Islamorada fishermen, marinas struggle in aftermath of Hurricane Irma

Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Outdoors

Eklund said his association has some funds to provide some help to financially strapped fishermen and their families, and that there have been discussions with the nonprofit International Game Fish Association (based in Dania Beach) about helping as well.

But the ultimate fix is to get the boats back on the water, he said, because, "Everybody makes their money because of the visiting anglers and divers."

Bud N' Mary's got a break in the cleanup effort thanks to a client of Stanczyk's son Nick, a captain who specializes in swordfish charters. Brad Benners, who runs Benners Contracting in Tallahassee, sent several front-end loaders to the Keys to clear debris from the property. Benners refused to take payment for the work, Richard Stanczyk said.

Stanczyk is concerned about getting the materials and workers to rebuild the docks, but most importantly, about cooperation in expediting the permitting process.

"We need to use what I call a subjective approach to allowing people to put back things in a healthy, safe manner, but at the same time not wrapping everybody up in some unbelievable red tape. We just can't take that now," Stanczyk said.

"Six months will break us."

The best-case scenario, he said, would be to resume operation on a limited basis within two months, just as the season is picking up.

Meanwhile, some boats have ventured offshore and report good fishing, as is usually the case following a major storm, Eklund said.

Bassett said the hurricane may have flushed out some of the algae and pollution in upper Florida Bay from Everglades runoff that has bottled up fishing in the backcountry.

"This is actually good for the ocean and bad for the humans," Eklund said. "The old-timers always said that these storms were exactly what the ocean needed to clean itself up and regenerate some things that were in trouble.

"So, people should know that we're not totally closed down and that we're looking to go fishing. The ocean is open."

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