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Eddie Cordova Jr.’s grandfather

Eddie Cordova Sr.

FAMILY TRAD Capt. Eddie Cordova Jr. and his crew — Ricky, left, and Dominic.

Eddie Cordova Jr. has spent his entire life on the water.

Eddie Cordova Jr. and his girlfriend, Capt. Kelly Nichols

Four generations of Cordovas on the water

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By Sara Matthis

ike great-grandfather, like grandfather, like father, like son. The Cordova family started fishing decades ago in Cuba. The second-generation patriarch, Eustevio — father to Eddie Sr. and grandfather to Eddie Jr. — used a small sailing boat to get around the island nation. On breezy days, they sailed to the fishing grounds, otherwise they had to use a small auxiliary engine. “When I was seven years old, he took me out of school to work on the boat,” said Edie Sr. “By the time we came to the U.S.A., I was the mate.” For months at a stretch, they combed Cuban waters looking for stone crab and lobster. But after the Bay of Pigs in 1961, the Cordova family sought safety across the Florida Straits. Grandfather Eustevio, and Eddie Sr. and his older brother made the crossing to Miami first. The rest of the family followed four years later and then moved to Marathon in 1975.

2016 Marathon Seafood Festival

There was no reason to change profession, they said. Or boat, for that matter; at least not right away. Eddie Sr. built his own 43-foot boat in the early ’80s; the same boat Eddie Jr. pilots today. “I love that boat. That boat is part of me,” said Eddie Jr.

Eddie Jr. was born a Conch in 1988, a late addition to the family. From the time he was a toddler, he spent every day at his father’s former fish house down on 15th Street. “He ordered everybody around. He was the boss, even though he was only four years old,” said Eddie Sr., laughing. Eddie Jr. recalls those years fondly, especially the hours spent with his grandfather Eustevio. “He taught me to throw a cast net. He taught me to love fishing,” Eddie Jr. said. Although

he fit in time for an associate’s degree at Florida Keys Community College, Eddie Jr. said there was no other career he wanted to explore. Eddie Sr. has semi-retired and Eddie Jr. is responsible for the business. Years ago, Eddie Sr. was one of the first handful of Hispanics to join the Marathon chapter of Organized Fishermen of Florida (OFF), the co-host of the Marathon Seafood Festival. Now, Eddie Jr. is a second vice president on the board of directors. “They’re both hardworkers,” said Paul Lebo, president of OFF’s Marathon chapter. “They’re always out in the boat.”


Marathon Seafood Festival