The shrimp fishery in North Carolina began about 1880, but its actual potential was not realized until 1923 when for the first time in the state's history, over a million pounds of shrimp were landed. The landings peaked in 1953, when fourteen million pounds were landed. Since then landings have fluctuated at a lower level with slightly over five million pounds landed in 1965. The brown, spotted, and white shrimp are the important commercial species of shrimp. In this first of two articles on shrimp and shrimp research, McCoy and McKenzie discuss the shrimp's life history, migration patterns, gear and methods of harvesting, vessels used, and the shrimping season.