Earl W. Ross

Location of Interview
Collection Name

Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History


NOAA's Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History documents the experience of people living in Gulf  of Mexico  oil-spill-affected fishing communities. The oral history data complements other social and economic data about the spill collected by NOAA and other governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations.

Date of Interview

Stephanie Scull-DeArmey
Linda VanZandt

Principal Investigator

Earl Ross is a commercial shrimper in the Gulf of Mexico. Ross was born on December 13, 1947, in Biloxi, Mississippi, to Mr. Wildon Ross (born April 22, 1922, in Biloxi) and Mrs. Ruth Wallis Ross) born September 27, 1929). His father was a police officer, taxicab owner, and shrimper in Biloxi. His mother was a bookkeeper. His father’s family were shrimpers who owned local businesses, including grocery stores, clothing stores, and taxicabs. His mother’s family were shrimpers and bakers. On November 17, 1968, he married his wife, Charlene (born December 14, 1947). They have three children, Johneen Ross (born December 5, 1969), Brent Ross (born February 18, 1972), and Matthew Ross (born March 15, 1982).  After being graduated from high school, Ross served in the US Navy as a seaman. From 1968 to 1985 he was the general manager of his taxicab company in Biloxi. From 1985 to 1989, he also shrimped for a living. From 1990 to 2004, he again managed his taxicab company. From 2005 to the time of this interview in 2011, Ross shrimped for a living.

Scope and Content Note: 
He talks about multigenerational fishing family, love of life on water, commercial shrimping, nets, shrimp boats, shrimping equipment, areas fished, regulations, licenses, permits, species caught, marketing catch, standard measurement of shrimp, wetlands, seabobs, Pandalus (blood shrimp), high fuel prices, factors affecting shrimping business, deckhands, Hurricane Katrina, BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Bonnet Carre Spillway, freshwater diversion into marshes and Mississippi Sound, Vietnamese shrimpers, ice boats, freezer boats, Gulf Coast fishing organization, saltwater contamination of wetlands, Vessels of Opportunity, tar balls.

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