Massachusetts. Commissioners on Inland Fisheries.

Annual report of the Commissioners on Inland Fisheries, Volumes 17-19 online

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one-quarter to one half-inch are used in the fall when the young shad
and alewives descend the river. I forward to you a sample of young

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fish taken from one of these seines, for inspection. It is very evident
that the use of these seines is a serious injury to the fisheries of the
Merrimack, and in justice to all should be discontinued.

Yours truly,


It is desirable that hatching and planting of shad shonld
be prosecuted vigorously, and that every obstacle in the
way of restocking the river should be removed. The atten-
tion of the legislature is called to the fact that there are
several seines used at Newburyport with a mesh of from a
quarter to half an inch. These nets are run through the
fall months, at the time the young shad and alewives are
descending the river, and are used for the purpose of taking
all kinds of small fish. This is not only unjust to all the
fishermen, but cannot fitil to be a serious drawback in re-
stocking the river, or even in maintaining it in its present
condition. We recommend that no seine be allowed on
the lower part of the Merrimack with a mesh less than two
and one-half inches, or what is known as the alewife mesh.
This would in no way interfere with the taking of menhaden
and alewives, or what the fishermen call bluebacks, for
bait, while it would prevent the wholesale destruction of
young fish.

Salmon (Salmo solar).

In the spring of 1871 your Commissioners, united with
several of the New England States for the purpose of
procuring salmon spawn, under the superintendence of
Charles G. Atkins, Commissioner of Maine. His plan was
to buy live salmon from the fishermen at the mouth of the
Penobscot River, and transport them to a small pond where
they would be under control until ready to spawn. By this
arrangement the cost of salmon spawn was reduced from
forty (40) dollars per thousand, the price charged in
Cauada, to less than three (3) dollars. Soon after the
commencement of this work Prof. Baird, United States
Commissioner, joined the association, tendering the aid of
the National Government. This arrangement continued
until 1876, when Prof. Baird, under the impression that
salmon spawn could be obtained from California at much
less expense, withdrew from the Bucksport establishment.

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1882.] PUBLIC DOCUMENT — No. 25. 15

As the funds of the New England Commissioners did not
warrant the continuation of the work alone, it was for a
time abandoned. Prof. Baird's conclusion as to the cost of
California spawn was correct; but unfortunately the Cali-
fornia salmon (Salmo quinnat)^ after a fair trial, proved to
be an entire failure in New England waters. This was a
disappointment, causing a break of four years in the work
of establishing salmon in the Merrimack, as well as elsewhere.
The success of the Penobscot salmon in the Merrimack has
led to the re-opening of the works near Bucksport, with
the co-operation of the United States Commission. By
means of the contributions from several of the New Eng-
land States, together with the assistance of the National
Government during the past three years, the hatching works
near Bucksport have been sending out a large supply of
excellent salmon spawn. As it takes four years from the
time they are hatched for salmon to return as spawning fish,
the break above alluded to was more or less felt during the
past season ; but, notwithstanding this, more salmon have
been taken this year at the Plymouth Works than at any
season since they commenced returning to the river. During
the last two years about eight hundred thousand young fish
have been turned into the Pem'gewasset River above Liver-
more Falls. The consequence is that the river has swarmed
with smolts, or young fish, during the past season. The
return of these fish in 1885 and 1886 ought to furnish the
works at Plymouth with a large amount of salmon spawn.
This would obviate the necessity of going elsewhere for a

Thirty-six thousand young salmon were turned into the
Nashua River.

Salmo I Spawn hatched, and Young Fish put into the Headwaters
of the Merrimack in 1882,

Spawn from Bucksport, 341,000

Loss of eggs and fish, 6,698

Put into the river, 334,302

Salmon spawn taken at Plymouth, N.H., 126,000

Ix)ss of eggs and fish, 4,319

Total number of young salmon turned into the river for th«

spring of 1882 ... . 464,983

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Report of E. B. Hodge, Superintendent op the Works at Plym-

New Hampshire.

To the Commissioners on Inland Fisheries for the Commonwealth of

When I assumed charge of the joint hatching-honse near Livermore
Falls, June 1, the work of hatching for the year had been completed,
and the salmon fry had been placed in the Pemigewasset. I immedi-
ately had the reservoir put in condition to receive the expected spring
run of salmon.

The nets were placed in the river the 20th of June, and the first
salmon taken the 26th. Owing to another unusually dry season fol-
lowing the severe drought of last year, the water, by the 20th of July*
became too low for the fish to run. The fall run began about the last of
September, and the last salmon was taken November 3. Thirty-three
were taken in all — an increase of about twenty-five per cent.

