Avery Bates

Location of Interview
Collection Name

Preserving Oral Histories of Waterfront-Related Pursuits in Bayou La Batre


Bayou La Batre, like other Gulf coastal fishing towns, is undergoing rapid change associated with international market pressures while being threatened by pleasure industry development. As a result, its people are losing key aspects of their traditional lifeways. This oral history film project is an attempt to preserve remembrances and knowledge obtained through such fading ways of life. 

Principal investigator: Gregory A. Waselkov
Associate investigators: Michael Stieber and Harriet L. Richardson Seacat 
Completion date: September 2008
Location where collection is housed: Center for Archaeological Studies University of South Alabama HUMB 34 307 N. University Blvd. Mobile, AL 36688
Other location collection is housed: University of South Alabama Archives USA Springhill Room 0722 Mobile, AL 36688

Date of Interview

National Capital Contracting 

Supplemental Material
Biographical Sketch

Avery Bates, of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, was interviewed on several occasions. Mr. Bates is president of the Organized Seafood Association of Alabama (OSAA). Mr. Bates spoke on past and current conditions of the seafood industry, in addition to various aspects of laws and regulations affecting the industry. Mr. Bates was also instrumental in providing contacts within the fishing community.

Scope and Content Note
The interview with Avery Bates provides a comprehensive exploration of traditional fishing practices, the challenges faced by fishermen, and the impact of environmental changes on the fishing industry. Bates shares firsthand experiences and insights into the strength and survival skills of old fishermen, highlighting their resilience and resourcefulness. The interview delves into the significance of preserving old fishermen's tales and remedies, emphasizing the loss of historical knowledge and the importance of passing down traditional skills. Additionally, Bates discusses the critical issue of waterfront access, addressing the loss of docking facilities for both commercial and recreational fishermen. The interview also covers the impact of population growth, habitat loss, and environmental changes on fishing grounds, shedding light on the evolving landscape of the fishing industry and the need for wise management to sustain both commercial and recreational fishing activities.


Please Note: The oral histories in this collection are protected by copyright and have been created for educational, research and personal use as described by the Fair Use Doctrine in the U.S. Copyright law. Please reach out  Voices@noaa.gov to let us know how these interviews are being used in your research, project, exhibit, etc.  The Voices staff can help provide other useful resources related to your inquiry. 

The NOAA mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. The Voices Oral History Archives offers public access to a wide range of accounts, including historical materials that are products of their particular times, and may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes.

Voices Oral History Archives does not verify the accuracy of materials submitted to us. The opinions expressed in the interviews are those of the interviewee only. The interviews here have been made available to the public only after the interviewer has confirmed that they have obtained consent.