Tag Archives: Fort Myers Beach

Shrimp and Grit: Fighting to save the Fort Myers Beach shrimping fleet after Ian’s devastation

The Perseverance sunk. The Penny V was crushed. The Pleiades cracked in half. Aces & Eights had five holes. The Babe took a beating. The Capt. Ryan was boxed in. The Kayden Nicole tipped. Boats were scattered along the San Carlos Island waterfront in clusters. Six boats were flung into bushes, sea grape trees and dead mangroves not far from Trico Shrimp Company, the other major shrimp player on the waterfront. Ten floated maybe a quarter mile west, up into an RV park and a boatyard. Most of these boats were old before Ian arrived. They had been built to last one decade but stretched for five, held together with the glue of ingenuity, by owners and mechanics unwilling to concede to those who called it a dying industry. Right after Ian, just one boat was fit for sea. It was the F/V Malolo, the namesake of the boat Anna’s great-grandfather had first brought to Fort Myers. Photos, >click to read< 21:30

‘Rock the Shrimpers Relief Benefit’ – Shrimpers explain difficult process with boat removal

The community came together Sunday to raise money for shrimpers who lost everything during Hurricane Ian. The Rock Shrimpers Relief Benefit was held in Cape Coral at the Torched Bar & Grill. Hundreds gathered in the parking lot to show support for shrimpers who were majorly devastated by Hurricane Ian. Shrimpers have a major impact on the local economy and everyone in attendance hoped the money raised will help the rebuilding process. Video, >click to read< 11:25

‘Rock Shrimpers Relief Benefit’ held to help Fort Myers Beach Shrimping industry recover from Ian – Shrimpers on Fort Myers Beach are eager to get their fleet back on the water, but unfortunately, most of the 45 boats on the island are still inoperable. But the community is coming together to help the shrimpers. Video, >click to read<

Shrimpers, maritime industry find support following hurricane

One group especially impacted by Ian are shrimpers and commercial fishermen. Their vessels were tossed, turned and catapulted onto land. And that’s where they will remain until specialized cranes can safely hoist them back into the water, where they belong assuming they can still float. Leaders of local nonprofits have been surveying our community and supporting those who need help. On a recent visit to Fort Myers Beach, I had an opportunity to speak with some shrimpers and commercial fishermen who rode out Ian on their boats. When asked what they need, though, the men weren’t focused on personal items. “We’re hoping to get back in the water so we can go fishing,” Richard Browne said. “We desperately need to get back on the water.” >click to read< 13:39

Rock the Shrimpers Relief Benefit Sunday

Restore Fort Myers Beach Arches will be hosting a “Rock the Shrimpers Relief Benefit” on Sunday at Torched Bar & Grill in Cape Coral. The concert will benefit the Fort Myers Beach shrimping industry, with the proceeds going delivered to Trico Shrimp Company, Erickson & Jenson Shrimp Company “and independent shrimpers on Fort Myers Beach equally depending on the number of boats they own,” Restore Fort Myers Beach Arches President Steven Ray McDonald said.  >click to read, with schedule< 17:24

Sunday benefit for Fort Myers Beach shrimpers hard hit by Hurricane Ian – Only two of the 40-plus boats registered to Fort Myers Beach have been capable of fishing since September when Hurricane Ian pushed most of the fleet onshore and decimated the industry’s infrastructure, shrimpers said.  “We may not ever recover from this,” said shrimper Blaine Green, a few weeks after the storm. “It could all go away. And it wouldn’t surprise me but I hope it doesn’t.” Photos, Video, >click to read<

Removal of shrimp boats begins near Fort Myers Beach

It was a bittersweet moment for shrimpers who could finally see just how badly they were damaged. The first boat, the Double E, was finally lifted after being thrown onto its side during Hurricane Ian. Wayne Romano has worked on the Double E for 18 years. “It gives me promise that maybe soon we will be back to work,” Romano said. Seeing the boat like this is heartbreaking for him. And when he got onboard to get his clothes, it made him seasick for the first time in his life. “I only made it four foot inside that boat and I had to lay down because it throws, it throws your whole equilibrium off and everything,” Romano said. “It felt like the boat was going to flip over.” 2 Videos, >click to read< 10:22

Fishing industry in Lee County ‘wiped out’ by Hurricane Ian

Among the wreckage, a small lime-green building, the Island Seafood Market, is somehow still standing. Owner Casey Streeter has had to tear out everything that was once inside. But the biggest hit was to what’s behind the shop. Streeter said all of their grouper boats were damaged by Ian, and even worse, they lost their docks and ice house to the hurricane. “I couldn’t believe it,” Jesse Clapham recalled seeing the damage for the first time. “It blew my mind.” Clapham is the fleet manager at Erickson and Jensen Seafood company. He’s worked on shrimp boats for 35 years and he’s dealt with hurricanes before – but nothing like this. Video, >click to read< 10:21

Cranes removing misplaced boats at Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach used to be a place where you’d see happy beachgoers enjoying the sun and water. However, since Ian, when you cross the bridge, you are met with construction cranes and more. The cranes are there to pick up a lot left behind by Ian, such as boats that have been lost in the storm. That kind of help cannot come fast enough, especially to those who need them for work. Fishermen have to come up with the money themselves to get the proper equipment to lift the materials needed back in the water. Although the boats aren’t even the biggest thing that needs saving, the entire fishing industry in Southwest Florida needs help. Video, >click to read< 21:50

Hurricane Ian: How will the stranded shrimp boats on Fort Myers Beach be cleaned up?

