Jelly fish (aka jelly balls) have been always the bane of a fisherman’s existence: of no value, they swim alongside shrimp, infiltrating the catch and must be quickly discarded.
But 10 years ago, a wealthy Chinese businessman contacted Georgia shrimp fisherman Howell Boone and asked if he could catch jelly balls in large numbers; everyone else had turned him down. Howell built a special rig that allows nets to bring upwards of 10,000 lbs. onto the boat in each drag.
What the businessman had found is that jellyfish are 98% protein. Along with being a delicacy in Asia, they take on the flavours of the ingredients they’re cooked with, making for an incredibly versatile, and lean source of protein.
Howell equipped several boats to go after the Jelly Balls, but other locals took notice and were quick to join the fray. Today, it’s intensely competitive, and leading the competition are the Gale Brothers who are constantly vying to knock the Boone family off the top spot.
Jelly Balling is so lucrative that it’s now the second largest commercial fishing industry in the south. Over 1 million pounds of Jelly Balls are pulled from the water each week, and with a price of 7-10 cents per pound, that can mean life changing money.
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