Deep Water Horizon - Clyde Brown

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Interviewee: Clyde Brown

Role: fisherman, lifelong resident of Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, environmental advocate

Date of Interview: 1/18/12

Collection: Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History Project

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: Clyde Brown was a commercial fisherman on the Mississippi Gulf Coast who became a driving force in the creation of Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Pecan, Mississippi. He talks about the genesis of best management practices for farmers, practices that impact the seafood industry, such as preventing pollution of streams due to cattle, pollution that could ultimately reach the Gulf Coast wetlands, which are the nursery grounds for the seafood industry.

Transcript: All five [Gulf Coast] states had a Farm Bureau representative, top level, and of course I was a member of Farm Bureau, too, but Mr. Waller was president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation. He was our spokesman for that, but when it come to the fishing end of it, he would consult with me ahead of time, and I would give that report on the fishing end of it, wetlands here, and help him decide what we're going to talk about on Mississippi's report pertaining to the dead zone or whatever or pollution of the waters, trying to correct it. And the best management practices came out of it, for the farmers. And it's still in effect today. They have buffer zones, all states now. They have buffer zones that they have to move their cattle back from the streams, like fifty feet some of them, maybe a hundred feet, fence it off. Then the conservation people, they have programs that help defray costs to do that for the farmers. So it's things that we talked about. The Gulf of Mexico Program started in 1988, and I got on it in [19]92. A lot of those things we talked about, they're practiced today, and it's helping clean the water up. And it will help the seafood industry as it cleans it up. I know it's helping the oyster business.

You take right now; when I talk to these fishermen down there about the type of fishing they do, hook-and-lining, they're catching bigger trout now. Getting to that [BP Deepwater Horizon] oil spill thing, that just happened last year. They're catching bigger fish now than they have in several years, and my thinking on it, analyzing it, sounds to me like that I think they had a little down time in there after the spill, and it gave these speckled trout a little freedom to grow and multiply. Now I don't know how they're looking at it, but that's the way I'm looking at it, analyzing what happened. How come the fish bigger now than they were two years ago? It wasn't because more fish came in. It was because they had a chance to grow.

To listen to Clyde's interview, click here.