The eggs were taken the last week in October, and are remarkably
healthy, the loss so far being only a fraction of one per cent. ; 160,000
brook-trout eggs are now in the hatching-house, 76,000 of which I
shall forward to you as soon as they are sufficiently advanced.

The unusual low water in the Pemigewasset the last two years is not
owing, as many suppose, to cutting away of the forests, causing the
springs to dry up, and thus diminishing the volume of water in the
river, but to the unusual light rain-fall, — as the area of woodland in
Graflon County, and I might say in the whole State, is larger than
twenty-five years ago. As directed, I have added about 600 brook-trout
this season to the stock already in the ponds, making now about 600
two years old and upwards, and 600 from one to two years old.

There are also in the large pond from two to four thousand fry of the
" California " or rainbow trout. Many of them are four inches and
over in length, which shows a rapid growth, as they are only six months
old. It will be necessary to prepare a place for them another season.

The young salmon in the river this year were unusually plenty, more
so than any previous year. So numerous were they on the rapids
below the falls that it was impracticable to fish for trout, as a parr or
smolt would be hooked at almost every cast.

Many of the salmon that passed the fishways did not reach here,
owing to the low water. They were plenty between here and Bristol in
the pools, and some are reported to have fallen victims to the spear of
the poacher.

It is to be hoped that some action will be taken the coming season to
prevent such violation of the law.

Over 900 feet of gravelled walk has been made around the ponds
As the supply of water in the hatching-house was not sufficient for the
young fish when all the trays were full, I have laid a two-inch pipe
from the large spring south of the house, whioh gives an additional
supply of over 16,000 gallons per day. This water is three degrees
colder than that from the old spring, and will retard the hatching, which

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1882.] PUBLIC DOCUMENT — No. 25. 17

will be an advantage, as the young fish will not be reaily to place in the
streams until they are free from ice and have become warm enough to
furnish food for the young fry.

The fact that no increase in the run of salmon was expected this
year, together with the unusually large number of young fish in the
river, certainly gives great encouragement for the success of the enter-
prise in the future.

E. B. HODGE, Superintendent

Plymouth, N. H., Dec. 4, 1882.

Cultivation of Carp.

In the fall of 1880 the Massachusetts Commissioners sent
to Washington and procured from Prof. Baird five hundred
German carp. Soon after eight hundred more were received
from Prof. Baird, together with a list of about forty appli-
cants from various parts of New England. These fish were
distributed as stated in the report of 1880. The carp were
very small, being only two or three inches long, and the num-
ber distributed not exceeding a dozen to each person. In
all cases the applicants were informed that the carp were
vegetable feeders, and utterly defenceless against other fish,
and that frogs and water-snakes were very destructive to
them. But little attention appears to have been paid to these
statements. In many cases the young carp were dumped
into ponds containing perch, pickerel, and other voracious
fish, or into sloughs among pouts, frogs and mud-turtles,
where no protection could be given them. Under such cir-
cumstances it 18 not to be wondered at that but little has been
heard from them, and that most of the parties took their last
look at them when they turned them into the water, or that
the impression has gone out that they are not suited to the
waters of New England. This impression has been strength-
ened by statements of the success and wonderful growth of
the carp in the Southern States.

Under the treatment they received it w^as a mistake to
have distributed them in such small numbers. Had each
applicant received one or two hundred the result might have
been more satisfactory.

The carp is essentially a farmer's fish, easily raised, and
requiring no great amourit of skill to obtain them in
abundance. In some places in Austria and Bohemia the

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land is alternately iused for raising crops and carp ; first
the land for a few years is used for agricultural purposes,
then flowed and stocked with carp.

Four of the five hundred carp received by the Commission-
ers were placed in the reservoir at the Tewksbury Alms-
house. There were several reasons for putting them in
that place. First, they were received too late in the season
to prepare a pond for them; secondly, it gave a chance of
testing them without expense to the State. The water is
cold spring-water, pumped from what used to be a trout
stream. They have lived and grown finely, many of them
weighing from one and a half to two and a half pounds*
The bottom of the reservoir is paved with stones. This,
with the low temperature of the water, prevents vegetable
growth, and consequently renders it an unfavorable place for
carp. With a grassy bottom and higher temperature they
would probably have doubled their size. This shows a rapid
growth under adverse circumstances. They have been under
the care of Mr. T. J. Marsh, Jr., assistant superintendent,
who has fed them with stale bread from the almshouse. Many
of the fish arc large enough to spawn next summer. Should
the appropriation warrant it, breeding ponds will be con-
structed in the spring, and every eflbrt naade to multiply and
distribute them in large numbers. Applications arc on file
from almost every town in the State, asking for a supply of
these fish. They are especially valuable to the inland towns
where fish are scarce, and where they can be grown for a less
price than any other food.

