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"The first voyager who takes notice of them," writes Pennant, "is Master Anthony Parkhurst,
who visited that island (Newfoundland) in 1578, and gives a very facetious account to his ship
mates of his art in charming these, and another fish ho calls a squid, into his power. I refer to
Mr. Hackluyt, vol. iii, p. 133, for the account."

Parkhurst observes that this fish, which is like a Smelt, and is called by the Spaniards "An-
chovas," and by the Portuguese "Capelinas," "commeth also in the night, but chiefly in the day
being forced by the cod that would devour him, and therefore for feare coinming so near the shore,



iiAp.irs oi- Tin-: < API. i. IN. 545

is driven drie by tin- snr^e. of the sea on the pibble ami sands. Of tins, being as good as a smelt,
you can take up with a shove-net as plentiful as you do \\heati- in a shovell suflicient in three or
four hours for a whole citie."

In 1880 Dr. Bean found this fish abundant and in immense schools on the cod grounds of tbe
North Pariiic, and found forty individuals in the stomach of one cod often pounds weight.

The abundance of this fish in northern waters, and the voracity with which schools of cod
follow them, have been described by many writers, by none perhaps better than by Anspach, who
thus descril>es the appearance of Conception Bay about the year 1818:

"It is impossible to conceive, much more to describe, the splendid appearance of Conception
Bay and its harbors on such a night, at the time of what is there called the Capelin Skull. Then
ita vast surface is completely covered with myriads of fishes of various kinds and sizes, all actively
engaged either in pursuing or avoiding each other; the whales alternately rising and plunging,
throwing into the air spouts of water; the codfish bounding above the waves and reflecting the
light of the moon from their silvery surface; the Capelins hurrying away in immense shoals to seek
a refuge on the shore, where each retiring wave leaves countless multitudes skipping upon the
sand, an easy prey to the women and children who stand there with barrows and baskets ready to
seize upon the precious and plentiful booty; while the fishermen in their skiffs, with nets made for
that purpose, are industriously employed in securing a sufficient quantity of the valuable bait for
their fishery." '

"The manner in which the Capelin deposits its spawn is one of the most curious circumstances
attending its natural history. The male fishes are somewhat larger than the female, and are pro-
vided with a sort of ridge projecting on each side of their backbones, similar to the eaves of a
house, in which the female Capelin is deficient. The latter, on approaching the beach to deposit
its spawn, is attended by two male fishes, who huddle the female between them, until the whole
body is concealed under the projecting ridges, and her head only is visible. In this position all
three run together, with great swiftness, upon the sands, when the males, by some inherent
imperceptible power, compress the body of the female between their own, so as to expel the spawn
from the orifice and the tail. Having thus accomplished its delivery, the three Capelins separate,
and, paddling with their whole force through the shallow water of the beach, generally succeed in
regaining once more the bosom of the deep, although many fail to do so, and are cast upon the
shore, especially if the surf be at all heavy. Like the common Smelt, the Capelin possesses the
encumber smell; but it differs from the Smelt in never entering fresh- water streams." 1

"Instances are common of vast numbers of Capelin being found dead, or in a dying state,
where the schools come inshore to spawn. The sandy bottom of the sloping beach is not unfre-
quently strewed with dead fish, and dying Capelin may be. seen wandering about and spasmodically
gasping in the water from which millions of the species had abstracted the oxygen necessary for
their existence.

"The Capelin spawu,-as is well known, on sandy, sloping beaches, but they also^awn in waters
of different depths where the bottom is composed of sand. The fishermen take Capelin with their
casting-nets in from fifteen to thirty fathoms, and probably also in water of much greater depth,
the needed condition being a smooth, sandy bottom over which the trio engaged in spawning may
'run' touching the bottom. In the neighborhood of Baccalieo Tickle, Mr. Jabez Tilly relates
that in 1864 the fishermen took Capelin for a mouth, from the third week in June to the third week
in July, in water varying from fifteen to thirty fathoms, with the casting-net. In the second week

'Page 306.

l.\ S.MAS : Report United States Commiiaion Fish and Fisheries, part II, 1874, p. 225.

35 P



546 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

of July capelin spawn was brought up from the bottom in twenty-seven fathoms of water. The
spawn is said by fishermen to require about fifteen to eighteen days to arrive at maturity. The
young fish leave the egg after that period. They are found near the coast until about the end of
December, according to the season, and the contents of the stomachs of murrs and puffins, accord-
ing to Mr. Jabez Tilly, are often full of young Capelin at that season.

