The Bradley family are some of the last African-American shrimp boat owners in South Carolina. James Bradley Jr. recently took over as captain of “Bradley’s Pride.”
The family business is rooted in their land on St. Helena Island, S.C. Over 100 years ago their family owned several acres on Village Creek, affording them a rare deep-water dock sheltered by miles of marshlands. It was the perfect spot to launch a fishing empire. Its access to the ocean also commands top dollar from developers. Over the years as times got hard, the family sold most of the land. About an acre remains.
Bradley’s Seafood Market, on Sea Island Highway, continues to be a family-run operation.
“Bradley’s Pride” ends a successful day of fishing for shrimp.
James Bradley, Jr., carefully docks “Bradley’s Pride” shrimp boat. His father James Bradley, Sr., recently retired as captain, but the elder Bradley is still involved in the family business that include the dock, shrimp boat, ice house and small store.
Bradley (in white hoodie) and his assistant Bron Singleton (gray jacket) sort their catch. Birds swarm the boat, scrambling for the unwanted fish that are thrown back into the water.
Bron Singleton helps sort the catch of the day.
Bradley beheads the shrimp and sorts them by size. On this day he scores mostly medium and jumbo white shrimp.
Bradley sorts shrimp by size into baskets. He uses a scraper to clean the sorting table. Birds move in to grab the crumbs.
Singleton, left, and Bradley sorts shrimp from the fish. A great egret waits on the left for his chance to feed.
Hanging nets dry after the trip as Bradley works.
Bron Singleton, left, and James Bradley, Jr., unload shrimp to put it on ice.
James Bradley, Jr., brings shrimp to the ice house outside his parents’ home on Sea Island Parkway.
Bradley weighs and cleans the shrimp while his aunt Rose Major cleans fish.
Shrimp is put on ice.
Bradley puts the shrimp in the store shelf.
Two hours ago, these medium white shrimp were in the ocean. Now they are for sale at Bradley’s Seafood market.