G. Brown (George Brown) Goode.

The fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) online

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SHAD IN TOE ALABAMA RIVER. 595

Alabama River and from >c\cral tributaries of the Missixsippi prior to any steps towards the arti-
ficial propagation of Shad in these waters In the United States Fish Commission. It is, however,
probable that many of tin- so called "White" Shad were but largo specimens of the "Golden"
Shad of the Mississippi Basin. Unquestionably, however, Professor Baird was referring to the
capture of a genuine ('lu/xii napidiwtima in the waters tributary to the Gulf of Mexico when he wrote: 1
"I have already refened to the discovery of Shad in the Alabama River, whether the result of
Dr. Daniel's experiments already detailed or not; and I am assured by reliable testimony that
they an- found at the present time in other streams of Alabama. Of this I am well satisfied,
having actually received a specimen from Mr. W. Peun Yonge, of Springville, Alabama, taken at
Elba, Alabama, and preserved in alcohol, and distinguishable in not the slightest particular from
the Shad of the eastern coast. I have also the assurance of Dr. Lawrence of their capture at the
Hot Springs of the Ouachita; of Dr. Middleton Goldsmith, at the Fulls of the Ohio, near Louis-
ville; and of Dr. Turner, in the Wabash River of Indiana and Illinois, and in the Neosho River of
Kansas.''

If the occasional presence of individuals of this species in the waters tributary to the Gulf of
Mexico be admitted, it seems unaccountable that, since no fisheries have there been established for
its ca.pture, that the natural increase should not have been such as to cause at least as abundant
a run into the rivers emptying into the Gulf as into those on the Atlantic coast.

If, moreover, assuming that this species has been present in these waters in sufficient numbers
for effective reproduction, natural causes have not combined to establish a run of this fish in the
tributaries of the Gulf, it can scarcely be hoped that any mea-ures of artificial reproduction would,
if re.-orted to, accomplish the desired result. Nor does existing proof appear sufficiently positive,
as yet, to establish more than the occasional occurrence of isolated specimens in these waters
under conditions simply natural. It is probable that where true Shad have been found in the
tributaries of the Gulf of Mexico explanation may thus be made: Occasional individuals have
strayed beyond their natural geographical range, around the Florida peninsula, and, once in the
Gulf, they have entered the rivers under the impulse of reproduction, but never in sufficient quan-
tities to maintain themselves.

In January, 1879, by direction of Prof. G. B. Goode, the writer was requested to proceed
to the Alabama River to investigate the question of the natural occurrence that White Shad in.
this river. The report then made gives probably all the facts on this subject that have yet been
obtained. They are as follows:

"There is no doubt that ' White Shad,' to the number of two or three thousand, were taken in
the Alabama River and its principal tributary, the Coosa, in the seasons of 1878 and 1879, and of
inferior size and in smaller numbers in the season of 1877. Whether these runs of Shad were
the result entirely of the government 'plants,' beginning in 1875, or were due in part to previous
plants made by individual enterprise, are the questions to the solution of which I have directed
my investigation. I have not sought to determine the question whether the 'White Shad,' Cltipea
snpiilifxii/Ki. is indigenous to the Alabama River. This has been stated again and again. Judge
1'lielan, in a letter to the 'Montgomery Advertiser' of April 11, 1878, claims to have eaten 'White
Shad' at Ceutreville, Alabama, not later than 1848. They were taken in traps at the Falls of the
Cahaba, and were pronounced 'White Shad' by Mr. Samuel Jamison, an old North Carolina fish-
erinan. Judge Phelan further states that some claimed that they were only Hickory Shad.

"No amount of such evidence can ever settle this question. There is always the possibility

'Report United States Fiah Commission, part ii, p. 55.



596 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

of mistake on the part of those making the assertion, and since the presumed or actual introduc-
tion of Shad into these waters, we cannot settle the question by actual identification of specimens.

" If the true Clupea sapidissima is natural to the waters of the Alabama, or if the plants in the
Coosa in 1848, and the plant in Conley Creek, near Montgomery, in 1856, were successful, then
there must exist in the waters of the Alabama certain conditions which are unfavorable to natural
increase, and all the efforts of the United States Commission to establish an annual run of Shad
in the Alabama River by artificial plantings will prove abortive.

''On the other hand, if the planting operations of the United States Commission are success-
ful in establishing a run of Shad in this river, the result will prove that the Shad are not indigenous
to these waters and that previous plants were unsuccessful. Two or three years will settle this
question.

