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in which the catfish lives runs north and south it will be found in the southern part of the stream in the winter and in the northern part in summer. This fish is highly prized for edible purposes. In the small streams the catfish is correspondingly small and weighs from less than one pound to two or three pounds only. The small catfish, especially in the small streams tributary to the Ohio and Mississippi, has edible properties which are far superior to the large catfish growing in the rivers themselves.
The catfish of the small streams and lakes are commonly known as bullheads, since the head is large and wide. The name of the most common or best known species is Ameirus nebulosus. This species is found from Maine westward and southward. In Pennsylvania it is known as the Schuylkill cat, and everywhere generally throughout the country as a small catfish.
Codfish. One of the most famous food fish of the American waters is the codfish. It is a widely distributed fish. There are said to be about 25 genera and 140 species. The codfish is particularly a fish of the northern waters. Only one genus is found in fresh-water lakes and streams.
The Common Cod.-The common codfish (family Gadida) is the species Gadus callarias. It is rarely found south of the Virginia coast, but is especially abundant off the New England and Newfoundland coast. The great center of the codfish industry is in the vicinity of Newfoundland. Gloucester, Massachusetts, is the principal town devoted to the codfish industry in the United States. The cod is an omnivorous fish and especially fond of crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish. It also eats vegetation, and it is stated by Jordan and Evermann that all sorts of things have been found in cod stomachs, such as oil cans, finger rings, rubber dolls, rocks, pieces of clothing, etc. The livers of the cod, especially those of Norwegian origin, are extremely valuable, being the source of cod liver oil, which is considered by many to be the most valuable medicinal food known. Cod liver oil, while not palatable, is highly nutritious. The cod livers contain, according to some authorities, over 60 distinct chemical substances, many of which are highly important for their medicinal qualities. The cod move in schools, but not in such dense bodies as the mackerel, herring, and menhaden. Their movements are largely controlled by the temperature of the water and their desire for food. This species probably does not reach a greater length than 3 feet and a weight of more than 25 pounds. The average weight of the large-size cod in New England waters is about 15 pounds and on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland 20 pounds. The average weight of the small-size cod in these waters is about 12 pounds. It is one of the most prolific of fishes. The ovaries of a 21-pound cod were found to contain 2,700,000 eggs and of a 75-pound cod 9,100,000 eggs. The eggs are very small and require about 337,000 to make a quart. The cod is one of the most valuable of all fishes from a commercial point of view and also on account of international re
lations. On some occasions this country has apparently been on the verge war with Great Britain respecting questions relating to the fisheries on the banks of Newfoundland. The U. S. Bureau of Fisheries has probably done more to propagate the cod than any other variety of fish. More than five hundred million cod fry have been liberated at different times by the Bureau and the number in one year has approximated 100,000,000. The color of the common cod is green or brown, but is subject to very great variations,—sometimes it is yellow or red and a variety of tints are assumed.
SALTED AND DRIED COD.
These data show that the flesh of cod fish is perhaps the most exclusively nitrogenous of any of the more abundant food fish. The quantity of fat contained therein is less than of the total weight. The flesh of the fresh cod is more largely composed of water than that of the ordinary fish, containing approximately 83 percent of that substance. The flesh of the cod itself is an unbalanced ration, and needs to be eaten with butter and potatoes in order to make a complete ration. The hake, which is sometimes substituted for the cod without the knowledge of the purchaser, has very much the same chemical constituents, containing—
It is seen that there is very little difference in the chemical composition of these two fishes. This, however, does not justify the substitution of the hake for the cod, inasmuch as the hake is inferior in palatability to the cod.
Salted and Dried Cod.-In the United States the cod is particularly devoted to the use of curing and salting, and in this cured state is even more highly valued, especially for the making of codfish balls, than it is in its fresh. state. The old-fashioned method of salting and smoking produced a flesh of very high flavor, yielding under proper treatment in the kitchen a most delicious base for the fish ball. Under the modern system of quick curing, the salting and smoking have largely disappeared and the fish are cured in brine, and with the help of borax a product is produced which is less palatable than the old-fashioned cured fish.
Composition of dry Salted and Dried Cod.
