G. Brown (George Brown) Goode.

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

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"In conclusion, the advantages afforded American fish-culture from the cultivation of the
White-fish, as they have just been enumerated: These are, (1) more careful and perfect methods,
resulting from the experience in the culture of the most delicate and difficult species whose propa-
gation has been attempted by culturists; (2) the perfection of three forms of apparatus for
hatching fish eggs, embodying the important improvements of facility in handling the eggs and
removing sediment and coufervae, and greatly economizing space; (3) the contrivance of a
superior case for the carriage of eggs; and, besides, a possibly successful, entirely new method in
the hatching of eggs and the discussion of and practical tests of conditions of water suitable to
the eggs of a species that we are not (at any rate thus far) able to supply with food."

"These experiments," wrote Mr. Milner, referring to those made by Mr. N. W. Clark,
"were all attended with considerable success, though the large percentage of loss, compared
with that in trout and salmon hatching, was anything but encouraging. The screens in the
troughs, in most instances, were the same as those used for the Trout, and the embryo White-
fishes, being smaller, escaped and ran over into the waste troughs and down into the ponds
below. This was in some measure a fortunate circumstance, at Mr. Wilmot's establishment, for
the young fish, finding their natural food in the ponds, grew and thrived, and afforded the only
positive data there are of their rate of growth. In the succeeding year (1870) Mr. Green and Mr.


Clark made additional ex]K>rinients, and from the experience of the preceding year, having learned
the necessity i)l' immediate attention to the White-fish eggs after they were placed in the troughs,
lKgan the work of removing the iiniinpregnated eggs within two or three days' time, and, giving
them close attention, during the season hatched out a much larger percentage of eggs. Mr.
(im-n, in 1809, distributed a quantity of the White-flsh spawn to numerous applicant* who
responded to an advertisement ottering it for distribution. Some packages of spawn from this
supply were sent by steamer to Mr. Frank Buckland, inspector of salmon fisheries for Great
I'. i ii. i in. In referring to the condition of the eggs on their arrival in London, he says, 'A good
proportion of the White-fish eggs were alive and well.'

"Some temi>orary troughs were put up in Detroit, Michigan, and supplied with the ova,
under the direction of Mr. A. M. Coinpeau, Mr. J. P. Clark, Mr. George Clark, and Mr. James

"Experiments were again made by Mr. Green, Mr. Clark, and Mr. Wilmot, in 1870. More
than a million of ova were supplied by the liberality of Mr. J. P. Clark and George Clark, without
expense, from their ponds in Detroit River. Mr. Green also made experiments in the breeding of
Salmon Trout and Lake Herring, with some success.

"In 1871 these gentlemen just referred to, from Detroit and vicinity, failing to arouse the
interest of the State authorities in the matter of fish propagation to the extent they desired, fur-
nished Mr. N. W. Clark, of Clarkston, with the necessary funds for the erection of a building,
sixty-four feet in length by twenty in width, in which were put up twenty-six troughs, sixteen feet
long and one foot wide. The entire building was devoted to the hatching of White-flsh, and the
number of eggs laid down estimated at about one million. The experience of the previous years
aided Mr. N. W. Clark to a most complete success, and by the 1st of April the fish began hatching,
and before the 13th of the month the troughs were swarming with yonng White-fishes. Between
the 20th and the 30th of April these were all distributed by Mr. Clark in a number of inland lakes
in Oakland Connty, Michigan, and into the Detroit River. Mr. Wilmot again procured about one-
half million of White-fish eggs, which were handled with improved success.

"Mr. Green gave less space to white-fish eggs this season, and laid down large quantities of
salmon-trout ova, with the purpose of distributing the Trout in the inland waters of the State.

"Ill 1872 an employe" of Mr. Green devised a new apparatus for hatching fish, that economized
space to a great extent and afforded him room for a large supply of both salmon-trout and white-
fish ova. Visiting his establishment in January last, we found them hatched out in large quan-
tities, and orders arriving daily for the fry, to stock the waters of inland lakes in all parts of the
State. Mr. Wilmot obtained a supply of white-fish spawn at Sandwich, on the Canadian side of
the Detroit River."