"At the Fishot Islands, in 1876, the Capelin were taken in deep water about the 20th of June,
before they 'came in.' The appearance of schools of Capelin coming in to spawn in May, June,
or July, according to the latitude of the place, has always excited astonishment at their numbers,
and often, in the present day, in Conception Bay and some other noted spawning grounds, remark-
able scenes may be witnessed; an idea may thus be formed of the extraordinary number of fry.
serving as food, which swarm even now in the Newfoundland seas. Nor is it less easy to conceive
how greatly these innumerable hosts have contributed to the drawing inshore of the deep-sea fish ;
first the adult fish forming the attraction, next the spawn, then the young fry, and thus continuing
to the approach of winter. So great has been the importance attached to the preservation of the
Capelin that legal enactments have passed the legislature of Newfoundland prohibiting the use of
this fish as manure, and the public documents abound with remonstrances against this palpable
abuse of one of the most important means for preserving the Newfoundland fisheries." 1

MIGRATIONS. In the opinion of Professor Hind the Capelin winter with the cod in the
deeper portions of the bays of Newfoundland and Labrador, though in different zones of water.
Cod taken through the ice in January, 1852, in Saint Mary's Bay, had undigested Capelin in their
stomachs. Professor Hind remarks that an impression prevails among the fishermen that the
Capelin are moving north, and that the cod are following them, but this opinion is not shared by
the fishermen who have occupied the coast of Labrador for a century. They have known the
Capelin as far north as Nain for many years. On the Admiralty chart of Fort Manvers, latitude
57, longitude 62 7', thirty miles north of Nain, and published in 1871, Capelin Bay is the name
given to an anchorage, from which it is manifest that Capelin were seen there half a century
before the fishermen passed Aullik Bay, or even Cape Harrison, nearly two hundred miles to
the south. The Capelin, however, is not known to the officers of the Hudson Bay Company, or
to the missionaries beyond Cape Mumford. 2

IMPORTANCE. The Capelin are consumed in great quantities by halibut, and also by whales.
In Finmark the cod fishery is divided into two seasons, the fishery which takes place early in the
spawning season, and the Lodde or Capeliu fishery, which occurs later, and which, when the
Capelin is abundant, is of great importance. 3

^

The Labrador cod fishery, at one time of considerable importance to Provincetown, Marble-
head, Newburyport, and other fishing towns of Massachusetts, like the Lodde fishery of Finmark,
depended entirely upon the presence of Capelin.

The Caj>elin is extensively used for bait in the Grand Bank fishery, especially by the French,
by whom it isfl^ated that sixty thousand hogsheads are annually taken about Newfoundland for
this purpose. In Greenland the Capelin forms so important an article of food that it has been
termed the "daily bread" of the natives. In Newfoundland they are dried in large quantities
and exported to London, where they are sold principally in the oyster shops. 4

HlND: Fishery Clauses of the Treaty of Washington, 1877, p. 134.
HlND: Ibid., part ii, p. 70.

3 Report United States Commission Fish and Fisheries, part v, 1879, p. 709.
4 LANMAN: Ibid.



f i UK i:ri,ACHON. 547

Tin: Mi I.ACHON THALEICHTHYS PACIFICUS (Uichanlson) Oinml.

This species, common in I In- Ninth Pacific, resembles the < '.i|.elin. ami is usually known by the-
Indian name " Knlaclion," or Otilaclian," more coin nn inly pronounced " hoolakins" by the English
al Victoria. Those salted and sent south arc commonly called "Caudle-fish" by the trade. In the
Columbia Uiver and elsewhere southward it is known as u Smelt," being confounded with the other
species. It readies a length of less than .1 I'oot. It rouges from Oregon northward to Kamtc.hatka.
It occurs in some abundance in the Columbia Uiver, where little notice is taken of it. In Frazer
Uiver and streams to the northward it runs in enormous numbers in spring. The Kulachon run
up the rivers and deposit their spawn on gravel beds at no great distance from the mouth of the
stream, probably not above thirty miles. Their run is from the last of March to the middle of May,
probably varying in dill'erent streams. During the run they are beset by all sorts of enemies
halibut, sharks, sea 'birds. Indians, porpoises, and all manner of predatory fish, some of which
chase them in the ocean only ; others pursue them up the rivers. Even the sturgeons and the rays
have their stomachs full of them.

