David Burrage

Location of Interview
Collection Name

Turtle Excluder Device Oral Histories


Partnering with the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi and various Sea Grant programs, this project collects and preserves early 1980s Turtle Excluder Device (TED) oral histories from the inventors of early TEDs, the NOAA Fisheries and Sea Grant personnel central to the development of TEDs, and local shrimpers about their experiences using the early TEDs.

Date of Interview

Darlene Perez

Biographical Sketch

David Burrage was born January 7, 1953 in Hampton, Virginia. He attended Old Dominion University where he received a science degree then attended University of Rhode Island for his graduate studies in Marine Affairs. He works with the Sea Grant Extension Program in Mississippi and is an Extension Professor. David has spent over twenty years doing a service for the fishing industry in the Gulf states by making sure fisherman were aware of the Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) regulations, other upcoming regulations, and providing them with a bit of technical knowledge. One of his areas of expertise is a program called Living Shorelines, where he teaches people alternatives to traditional vertical bulkheading along waterfront properties.

Scope & Content Note:

David lived in Virginia through his early college years at various places in and around the Tidewater region. The little bedroom community where he grew up was called Poquoson which is an Indian name meaning the land of the low water. There was a big fishing industry in that town and he always liked the water. His very first paying job was as a deckhand on a fishing boat tolling for blue crabs. Before going to college, he was in a work study program, where he went to work at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science half a day in the afternoons. He took the job at the Sea Grant Extension Program in 1983 and relocated to Mississippi. His qualifications at the time were his first job working as a deckhand, going out a couple of times on his father-in-law’s shrimp boat in Texas, and he liked to fish. He has spent more than 20 years working with and learning from fishermen on boats since then. David remembers when he first began working with the fishermen. If you did something clumsy and landlubberly they called you a farmer. He mentioned that while trying to untie a knot in a rope, pulling it and getting very frustrated trying to untie it, another fisherman came by and untied it within seconds. The fisherman turned to him and said, “you farmer”. He was involved with the fishermen during the implementation of the TEDs. He was also affected by Hurricane Katrina. He worked diligently on his home while continuing to work with the Sea Grant Extension Program helping fisherman get back to work. A couple of months later, David hosted Thanksgiving dinner at his home, despite the holes in his walls and other damage still need of repairs. As of the date of this interview David had been with the Sea Grant Extension Program for twenty-six years.

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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.