Alabama commercial gill net fisherman, currently in a struggle to preserve their way of life, will provide a fresh seafood dinner on Saturday at no cost to residents of Enterprise, Ala., a city with a struggle of its own. Enterprise is still reeling …
Alabama commercial gill net fisherman, currently in a struggle to preserve their way of life, will provide a fresh seafood dinner on Saturday at no cost to residents of Enterprise, Ala., a city with a struggle of its own. Enterprise is still reeling from the effects of a killer tornado that hit the city on March 1.
The dinners will be served starting at 10 a.m. at the National Guard Armory in Enterprise. The Armory is located on Highway 167 North.
Maburn Rhodes of Bon Secour, president of the recently combined Baldwin and Mobile counties Seafood Association, said the seafood dinner idea came out of a desire by a couple of area gill net fishermen to do something to help the people of Enterprise, a city of approximately 20,000 located in Coffee County in the southeast corner of the state.
Carolyn Buchanan, the wife of a commercial gill net fisherman, who has a son in the business as well, said the Alabama Gill Netters Seafood Association brought the idea to the attention of the Enterprise Chamber of Commerce, where the idea was warmly received.
"All the commercial fishermen from this side of the bay and the Mobile side are pitching in, and we're doing it together," she said.
According to Buchanan, who lives on Plash Island, the gill net fishermen from Mobile County, including some from Katrina-stricken Bayou La Batre, will leave from Mobile to travel to Enterprise, and those from Baldwin County will leave from here to make the trip.
Buchanan estimates 30 to 50 people from Baldwin County will be making the trip and helping with the dinners. Plans are for the Baldwin gill netters and volunteers to leave Saturday between 3:30 a.m. and 4 a.m. and transport everything to Enterprise.
A number of donations have been made locally to help with the dinners. Chick & Sea is donating the cole slaw, Fire Mountain the baked beans, and Open Door Church is supplying the cooker, Buchanan said.
Also, a number of local businesses have given door prizes that will be auctioned off in Enterprise, the proceeds from which, like all money collected in connection with the dinners, will go to storm victims in Enterprise.
Campbell's Hardware in Robertsdale donated a turkey vest, while Blue Water Ships Stores and Brunson Net & Supply, both of Foley, donated Del-Mar sunglasses and a cast net respectively.
Besides the free seafood dinners the gill netters will have an Easter egg hunt for children beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. Jenny Simms, a singer from Mobile, will provide entertainment. Among other activities for the kids will be a mullet toss.
According to Rhodes, approximately 60 gill netters and family members from Mobile and Baldwin met on the Causeway this past Sunday to finalize plans for the Enterprise benefit. Each fisherman is supplying 100 to 150 fish which the fishermen are cleaning themselves.
Anyone wishing to donate to Enterprise tornado victims may do so before or after the actual benefit. Donations can be sent to Rhodes and made out to the "Alabama Seafood Association Inc." His address is P.O. Box 245, Bon Secour, AL 36511.
Donation boxes will also be available at Saturday's benefit in Enterprise.
Anyone wanting to make the Enterprise trip to help with the benefit may call Buchanan at 504-1160 or Rhodes at 979-3138.
Commercial gill net fishermen are currently battling a bill before the Alabama Legislature that would effectively put an end to the lifestyle and livelihood of the state's 120 permitted gill net fishermen.