The employe" of Mr. Green above referred to was a Mr. M. C. Holton, whose invention is thus
more fully described :

"Instead of placing a single layer of eggs in a long, narrow trough, he has prepared a can or
box, of perhaps a foot square and several feet in height. This is filled with shallow trays of about
half an inch in depth, with wire-gauze bottoms, on which the eggs are placed, so that with twelve
trays, having a surface of one square foot each, he accommodates twelve times as many eggs as
by the ordinary method. The box is so arranged that a current of water is carried by a covered
pipe down the side of the can to the bottom and allowed to enter at that point. The current in
its overflow passes from the bottom to the top, and the water circulates freely over the eggs. This
arrangement has the additional advantage that once a day, or oftener if necessary, the trays can
be taken out singly, and any diseased or defective eggs removed, thus improving the entire mass."


In 1873, a device to accomplish like results was made by Mr. N. W. Clark, of Clarkstoii,
Micnigan, and patented in 1874. 1

This arrangement employed the troughs, but divided them into compartments by means of
water-tight partitions or bulkheads; into each compartment a box containing a series of trays
filled with eggs is placed and covered with a pan of perforated tiu, upon which the water falls
and descends through the perforations upon the screens and eggs beneath, passing through all
and escaping at the bottom, afterward flowing over the partition upon the cover of the next box,
and so throughout the series of compartments until it escapes through the waste- way at the end
of the trough. By this arrangement a very small quantity of water is required for a very large
number of eggs, and all the advantages of handling and removal of sediment and considerable
economy of space are afforded.

Another combination of the trough and tray methods is in use in California, devised by Mr.
John Williamson, of the California Acclimatizing Society. This is very similar to the one just
described, except that the flow of water through the screens and eggs is from below instead of
from the top. This model was not the result of work in white-fish hatching, as in the case with
the two first named.

An experiment was made by Mr. N. W. Clark in the hatching of white-fish eggs, which were
laid in single layers of woolen cloth stretched on very thin frames of wood, packed in a box
imbedded in sphagnum moss within a refrigerator, and the whole kept at a temperature a little
above the freezing point by ice. The eggs are left entirely undisturbed after they are first
arranged, and the only care on the part of the attendant is to keep the temperature above
the freezing point. The presence of dead eggs does not seem to contaminate the living
ones in this condition, and very little confervoid growth appears. A quantity of eggs carried
forward in this manner through the winter appeared to be in excellent condition, development
progressing slowly, and a few, taken from the cloths and placed in spring water, hatched out
within a short time as well-developed embryos. If this method, after full and thorough trial,
should prove successful, it would make the work of hatching a matter of neither effort, care, nor
expense. It has been a matter of too short experience and of experiment on too small a scale to
warrant its positive success.

An improved case for the carriage of eggs long distances by railroad is another device
lerfected by Mr. N. W. Clark in 1872. It is a modification of the ordinary case containing
circular cups, the cups being square, and in this form economizing space very much. The cups of
tinned iron, about four inches square and two inches high, rest in trays, with low partitions forming
low compartments that retain the bottom of each cup and hold it solidly in place. The trays are
set within a square tin box, in which they fit with moderate tightness, and are placed, when
containing the cups, eight or ten in the box, one above the other; this box is set within another
box of tin large enough to leave an open space on all sides, to be filled with sawdust; a tube is
inserted through the bottom of the inner box, piercing the bottom of the outer one, so as to permit
communication with the air on the outside. The whole is then placed for protection within a strong
wooden box, in the bottom of which is a frame resting upon stiff springs which relieve the eggs
from heavy jarring; rubber or cloth bumpers on the sides of the box prevent lateral swaying and
jolting. A cover is fitted to the inner box, which may then be covered with sawdust to the level
of the higher outer one, when the cover of this is to be shut down. The outside wooden box is

1 Report U. S. Fish Commission, part vi, p. 546.


fitted with handles and with a ti^lit lid on hinges, which may be locked. Small auger-holes are
bori'd through the outer or packing box, and air may be admitted to the whole interior of the
egg case through the tube referred to in the bottom, the cups being pierced with small holes, so
that when in place they are directly over circular openings in the trays, and a communication of
air is established throughout. The eggs may be packed in moss, in the ordinary manner, in the
cups which experience seems to prove to be the best manner for lojig journeys.

