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alone by the Chinese, besides large quantities taken by the Italians. An examination of the stock
in trade of the Chinese located near Monterey, proved that over nineteen-twentieths of the fish
that dry on hurdles and flap in the wind around the hovels consisted of this fish; a few sharks,
with Pxettiflithi/H melanoxtictiix and CitharichtJiy* ttordidus, constituting the remainder." 1

It occasionally reaches sixteen inches or more in length and a weight of five pounds, and is
considered one of the best of its tribe, but is inferior to the Black-dotted Flounder, the Turbot, and
one or two others. It becomes rare uorthward, yet occurs in Puget Sound; south of Monterey it
is not on lecord.

Hii'i'OGLOSsoiDES i:\ii is Jordan and Gilbert.

This species is one of the smallest, reaching a length of about nine inches, and a weight of less
than a pound. It inhabits deep waters on sandy bottoms from San Francisco to Puget Sound.
It is taken in the sweep-nets of the paranzelle in spring, off Point Reyes in enormous numbers,
sometimes nearly a ton at a time. In Puget Sound it is less common, although frequently taken
in seines. It has not been noticed by naturalists until the present year, and has probably l>een
rarely taken until the introduction of the paran/elle. It feeds on small fishes, crustaceans, etc.
It .-pawns in spring, perhaps coming from still deeper water, as in the winter none were noticed in
the markets. Its enemies and diseases are unknown. Most of those taken by the paranzelle are
thrown overboard. The flesh is soft, and the (isli does not sell for enough to pay for bringing it in.

This species is readily distinguished from the preceding by its much more slender form, and
by the large size of the scales, which arc very delicately ciliate on their hinder edge. The eyes
are very large, their longitudinal diameter contained about three and one-third times in the length
of the head. The greatest depth is contained about three and a half times in the total length.

In July it was tolerably common in the markets of San Francisco, and its previous rarity is
probably occasioned by the fact that it is only taken in tolerably deep water, and is too small to be
considered of much value.

1 Rr|>ort, ('c>miiii>-mii.T .if Ki-ln-i i.-* Stan- of California, 1**, |i. 25.


The specimens I have seen were from eight to ten inches in length, and three-quarters of a
pound in weight. It occurs in Puget Sound, but is not very common.



This species reaches a length of about fifteen inches, and a weight of two or three pounds at
least. It has been found in Puget Sound, in rather deep water about the wharves of Seattle,
Washington Territory, and. New Tacoina. It takes the hook very readily, and affords the boys
considerable amusement. Its value as food is probably similar to that of H. Jordani.

Dr. Bean states that he has specimens from Kodiak, Unalashka, and the Shumagin Islands,
Alaska. It is a food-fish of some importance in these localities.


This species reaches a length of fourteen inches and a weight of two pounds; ranges from
Point Coucepcion southward. It lives in water of moderate depth, usually about the kelp. It
takes the hook readily, spawns in spring, and feeds on Crustacea and small fish. It is too scarce
to have any special economic value.


This species, so far as known, does not exceed eighteen inches in length and one and a half
pounds in weight. It is perhaps the slenderest Flounder known. It has only been seen among
fishes taken in the sweep-nets of the parauzelle off Point Reyes, and only about a dozen specimens
are known. It probably inhabits considerable depths, and will doubtless be found to belong to the
Alaskan fauna. .


Like various other species, this fish is known as the Sole, wherever found. It reaches a length
of fifteen inches and a weight of two pounds. As usually seen in the market, it is about eight
inches in length and weighs about half a pound. It inhabits deep or cold waters, and ranges from
Monterey to Vancouver's Island. In California it is only taken in deep water, and is therefore
rarely brought in except by the paranzelle, who obtain it sometimes in enormous numbers. In
Puget Sound it comes nearer shore, and is often taken in the seines. It has been brought into
the San Francisco market only since the establishment of the paranzelle fishing a few years ago.
Since then, it has rapidly increased in abundance in the market, and now makes about five per
cent, of the Flounders sold in San Francisco. Many pounds of small ones are daily thrown away
in the spring and summer. It feeds on Crustacea and the like.

It spawns in May and June, and probably then comes into shallow water, as the catch is then
greater than in winter. The large ones are considered among the best of the Flounders. The
small ones are little valued. The whole body is excessively slimy when out of water, more so than
in any other Flounder.


