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Fund established to aid industry victims of Harvey in Texas

Hurricane Harvey Boat Damage Photo

A fund has been established to help people and businesses in the Texas offshore fishing and marine industry affected by Hurricane Harvey. Shown are boats tangled amid twisted metal in a drystack at Cove Harbor Marina in Rockport.

A Hurricane Harvey Sportfishing & Marine Industry Recovery Fund has been established to aid individuals, families and small businesses directly involved in the Texas offshore fishing and marine industry that were devastated by the storm.

Organizers say all donations received for the fund will be distributed to those affected by Harvey.

The distribution will be managed by the Hurricane Harvey Sportfishing and Marine Industry Fund Committee, composed of Houston Big Game Fishing Club board members that are directly engaged in the industry.

“Priority will be given to those individuals and businesses that are the lifeblood of the fishing community — captains, mates, service technicians, dockworkers, craftsmen and support businesses,” said the fund’s website. Already $20,000 has been allocated to the relief fund from the Houston Big Game Fishing Club’s charitable programs, which are funded annually by the Lone Star Shootout.

Kyle Holmes, a tournament sportfisherman who conducted rescues during Harvey and is a student at Texas A&M University, said he has spoken to a number of fishing and charter guides who are “very concerned about the region’s fisheries because the amount of fresh water in the bay pushes all the redfish and trout farther out.”

“All the pollutants — fuel and bacteria, and all the stuff coming through the bay — goes on and on,” Holmes told Trade Only Today. “And running the bay is now more dangerous because of all the trees, logs and debris that just came down the river and are now deposited in the bay.”

Several boats were destroyed when Harvey hit Aug. 25 as a Category 4 hurricane in Rockport, Port Aransas and Aransas Pass. “Everywhere you went in Rockport, they were all scattered everywhere,” Holmes said.

The storm, blamed for at least 60 deaths, subsequently dumped feet of rain on the Houston area. It flooded much of the city as it hovered for days as a tropical storm before finally trudging northeast and flooding additional towns and cities in Texas.

“We normally wade fish, but a lot of the flats have collected the trees and debris and washing machines,” Holmes said. “It’s definitely going to be a curveball to learn everything and see where everything is. We launch the boats in the dark [during tournaments], so you better know where everything is. It’s going to definitely take a while.”

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