Crabbers hope Irene debris doesn't cut catch

Posted August 31, 2011 6:13 p.m. EDT
Updated August 31, 2011 6:57 p.m. EDT

— Hurricane Irene hit Beaufort County hard, flooding streets, knocking down trees and destroying boat docks.

As many residents try to clean up the debris and repair the damage, local crabbers are trying to assess the storm's impact on their business.

Chris Cuthrell said Irene cost him nearly two weeks of work, fuel and time picking up crab pots before the storm and now having to set them out again in the Pungo River. Crab pots cost about $40 each, so Cuthrell and his fellow crabbers couldn't afford to lose any in the storm.

Crabbing is usually good the first few days after a storm, Cuthrell said, but after that, it depends on how much debris and sediment washes downstream.

"You never know after the storm what effect it's going to have," he said Tuesday. "Sometimes it makes crabbing better; sometimes it destroys it."

He said he hopes Gov. Beverly Perdue and other state officials come to crabbers' aid if their catch declines because of Irene.

"They fly over and see it for themselves, but until you experience it for yourself, it's devastating," he said.