This species is likewise known as a Sole, but occasionally distinguished as long-finned. It
reaches a length of eighteen inches and a weight of about two pounds. The average length is more
than a foot. It has been thus far noticed only in deep water about San Francisco and Monterey.
It is one of the least abundant of the Flounders, rarely more than a dozen coming into the San
Francisco market in a week, and often for long periods none at all. Until the introduction of the
paranzelle, it was unknown at San Francisco.


In respect ID food, breeding habits, and localities, it agrees entirely with (I. i>n<-(fi<-nx so tar as
\\c know. Its skin is not slimy, and its ilesh is vi-ry linn and white, and said to l>e of very superior
tla\or. similar to that of the European Sole.

I'p to the present time," says Lockington, "this secies is only known from the markets of
San Francisco, to whieh it is brought from dee]) water near Point Reyes, some thirty miles north
ui the city. It is comparathely rare; seldom more than three or four are offered for sale on any
one day, and it is not brought in at all in the winter. It attains a length of eighteen inches, and
a weight >)' about two pounds, and is held in high esteem. Hitherto it is only known to occur in
Monterey I '.ay and in the vicinity of San Francisco. As its mouth is too small for the hook, and
its habitat too deep for the gill-nets, it is taken chiefly in sweep-nets."

The three following species are very similar in size, appearance, habits, and value, and the same
remarks, except ill regard to distribution, will apply to them all:


These three species have no distinctive popular names, the fishermen confounding them with
various other species under the name of Turbot and Sole.

As usually seen in the markets, these species average about ten inches in length, P. vertical?*
being usually the smallest of the three, and P. quadrituberculatuti the largest; all, however, reach
sometimes a length of fifteen inches and a weight of two or three pounds.

P. qiMdrituberculatwt and P. vertical** have been thus far noticed only in Monterey Bay and
about Point Reyes and the Farallones. P. coenosus is found from San Diego to the Aleutian Islands,
and is especially abundant in rocky coves about Pnget Sound. All three of them are now
migratory and live in considerable depths of water, being rarely taken near shore except in the
spawning time.

Compared with other Flounders, none of these are ever abundant. Fifteen individuals of the
three species together would be a large proportion in one haul of the gill-net in Monterey Bay,
in the season of their spawning. At other times ttiey rarely come near enough to shore to enter
a gill-net.

I'nlike the other Flounders, these three species feed chiefly or entirely on plants; the stomach
and intestines are always full of algse, and, although they occasionally take the hook, animal food
makes a small portion of their diet.

These species spawn in the spring, chiefly in May and June. Nothing is known of their
breeding habits, further than that they are taken in the gill-nets and in the sweep-nets of the
paiauzelle in greater numbers at that season than earlier in the year, and they probably spawn in
sandy places, and otherwise live among the rocks.

No special enemies are known, other than predatory fish, and no diseases have been observed.
As food-fish, they are not distinguished from related species.


The Halibut, Hippoglosns vulgaris, is widely distributed through the North Atlantic and
North Pacific, both near the shores, in shallow water, and upon the off-shore banks and the edges
of the continental slope down to a depth of two hundred to two hundred and titty fathoms or more.
In tlif \Ve.-tern Atlantic the species has not been observed south of the fortieth parallel, stragglers


having occasionally been taken off Sandy Hook, Block Island, and Montauk Point, while it ranges
north at least to Cumberland Gulf, latitude 64, and to Holsteinborg Bank in Davis Strait, and
a.s far as Disko and Omenak Fiord, latitude 71, on the coast of Greenland, five or six degrees
within the Arctic Circle. Along the entire west coast of Greenland they exist, abundant about.
Iceland and north to Spitzbergen, in latitude 80. No one knows to what extent they arc
distributed along the European and Asiatic shores of the Arctic Ocean, but they have been
observed on both sides of the North Cape, in East and West Denmark, and from the North Cape,
latitude 71, south along the entire western line of the Scandinavian Peninsula, in the Skager
Rack and Cattegat, but not, however, so far as I can learn, in the Baltic. Halibut are occasion-
ally seen in the southern part of the North Sea and in the English Channel: south of latitude 50
their range in the Eastern Atlantic appears to cease. There is yet some question whether it is
found iu Southern Ireland, but some of the largest individuals recorded from Great Britain were
taken in the Irish Sea, off the Isle of Man.