The Eulaehon is greatly valued on account of the oil which permeates its flesh. As a pan-
fish it has no superior. A factory has been established on the Noss Kiver for the manufacture
of eulachon oil, which is intended to be used as a substitute for cod-liver oil. It has the drawback
of becoming solid and lard-like at ordinary temperatures.

^'Nature," the chief London journal of science, stated, May 12, 1881: "A new medicinal
oil has just been introduced into this country by Messrs, liiirgnyne & Burbridge, the well-known
chemists of Coleman street. It is known as Oolachian oil, and is said to be scarcely distinguishable
from cod-liver oil. It is obtained from a fish called by the North American Indians 'Oolachau,'
or ' Candle-fish,' from the fact that when dried the fish itself can be used as a candle, on account
of the large quantity of oleaginous matter it contains. . . . In America the oil has already a
great reputation as a valuable and efficient substitute for cod-liver oil, and there is every prob-
ability, as it becomes known in th s country, of its taking a prominent place as an important,
medicine." Diligent inquiry fails to briug to light evidences of any extensive use of this oil .is

yet in the United States.

V - = ?.;- ctr - :: TI ,f.:/> "":.> f1 i!:; r "*-! .'

171. FAMILIES RELATED TO THE SALMON ID JE.
THE SCOPELUS FAMILY SCOPELID.E.

The species of this family are small and pelagic, and are found throughout all the temperate
and tropical seas. They are so numerous that the surface net, when used in a night of moderate
weather, in mid ocean, scarcely ever fails to inclose some specimens. They come to the surface at
nii: hi only; during the day, in very rough weather, they descend to depths where they are safe
from sunlight and from the agitation of the water. 1

In the Western Atlantic there are five or six species, which are catalogued in the check-list
In California there is only one, Myctophum crenulare, a single specimen of which was taken from
the stomach of an albicore at Santa Barbara.

THE HANDSAW FISH FAMILY ALEPIDOSAURID^.

The fishes of this family inhabit very deep water, and are never seen at the surface. The
Handsaw Fish of the Pacific, Alepidosaurvs borealig, is occasionally found along the coast from

'GU.NTHKR: Study of Fishes, p. 585.



548 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

Monterey to Kamtchatka. The Atlantic species, A. ferox, very closely allied to, if not identical
with, its ally in the Pacific, is found in great numbers on the offshore banks, being frequently
brought up on the lines of the halibut trawl fishermen from a depth of one hundred and fifty to
three hundred fathoms. It is one of the largest and most ferocious looking of the deep sea fishes,
growing to a length of six feet, its month provided with double rows of sharp, lancet-shaped teeth,
a half to three-quarters of an inch in length. They are very slender and lithe in form, and are the
personification of voracity. Giinther states that from the stomach of one example have been
taken several cuttle-fishes, crustaceans, and sea-sqnirts, a young Brania, twelve young boar-fishes,
a horse-mackerel, and one young of its own species. Nothing is known of its breeding habits. Its
only importance to the fisheries lies in the fact that it cumbers the hooks of the fishermen.

THE ALEPOCEPHALUS FAMILY ALEPOCEPHALID.S;.

This family is represented in the deep water of the Western Atlantic by two species,
Alepocephalus Bairdii and A. Agassisii, of each of which single specimens have been obtained on
the off-shore banks, a magnificent fish, attaining the length of at least three feet, shaped like a
salmon, covered with thin silvery scales. Only one other species of the genus is known a rare
fish from the Mediterranean.

THE PARALEPIS FAMILY PARALEPID^E.

These are small, pelagic fishes, occurring in the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Pacific. Iiuour
waters there are three species: In the Atlantic, Paralepis borealis, a Greenland form, of which we
have seen one specimen from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence; in the Pacific there are two, each
known from a single specimen, Sudis ringens, from the Santa Barbara Channel, and Paralepiv
cornscans, from the Straits of Fuca.

THE SNAKE-FISH FAMILY SYNODONTID^E.

The family is represented on our Atlantic coast by three species, on the Pacific by one, Synodun
lucioceps, which is closely related to the Atlantic species, 8. fcetens. The Pacific species occurs
from San Francisco southward, and is occasionally eaten. The Atlantic forms occur in the West
Indies and range north to Cape Cod, but are of no economic importance.