The method of Mr. Atkins in shipping salmon eggs packed in moss, but with pieces of mos-
quito-netting laid above and below the eggs, is a great convenience in unpacking them, and could
just as well be applied in the cups. This, though less simple than the ordinary egg-carrier, is suf-
ficiently simple for practical purposes, and possesses most important advantages for carrying eggs
long distances and over rough roads, the small area of surface within the boxes preventing any
tendency of the eggs to slide together at one side. The square boxes resting in trays are put to-
gether in much more compact form than the cylindrical boxes embedded in moss, and the springs
beneath the boxes of eggs are of course an important addition. Mr. Clark believes the hatching
apparatus in the refrigerator to be as well adapted for the carriage of eggs as for hatching them.

The use of surface or brook water in any permanent establishment seems to have been first
employed by Mr. Samuel Wilniot, of Newcastle, Canada, the greater number of hatching estab-
lishments using spring water.

In the hatching of White fish, Mr. Clark has contended for the use of brook water in preference,
because of its lower and evener temperature throughout the winter, and the consequent retarda-
tion of the hatching of the fish which he has contended is an essential provision in nature to their
welfare, and that hatching them two months or more previous to the natural time under artifi-
cial conditions is a mistaken method that will not result in the maturing of any considerable num-
bers in the cold waters in which they are released. Although this view has not been established
by practical observation, yet it raises a question of considerable importance, and one which merits
a full discussion, in view of its bearing on the practical work of fish culture.

i Mr. Miner's account of the further progress made in this branch of fish culture is resumed in
another place, as follows :

" November 11, 1872, 1 met Mr. N. W. Clark at Ecorse, and in company with Mr. George Clark
we visited Grassy Island for the purpose of obtaining white-fish spawn. The box which Mr. N.
W. Clark has devised for carrying ova is constructed so as to carry a greater quantity of eggs,
with easier carriage, than any in present use. It is a large square can, of zinc, about thirteen
inches square and twenty-two inches deep. This, for protection, is set inside of a strong wooden
box, with a light frame in the bottom, supported on stitf springs. Strong handles are fastened to
the box, for convenience in handling, and to prevent any necessity for throwing it out of level
while carrying it. The zinc can contains ten trays, each of which carries fifty-four small boxes, two
inches square and two inches deep, set in compartments, each compartment having an inch hole
cut in the center. The partitions between the compartments are just high enough (about five-
eighths of an inch) to inclose the bottom of a box and bold it firmly in its place. No covers are
provided for the boxes, but a large cover can be fitted to the zinc can, and a lid, with a good lock,
is fitted to the outside box. The bottoms of all the little boxes are perforated, the position of the
holes being directly over the circular hole in the compartment of the tray. The zinc can has also
holes in the bottom, and the wooden box has three-quarter inch holes bored on each side, near
the bottom, so that there is drainage for the surplus water of all the boxes, and a free circulation
of air throughout, which is deemed important by some of the fish-culturists.

" At the island the most perfect arrangements were provided bj Mr. George Clark for obtain-
34 F


ing the spawn. Two tanks of about five feet diameter were placed at the edge of the shore and
partly tilled with water. As soon as the bag of the seine was on the beach the men picked up
the White fish and put them immediately into the tanks. The pans for impregnation were close
at hand, and as one man lifted the fish above the water in a dip-net, another took it from the net,
and with his right hand over the head of the fish and his left around the tail he held it over the
pan, standing at the left of the operator. The left hand of the operator was put against the back
of the fish and the right hand used in manipulating the abdomen. It was found that to induce
the eggs to flow freely from a fully ripe female, all that was necessary was to apply a gentle press-
ure just behind the pectoral fins, just where the nudging and bunting of the head of the male
fish is applied while racing her through the water. Not until the greater part of the free eggs had
fallen into the pan was it necessary to slide the hand along the abdomen. The free eggs came
away in a steady, liquid stream, but from a fish partially ripe their extrusion was slow, and in
masses comparatively dry that did not freely disengage themselves from the fish and fall into
the pan.