Carp ponds should be flowed loam or grass land, the deep-
est part running through the centre, sloping to the outlet,
where it need not be over five or six feet deep. The rest of
the pond should be shallow. This would enable the culti-
vator to control the water, and by drawing it oflT slowly
bring all his fish into a small compass. Very little more
water is needed than will supply the evaporation. When
streams are dammed for the purpose of making ponds, the
overflow may be taken around the pond and the supply from
an inlet at the upper end or side. The fish may be fed on
all kinds of vegetables. Where the pond is large they will
obtain a large part of their food from the pond. It is a

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1882.] PUBLIC DOCUMENT r- No, 25. 19

question of pasturage and feed as to the nutnber kept in |v
pond of a given size. As their food U inexpensive, being
easily obtained on any farm, the keeping of large numbers in
a small place may be often desirable. Water-snakes, frogs,
and every kind of fish thftt preys upon other fish should be
kept out. of the breeding pond, or any other plaee where the
young carp are kept. According to the statement of R. O.
ISJ^eeney, Commissioner of Minnesota, the carp have thriven
in the ponds connected with the hatchery of that State.

Mr. Sweeney says that he received 300 carp some time
ago from Prof. Baird, but upon his advice had kept them in
the hatchery for breeding purposes. There they had grown
well and had bred well, but the Commissioners did not know
to what extent, as they did not wish to disturb them in the
pond, and to find out just what the result was would neces-
sitate the drawing off of the pond or the use of nets, as the
fish would not bite. He believes that within a short time
there will be plenty of carp at the hatchery to distribute
throughout the State.



In the economy of living, next to meat comes fish, the
impoi^:ance of which has been recognized through all time^
for in addition to its liutritious character it enables us to vary;
our food, an essential to good health, and, until within a few
years, has had the additional ^meri^ of being the cheapest of
food, coming within the reach of the humblest laborer.

Had this state of things continued it is possible that but
little would have been done in fish-culture. The inerease in
population, together with the facilities for rapid transporta-
tion, have increased the demand beyoud the supply, and
prices have advanced until fresh fish, before it reaches the
consumer, costs more than bread.

The possibility of fish becoming one of the luxuries in -
stead of one of the necessaries of life has created a publie
sentiment throughout the civilized world, demanding that
fish-^culture should receive its full share of attention. It was.
this that forced the National Government to create a.
Commission to investigate and improve the fisheries, and
caused thirty-five States and Territories to appoint Commis*

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sioners, backed in many cases by large sums of money, for
the purpose of devising the best means of restocking our
rivers and streams to their former abundance.
^ Considering the short time which has elapsed since the
commencement of the work, and that many if not all of the
Commissioners bad, at times, to grope their way in the dark,
the results obtained are remarkable*

Massachusetts was the first to load in this work, with,
probably, more obstacles to orercome than any other State.-
Her migratory fi'sh had all been destroyed or so reduced as
to be of little value ; a result which many persons supposed
was not so much due to overfishing as to blocking the rivers
and streams by insurmountable dams, preventing the return
of the fish to their spawning grounds.

The vast wealth invested in the manufactories, the motive
power of which was derived from these dams, was naturally
arrayed against any efforts to restock the rivers. It was
therefore no inconsiderable part of the work of the Com-
missioners, to harmonize as far as possible the public
rights in the fisheries and the private interests of the manu-

The invention of the fishway now in use in this State, as
well as in some others, taking, as it does, so little water
and that at a time when there is generally a surplus, did
much toward removing any misapprehensions of the owners
or occupants of the dams, and it is due them to say that,
with very few exceptions, they have willingly complied with
the demands made upon them.

Successful as has been the work of the Commissioners
throughout the several States, little has been done compared
with what might have been, and doubtless will 6e, when the
people more thoroughly see its importance and acquire the
judgment and skill necessary to complete success. Fish-
culture, like every other industry, is a matter of growth. It
has taken many years to bring our manufactories up to their
present standard. No public enterprise ^an be forced much
above the general intelligence of the community, and fish-
oulture is no exception to the rule. So long as a State allows
the destruction of the young fish distributed for the purpose
of restocking its waters, or a few rapacious fishermen are

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1882-] PUBLIC DOCUMENT^ Np. 25. 21

permitted to overrule the public good, so long will the work
be more or less retarded.

