Chris Nelson is the Vice President of Bon Secour Fisheries, Inc. in Bon Secour, Ala.
Name: Chris Nelson
Name of Business: Bon Secour Fisheries, Inc.
Business Address: 17449 County Road 29 South, Bon Secour, AL 36511
Business Phone Number: 251-949-7411
Where were you born and raised?
Born in Foley, raised in Bon Secour.
How did you come to work in Alabama’s seafood industry?
I grew up in the business, and I returned to it when I moved back to Alabama and got married and started a family. That was back in 1989. I was offered a job by my father to come back and work in the business with my two older brothers.
What types of seafood do you process/handle?
We’re primarily shrimp and oysters, and we handle a few fish that come across our dock. We sell pretty much any kind of seafood item that you can imagine.
What makes your company/organization stand out within Alabama’s seafood industry?
Well, certainly the longevity. I don’t think there’s any other Alabama seafood company that’s been in business as long as we have. Our family has been in the business since 1896, and we’ve been in our current location since the late 1940s. Also, the fact that we’re tremendously vertically integrated. On the shrimp side, we even own the boats. So we’re catching the shrimp, we’re bringing it back, processing it, packaging it, storing it, and distributing it on our own trucks. We do everything but cook it up and serve it, just about.
What is something about Alabama’s seafood industry that everyone should know about (but they probably don’t)?
It’s a tremendous source of employment for South Mobile and Baldwin County. We process and package so much seafood we don’t necessarily land in Alabama. A tremendous amount. Because we have a short coastline, I think people fail to recognize that Alabama is such an important source of packing and processing. Alabama is typically #1 in both crab and oysters, and a big shrimp processor today as well. But people probably have no idea that we are an important source of Gulf seafood.
What’s your favorite seafood dish to serve up for yourself and your family?
You know, I really enjoy anything on the grill. Whether it’s grilled oysters, any kind of fish (skin on). We grill shrimp a lot. I’d say the skin-on, scales-on fish filet on the grill is probably our most popular thing.
What are your favorite hobbies?
Recreational fishing and bird hunting.
What is your favorite band/musician?
I always liked The Who.
What is your favorite movie?
If you didn’t work in the Alabama seafood industry, what line of work would you pursue?
I’d definitely be a research scientist. I have a master’s degree in marine science, so I hope I could’ve earned a PhD and gone into that.