All You Need to Know About Local Topsail Shrimp



If you've been to Topsail, North Carolina, then you know we're pretty serious about serving up the freshest local seafood straight from the ocean's bounty. Topsail area shrimp is no exception. Hey, we even have a local shrimp festival that's a pretty big deal each and every August.

Today we're talking about Topsail shrimp and giving you everything you need to know about our fresh local shrimp, how to enjoy it to its fullest, and the best places to find it. We've included helpful and informational video clips, too.

The good news is that you can always find fresh seafood right nearby your Topsail vacation rental, whether you dine out at your favorite Topsail seafood restaurant or shop a local seafood market and bring it home for dinner. So that's a win-win!

North Carolina Shrimp & The NC Shrimping Industry

Let's talk NC shrimp, shall we? Whether you like them battered and fried, simply sauteed in garlic and oil, or served up cocktail style, there's no denying that local shrimp is a crowd favorite.

North Carolina has three main types of shrimp: brown, pink and white. Shrimp are estuarine dependent—that means they live in marshes and estuaries when they are very young because it’s safe and there is plenty of food. They grow very quickly, doubling in size every few weeks. When shrimp are almost full grown, they swim out of the estuaries into the ocean.

Shrimp are considered an annual crop because they do not live very long—only about two years. The amount of shrimp we have from year to year varies, depending on the weather. If we have a very cold winter, then we will have a small shrimp population the following spring. If we have lots of rain, then the shrimp will move out into the ocean before they are fully grown.

Shrimp are the second most economically important fishery in North Carolina. In 2004, Tar Heel fishermen caught 4.9 million pounds of shrimp, worth $9 million. Most of these shrimp were caught with trawl nets in our sounds and rivers. (Source: NC Division of Marine Fisheries)

How to Identify & Buy Fresh Shrimp

Now that you know a little bit more about North Carolina shrimp, you definitely want to know how to choose the freshest, most delicious shrimp you can. Sometimes it can be intimidating to navigate through a local seafood market or grocery store and feel confident about your seafood purchase.

Let us help! Watch the video clip above for insider tips on how buy the best shrimp. You'll feel confident once you know what to look for and how to go about finding it.

The good news is that Topsail Island has a wonderful selection of professional and reputable seafood establishments that make it incredibly easy to find the freshest, most scrumptious local seafood—including shrimp. Don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with our local seafood experts. They can also give you excellent advice.

Go ahead and shop our Topsail seafood markets and find exactly what you're looking for when it comes to quality, fresh seafood. Your Topsail vacation rental kitchen has everything you need to whip up a fabulous home-cooked meal, so why not?

If you prefer to dine out, check out these favorite Topsail Island eateries for the best of what our area has to offer.

Local Favorite: Sneads Ferry NC Shrimp Festival

The Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival is the official Shrimp Festival of North Carolina and is held the second full weekend of August each year. It's a local and visitor favorite event in the Topsail area. Have you been?

Sneads Ferry, a quaint seafood village right over the bridge on the mainland, is most famous for its main catch, shrimp, and each year it brings in more than 385 tons of this popular North Carolina crustacean. Each year, in an effort to celebrate and honor local fishermen and the seafood industry, the Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival attracts shrimp and seafood lovers from all over North Carolina and beyond.

The two-day affair brings more than just shrimp—though that would certainly be enough. Guests can also expect festive live entertainment, crowning of festival queens, a petting zoo, a street dance, fireworks, shrimp heading contests, craft vendors, carnival rides and tons of additional opportunities to enjoy the bountiful harvest that put this area on the map.

Come and experience the Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival for yourself this August 10-12, 2018. Also like and follow the Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival Facebook Page for all of the latest and greatest event updates.


Bring your family, bring your friends! Hope to see you at this year's festival. Cheers to Topsail, North Carolina shrimp!


Read more about Topsail Island fresh, local seafood here.

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