On the Pacific coast the Halibut, which has been shown by Dr. Beau to be identical with that
of the Atlantic, ranges from the Farallone Islands northward to Bering Straits, becoming more
abundant northward. "Its center of abundance," says Bean, "is in the Gulf of Alaska, par-
ticularly about Kodiak, the Alexander Archipelago, and the Shumagins. Large halibut are
numerous about the Seal Islands, but the small ones have been killed by the seals. I have
heard from good authority of their capture as far north as Saint Lawrence Bay, near East Cape,
in Siberia. It has several times been reported from off the heads of Marcus Bay, Siberia." It
is occasionally taken off San Francisco and about Humboldt Bay. In the Straits of Fuca and in
the deeper channels about Puget Sound it is taken in considerable numbers.

A large halibut bank exists in the mouth of the Straits of Fuca, about nine miles from Cape
Flattery in a northwesterly direction, and their capture is an important industry to the Coast

The Halibut is emphatically a cold-water species. That it ranges nine or ten degrees farther
south on the American than on the European coast, is quite in accordance with the general law of
the distribution of fish -life in the Atlantic; indeed, it is only in winter that Halibut are known to
approach the shore to the south of Cape Cod, and it is safe to say that the temperature of the
water in which they are at present most frequently taken is never, or rarely, higher than 45, and
seldom higher than 35, and often in the neighborhood of 32. Its geographic range corresponds
closely to that of the codfish, with which it is almost invariably associated, though the cod is less
dependent upon the presence of very cold water, and in the Western Atlantic is found four or five
degrees in the Eastern Atlantic at least two nearer the Equator, while the range of the two
species to the north is probably, though not certainly, known to be limited relatively in about the
same degree. In the same manner the Halibut appears to extend its wanderings further out to
sea, and iu deeper and colder water than the cod. Although observations on this point have
necessarily been imperfect, it seems to be a fact that, while cod are very rarely found upon the
edge of the continental slope of North America, beyond the 250-fathom line, Halibut are present
there in abundance.

COMMON NAMES. The name of this species is quite uniform in the regions where it is known,
though, of course, subject to certain variations in the languages of the different countries, and
its characteristic features are so unmistakable that it is rarely confounded with other species,
the only fish for which it is ever mistaken seeming to be the Turbot of the European coast, with
which it sometimes interchanges names. In Scotland it is said that the Halibut is frequently
called the Turbot, and Yarrell has expressed the opinion tliat in instances where it had been


claimed that Halibut li.nl been taken in (lit- south of Ireland the Turlmt was the species actually
referred to.

Halibut" and I lolihiit r are words wliich arc as old as (lit- English language. In Germany
it is called "lleilbntt" or "Ileiligcbutf; in Sweden, " Hallcfisk" or ' Halleflundra," while in
Holland the name is "Hcilbot.''

In studying tin-so names it should be borne in mind that "but" or "bott" is another word for
a tloiindcr or il.it tish, and that the English, Dutch, German, and Scandinavian prefixes to either
this word or the equivalent word Flounder are presumably of the same meaning. A false
derivation has been imagined for the name, which is exemplified in the German word "Ileilige-
butt" just mentioned, ami also in the English orthography, which is sometimes encountered
Holylmt." This is without foundation, for the Halibut has never been mentioned more than any
other specii-s of tllat tish, and the derivation is as fanciful as the New England one of " Haul n-
boat," which our fishermen have frequently assured me was the proper name, referring to the size
and strength of the fish. The true derivation of the word is best understood by a study of its
Scandinavian names, from which it appears that the prefix has reference simply to the holes or
deep places at sea in which the fish is found, and that the name simply means "a deep-sea fish,"
or " a deep sea flounder." The name " Fle"tan " which a species bears in Fnnice is not distinctive,
the tish being almost unknown in that country.

