The shrimp are runnin’, says JU’s Dr. Quinton White in this month’s ‘River Life’ in The Florida Times-Union

It’s shrimpin’ time.

So says Dr. Quinton White, executive director of the Jacksonville University Marine Science Research Institute, in his monthly River Life column in the Florida Times-Union.

JU Marine Science Research Institute Executive Director Quinton White

The lower St. Johns River offers a great habitat for three kinds of shrimp: brown, white and pink, with white and brown the most common, White writes in the Friday, Aug. 23, installment of his popular column.

“White shrimp range from New York down to about St. Lucie Inlet in central Florida, and also in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Brown shrimp occur as far north as Massachusetts and south to the Florida Keys. They do not occur in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, but are west of Apalachicola Bay and extend around the Gulf to the Yucatan. Pink shrimp are found south from the Chesapeake Bay to the Keys, then around the Gulf of Mexico to the Yucatan.”

Here’s an excerpt from the column:

Recreational shrimping is a combination of art and science, coupled with a little bit of technique and a lot of stamina. Most people will use a cast net. The net is a circular web with lead weights around the edges. The cast nets have an ingenious network of monofilament lines that close it when pulled back to the surface. Shrimping involves learning the technique to throw the net again and again so it expands into a circle and falls quickly to the bottom.

So now is the time to go shrimping. The shrimp will begin to move out of the river between July and October, depending on rainfall. A hurricane will often flush the mature shrimp offshore to start the process again.

And even if you cannot catch your own, try to buy fresh local shrimp and cook them with their heads on to enjoy their maximum flavor. There is nothing quite like fresh Mayport shrimp.

White also offers a popular “Ask River Life” segment to his monthly column, where he answers reader questions, so email him at

To read this month’s entire column, click here.


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