Deep Water Horizon - Peter Floyd

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Interviewee: Peter Floyd

Role: Commercial Fisherman

Date of Interview: 10/6/11

Collection: Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History Project

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

Abstract: Peter S. Floyd, a Pascagoula, Mississippi commercial fisherman, talks about his youth in Mayport, Florida working with his father as a commercial shrimper and his later career as a fisherman in Mississippi. He also recounts his experience with the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, the disruption of the fishing season and the clean-up effort. He concludes by expressing his view that the Gulf fisheries will recover from the damage inflicted by the oil spill.

Transcript: When the oil spill hit, I really wasn't that concerned. I was concerned that they wouldn't stop it, and I was concerned for the reason that we couldn't sell our fish. But I'd been through one pretty big oil spill right here in the Mississippi Sound in the [19]70s, right here, and my nets were full of oil; my boat was full of oil; the fish I caught had oil on them. I was rescuing them. I had a pet pelican for – well, he lived to be seventeen years after I caught him – that was covered in oil. But I had fished through that oil spill, and I was positive about it because one thing that most people don't realize is oil is biodegradable. There are microbes that eat oil. And I knew all of this, and I knew what I'd seen happen out here, and I knew the environment could take care of itself. Like on CNN they were saying, "The marshes will never come back." And they were showing all the marsh, and it was horrible, the birds dying in the marsh and stuff. Fish swam away from it, just like they swim away from heavy plankton. It didn't affect the fish, and that's obvious because even the scientific community was baffled by the fact that there were more juvenile fish than there'd been since they've been doing their research here, and we certainly saw it with the adult fish. But I was confident that we were going to come through it. Fishermen are the, are the ultimate optimists. When I leave the dock in the morning, I don't get in the boat, thinking, "I'm not going to catch any fish." I get in the boat thinking, "Man, I'm fixing to get the biggest catch I ever had in my life. I'm fixing to load the boat with pompano and trout." And it's just basic outlook. You have to be positive. And I thought the oil spill – I really got – worse than the oil spill – and I'm honest when I say this – was the media coverage. The media was saying, "You'll never be able to" – people in Pascagoula right now won't eat the seafood, and it is the most tested seafood that I've ever seen in my life. And as I said I've been involved in science and my father, and I've been in labs, and I have never – I would jump to say that there has never been any seafood in the world tested as much as this seafood, yet the media still, with their hatred of oil companies, still say that it's not safe; the oil companies ruined the Gulf. And they can't let it go. These people get this stuff in their head, and it's almost like a religion to them.

To listen to Peter's interview, click here.