R. THE HERRING TRIBE.

172. THE HERRING CLUPEA HARENGUS.

ABUNDANCE AND IMPORTANCE. The Herring is beyond question the most important of
food-fishes. Distributed, as it is, throughout the whole of the North Atlantic, it affords occupa-
tion, during ;i portion of the year at least, for immense fleets of fishing boats, and, according to the
estimate of Professor Huxley, the number taken every year out of the North Sea and Atlantic is
at least 3,000,000,000, with a weight of at least 1,000,000,000 pounds. This estimate is perhaps
more likely to be too low than too high. According to the statement of Carl Dambeck, given in
the United States Fish Commission Report, volume 3, page 21, the average yield of Herring in
Norway from 1850 to 1870 amounted to 1,452,000,000 pounds. Widegren 1 estimates that the total
yield of Herring on the Swedish coast of the Baltic amounts to 300,000,000 pounds. Holdsworth
placed the yield of Scotland in 1873 at 188,000,000 pounds, their capture requiring 15,095 boats
with crews of 45,494 men. In the same perio'l in the English fisheries he states that 15,331 boats
were used. He gives no estimate of the yield, but it is probably not very different from that of
Scotland. France, Ireland, and Belgium have also herring fisheries of considerable extent, and
Germany in a less degree. In 1874, according to compilation and estimates of Professor Hind,
200,000,000 pounds of Herring were taken in the waters of British North America, and in 1880
nearly 43,000,000 pounds were obtained on the east coast of the United States. 1 . Summing up the
aggregate of these statements and estimates, and allowing to Ireland, Belgium, Germany, and
France a product equal o that cited of Scotland, we have an aggregate of 250,000,000 pounds.
This total is not presented as an item of statistical information, but simply to emphasize by way of
illustration the statement made at the beginning of this paragraph.

Commenting upon the supposed injurious effect of the fisheries upon the abundance of this
fish, Professor Huxley in his well-known lecture upon the Herring, delivered at the International
Fishery Exhibition at Norwich in 1881, remarked as follows:

"It is said that 2,500,000,000, or thereabout, of Herrings are every year taken out of the North
Sea and the Atlantic. Suppose we assume the number to be 3,000,000,000, so as to be quite safe.
It is a large number, undoubtedly, but what does it come tot Not more than that of the Herrings

1 United States Fish Commission Report, part iii, p. 33.

'The Herring appears to have been one of the most conspicuous fishes in the Western Atlantic at the time of the
discovery and early exploration of America, as the following extracts from the voyages of early navigators will show:

Josselyn wrote in 1675: "The Herrin, which are numerous, they take of them all summer long. In Anno liom.
1670, they weie driven back into Slack-Point Harbour by other great fish that prey upon them so near the shoro
that they threw themselves (it being high water) upon dry land in such infinite numbers that we ini>;lit have gone
np half-way the leg amongst them for near a quarter of a mile. We used to qualifie a pickled Ilerrin by (railing of
him in milk."

John Smith, in 1631, remarked: "Herring, if any desire them, I hone taken many out of the bellies of Cods,
some in nets; but the Saluages compare their store in the sea, to the haires of their heads: & surely there are an
incredible abundance upon this Coast." And again: "Of Herrings, there is great store, fat, and fair; & (to my
minde) as good as any as I have seene, & these may be preserved, and made a good commodity at the Canarie*.'

549



550 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

which may be contained in one shoal, if it covers half a dozen square miles, and shoals of much
larger size are on record. It is safe to say that, scattered through the North Sea and the Atlantic,
at one and the same time, there must be scores of shoals, any one of which would go a long way
toward supplying the whole of man's consumption of Herrings."

NAME. So well known was the Herring from the earliest days to the inhabitants of Northern
Europe and to their descendants who migrated to the western shores of the Atlantic, that one
name serves to designate the fish in the languages of a majority of the peoples to whom it is
known. Its name in English, German, and Dutch, though differently spelled, is pronounced in
exactly the same way. To the Scandinavian tribes it is known by the name " Sill." France in
the name Clvp6e employs a form of the Latin name for fishes of this group by which the same
fish is known to these nations when described in the language of their men of science. There are
certain local names for the Herring which are used not to replace the general one, but to designate
certain conditions and ages. To this class belongs the name "Sperling," employed by our own
fishermen of Cape Ann to denote the young Herrings. Corresponding to this name the word
"Striimming" is used in Sweden. British fishermen, according to Huxley, distinguish four states
of the Herring: (1) "Fry," or "Sill," for the young fish when not larger than sprats; (2) "Matics,"
a name which is a corruption of the Dutch word for a maiden ; Herrings in this class are larger
than fry, but with undeveloped roe or milt; (3) "Full," fish with larger developed roe or milt;
and (4) "Spent" or "Shotten," fish which have recently spawned. "Maties," when gorged with
their favorite food, small crustaceans, are called by the Scotch fishermen "Gut-pock" Herrings.
In Sweden, according to Widegren, the following names are known in the trade: "Norwegian
Heiring," "Graben Herring," "Fat Herring," "Gottenburg" or "Bohusliiu" Herring, "Kullu
Herring," "Bleking Herring," "Small Herring," "Anchovies," "Skarp Herring," "Spiced Herring,"
etc. 1