" There seems to be nothing in the conditions presented by the Alabama River to prevent the
establishment of a run of Shad in that river, unless the low temperature of the river during the
running season of the fish prevents maturity of the ova."

The geographical range of the Shad, as already stated, was confined to the Atlantic coast of
the United States until, by the operations of the United States Fish Commission, its limits were
vastly extended. Runs of Shad, sufficiently large to be of commercial value, have been estab-
lished in several of the tributaries of the Mississippi River, notably the Ohio River; and the
several plants made from time to time in the Sacramento River, on the Pacific coast, have resulted
in the colonization of this species in all the rivers of the Pacific slope, from the Sacramento to
Puget Sound.

MIGRATIONS. It is doubtful whether there is any general coastwise movement of the
Shad. That there is an occasional migration of this kind is evidenced by the following facts:
The Shad of the rivers of the South Atlantic coast, as a rule, have black-tipped caudal and
dorsal fins, which distinctive marks of coloration are absent in the Shad of more northern rivers;
and yet occasionally these southern Shad are caught as far north as the tributaries of the
Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. These fish have undoubtedly been born and bred in southern
waters, and their appearance so far north would indicate that occasionally this southern variety
strays beyond its normal range. 1 At one time 2 it was imagined that the whole body of American
Shad, having wintered in the south, started northward with the new year, and as each river mouth
was reached a detachment would leave the entire mass for the purpose of ascending the river, the
. last remaining portion of the immense school entering the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

At a later date it was thought more reasonable to suppose that the young fish, hatched out in
any particular stream, went out into the sea and remained within a moderate distance of the coast
until the period again occurred for their upward river migration. Their appearance, first in the
extreme southern river of the coast, the Saint John's, and at later dates successively in the more
northern rivers, was thought to confirm this view. It will be seen, in the discussion of the relation
of the movements of the Shad to the water temperature, that this order of appearance when
preserved may be reasonably accounted for; there are, however, exceptions. For instance, the
Edisto River is many miles north of the Savannah, and yet the run of Shad in the former is
usually coincident with that in the latter. This leads us to believe that the Shad are generally
distributed along the coast at all times, entering the rivers as soon as the temperature of the

'Report United States I 'Mi Commission, part ii, p. 48.

*It may here be mentioned that there are probably several well-defined hydrographical areas along the Atlantic
coast beyond each of which Shad indigenous to that area rarely stray. Each race has its own peculiar characteristics.



CATSKS INFI.I I:NVIN<; MM; RATIONS. 597

\v;it-r is suitable. It is lint iiiilural that the waters of a creek or short stream, not having its
source in the mountains, should in the spring heroine warm long before those of a large river
wliose headwaters are far ii]> among (lie nionntains; for which reason we may expect to lind, in
the ease of t \\ o livers, the most southerly of which has a longer water-course than the other, that
the Shad will first enter the more northerly, yet shorter, and consequently, at a given date, wanner
stream. The question, therefore, appears to be rather one of temperature than of geographical
location.

The greater portion of the life of the Shad being spent in salt water, the possibility of close
observation as to their food, habits, or precise habitat is precluded. The young fry, hatched out
in the rivers in spring and early 8ummer, remain there until the following fall, when, the temper-
ature of the waters having fallen below (50, they leave for the ocean. Nothing more is seen of
them until they return to the rivers as mature tish for the purpose of spawning. In these upward
migrations the schools of mature fish ascend the rivers either until obstructed by impassable falls
or dams, or until the volume of water becomes very inconsiderable. Before artificial impediments
were placed in the rivers, the limit of this movement was the natural and insurmountable falls
to be found at the head of almost all of our principal streams. For example, in the Savannah
River the Shad used to ascend to the Falls of Tallula, at the very source of the river in the
northern part of Georgia. In the Potomac they ascend as high as the Great Falls. In the
Siix|iiehanna River, in which there exist no natural obstructions, their migrations extended up
into the State of New York, a distance of several hundred miles above the present limit. On
the Hudson River they ascended to Glens Falls. On the Connecticut at one time they went as
high as Bellows Falls, but recent obstructions in this river have materially reduced the extent of
their range.