DISI iMiiinoN IN HIE NORTHWKSTEKN ATLANTIC. The general distribution of the Halibut
having been sketched in outline, it seems appropriate to discuss more fully the range and abun-
dance of the fish upon the coast of North America, where they are sought by American fishing
vessels, and in this discussion some of the facts already briefly stated will necessarily be repeated
in part or at length. Halibut are token abundantly on Holsteinborg Bank, at the southern entrance
to Davis Strait, latitude 67 north and longitude 54 to 56 west, where several Gloucester
schooners have in past years obtained large cargoes of salted fish. In Etzel's "Gronland." the
materials for which were largely derived from Kink's "Gronlaud geographisk og stalistisk
I '.c ->k re vet," published in 1857, the distribution of the species in this region is quite fully discussed.
It is there stated that Halibut are taken chiefly in the southern part of North Greenland, and
especially on the shoals among the islands in the district of Egedesminde, especially about Agto,
l.'iskol, and Ikerasak, in latitude 68, and somewhat less near Disko, in latitude 70. They are
captured most abundantly in the spring and fall, when the Greenlanders take many in these
localities. They are even taken, at greater depths, as far north as Omenak, in latitude 71. In a
later work, however, Rink asserts that " the Netarnak or larger Halibut is found on the banks, as
well as in different places outside the islands, up to 70 north latitude, in depths of from thirty to
fifty fathoms." 1

In the same later work Rink remarks that Halibut are plentiful in the fall about Egedesmiude,
especially about Agto, the southernmost outpost of North Greenland. 2

Regarding the occurrence of Halibut in South Greenland, Etzel goes on to state that in July
and August they are takeu'on the outer coast and among the islands at depths of thirty to fifty
fathoms, while in winter they frequent deeper regions and are but seldom seen, chiefly on the cod-

1 BROWN. KIIIIKKT: Danish Greenland | i! IVopli- mid its Products | By | Henry Kink | Knight of the Order of
Dannebrofj | Director of the Royal Greenland Hoard of Trade | Formerly Inspector of South Greenland | Anther of Tnl.-t*
and Traditions of the Eskimoes, etc | (Cut of modal.) | Edited by | Dr. Robert Brown, F. L. S. F. R. G. 8. | Author of
The Ha.-.-, ..( Mankind. .-!. | With Illustrations by the Eskimo, and a Map | Henry 8. King &. Co., London | 1877.
8vo, pp. xvii. ti!- 1 , li! plates, and a map on p. 1 (p. 134).

RINK: Op. cil., pp.:<4U,341.


banks oft' Holsteinborg and in the sounds farther south. 1 Rink narrates that" in the year of tin-
war," when the Europeans were obliged to supply themselves with provisions from Greenland,
there were taken among the islands off Godthaab (64 8' north latitude) two thousand Halibut, and
that in a single half day two boats took over one hundred. This was in 1809. They are rarely
taken in the district of Julianshaab, in latitude CO 43' north.

Peter C. Sutherland, writing of Riskol Bank, in 1850, stated that Halibut were then very
abundant in that locality, and that the cod-fishing vessels M'hich visited Davis Strait every season
use them to bait their hooks, though the supply far exceeded the demand for this purpose. 2

On the return of the Penny Expedition, in 1851, Sutherland narrates that when crossing the
Arctic Circle, in longitude 53, the sailors put over lines baited with pork and hooked a cod and a
Halibut at the depth of forty fathoms. 3

The most northern occurrence of the Halibut on the western side of Davis Strait is that
recorded by Mr. Ludwig Kumlien, naturalist of the Howgate expedition, who saw a large indi-
vidual taken by the Eskimos off the mouth of Davis Strait, near latitude 64 north.

Richardson, in the " Fauna Boreali- Americana," speaks of the occurrence of the species on the
Greenland coast, but seems to have no authentic information of its having been observed even as
far north as Labrador on the opposite side.

There can be no reasonable doubt that Halibut are found along the entire eastern coast of
Labrador, though there is no other published record of their occurrence nortli of Red Bay, in the
Straits of Belle Isle, near latitude 51 40' north, where they were observed by Mr. Horatio R.
Storer, several having been taken during his stay at that place in the summer of 1849. 4

They are abundant in certain parts of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, especially the island of
Auticosti, and are also found along the entire coasts of Newfoundland and the eastern shores of
Nova Scotia.

In June, 1878, the schooner "G. P. Whitman," of Gloucester, caught a fare of Halibut in two
to twelve fathoms of water near Green Point, Newfoundland. The crew said that they could see
the fish lying on the bottom in shallow water.

