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'It’s not like moving a little yacht': Shrimpers explain difficult process with boat removal

Fort Myers Shrimp Fleet
Posted at 4:08 AM, Nov 28, 2022

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — 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.

“The storm took all of our boats. There are 45 boats down there that are upland right now," said Christine Gala, owner of Trico Shrimp Company on Fort Myers Beach.

Gala said her building is still destroyed with no electricity or water and it's been a long road to recovery.

“It’s been a process, it’s been a slow process," Gala said.

That long process, Gala said, includes waiting on the state to move all of the boats that are on dry land back into the water.

It’s not like moving a little yacht, these boats are 150 tons,” Gala said.

This is a scenario many shrimpers are faced with in the wake of Ian, which is why Restore Fort Myers Beach Arches hosted the benefit.

“They are in this predicament, they are independent contractors and they aren’t private citizens, so it makes it difficult for them to get the money they need to,” said Sandra Markowitz, one of the performers and organizer for the benefit.

The fundraiser featured a lineup of live bands, drinks, food, and vendors. The director of entertainment, Kevin Fox said it's important to take care of the shrimpers because Fort Myers Beach started with shrimp boat captains.

“The shrimping industry brings in $20 million a year. We want to come back strong, to keep the economy going and keep people with jobs," Gala said.