The present limit of the upward movement of the Shad in our rivers, the natural limit before
obstructions were interposed, and the extension of the natural limit which may be obtained by
overcoming these natural and artificial obstructions now existing, are shown in the accompanying
chart. It will be seen from this that the breeding area has been diminished from one-half to one-
fourth i's original extent, involving a corresponding reduction in the productive capacity of these
streams. 1

HEREDITARY INSTINCT OF LOCALITY. The annual migration of the Shad in the spring of
the year into the fresh waters of our rivers has been explained by various theories. In regard to
the salmon, which has been long known and observed in European waters, the fact seems to have
been established that the same individual will return year after year to the same stream for the
purpose of spawning, and that young fish bred in a certain stream usually come back to the same
upon their return from the ocean as mature fish. This habit has not been conclusively established
in regard to any other family of anodromous fishes, but it is generally believed that all salt- water
species which spawn in fresh water return for this purpose to those streams in which they them-
selves were deposited. An examination of the literature of fish culture will make it evident that
this opinion has been held very generally, and, indeed, has furnished to a great extent the argument
for the prosecution of the work of artificial reproduction. It is a common belief, too, among fish-
culturists that the mature individuals of all anadromous species, including the Shad, are led back
to the waters in which they were spawned by a conscious wish on their part to return to those very
localities in which they spent their young life. Important exceptions to this rule are, however,

'See Chart of the River Basins of the Atlantic Slope.



598 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

well established by recent observations. For instance, it is well established that the runs of Shad
into the Susquehanna and Potomac Rivers are characterized by alternations of abundance; that
is to say, an excessively large yield for any given season in the one involves a corresponding dimi-
nution in the yield for the same season in the other, thus precluding the possibility of each
individual returning annually to its native stream. Again, it was confidently expected that all
the young Atlantic Shad which were transferred to and planted in the Sacramento River would,
on their return from the Pacific Ocean as mature fish, find their way back to this stream. This
was not, however, the case, for, to the utter astonishment of many fish-culturists, a considerable
number of these now mature fish made their appearance in many streams of the Pacific lying far
north of the Sacramento River streams to which Shad had never been indigenous and in which
none had ever been planted.

These facts go a long way to disprove the theory of instinct of locality, and indicate that the
river movements of the Shad are regulated by involuntary and extraneous influences. The migra-
tion and colonization of this fish northward along the Pacific coast has been so general that at the
present day new generations of a single plant are found in every stream on the Pacific from the
Sacramento River to Pujjet Sound.

THE "FEEL" OF THE KIVERS. Some writers, notably Mr. Charles G-. Atkins, have suggested
the idea that the upward river migration of the auadromous fishes is directed by an instinct which
impels them to swim against the current. It is supposed by him that in their coastwise movement
the Shad, when opposite the mouths of the rivers, feel the outflowing current and, responding to
the invitation, immediately turn to and stem it and are thus led into and up the stream. The
conclusive reply to this supposition is that in the wide estuaries of our North Atlantic streams there
is no sensible current, excepting that produced by the tidal ebb and flow, which is far too indeter-
minate to be the directing cause of the migrations of those vast schools of Shad, Alewives, and other
species which annually enter our rivers. Even if the fish were attracted up stream by the gratifi-
cation of that presumed impulse or desire to swim against the current, how can we account for
their migration down stream, at the appropriate season, this movement being as regular and as
universal as the upward migration f

CHANGE OF SALINITY. It has been suggested that Shad may be sensible of the decreasing
salinity of the water as they enter and ascend the rivers, and that they may be led into continental
waters in order to enjoy a more congenial habitat; but in this event it is necessary to explain
why they do not remain in the rivers altogether.

WATER TEMPERATURES. Prior to the last decade, very little attention was paid to the water
temperatures in connection with the migrations of fish. We have on record but few series of
observations of water temperature during the season of our river fisheries. Since the inauguration
of the United States Fish Commission, however, and the establishment of hatching stations on the
rivers, it haa become possible to make a closer study of this subject. It will, however, require a
connected series of such observations, made during several seasons and at many stations, in order
to obtain sufficient data for a satisfactory discussion of "the relation of the movements of fish to
the water temperatures." Up to the present time the drift of investigation goes to prove that the
movements of fish, auadromous and otherwise, are controlled largely, if not entirely, by the tem-
perature of the medium in which they live.

In the case of "bottom -feeders," their movements are dependent, no doubt, principally upon the




SHAD IN THE SAINT JOHN'S UIVER.

migrations of their prey; but here again it is probable that the movements of the latter arc influ-
enced by temperature.