With our one hundred and ninety-six thousand three hun-
dred and forty acres of land covered with water, it will be
seen that few States possess the advantages of Massachusetts
for fish-culture.

This large area of water does not include the small streams
that everywhere thread our meadows and lowlands, which
might be turned into carp ponds, yielding a far better return
than any other part of the farm.

The Hon. Theodore Lyman, who has faithfully served as
a Commissioner without compensation since the establish-
ment of the Commission, over seventeen years ago, hjis
retired from the board during the present year. His col-
leagues on the Commission desire to place upon record their
high appreciation of his labors in the cause of fish-culture,
and their recognition of the cordial relations which have
always existed between them. For what has been accom-
plished in restocking our ponds and rivers, and in arousiug
public interest in the work, the Commonwealth is largely
indebted to him ; while his influence has always been given
to secure the rights of the people.

Respectfully submitted,




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[Dec* ^82.


Salary, . $1,650 00

Travelling and other expenses, . . . . . . 132 60

Paid to Priscilla Freeman (Res. 1882, Chap. 65), . . . 500 00
Subscription to fund of Schoodic Salmon-breeding Estab-
lishment, 500 00

Subscription to fund of Penobscot Salmon-breeding Estab-
lishment, • • 500 00

General Expenses.
Eatching-house at PlymotUh: —

A. H. Powers, services, $150 00

Rent of hatching-house, . . * . . 25 00
Rent of land and streams, . . . . 25 00

Labor, 81 25

Expressage, . . . . . . . 28 36

Miscellaneous expenses, . . . . . 24 53

$284 14'

Rent of land for hatching-house at Winchester, ... 50 00

George E. Atkinson, care of Holyoke Fishway, ... 75 00

Edwin F. Hunt, services and expenses, 524 27

E B. Hodge, services and expenses, 227 56

Essex Company, privilege of fishing in Merrimack River, . 30 00

Morris Knowles, labor and materials at Lawrence, ... 82 90

Chase Phil brick, services, Merrimack River, .... 49 50

James Smith, services, Merrimack River, .... 10 00

John A. Loring, use of premises, boats and nets at Andover, 50 00

Thos. H. Pinkham, services of assistant, . . . . ^ 51 00

F. D. Brackett, services and expenses, 24 10

W. H. Foote, expenses, 3 05

Printing 168 26

Postage, telegrams and expressage, 30 58

Cases and boxes, 10 70

Rubber boots, 4 50

Fish screens, 20 10

Gate and lock at Holyoke Fishway, 4 85

$4,983 11

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Dominion op Canada.
W. F. Whitcher, Commissioner, .... Ottawa, Ontario.

Province op New Brunswick.
W. H. Venning, Inspector of Fisheries, . . .St. John.

Province op Nova Scotia.
W. H Rogers, Inspector, Amherst.

Province op Prince Edward Island.
J. H. Duvar, Inspector, Alberton.

Province op British Columbia,
A. C. Anderson, . Victoria.

The United States.
Prof. Spencer F. Baird, Washington, D.C.


C. S. G. Doster, Prattville.

D. B. Huntley, Courtland.


John J. Gosper, Prescott.

Eichard Rule, Tombstone.

Dr. J. H. Taggart, Business Manager, . . . Yuma.


John E. Reardon, Little Rock.

James H. Homibrook, .%.... Little Rock.

H. H. Rottaken, Little Rock.

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S. R. Throckmorton,
J. D. Farwell, .
W.W. Tray lor, .

Wilson E. Sisty,

California. '



San Francisco.
Niles, AlmedaCo.
San Francisco.

Idaho Springs.


Dr. Wm. M Hudson, Hartford.

Robert G. Pike, . . Middletown.

George N. Woodruff, Sherman.

Enoch Moore, Jr., Wilmington.


J. T. Henderson, Commissioner of Agriculture, and

ex officio Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries, . Atlanta.
Dr. H. H. Gary, Supt., La Grange.


N. K. Fairbank, President, Chicago.

S P. Bartlctt, . Quincy.

S. P. McDoel, Aurora.

Calvin Fletcher, . . ... . Spencer, Owen County.


