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Voices of the Gulf

Pasco Gibson: Restoration is Good Business

A waterman maintains his hope for the oyster industry.

Business and community leaders in the Gulf clearly recognize the important link between a healthy environment and a thriving, resilient economy. Here is one example of a leader working to make a difference in the Gulf.

Pasco Gibson is a life-long waterman and resident of Santa Rosa County, Florida, who “earned his first nickel” fishing with his grandfather when we was twelve years old. His family also owns Nichols Seafood Restaurant, where they serve fresh catch from the Gulf of Mexico.

I have lived in Santa Rosa county my whole life and made my living since I was a child off the water fishing, both commercial and recreational. The most drastic change we’ve encountered is the decline in oysters. Oyster harvesting used to be a viable industry in our area, employing thirty boats and their crew at one time, which has all but vanished at this time. I see hope for change, but it is going to take some work on all of our parts to revitalize the industry.

"In my opinion, [the] restoration of our bays and estuaries is the only thing we can do to ensure a future on the water. . . . More than anything, I’d like for our oyster industry to come back. It might not come back to the way it was when I was 18 years old, but I would like for it to come back to a viable fishery, something that people can come here and eat some local East Bay oysters again."

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