In the case of Menhaden and Shad, which species feed as they swim, the temperature of the
water is probably the main factor in determining their movements. It is a fact, for example, that
(In- disappearance of Menhaden from the coast of Maine 1 was, and has each year since been, co-
incident with a uniformly lower temperature of the water along that coast dm ing the menhaden
season.

The causal relations of the migrations of the sea Herring to water temperatures is a matter
recognized by the pisciculturists and fishermen of the North European Atlantic region; but their
observations, as with our Shad, have not been sufficiently extensive to enable them to define accu-
rately the relations of the one to the other.

In regard to the Shad, and presumptively to other fishes also, it is believed to be true that
there is a certain temperature of the water in which these fish prefer to live; in other words,
that they aim to occupy a bydrothermal area of certain temperature; and, further, that their
migrations are determined by the shifting of this area.

To state this theory somewhat differently, it is believed that all migratory fish have a normal
range of temperature in which they seek to remain. As before stated, observations on this point
are not as yet extensive, and therefore the limiting hydro-isothermals within which a given species
may at any time be found cannot yet bo absolutely defined.

So far as this matter has been examined with regard to the Shad, the following conclusion
has been reached, namely, that they occupy an hydro-isothermal belt, or area, limited by the tem-
perature of 60 F. to 70 F. ; that they move with this belt, t. e., as the season advances, into and
up the rivers. This movement, at least in the case of the Shad and Herring, takes place at the
time when they have nearly matured their spawn, and just at that important crisis, by means of
that exact balance and adjustment which nature everywhere provides, the fish are brought by
influences of which they are entirely unconscious into such relations and under such conditions
as make reproduction possible. But, although the operation of spawning is mainly that for
which the fitness of relations and conditions has been ordained, the following statements will show
that the fish in moving up the rivers are not always actuated by the immediate desire to deposit
their spawn.

OBSERVATIONS ON THE SAINT JOHN'S RIVER, FLORIDA. In the Saint John's lliver, Florida,
the Shad appear in the river several months before the spawning time, and, although this season in
the Upper Saint John's is not largely in advance of the same season in rivers as far north as certain
tributaries of the Chesapeake, yet by reason of their early presence in the Saint John's the shad
fisheries, as has before been noted, are there prosecuted during the entire winter. They do not
enter the river at this time for the purpose of spawning. By reference to tables giving the tempera-
tures of the Saint John's Itiver at Jacksonville for twelve months beginning March 1, 1877, and
ending February 28, 1878, it will be seen that in the Saint John's Kiver the temperature of the
water gradually descends, reaching G0 F. at Jacksonville about the last of November. This date
is coincident with the first appearance of Shad in the Saint John's.

1 This commenced in 1879, and they have not yet reappeared to any extent.



600



NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.



Table of temperatwes, Saint John's River, Jacksonville, Florida.

RECORD OF DAILY OBSERVATIONS TAKEN AT 3 P. M.

[Data furnished by Prof. G. BFOWD Goode.]



Date.


Location of thermometer.


Date.


Location of thermometer.


Dale.


Location of thermometer.


Air.


Surface.


Bottom.


Air.


Surface.


Bottom.


Air.


Surface.


Bottom.


1877.
Mar 1


op.
69
61
70
76
78
54
70
76.3
73
51
61
74
76
72
69
72
77
01
70

8

63
69
72
67
54
V5
81
67
60
77
71
78
75
78
78
79
M
76
75
62
62
68
71
61
67
74
77
81
79
84
80
74
76
84
84
79
85
83
78
75


OF.
60
61
62
62
65
62
64
M
64
64
63
65
66
65
65
66
66
65
64
62
62
62
62
62
63
59
58
59
60
60
60
61
62
63
64
64
66
68
64
66
64
63
63
64
60
61
62
64
64
65
66
68
67
68
70
72
69
70
70
70
G9


OF.
60
61
61.5
62
64
62
63
64
64
64
63
M
66
64
64
65
65
65
63
61
62
61
62
62
63
59
57
57
59
60
60
60
61
62
63
63
66
67
64
65
65
63
63
64
60
61
61
62
63
61
66
67
66
67
69
71
69
70
70
69
69


1877.
May 1


F.
71
76
81
80
86
84
83
77
76
80
75
74
80
79
78
77
75
74
80
82
84
91
95
78
82
74
72
67
73
76
79
80
81
84
89
8i
86
95
94
89
87
77
77
81
. 81
85
84
86
88
95
80
84
87
90
90
95
97
98
97
88
89


OF.
69
68
69
70
70
72
71
70
71
73
70
70
71
71
70
70
70
70
70
71
75
76
77
76
76
74
71
69
69
70
70
71
72
75
77
77
76
78
78
80
80
79
77
76
79
78
78
78
79
83
83
84
83
82
81
84
83
83
85
85
84


OF.

