GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It has been two years since Hurricane Isaac tore apart fishing piers in the City of Gulfport. Frustrated fishermen are asking why those piers haven't been repaired yet.
Instead of being favorite places to fish, Urie, Moses and Ken Combs piers in Gulfport have been off-limits eyesores since August of 2012. The city still can't tell us when the repair work will begin.
Nathaniel Peavy landed another white trout from his fishing spot along the rock jetty Friday morning. The place he would rather be fishing from is behind barricades, piers damaged by Hurricane Isaac's wind and water two years ago.
"I was wondering when they were going to get them fixed, because I'm ready to go out there and fish. I'm retired, and I loved to fish. I've been waiting. That one over there and that one there also," said Peavy.
We found Charles Herrmann and his family fishing as close to the piers as they could get without crossing the barricade line. He too would prefer fishing the piers.
"I've missed them greatly. Flounder, white trout over there. Reds. It's a good little fishing spot over there. We can't get to it," said Herrmann.
Herrmann says the piers offer more than great access to the best fishing spots. The small pavilions provided relief from the South Mississippi summer.
"Sun's right above us. 95 degree weather. The piers, they provide us a good fishing spot, and they provide cover for us too. They give us somewhat shade," said Herrmann.
The Gulfport City Council is expected to approve a contract with the project manager who will oversee the pier repair projects next week. Plus, the city has hired Compton Engineering to do the engineering and design work for these projects. The city is still awaiting a construction permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, though they expect that will be issued soon.
We still can't answer the one question the frustrated fishermen keep asking. When will the repair work begin?
"I think it's all about fiscal endeavors. The City of Gulfport, I don't know what their relationship is with FEMA. Whatever it is, I think it should be a little bit better," said fisherman Len Wyche.
One issue that has hampered the pier repair projects has to do with turtles. National Marine Fisheries is concerned with the incidental catches of Kemp's Ridley turtles by pier fishermen. That environmental concern definitely caused some delay.