Capt. George Olsen, schooner "Proctor Brothers," arrived at Gloucester August 2, 1880, with
22,000 pounds' weight of fresh Halibut, from Anticosti. He reported Halibut plenty then at the
western end of the island close inshore within half a mile; he saw the Halibut sporting near
and on the surface ; he found they would not bite, as on the banks, at Halibut bait, and since fresh
herring or capelin could not be obtained, could get only a partial trip of Halibut. They were good
fish, weighing sixty to eighty pounds. 5

According to M. H. Perley they are found in the Bay of Fundy up to its very head, where
they are taken in summer in Cumberland Bay, near the light-house off Apple River, and also in
West Bay. He states that they are also found on the south shore of the Bay of Fundy, and
abundantly from Cape Split to Brier Island, as well as in the Annapolis B.asin. 6

'ETZEL, ANTON VON: Grunland gcographisch und statistisch beschrieben. Aus diinischeu Quollscbriften von
Anton vou Etzel. Stuttgart, J. G. Cotta'soher Verlag, 1860. 8vo, pp. xiv, 6;i5 (p. 254).

"SUTHEKI.AND, PETER C. : Journal of a Voyage in Baffin's Bay and Barrow Straits in the years 1850-1851, per-
I'ni in. <! liy H. M. Ships "Lady Franklin" and "Sophia" . . . inscarchof the missing crews of H.M. Ships "Erebus"
and "Terror." . . . By Peter C. Sutherland, M. D., 11. R. C. S.E., Surgeon to the Expedition. In two volumes.
. . . London: . . . 1852. (Vol. i,p.2i>.)
; SrTHEitr.ANi>: Op. tit., ii,p. 341.

4 STOKER, HORATIO ROBINSON : Observations on the Fisheries of the Coasts of Nova Scotia and Labrador, with
Descriptions of New Species. <Pro*c. Bout. Soc. Nat. Hist., vi, 1857, pp. 247-270, pin. vii-viii (p. 267).

'Statement of A. Howard Clark.

11 Reports on the Sea and River Fisheries of New Brunswick, 1852, pp. 159-163.


Perley's report was prepared in 1852, and there is uo evideuce of a diminution in that region
since the time he wrote.

Mr. J. Matthew Jones tells me that Halibut are occasionally taken at Five Inlands in the
Basin of M inas. but that t his is of rare occurrence.

I am indebted to Captain Ash by for the following facts about the southern limits of the
distribution of the Ilulibnt :

He has never known them to be found south of Sandy Hook, where large ones are occasion-
ally taken in winter. In May, 1876, the schooner " Cartwright," fishing ten miles southeast of
Montauk Point, caught many Halibut. In February, 1876, some Noank smacks caught a few Hal-
ibut about eight miles from laud, off the southeast point of Block Island. Within the last forty
years one or two Halibut have been taken off the outer shore of Fisher's Island. He has never
known any to be taken in Long Island Sound. Halibut are sometimes taken in three fathoms of
water among the breakers of Nantucket, in " blowy weather." Forty years ago they were abundant
about Gay Head and Neman's Laud. There has been no systematic fishing there lately, but
some Halibut have probably beeu taken.

The local papers chronicled the capture, on May 1, 1876, off Watch Hill, Rhode Island, of an
eighty-pound Halibut, the first taken in that vicinity for many years.

They are occasionally taken along the shores of Maine and Massachusetts, but so seldom that
a capture of this kind by one of the inshore fishermen is always mentioned in the local papers.

ABUNDANCE. Half a century ago Halibut were extremely abundant in Massachusetts Bay.
Elsewhere in this essay are given several instances of their great plenty and voracity, as narrated
by some of the early fishermen of Cape Ann. Of late years, however, few are found except in
deep water on the off-shore banks.

The presence of so important a food-fish as the Halibut in America did not long escape the
observations of the early English explorers. Capt. John Smith, in his " History of Virginia," wrote:
"There is a large sized fish called Hallibut, or Turbut: some are taken so bigg that two men have
inucli a doe to hall them into the boate; but there is such plenty, that the fisher men onely eate
i lie heads & finnes, and throw away the bodies: such in Paris would yeeld o. or 6. crownes a
peece: and this is no discommodity."

SIZE. The Halibut is surpassed in size by only three of our eastern species the sword fish,
the tunny, and the tarpum. There is said, by experienced fishermen, to be a great difference in the
size of the two sexes, the females being mnch the larger; the male is said rarely to exceed fifty
pounds in weight, and to be, ordinarily, in poor condition and less desirable for food. The average
size of a full-grown female is somewhere between one hundred and one hundred and fifty pounds,
though they are sometimes much heavier. Captain Collins, wbo has had many years' experience
in the Gloucester halibut fishery, assures me that he has never seen one which would weigh over

Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 35 of 146)