Alabama is known for its shrimp, oysters, and other seafood.
Bayou La Batre located in Mobile is the most important fishing port in Alabama, with Bon Secour of Gulf Shores next in the ranks. Bayou La Batre is known as the “Seafood Capitol of Alabama.” The port city has dockside value averages of $30 million annually in seafood landings. The most valuable type of seafood for both Alabama and Bayou La Batre is shrimp.
Bayou La Batre made it to the “Big Screen” in 1994, in the Oscar winning hit, Forrest Gump. The star character Forrest (Tom Hanks) was seen on his shrimping boat Jenny in the Bayou’s waters, which he bought in ode to his deceased friend Bubba. Shrimp is not the only landing product in Bayou La Batre. Local commercial fishermen also catch oysters, crabs, and finfish.
In 2005 Bayou La Batre was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, which forced many shrimp boats and cargo ships on shore, causing damages in the bayou which totaled in the millions. The Hurricane left the town’s people’s houses flooded or destroyed, and seafood processing plants damaged.
With much of the Bayou’s workers involved in shrimping and the Bayou being the main port of the state, the disaster had big impact on Alabama’s seafood industry. But this impact was only temporary, the port is now back to being the most progressive port in all of Alabama, keeping Alabama one of the best sources of fresh seafood in the nation.
In fact Katrina wasn’t all salt, but contained a little sugar too; Bayou La Batre was in danger of possibly becoming a high-rise condo, and resort lavished beach front similar to, perhaps Orange Beach, by developers. This would have hurt the locals and shrimp fisherman. But the Hurricane damages brought in a $25 million federal grant, which has helped place the little town onto a new path with new possibilities and visions.
Seafood processing is a major sector of Alabama. Alabama also ships in seafood from other states for processing, keeping the seafood industry well booming.