GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida Keys fishermen are getting help from the air to locate lobster traps lost during Hurricane Irma.
Florida Sea Grant is sending two aircraft with GPS-capable cameras over the island chain to document the locations of lobster trap clusters in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
In a statement, Florida Sea Grant agent Shelly Krueger said the pilots are trained to identify areas where currents, winds and other storm-related impacts tend to pull traps, buoys and fishing lines together.
The data will be shared with lobster fishermen and state wildlife officials trying to salvage the equipment.
Billy Kelly, of the Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman Association, says the lobster fishing industry is worth $150 million in the Keys.
Krueger says commercial fishing is the second-largest source of jobs in Monroe County, after tourism.