One's mans vision to revitalize the seafood industry

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A Gautier man has a dream that he believes will save Jackson County's struggling seafood industry.

Bruce Maghan's vision is to anchor fishing boats on Singing River Island. He wants to build two huge docks out into the sound, dredge a channel, add a fuel and ice station, and use the empty Navy barracks on the island for office space for the new commercial docking facility.

He knows it's an ambitious waterfront concept, but says it's something that's badly needed.

"Our fleet has been in total disarray since the hurricane and there's no central point of receiving and distributing the catches off the east side of Jackson County."

Maghan already has dozens of signatures on a petition supporting the idea.

At Pitalo's Marine in Gautier, boats are stacked up end to end with little room to spare.  Stacy Hutchens is the owner.

"It would be a great idea," Hutchens said.  "For one thing, we don't have any fuel facilities, we don't have any ice facilities, there's no where for the big boats to tie up. I have tons of them that try and stay here, but we're a boatyard, so we have to have the traffic where boats can come and go. So we don't have room for them."

Matthew Hinton is renovating a 72-year-old wooden boat.  He's also a fan of the proposal.

"I think it's something that is deeply needed," Hinton said.  "The history and the heritage of the Gulf Coast has been out for hundreds of years."

Maghan admits he doesn't know how much this is going to cost, or even who should pay for such a project.  But he said that doesn't matter just yet. He believes this is an economic development matter, and whatever the cost, it will be well worth it.

"It's going to be far less expensive than starting one from scratch because the ground site facilities that I recommend using are already in existence," Maghan said.

And if those recommendations are adopted, it could mean the re-birth of an industry that has meant so much to the coast for hundreds of years.

Maghan has taken his idea to several government agencies, including the port commission, the economic development foundation, elected officials and others.  So far, there's been no official response to his idea. But Maghan said he's not going to give up.

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