BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - After days of anticipation, the new Golden Fisherman statue was unveiled Thursday night in Biloxi in front of the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum.
Six-feet-tall and weighing in at 1,000 pounds, the Golden Fishermen is now casting his net toward the Mississippi Sound, beginning his reign as a link to the seafood industry's past, present, and future.
"We're here to celebrate one fisherman, one very important fisherman," said Kim Ross Bush, president of the museum's board of directors. "But in actuality, we're here celebrating thousands and thousands of families: our fathers, brothers, our cousins, uncles, and grandfathers."
Past and present generations showed up for the unveiling, including some dating back to 1952. Last year's Shrimp King Richard Johnson said he loves the statue, but would like a few modifications.
"I like it, but they should've used my face, a real fisherman's face," Johnson said with a grin.
However, 1952 Shrimp Queen Betty Bodin says the new Golden Fisherman is a true man of the seas.
"I love it," Bodin said. "He looks like he's going fishing right now."
At the statue's base is 811 names of local seafood families, as well as the names of past Shrimp Kings and Queens.
"These hard-working families are what made us once the seafood capital of the world," said Robin Krohn-David, the museum's director.
The unveiling was held ahead of Biloxi's 89th annual Blessing of the Fleet and Fais Do Do, an event that celebrates fishermen from all over the city. Those events kick off Saturday at noon at Point Cadet Pavilion and are open to the public.