Bon Secour Fisheries
1896, Danish immigrant Frank Nelson began Bon Secour Fisheries as a small
family-run oyster house on Oyster Bay. A 50' converted schooner named the
MARY ETTA was acquired. This vessel whose keel was laid in 1860 was used
as an oyster dredge boat. In 1920, a 16 horsepower engine was added to
their boat and Frank Nelson along with two other boatmen were the first in the
area to try to catch shrimp.
Frank Nelson's retirement in 1935, his son, John A. Nelson moved the business to
its present location on the Bon Secour River. In 1946, John A. Nelson's
son, John Ray Nelson joined his father and grandfather after World War II and his discharge from
1950's shrimping became of real importance when the river channel was deepened
to accommodate off-shore trawlers. A fleet of trucks replaced the railway
to deliver the fresh catch to the customers.
In 1969 the
MARY ETTA was
retired to the shady banks of the Bon Secour River. Although battered by
hurricanes and tropical storms, it rests there today.
Bon Secour Fisheries took on
its present character in late 1978, when a 30,000 square-foot plant was built to
pack, freeze and store shrimp.
Today, John Ray Nelson, along
with his three sons, John Andrew, David, and Chris carry on the tradition.
What was once a small oyster business is now a modern seafood processing plant
that packs the famous
Nelson's Brand Oysters and
Bon Secour Brand Shrimp plus a variety of other