“You come and you see your business sitting on land when it’s supposed to be in the water,” said Tacey Gore, the owner of the shrimp boat Lexi-Joe. Over the last three weeks, Gore and her husband haven’t been seeing anything but their boat on dry land. Unlike the boats scattered along San Carlos Boulevard that are mangled and in the mangroves, cranes aren’t picking the ships up and it might be awhile before they do.  “The cranes are massive,” Gore said. “They have to come in parts and get put together. They’re basically going to have to set up a makeshift boatyard here.” Getting a crane that big is just part of the problem. Getting it through the Matanzas Pass is another problem. Video, >click to read< 15:06

‘Big shrimping family’ in Florida left homeless by Hurricane Ian

Ricky Moran, a shrimper who worked and slept on the boat he captained out of Fort Myers Beach, lost both a secure livelihood and a safe place to live when Hurricane Ian roared into southwest Florida and smashed the trawler he calls home. “This ain’t my first rodeo but I ain’t never seen anything like this in my life. I never seen shrimp boats tossed like this,” Two companies, Erickson & Jensen Seafood and Trico Shrimp Co, own most of the boats at Fort Myers Beach, employing some 300 people, said Anna Erickson, whose family owns part of Erickson & Jensen. Only three of her company’s 11 boats are still afloat. >click to read< 09:17

They rode out Hurricane Ian on shrimp boats. Now they fear their livelihood is destroyed

By the time these shrimpers knew Hurricane Ian was headed to Fort Myers Beach, it was too late to leave. Shrimp Boat Lane is a crook in the middle of San Carlos Island. Inside pulses the heart of a storied fishery. But with little warning and punishing winds, Hurricane Ian shredded it. Jesse Clapham walked through what was left Friday morning, sweat soaking the back of his black T-shirt. “My dad was a fisherman. His was a fisherman,” said Clapham, fleet manager for Erickson and Jensen, a seafood and marine supplies company. Just three of the company’s 12 boats are still in the water, he said, and one has a hole in the side. Normally, Clapham said, the fleet would be in Texas around this time, but gas was too expensive to make the run this year. Photos, >click to read< 13:04

Coast Guard rescues 2 crewmen from commercial fishing vessel fire off Fort Myers Beach

A Coast Guard Station Clearwater MH-60 helicopter rescue crew rescued two people, Sunday, after their vessel caught fire approximately 28 miles south of Fort Myers Beach. The aircrew transported the men to Fort Myers Beach High School where local emergency services personnel treated the men on scene. The captain of the vessel contacted Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders via marine radio Channel 16 at 8:13 p.m., stating his 65-foot fishing vessel, F/V Jenna Dawn, was on fire. The captain activated his emergency position indicating radio beacon to mark the vessel’s location. Video, >click to read< 16:04

Ostego Bay Foundation Working Waterfront Tour returns

The shrimping industry has been a staple of the economy on Fort Myers Beach and San Carlos Island for decades, bringing in hefty hauls of the popular seafood appetizer for restaurants local and far away. The Ostego Bay Foundation Working Waterfront Tour on Fort Myers Beach is back for the season and provides a closer glimpse of the shrimping business for those interested. The tour has been getting more visitors of late now that the winter season has picked up again. “The boats are very busy.” >click to read< 06:47

Fort Myers Beach Annual Blessing of the Fleet performed for the shrimpers and their boats

We witnessed the annual blessing of the shrimping fleet on Fort Myers Beach Sunday, a ritual to spread good omen upon people who work one of the most dangerous jobs. “This is not a job to play with,” fisherman Shaun Hunt said. Hunt explained dangerous equipment, life-threatening storms and an increasingly cut-throat business makes for a dangerous profession. Rev. Dr. John Adler bestowed the blessing upon the Fort Myers Beach shrimpers and their boats this weekend. Every prayer for the Fort Myers Beach shrimp boat fleet makes the crew members feel safer. Video,>click to read< 18:42

Shrimp boat worker found, accused of assaulting shipmates with sledge hammer

Lee County deputies arrested a shrimp boat worker who allegedly assaulted the boat’s captain and another worker with a sledge hammer before disappearing into the water off Fort Myers Beach on Monday, according to an incident report. Deputies led a search for Brandon Scerri, 23, after the boat docked outside of Trico Seafood on Fort Myers Beach and his shipmates reported that he had vanished. He was found “alive and well” Wednesday and was arrested on suspicion of aggravated battery shortly after.  Scerri was taken to Lee County Jail, where he remains in custody. >click to read<13:13