Local News

Fishing Industry Takes Hit From Isabel

Posted September 25, 2003

— In 2002, the commercial fishing industry netted more than $94 million for North Carolina. That number will take a hit this year, because of Hurricane Isabel. Some fishermen have to choose between making a living or putting their homes back together.

Most fishermen in Carteret County have plenty of problems on land to worry about. Fredrick Gaskill's home was flooded by Isabel. The storm also shredded his fishing nets.

"[It's] like walking around in a daze. It ain't quite struck yet," he said.

Bradley Styron lost all the seafood in the cooler of his fish house. He said filling it back up will not be easy. He said the few fishermen who are casting nets again are not catching much.

"When this is your livelihood, you depend on this. It's heart-rendering when you have to go through what we've had to go through," he said.

While Isabel struck hard, fishermen remember the damage caused by hurricanes Dennis and Floyd. They have only recently started netting a profit again after recovering from those two storms.

For now, Gaskill is focused on fixing his water pump. He hopes to put his boat back in the water by next week, but he said he needs to make money to spend money on repairs at home.

Fishermen are also running into another problem. Waterways are still clogged with debris from the hurricane, making it tough to get around.

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