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History of
Bon Secour Fisheries

    In 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.
    On 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 the Navy. 
    In the 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 seafood items.


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