69
!J8
68
69
70
71
70
70
70
72
70
70
70
70
70
70
70
70
70
71
75
76
77
76
76
74
71
70
68
69
70
70
72
74
76
77
75
78
78
80
79
79
77
76
76
77
78
78
79
82
83
84
82
81
81
84
85
85
85
85
84


1877.
July 1


OF.
90
92
90
95
80
96
85
83
87
83
85
85
87
89
89
88
87
80
90
81
84
80
87
89
88
91
91
92
97
98
87
86
85
90
90
90
92
95
92
91
94
90
90
92
81
87
92
88
78
81
83
84
78
81
87
80
82
86
85
87
00
90


op.
83
84
85
85
85
84
82
81
82
83
83
80
82
82
81
80
82
82
82
79
81
81
82
82
82
82

M

84
85
84
84
83
82
83
83
85
87
86
86
83
83
84
83
84
83
82
83
83
79
79
79
80
71)
79
80
79
78
79
79
79
80
80


R
83
83.5
85
85
85
83
82
81.5
82
83
82.5
80
81
82
81
80
81
82
82
79
80
81
81
81
82
82
84
84
84
84
84
82
82
83
83
85
87
86
86
83
83
84
82
83
83
82
82
83
79
79
7
80
79
79
80
79
78
78
78
78
79
80


2


y 2


2


3


3


3


4


4


4


5


6


5





g


6


7


7


7
8


|


g


9


9


9


10


10


10 .


11


11


11


12


12


12 ...


13


13..


13


14


14


14 .


15


15 . ..


15


16 . ..


18


16
17...


17


17


18


18


18


19


19 . .


19


20


20


20


21


21


21


22


22


22


23


23


23 .


24


24 ..


24...


25


25 .. ..


25 .


26


26 ..


26...


27


27
28


27


28


28...


29


29


29


30


30


SO .


31


31


31


A or. 1




Aug. 1 ...


P 2 I


2


2...


3


3


3 ...


4


4


4


5


5


5 .





6


6 ..


7


7


7 ...


g


g


8 ..


j





9


10


10


10


11


11


11


12
13


12


12


13


13


14


14


14...


15


15


15


16 ... .


18


10 ..


17


17


17


18


18


18..


10


19


19


20


20


20


21


21


21


22 ..


22


22


23


23


23


24 .


24 ...


24


25


25


25


26


26

27


26


27


27


28


28


28


2
80 .


29


29


30


30






31






EXTREME AND MEAN TEMPERATURES, BY MONTHS.





Air.


Surface.


Bottom.




Air.


Surface.


Bottom.


March:


oK.
81.0


OF.
66.0


OF.
66.0


Juno :


OF.

OS


OF.
85


OK.

85.0




51.0


58


67




77


71


70


















Mfn


09. 1


i;


62 2




87 4


79 4


79 2


















Aplil:


85.0


72.0


71.0


July:


98.0


85.0


85.0




61.0


60.0


60.0




81


79


70.0


















Mean


78.0


. 65.7


65.1


Mean


87.0


K'J. f,


82.4


May:


95


77


77.0


Anfruat:


95


87


87.0


M illinium


71.0


68.0


68.0




81


79.0


78.0


















Mean


78.7


74.3


71.0




87


81.7


81.4



















TKMI'KKATIKK OF Till: SAINT JOHN'S RIVER.

Table of ttmprnittirr.*. Snint John'* River, Jacksonville, Florida Continued

RECORD OF DAILY OBSERVATIONS TAKEN AT 3 P. M.

[Data furuliilitd by Pruf. O. Brown Goodo.)



601



I'll.


Locution of thrrniiuiit trr.


I>..|.


Location of thermometer.


Ditto.


Locution of thermometer.


Air.


s-i 1
7- 1 , I i i


Bottom.


Air.


M,:!...


Bottom.


Air.


Surface.


Bottom.


1877.
Sept. 1


OF.
M

90

85
88

90



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