" The female exhibited the most indications of pain when the pressure was applied in the
vicinity of the ovipore. The milt from the male will flow in from one to three jets by pressure in
the vicinity of the anus.

" The method employed by Mr. N. W. Clark was that which was original with Mr. Seth
Green, using the smallest quantity of water possible. The eggs, after falling into the pan, and
the milt, having been stirred up with the water, were allowed to stand about half an hour, when
the milt, and water were poured off and the eggs carefully rinsed through several changes of
water. A small quantity of water was left with the eggs when they were perfectly clean. By
repeated actual 'counts, and by arranging on a plate in a true square, it was found that a large
tablespoon, moderately heaped up, contained about a thousand eggs. Eight ripe white-fish eggs
will lie entirely within the space of an inch, and the ninth will lie partially across the line.

"A pat of moss was then put into the cups, and a piece of canton flannel, cut into the form of
the Swiss cross, after thorough saturation with water, was pressed lightly down into the cup, and
a tablespoonful of eggs poured upon it. The canton flannel was used to line the sides of the
boxes, because it was found that the contact of the zinc was fatal to the eggs, probably from the
poisonous elements of the oxide. The patch of canton flannel proved to be a great convenience in
taking out the eggs, as all that was necessary was to take the edges lightly in the fingers and
remove it from the box, and dipping the cloth with the eggs into a pan of water, they were
rinsed off with a few quick motions, without any tedious picking and rinsing the eggs free from
particles of moss. In arranging the eggs for transportation for a short distance, the use of the
cloth patches is undoubtedly a good method. After filling the boxes they were placed in the
trays, and the trays adjusted within the zinc can, when water was poured on until the whole con-
tents were thoroughly saturated, when the lid was closed and locked and the case was ready for
transportation to the hatching house. A small fee to the baggage-master excites considerable
interest in the safe-handling of the box.

"Two trips were made from Ecorse to the hatching house at Clarkston, and about 1,330,000
eggs were put into the troughs, Mr. Clark having increased the number of troughs to fifty for the
purpose of receiving the extra supply of eggs. One half of the eggs were the property of the
commission, the other half to be controlled by Mr. J. P. Clark, of Detroit, Mr. George Clark, of
Ecorse, and Mr. N. W. Clark, of Clarkston. The eggs received attention from the second day
after they were placed in the troughs until about the middle of January, the eyes of the embryo
then showing distinctly, and the subsequent loss being very small.

C ULTLTRE OF Till! \V 1 1 1 T K -FISH. 53 1

"Upon receipt of the instructions to ship a quantity of eggs to the State commissioners of
California, a case similar t<> Mr. ('lark's was made, substituting a good quality of tin for the zinc,
and adding a second square can, lar^c enough to contain the can with the trays and cups, and
leave the space of an inch on all sides.

"Arriving at Clarkston on the 18th of January, the weather was considered too severe to hazard
the shipment of the eggs at the time, and it was delayed until the 20th. The thick covering of
frozen snow ami ice pn -vented the possibility of obtaining moss, and a good quality of sponge wan
substituted. This was prepared first by whipping out the calcareous dust that it contained, and,
after being cut in thin slices, was thoroughly washed through several changes of warm water.
Pieces were then titled to the bottom of the cups, and while standing in a pan of water a half
tablespoonful of eggs was poured in, a thin slice of sponge, fitting the inside of the cup, laid
lightly over the eggs, and the remainder of the spoonful poured in, when a third piece of spongo
was put over ihem to cover them. The tray, with the cups, was then put into the inner can,
which was placed within the second can, with one inch of sawdust filling the vacant space on the
sides, bottom, and top. A piece of bnrlaps was tied over the top, and the whole placed upon the
springs, within the packing box, and the lid fastened down. The packing-box had two half-inch
holes bored near the bottom to admit the air. The filling of sawdust was considered as a neces-
sary safeguard against the cold weather of the time.