B. F. Shaw, Anamosa.

A. A. Mosher, Assistant, Spirit Lake.


Hon. D. B. Long,



William Griffith, President,

Hon. John A. Steele, .

Dr. Wm. Van Antwerp,

A. H. Goble,

Hon. C. J. Walton,

Dr. S. W Coombs,

John B. Walker, .

P. H. Darby,

Hon. J. M. Chambers,

W. C. Price,

. Louisville.

. Versailles.

. Mount Sterling.

. Catlettsburg.

. Munfordville.

. Bowling Green.

. Madisonville.

. Princeton.
Independ.ence, Kenton Co.

. Danville.

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1882.] PUBLIC DOCUMENT — No. 25. 27


E. M. SCtlwell, Bangor.

Henry O. Stanley, Dixfield,


Thomas Haghlett, . . . . Easton.

G. W. Delawder, Oakland.


E. A Brackett, Winchester.

Asa French, . . * South Braintree,

F. W. Putnam, Cambridge.


Eli R. Miller, . Richland.

A. J. Kellogg, Detroit.

Dr. J. C. Parker, . . . . . . Grand Rapids.


1st District — Daniel Cameron, .... La Crescent.

2d District — Dr. Wm M. Sweney, . . . Red Wing.

8d District — Dr. Robert Ormsby Sweeny, . . St. Paul.
4th District — No appointment until January.
6th District — No appointment until January.

Dr. J. G. W. Steedman, Chairman, . . 2803 Pine Street, St. Louis

John Reid, Lexington, Lafayette County

Dr. J. S. Logan, .St. Joseph.


W. L. May, . Fremont.

R. R. Livingston, Plattsmouth.

B. E. B. Kennedy, Omaha.


Hon. Hubb G. Parker, Carson City.

New Hampshire.

George W. Riddle, Manchester.

Luther Hayes, Milton.

Albina H. Powers, Grantham.

New Jersey.

Dr. Benjamin P. Howell, Woodbury.

Major Edward J. Anderson, Trenton.

Theodore Morford, . . . . . . * Newton.

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New York.
Hon R. Barnwell Roosevelt, . . 76 Chambers St., New York.

Ed ward M Smith, Rochester.

Richard U. Sherman, New Hartford, Oneida Co.

Eugene G. Blackford (Fulton Market, New York
City), 809 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn.

North Carolina.
S. G. Worth, Raleigh.


Col. L. A. Harris, President, Cincinnati.

Charles VV. Bond, Treasurer, Toledo.

Halsey C. Post, Secretary, Sandusky.


Hon. H. J. Reeder, Easton.

Hon. B. L. Hewit, . . ' Hollidaysburg.

James Duflfy, Marietta.

John Hummel, Selingsgrove.

Robert Dal zell, Pittsburgh.

G. M. Miller, Wilkosbarre.

Rhode Island.

Alfred A. Reed, Providence.

Newton Dexter, Providence.

John H. Barden, .* Rockland.

South Carolina.

A. P. Butler, Commissioner of Agriculture, and ex

officio of Fish and Fisheries, Columbia.

C. J. Huake, Superintendent, Columbia.


W. W. McDowell, Memphis.

H. H. Sneed, Chattanooga.

Edward D. Hicks, . . . . T . . Nashville.

R. R Robertson, Austin.

No appointment since the death of Prof. J. L. Bcir-
foot in April last.

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1882.] PUBLIC DOCUMENT — No. 25. 29


Hiram A. Cutting, Lunenburg, Essex Co.

Herbert Brainerd, St Albans.


Col. M. McDonald, Berry ville.

West Virginia.

Henry B. Miller, President, Wheeling.

C S. White, Secretary, Romney.

N. M. Lowry, Hinton.


The Governor, ex officio, Madison.

Philo Dunning, President, Madison.

C. L. Valentine, Secretary and Treasurer, . . Janes ville.

J. V. Jones, . . . . * . . . . Oshkosh.

John F. Antisdel, Milwaukee.

Mark Douglas, . . . . . . . . Melrose.

Christopher Hutchinson, Beetown.

Wyoming Territory.

Dr. M. C. Barkwell, Chairman and Superintendent, Cheyenne.

Otto Gramm, Secretary, Laramie.

Hon. N. L. Andrews, Johnson County

Hon. E. W. Bennet, Carbon County.

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Online LibraryMassachusetts. Commissioners on Inland FisheriesAnnual report of the Commissioners on Inland Fisheries, Volumes 17-19 → online text (page 2 of 22)