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While a few coastal businesses have opened following Hurricane Ian, one faces more challenges than most.

The Sept. 28 storm devastated the Fort Myers Beach shrimping industry. The two largest companies, Trico Shrimp Company and Erickson and Jensen, discovered in the storm’s aftermath all but one of their shrimping boats washed ashore from storm surge.

Of the 43 shrimping boats grounded by the storm, only one has been placed back in the water during the seven weeks since. It took about six weeks for a barge and the necessary crane to arrive.

Getting the first boat back into Estero Bay boosted morale tremendously, said Joel Andrews of Erickson and Jensen. “It was the biggest boat, and it was the easiest boat to launch,” he said

On Wednesday, crews continued trying to get the boat named Lexi Joe, which belongs to former Fort Myers Beach Mayor Tracey Gore and her family, back in the water. They continued meeting difficulties as the barge began to tip on the first day of trying because of excess weight.

“She’s 120 tons,” Gore said. “So it’s just getting the crane to be able to safely put her back in the water.

“Every boat that gets in the water is a huge economic impact to the community. If one, two, three boats, four boats, each one is going to be a big impact.”

The shrimpers aren’t just reeling from the lack of boats in the water. They are struggling with no place to unload them, even if they are floating.

“The other thing here is we don’t have any docks,” said Chris Gala of the Trico Shrimp Company. “That’s going to be another challenge. We have to figure out some way to tie them up. Maybe anchor them here? We don’t know.”

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