Just like on land, damage caused by Hurricane Irma varied throughout the waters surrounding the Florida Keys and one of Monroe County’s most profitable industries: Commercial fishing.
The Category 4 hurricane on Sept. 10 delivered a blow to the Keys spiny lobster harvest about a month into the most economically important season for the commercial fleet.
Billy Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association, said on the bayside, lobster traps moved an average of 3.5 to 5 miles during the storm. On the oceanside, traps moved 8 to 15 miles on average and the greatest movement of a trap was 18 miles, from Key Largo to southwest Matecumbe Key.
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