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Texas Parks and Wildlife Capt. Rex Mayes has worked for the department for 28 years and said he recognizes newer generations aren't as willing to continue shrimping in the state's bays because of the costly risk of failure. Mayes said high fuel prices have made it more difficult to profit off of a catch and experience is especially important in order to successfully navigate the bay waters.

Published on September 5, 2011

Edward Garcia sits and operates the motorized conveyer belt moving sacks of shrimp caught in the Gulf of Mexico as crew members work to unload the cargo from a boat in the Port of Palacios. Garcia has more than 60 years in the shrimping industry, and some of his children now operate Philly's Seafood, which consists of a fleet of more than 40 shrimping boats.

Published on September 5, 2011

Regina Pena sits inside her office at Philly's Seafood, which overlooks the Port of Palacios. Established in 2000, Philly's Seafood is Pena's family business, and she is responsible for selling shrimp caught in the Gulf of Mexico by the company's fleet as well as buying Gulf shrimp from other shrimpers in the port. "The product basically sells itself,'' Pena said, remarking about the quality of shrimp caught off of Texas shores.

Published on September 5, 2011

Geraldo Ochoa and Lawrence Pena use hooks to remove bags of shrimp from the boat's hold and onto a conveyer belt as a crew works to move and process hundreds of sacks brought in from the Gulf of Mexico and into the Port of Palacios. From the Gulf to the table, the Philly's Seafood shrimp will go to a processor that packages it according to the company's specifications. The shrimp are then sold to a distributor responsible for supplying restaurants and grocery stores.

Published on September 5, 2011

A crew member motions to another below in the boat's hold as they work to unload hundreds of sacks of shrimp caught in the Gulf of Mexico shortly after the boat docked in the Port of Palacios. The Philly's Seafood boat returned early because of mechanical failures, but spent a month in the Gulf since the season opened July 15.

Published on September 5, 2011

Ken Garcia counts shrimp while Mauricio Hurtado watches. Crews unload bags of shrimp from a boat that just returned from the Gulf of Mexico. Garcia's grandfather, Edward Garcia, came into the industry more than 60 years ago and passed the tradition to his children, who established Philly's Seafood in 2000 at the Port of Palacios.

Published on September 5, 2011

Shrimp caught in the Gulf of Mexico fill a mesh sack. Ken Garcia counted the frozen shrimp as a crew unloaded hundreds of bags from a Philly's Seafood boat that arrived in the Port of Palacios.

Published on September 5, 2011

Few ships are docked in the Port of Palacios, but they are steadily returning as the Gulf shrimping season continues until Nov. 30. Mechanical failures account for the majority of early returns.

Published on September 5, 2011

Danny Harborth sits inside the wheel house of the Yuma, a shrimping boat, as he drags nets in the bay waters in the Matagorda Bay Ship Channel. Harborth is a bait shrimper for Poor Boy Bait in Port Lavaca and formerly served in the Navy. Harborth said he considers the water a second home.

Published on September 5, 2011

Danny Harborth sorts shrimp from ribbon fish, croakers and baby squid, moving them from one tank to an adjacent one while bait shrimping off the Port Lavaca coast.

Published on September 5, 2011

From inside the wheel house, Harborth scans the horizon for other shrimping boats as he drags his own nets in the Matagorda Bay Ship Channel.

Published on September 5, 2011

Harborth dumps a basket of live shrimp into a tank that circulates cold water to keep the shrimp alive while shrimping in the Matagorda Bay Ship Channel. Harborth is paid a salary to shrimp. Rising costs of fuel and the low price of shrimp make it difficult for individual bay shrimpers to earn a living.

Published on September 5, 2011

Harborth separates shrimp from ribbon fish and other species while shrimping in the Matagorda Bay Ship Channel. Ribbon fish are often caught in the nets and aren't useful bait. Harborth throws them back into the water as he sorts the shrimp into a tank onboard.

Published on September 5, 2011

Seagulls coast alongside a shrimp boat as it drags in the Matagorda Bay Ship Channel. As the boat harvested shrimp, croaker fish and baby squid for live bait, seagulls, pelicans and dolphins trailed along to scavenge any unwanted species caught in the net.

Published on September 5, 2011

With his nets suspended and dragging in the Matagorda Bay Ship Channel, Harborth stands on the deck of a shrimping boat as another drags nearby. Bay shrimpers are decreasing because the ability to make substantial profits in the industry is in decline. Harborth said he and the remaining bay shrimpers out of Port Lavaca tend to help each other and have developed a special camaraderie.

Published on September 5, 2011

Metal screws hold a portrait of a sailor and Jesus in place inside the wheel house of Harborth's shrimp boat. Harborth, a bait shrimper for Poor Boy Bait, said he finds comfort in the picture that formerly belonged to his grandfather. Harborth's grandfather and younger brother drowned while shrimping the bay in 1970.

Published on September 5, 2011

Farris Williams, 90, recounts his days as a shrimper as he sits in the dining hall of the Port Lavaca Nursing Home, where he now lives. Born on a farm in Cuero, Williams began his shrimping career in Port Lavaca in the late 1950s and stayed in the industry until the mid-1990s.

Published on September 4, 2011

Farris Williams, 90, discusses his days as a shrimper in the bay and Gulf of Mexico as he sits in his motorized wheelchair in the Port Lavaca Nursing Home. Williams severed part of his left index finger while operating a boat's pumping system in the Gulf of Mexico. "When I'd go out into the ocean, you know, that finger was a big help to me," Williams said. "I sure miss that finger." Texas Parks and Wildlife Capt. Rex Mayes has worked with shrimpers for decades and likened them to the "cowboys" of the sea.

Published on September 4, 2011

Joe Garza shows his seaman's cross, made of brass, that he purchased decades ago while working as a deckhand on a shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico. He joked that captain's crosses were made of gold because they were the only ones who could afford them.

Published on September 4, 2011

Farris Williams examines his left hand and discusses how he lost part of his finger while operating a boat's pump decades ago when he was shrimping in the Gulf of Mexico. Williams then stopped shrimping in the Gulf and went on to own two boats he trawled in the bays off the coast of South Texas.

Published on September 3, 2011

Joe Garza looks down at his seaman's cross as it rests on his chest inside the dining hall of the Port Lavaca Nursing Home. The seaman's cross is a sign of protection for those working on the water. Garza bought the cross from women on boats in the Gulf of Mexico while he was a deckhand on a shrimp boat.

Published on September 3, 2011

Joe Garza sits with his mother outside the Port Lavaca Nursing Home. As a child, Garza worked in Port Lavaca's fishing houses alongside his family and spent a few years as a deckhand on a shrimp boat as a teen.

Published on September 4, 2011

Lee Hamilton and Cipriano Calzado discuss their experiences in the shrimp industry in the dining hall of the Port Lavaca Nursing Home. The men once shared the common space of the Port Lavaca ship yards and fish houses, but now see each other regularly at the nursing home where they visit loved ones. Shortly after Hurricane Carla, Hamilton and his older brother, Elmer, caught 9,000 pounds of shrimp on a single outing.

Published on September 3, 2011

Joe Garza, Lee Hamilton and Cipriano Calzado discuss their experiences in the shrimp industry in the dining hall of the Port Lavaca Nursing Home. The men once shared the common space of the Port Lavaca ship yards and fish houses but now see each other regularly at the nursing home where they visit loved ones or reside there themselves.

Published on September 3, 2011