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Day Of Shrimping Holds
Adventure For Young Fishermen
BY MARJORIE MEGIVERN
A full day of shrimping in
South Carolina waters, nar
rated and heavily illustrated
with photographs, sounds like a
winner for a kids' best seller list.
Surely that's what Ching Yeung
Russell had in mind with her book
.4 Day on a Shrimp Boat , just pub
lished bv Sandlapner Publishing
The day 's events, beginning with
a 5 a.m. boarding of the Abbie R.
shrimp boat, and concluding at
dusk, when the fishermen bring in
their catch, arc thoroughly detailed.
The writing style and language are
appropriate for ten-year-olds, about
the age of Jeremy and Jonathan
who appear in the photographs as
The story should be spell-bind
ing but somehow it isn't. It needs
either the excitement and fun of
childhood to appeal to the ten-and
under crowd, or a more sophisticat
ed approach, suitable for pre-teens.
As it is. boys like Jeremy and
Jonathan would find the language
demeaning and kids better suited to
A Day On A
by Ching Yeung Russell
the vocabulary and sentence struc
ture would find it a crashing bore
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ITiat being said, credit should be
given Mrs. Russell and her photog
rapher husband Phillip Russell, for
a thorough-going lesson in the art
of shrimping. It's a balanced one
that shows us the tedium of waiting
for something to happen with the
thrill of heavy nets being lowered
onto the deck. She covcrs every as
pect of commercial shrimping,
from licensing and legal limits on
time and place to the climactic sale
of the catch to wholesale seafood
The shrimp boat is described, in
cluding such accessories as the
homing device and turtle excluder
devices. The latter, Mrs. Russell
points out, saves turtles but hurt the
shrimpers' profits by allowing 20
? Energy Quizzes
? Bicycle Generators
? Energy Displays
? Conservation Tips
? Southport Exhibit
!? am in I pm. Weekdays
1 milt's nurlli nf Snuthpori
percent of the catch to escape The
wing-like outriggers with attached
shrimp nets are captured in beauti
ful photographs that show the
spreading function of the nets'
Captain Bob shows Jeremy and
Jonathan how he surveys buoys
through his binoculars and talks to
other shrimpers on his marine band
radio, and he demonstrates the use
of his depth recorder and radar.
The boys experience some sea
sickness when the waters turn
choppy, and as the boat travels up
and down the coast, dragging
shrimp nets behind it, they grow
tired of waiting and nap a little.
Finally the drama of raising the
nets is at hand. Pulled up by a
winch, the heavy nets drop their
load, not just shrimp but a veritable
stew of blue, pink, grey, brown, red
and silver sea creatures. Jeremy and
Jonathan are impressed by the sight
of crabs, squid, conchs, sand dollars
and horseshoe crabs among the
pink and grey shrimp, and they help
crew members begin the culling
Big shrimp get their heads
pinched off and smaller ones are
scraped into a separate basket.
When the sorting is done, shrimp
heads and all other sea creatures are
dumped back inio the water.
This move attracts the most dra
matic activity of the day, a descent
by a flock of seagulls and pelicans
who had been following the boat
and now swoop hungrily down to
the water 's surface for a feast from
the culling basket.
The boys are depicted as having
great fun sorting shrimp holding
bundles of them by the whiskers,
and daring to touch the "horn" on a
live shrimp. They get quite a lesson
in marine diversity, finding a cou
ple of strange and funny-looking
fish among the catch. One is identi
fied by the crew as sturgeon, the
source of roe (eggs) used in caviar.
There was even a different kind of
shrimp, a mantis, with little flutter
ing flippers along its belly.
As the Annie R. heads for shore,
Captain Bob explained economics
to them, listing all the expenses a
shrimper has to meet along with the
falling price of shrimp. Although
he says it's harder nowadays to
make a living this way, he assures
Jeremy and Jonathan, "I still con
sider myself rich, because 1 like
what I'm doing."
Malfunctioning doors, difficult
and smelly clean-up and slow pas
sage through a swing bridge are
part of the anti-climax to the trip for
the youthful crew members, but
when the captain asks if they'd like
to make the trip again, they say yes.
It is a day of beautiful sights, de
lightful rolling waters, even though
troubling to the tummy, and amaz
ing lessons in the world down un
der the sea.
A teenager with a hankering for
marine lite would put up with the
juvenile language and enjoy learn
ing from A Day on a Shrimp Boat.
Ten-year-olds would like the plenti
ful instructive photographs. Neither
group would find the total product