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Fishermen Woes After Tropical Storm Jeanne

By: Jennifer Ryan
By: Jennifer Ryan

After four hurricanes and unpredictable seas, commercial fishermen are ready to get back on the water. The last six weeks have been torture for many local fishermen who say their fall season is falling by the wayside.

At the Panacea Harbor Marina sits the Gulf Dreamer, a fishing boat that dreams of returning to the open sea. Instead, it remains tied up next to several other lonely fishing boats stocked and ready to reel in the dough.

Jerry Smith's boat received a hard blow during Tropical Storm Frances that happened over two weeks ago and it hasn't been able to stay afloat since.

Beached until the water calms and the fish start biting, Chris Barwick has been fishing all his life. He's used to rough seas during hurricane season, but even he says business has never been this bad.

Barwick says he's only paid for what he catches. If there's no catch for weeks on end, there's no money coming in and these guys are forced to practice patience and remain frugal until the tumultuous weather subsides.

Barwick and Smith say they plan on sailing out to sea this week, bringing with them a positive attitude that their travels will be fortunate.


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