Florida Seafood Industry Still Suffering After Hurricane Michael

Production of some foods like certain oysters, shrimp and caviar won't be back on track for years.

Florida seafood
Seafood production of certain items in Florida might not be fully back on track for years to come. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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The exceedingly economically important seafood industry in Florida is still struggling to get back on its feet since Hurricane Michael.

It’s been six weeks since Michael tore through Florida’s Gulf Coast and while many people in the state are still getting their lives back on track, the seafood industry is realizing that some of its most popular and profitable items may not be back on the menu for years to come.

Several of the more valuable food production industries — like oyster, shrimp and caviar farms —were in the worst affected areas, The Guardian reported.

“Normally at this time of year with oystering season, we’d be looking at 100 people easily,” 13 Mile seafood company owner, TJ Ward, told the news site, referring to the number of workers he’d typically employ this time of year.

“With our boats and deck crews right now it’s 25 to 30 people,” he continued. “It’s the lowest it’s been since the 1950s.”

Ward, whose family has been harvesting oysters for four generations, says they must now build again “from the bottom up,” after their oyster house was flooded by more than four feet of muddy water and its dock was ripped off.

“To get it completely right,” Ward said of the repairs needed to get his business going again, “you’re looking at the summer of next year, with certain things contractors need to do to get it to where it was.”

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