"The case was put in charge of the baggage-master, and I accompanied it as far as Omaha,
Nebraska, attending to its transfer from one train to another, and regulating its position in the
car. At Omaha it was given in charge of the express company, and the messenger instructed as
to the effect of heat and cold upon the eggs, and a letter containing full instructions sent with the
box to be delivered to the messenger at Ogden, where the box was transferred to his care, there
being no further change of messenger between that and San Francisco, California. On two sides
of the box, in distinct letters, was printed the caution, 'Fish-eggs; must not be jolted or allowed
to freeze.'

"The weather continued cold throughout the time the eggs were on the way, and they
arrived at their destination in very bad condition. Mr. Stone attributed the damage to the use of
sponge, and the sawdust packing preventing ventilation. Mr. Rudolph Hessel, an experienced
fish -cult nrist of Offenburg, Germany, while visiting Washington, informed me that he had used
sponge for packing eggs for long distances with entire success. The lack of ventilation is a more
probable cause, though the description given by Mr. Bucklaud of the method of packing the eggs
received from Seth Green's establishment in January, 1870, was similar in the fact that the cups
containing the moss and eggs were buried in the sawdust. A small quantity, received from Mr.
N. W. Clark at the Smithsonian Institution this winter, was packed in the same manner, using
sponge and burying the cups in a pail of sawdust, and they were found to be all alive after a fifty
hours' journey.

"The necessity of a certain supply of oxygen to the eggs has been very thoroughly proven by
the researches of W. H. Ransom, M. D., of Nottingham, England, published in the first volume of
the 'Journal of Anatomy and Physiology.' The experiments were made while investigating the*
nature of the rhythmic contractions of the yelk, known to occur in the living eggs of fishes..
Among several experiments, in which by ingenious methods the oxygen of the atmosphere wa
kept from contact with the eggs, those of the stickleback being employed, he relates as follows :

"'I therefore made a series of suflocative experiments on impregnated and unimpregnated
eggs, using aerated distilled water in cells, all of the capacity of .05 cubic inch, sealing the covers
with hot wax, and varying the number of eggs in each cell. Five observations were made with


unimpregnated eggs, having, respectively, thirty five, thirty, eighteen, nine, and seven eggs in a
cell; and although, in consequence of the accidental loosening of the wax, and the entrance of a
little bubble of air, the duration of the contractions was not in all cases inversely as the number
of ova in the cells, yet the general result was rhythmic contraction, and the pseudo cleavage con-
tinued longer in the cells containing the smaller number of ova, the eggs which lay nearest to the
air-bubble always being the last to cease to move ; the accidental failure of the luting affording
thus additional evidence of the importance of oxygen. In all the cells the contraction ceased in
from twenty -three to thirty hours, or one-fourth of the time they continued in aerated water and
unlimited space. Five similar observations were made on impregnated eggs, with forty-eight,
thirty-eight, seventeen, ten, and seven eggs in each cell, with similar but more marked results;
the yelk contractions ceasing earlier than in the unimpregnated ova. The cleavage was more
rapidly checked than the pseudo cleavage, and still more so than the yelk contractions. Seven
experiments were then made to ascertain the relative dependence upon the presence of oxygen of
the movements which result in cell multiplication and differentiation, and of the muscular contrac-
tions of the embryo compared with the yelk contractions. Two healthy developing ova were
sealed in similar cells at seventy-six, one hundred and one, one hundred and twenty-seven, one
hundred and fifty, and one hundred and seventy-four hours each, after impregnation, and two free
embryos at twenty-four and forty -eight hours after batching. Although the proportion of active
organic matter to the medium was so very much less than in the previous experiments with recently
impregnated eggs, yet the process of development ceased in all in about seven hours, and the yelk
contractions did not continue more than eighteen hours. The movements of the heart continued
about the same time, those of the trunk ceasing before the heart. The embryos in the lafoT stages
of development more quickly ceased to move than those in the earlier. The inference is, I think,
not to be resisted, that oxygen in the surrounding medium is an essential condition of the exercise
of the property of rhythmic contractility possessed by the food yelk, as well as of the fissile con-
tractility of the formative yelk.'

"Though Dr. Hansom admits that the quantity of oxygen consumed in these movements

Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 90 of 146)