Massive net pulled from illegal reef off Gulf Coast

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Grant Erickson was in no mood to fail Friday.

"Just give it more power," he told his crew aboard the Penny V, a shrimp boat based out of Fort Myers Beach. "Turn it up another notch. Something will happen. And I don't care if it spins the boat in circles."

Erickson and his crew were three of a dozen or so divers and boaters who helped remove a massive shrimping net from an illegal reef about 10 miles off Bonita Beach.

"It's about $20,000 worth of gear," said Erickson, who owns 12 shrimping boats that ply the Gulf of Mexico from Southwest Florida to Texas and back.

Trips of that length typically take 30 days, but Erickson spent Friday volunteering his boat and crew for the net removal.

Organized by Florida Gulf Coast University's Vester Field Marine Station near Bonita Beach, Friday's work included several dives to determine exactly where the reef and net were located, followed by several attempts to pull the fishing gear from about 40 feet of water.

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(© 2017 USA TODAY)


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