PANAMA CITY — Greg Abrams Seafood at Tarpon Dock might have lost a few boats at the hands of Hurricane Michael but they are not done fishing and providing the Gulf Coast with fresh seafood.
Abrams Seafood, on Beach Drive, has about 16 commercial fishing vessels of which the smaller ones went to the Intracoastal Waterway while others anchored and tied off in Fanning Bayou.
The boats that took haven in the Intracoastal are fine and already are headed south to start fishing.
The ones in Fanning Bayou didn’t fare as well.
“We had three that we completely lost,” said Austin Abrams as he sat in the warehouse. He explained a barge got loose in the bayou and did a number on the boats.
One of the vessels that sank already has been removed because it is an oil and gas hazard.
“The other two are still in the water … can’t do nothing about them for now,” Abrams said.
On Tuesday, five of the commercial vessels were back at Tarpon Dock, but not necessarily operational. Abrams said they got one of the five fixed Monday and it will be going south to fish for the next few months.
“We’ve got four or five months worth of work to do on the others to get them operational again,” he said.
And for the seafood market they are heading into their busiest time of year, Abram said.
“But it is what it is. You can’t stop what happened,” he said. “It’s pretty much like hitting the reset button and starting over from scratch is what we’re doing."
He explained that with a storm the magnitude of Michael it most likely has moved around their fishing reefs.
“These captains from generation to generation have numbers,” he said for their fishing spots. “But that storm could have moved our wrecks 10 miles … you are literally starting over."
As for the captains and deckhands, Abrams said most lost their houses.
“We’ve had to fork out for hotels for everybody … so we have money going out and nothing coming in right now. But as long as we can keep our guys … and everybody is safe that’s all that matters really.
“Things can be fixed and things can be rebuilt, but you can’t fix life,” Abrams said. “It’s not going to stop us, we’ll be back.”