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It began over a century ago

Our Story

Our Story

The story of the Burbank family net making business is a rare and wonderful success story that was an essential part of the life and work of all shrimpers on Amelia Island. Today, there are only a handful of Fernandina shrimp boat captains still making a living from the sea.

Bill Burbank, Sr., started the Burbank’s on the road to being the masters of net-makers in 1915. He was a shrimper/fisherman that owned a shrimp boat and started making his own nets. His nets fished so well that “Capt. Bill” became well sought after for his craft.

Bill Burbank, Jr., acquired his father’s net business and incorporated the company into Burbank Trawl Makers, Inc., in 1957. Billy Burbank III purchased the company in the early 90’s which he still owns and operates today.


The Start

From 1957 to 1999, by mutual agreement, the Burbank’s built nets exclusively for Standard Marine Corp. owned by the local, and very successful, Hardee family. They were the largest marine hardware company in the USA. Together the Burbank’s and Hardee’s supplied shrimp, fish and scallop nets to all coastal areas of the US, Central and South America, Persian Gulf, Vietnam and west coast of Africa.

This is where Billy Burbank III claimed his tag “Net Makers for the World” along with another favorite slogan “The Sun Never Sets on a Burbank Net”.

Burbank Innovation

At the young age of 23, Billy’s inventiveness and compassion for net making lead him to design the “Mongoose” net. This design drastically improved shrimp production over any designs of the past.

He was instrumental in the development of an effective turtle exclusion device known as the TED. All shrimpers are required to use this device in every net to spare a turtle’s life when entering a trawl net. In 2015 he developed a design that would 100% eliminate any fish or larger species not intended to be the target. This in turn means a cleaner, more efficient net and more shrimp caught.

When Billy saw that the shrimp industry was struggling with all its regulations and increased fuel and hardware prices, sport nets was the answer.  He introduced the idea to the Hardee family and Burbank Sport Nets was born.  Billy owned and operated this company under the name of Stan Mar Sport Nets.

In 1999 Burbank Sport Nets departed from Stan Mar Sport Nets and became a dba of Burbank Trawl Makers, Inc.  Billy managed a successful team of employees until he sold the sport net division and returned to his family roots of sewing shrimp nets.

Billy has never had another job besides net making.  The skills that his grandfather and father taught him at a young age have taken him through his career.  Today you can still find him in his net shop sewing and talking to all the locals that have called Amelia Island home.  He is proud of his third generation family roots that began with a craft over 2000 years ago.