These names are cited to indicate how many variations are customarily made upon the well-
known name of Herring. In the United States there are few trade names for this fish, though a
large portion of our Herring pass from producer to consumer under a name which is intentionally
deceptive, that of "French Sardine," and a few are canned in spices and sold under the still more
imaginative name ot "brook" and "sea" trout. "Bloater," " Digby Chicken," and "Hard
Herring" are other trade names used on this side of the Atlantic, the significance of which will be
explained in the paragraph relating to "economic uses."

Small Herring are frequently called "Brit" by the fishermen, of Eastern New England.
"Anchovy" is another name for these small fish still in use among our fishermen and had its
origin in one of the devices of trade.

By far the most confusing congeries of names, however, is to be found in the literature pro-
duced in such lavish quantities during the past twenty years by the Scandinavian naturalists who
have been attempting to reconcile with fact the theories prevalent among fishermen and others
in Northern Europe concerning the movements of the different schools of Herring and the race
characteristics and habits which were supposed to characterize them.

In the "Preliminary Report for 1873-'74 on the Herring and the Herring Fisheries of the
West Coast of Sweden," by A. V. Ljungman, 2 are given numerous names of this sort, such as
"Boundary Herring," "Grass Herring," "Great Herring," "Norwegian Winter Herring," "Nor-
wegian Fall Herring," "Old Herring," "Real Sea Herring," "Cattegat Herring," "Sea Herring,"



'United States Fish Commission Report, part vi, p. 124.

Translation in United States Fish Commission Report, part iii, 1876. pp. 123-167.



NAMES OF THE HEIMMNd. .-,.-,1

"Fjord Herring," "Sn.tdi Dutrli liming," "Lard Herring," " Hnlf Herring," and "Teiui.-r
Herring." In this report Mr. Ljtingman attempted to distinguish and described at least four varie-
ties, and in so doing was much more conservative than his predecessor, Professor Nilsson, (f) who
in the year 183li described, under binomial names, as distinct species eight of the forms known in
his country under separate popular names. In a later report on the salt-water fisheries of Bonus-
Ian. published in isTS, 1 Mr. Ljungmau, who had, in the six years intervening between this date
and the writing of his first essay, devoted much time to the study of the subject, appears to have
abandoned his early idea, since he makes no attempt to distinguish the races, and simply
announces himself as maintaining that "more than one race of Herrings may be found in one and
the same place."

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. The Herring is found in the temperate and colder parts of
the North Atlantic. On the west its range extends south to Sandy Hook, at the entrance of New
York Harbor, where they are found occasionally in midwinter, and on the north as far as Northern
Labrador, diminishing in numbers perhaps toward the northern extreme. On the east its southern
limit is in the vicinity of the Bay of Biscay, while northward it is found in the White Sea and on
the southern shores of Spitzbergen. It of course does not enter the Mediterranean, though it is
abundant in the North Sea and in the Baltic. Huxley hazards the conjecture that it perhaps
inhabits some parts of the North Sea, and states that there is a very similar, if not identical,
species in the North Pacific. His surmise as to the identity of the Pacific Herring with that of
the Atlantic is not confirmed by the recent careful explorations of Dr. Bean in that region.
The fish which he had in mind is probably C. mirabilix.

On onr own coast Herring are not known to enter water which is in the least degree brackish,
except occasionally in the spawning season in Saint Andrew's Bay, where the admixture of fresh
water is but slight. According to Professor Huxley, Herrings spawn freely not only in the nar-
rows of the Baltic, such as the Great Belt, in which the water is not half as salt as it is in the
North Sea and in the Atlantic, but even in such long inlets as the Schlei in Schleswig, the water
of which is quite drinkable and is inhabited by fresh-water fish.

" Ljunginan 2 cites instances in which Herrings are said to have ascended rivers in Sweden and



Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 93 of 146)