with high tech radios and equipment in the wheelhouse to help the crew find areas of fish and shrimp. Thus little time is wasted in putting their nets down and dragging the bottom of the gulf to find the seafood they need to bring in.

    The people working on a trawler are most often referred to as the crew. The crew consists of the captain (sometimes the owner, sometimes not- whose job it is to run the boat, steer, and make sure all the crew are working), the deck hands (deck hands help to keep the nets in order, repair as needed while out at sea, dropping nets in the water and hauling them in), headers (people head the shrimp as the nets are hauled in, clean fish, and store the catch.), and usually a separate man, the cook, whose only job is to keep the boat clean, and keep the crew well fed. Although some women do work on the boats, more often than not, the boat crew is all male.

    The fishing industry is vital to the economy on the Southern Gulf Coast. It is estimated that in the entire US, this industry employs over 1.6 million people. On the Gulf Coast alone, the industry brings in over 22.6 billion dollars to aid the economy.

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