Georgia Seafood Directory
Choose the Retail or Wholesale buttons below to find listings of Georgia Seafood Providers, or Search for specific types of seafood.
Georgia’s coastline is home to rich seafood resources, sustaining coastal communities through employment and nourishment.
Whether you live near Georgia’s coast or far from it, seafood is an important part of a healthful diet. It is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. It contains omega-3 fatty acids which prevent heart disease and stroke, as well as promote healthy development of young children, infants, and unborn babies. In its recently released Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020 edition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reiterates that adults should eat at least 8 ounces (cooked edible portion) of a variety of seafood each week, which is equivalent to 2 to 3 servings. The average American consumes only one serving of seafood per week.
Click the seafood types below to learn about popular types of Georgia seafood, including their taste, catch method, season, habitat, fun facts and more!
Georgians rely on a network of harvesters, wholesalers, and retailers to provide them with safe seafood, whether it’s sustainably harvested from our coast or comes from other states or countries.
More than 200 seafood wholesalers and processors in Georgia provide a variety of healthful and delicious seafood products for consumers, as well as jobs for residents. The University of Georgia Marine Extension Service supports local seafood processors through technical research, marketing strategies, offering seafood HACCP training, and providing regulatory information.
Shrimp is Georgia’s most valuable seafood product.
TASTE: Georgia shrimp are succulent and nutritious. Our white shrimp (Litopenaeus setiferus) is popular with chefs and gourmands because of its mild taste and delicate texture. The lesser-known brown shrimp (Farfantepenaeus aztecus) are smaller and sweeter; locals call them “brownies.” Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States, with an annual per capita consumption of about four pounds.
CATCH METHOD: Shrimp is harvested from Georgia waters within three miles of the coast and federal waters (three to 200 miles from shore). All commercial harvesters in the United States must use certified Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRDs) and Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) to minimize catching unintended fish and safely eject turtles who happen to swim into shrimp trawls.
SEASON: While harvesting is allowed year-round in federal waters, our state’s food shrimp season begins when the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) determines that adult shrimp size and abundance is sustainable, usually in mid-June. Georgia’s shrimp season automatically closes December 31, unless extended by the DNR Commissioner.
FUN FACT: The original TED was invented by a Georgia shrimper in 1968. He also created the amazing Big Boy TED, the most recent TED to receive national certification. Check it out in this 60-second video.
Small quantities of fresh finfish, typically consumed by coastal residents, are landed in Georgia.
SALTWATER: From highly coveted red snapper, mahi-mahi and tuna to lesser known triggerfish, vermilion snapper and wahoo, commercial fishermen haul in their delicious catches to satisfy hungry consumers.
FRESHWATER: In addition to wild saltwater fish, freshwater catfish and rainbow trout are grown in Georgia.
FUN FACT: A few farmers produce small amounts of tilapia in recirculating freshwater systems.
Georgia oysters are making a sustainable comeback.
TASTE: The Georgia oyster (Crassostrea virginicus) is famous for its briny yet sweet taste. Once you’ve tasted one, other oysters pale in comparison. These delectable creatures hold a unique place in our state’s history, but seem to be our current best-kept secret.
HABITAT: The world renowned estuaries along the Georgia coast, composed of nutrient-rich marsh, create the perfect environment for cultivation. Our oysters grow in clean waters that meet standards set by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, as verified by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
SEASON: For added safety and quality, Georgia oystermen delay harvest June through September when spawning oysters lose their plumpness and hot weather encourages higher levels of naturally occurring bacteria in coastal waters. Wild Georgia oysters grow clustered together – a perfect match for oyster roasts.
THE HATCHERY: Our Shellfish Research Lab is collaborating with Georgia oystermen to cultivate single oysters, which are larger, more attractive and desirable for the half-shell market, mainly in restaurants. In addition, we are starting an oyster hatchery which will enable Georgia oystermen to produce more single oysters and compete with other Southeastern states.
Blue crab yields one of the most delectable forms of crab meat.
TASTE: Tasty and tender, Georgia blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) is delicious when picked right from the cooked hard shell, eaten in crab cakes, or in other recipes. Fried soft-shell blue crab is a highly-sought delicacy. Since there is not a large market for blue crab in Georgia, most of the crabs harvested here are transported north to the Chesapeake Bay area where there is a huge demand from tourists and residents.
CATCH METHOD: Georgia blue crab is managed as a limited-entry fishery. Commercial harvesters can renew or transfer their current license, but no new licenses are being issued. Crabs are caught in wire mesh traps placed underwater that use bait to attract adult crabs.
SEASON: In Georgia, the majority of blue crabs are harvested in March, April and May.
FUN FACTS: Female blue crabs with attached egg masses, called sponge crabs, are not harvested because of their importance in sustaining the fishery.
Georgia clams are succulent ocean-essence morsels.
TASTE: Hardshell clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) have a delicate taste and creamy texture that lends itself to simple cooking techniques (steamed in wine and sautéed onion) as well as complicated dishes full of intensely flavored ingredients. Eating a Georgia clam is like feeling sea mist on your face – the refreshing flavor does not disappoint.
REPRODUCTION: Georgia clams reproduce, or spawn, in the spring and fall and must be at least 45 mm wide to be legally harvested. On average it takes about 18 months for clams to reach this size.
FARMING: Although hard clams grow wild off Georgia’s coast, it’s more efficient to “plant” seed, or baby clams, on leased land, so farmers know exactly where to look for mature clams when it’s time to harvest. Clam farming does not use manufactured feed or chemicals and is an environmentally-friendly and sustainable industry.Currently Georgia hosts thirteen clam farms, most of which are located in McIntosh County.
LEARN MORE: To learn more about clam farming in Georgia, watch this short video.
The Knobbed Whelk is Georgia’s state seashell.
Knobbed whelk (Busycon carica) is a large predatory sea snail. It is frequently confused with conch and can be substituted in recipes that use conch meat. Also called scungilli, whelk are popular in Italian-American cuisine. To prepare for eating, whelk are boiled, then either served in-shell or removed and chopped up to make fritters, salads or chowders.
Other gastropods found off the Georgia coast include channeled, pear and lightning whelks. Whelk are slow-moving, slow-growing and long-lived creatures. Because commercial harvesting of whelk is not a very lucrative endeavor, only a few Georgia fishermen currently harvest this delicious product.
More than 200 seafood wholesalers and processors in Georgia provide a variety of healthful and delicious seafood products for consumers, as well as jobs for residents.
In addition to fresh finfish and shellfish, other species are harvested or grown in Georgia. Companies make breaded, smoked, and stuffed seafood products, crab cakes, deviled crab, sashimi, and caviar. Alligator meat comes from farmed and wild-trapped creatures. Cannonball jellyfish, locally known as “jellyballs,” are harvested, processed, and exported to China, Japan, and Thailand where they are considered delicacies. To learn more about this seafood, watch these videos about jellyfishing and jellyfish processing.
Seafood Specialist, P.O. Box 2156, Peachtree City, GA 30269