These data show that more than half of the weight in the water-free state is composed of salt. The codfish is also put up as boned fish in which nothing but the flesh is found, as desiccated cod, as shredded codfish and in various other forms.
Average Composition of Codfish Balls.—
Ash (chiefly salt),
.33 - 30.85
The difference between the composition of the fish balls and the average composition of fish is clearly brought out by the data recorded. In the average composition of fish the sum of the fat, ash, and protein is greater than the solids obtained by difference by 0.36 percent. In the codfish balls the sum of the ingredients mentioned is less than the solids by difference by 16.10 per cent. This is due to the added potato, salt, etc. Average Composition of Shredded Codfish.
Eels. The common eel is a fish which is extremely long in proportion to its size and gives the general appearance, to the uninitiated, of a snake. The resemblance of the eel to a snake in shape is probably one of the reasons why it is not more highly valued as a food. The eels, perhaps, are not to be considered as true fish. The common eel (Anguilla chrysypa) is widely distributed throughout most parts of the United States, especially the eastern part. It extends southward as far as the West Indies, and is found in more or less abundance on the Gulf coast. Although a salt-water fish, it differs from most other eels in its penchant for ascending fresh-water streams. It often goes to the very headwaters, especially in the rivers of the Atlantic coast and Mississippi valley. Eels are often found in lakes which seem to have had no communication with the sea, which shows that they are able to surmount barriers which seem impossible to cross. Jordan and Evermann claim that the eel is really a fresh-water fish and that its real home is in the fresh-water rivers and lakes, and that it runs down to salt water only at spawning time, thus showing a quality or characteristic exactly opposite to that of the salmon and shad, which are true salt-water fish and come into fresh waters for spawning. Eels, like the carp, are more or less scavengers, feeding upon all manner of refuse, especially dead fish. They are very destructive of
other fish, especially of young shad and herring. When nets are placed for shad and herring and the fish are caught therein the eels often invade the net, and when it is drawn it is filled largely with the skeletons of the fish, the flesh of which has been removed by the eels. Eels have a high value as food fish, both on account of their nutritive value and their flavor. The average length of the eel is from 2 to 3 feet, though much larger examples are sometimes found.
Composition of the Eel.
These data show that the eel is rather richer in fat than the majority of fish, although there are some that exceed it in this constituent.
Conger Eel. The conger eel belongs to the family Leptocephalidæ. It inhabits salt water only, is scaleless, and grows to much larger sizes than the common eel, sometimes as long as 7 or 8 feet. It is not used for food in the United States, but is to some extent in Europe and the West Indies. On the east coast of the United States they do not occur very frequently. Only a few species are known, and these are of small extent and have little food value.
Summer Flounder. This fish (Paralichthys dentatus) is quite abundant on the Atlantic coast, frequenting the coast from Cape Cod to the Carolinas. It reaches a length of from 2 to 3 feet and has a weight of about 15 pounds. It is caught very extensively off the New England coast. The principal fishing grounds are in the region of Block Island, Marthas Vineyard, and the eastern end of Long Island. There is another species known as the southern flounder (Paralichthys lethostigmus), which flourishes from Charleston southward, and is found along the entire Gulf coast. There is also another species on the Gulf coast called the Gulf flounder (Paralichthys albiguttus). There is also a wide flounder or common flatfish (Paralichthys americanus). It is found on the coast of Labrador and extends down to the Carolinas. It is especially abundant along the coast of southern New England. It is a small species, rarely being over 20 inches in length, the average length being from 12 to 15 inches, and weighs from 2 to 3 pounds. This species of flounder has been extensively propagated by the U. S. Bureau of Fisheries, as many as 100,000,000 -fry having been planted in one season.
Composition of Summer Flounder.
The flesh of this fish is particularly rich in water and poor in fat.
Graylings. The graylings belong to a family very closely resembling the Salmonidæ. They occur chiefly in northern or Arctic waters. One species found in Michigan is known as the Michigan grayling. It is a fish that is not only distinguished on account of its food value but also on account of its graceful shape and pleasing appearance. Another species occurs in Montana, and has been distributed very largely by the Bureau of Fisheries. It is not a fish which is of any great economic importance.
The Haddock. This is a fish very nearly related to the cod, but it has a smaller mouth and differs in other essentials, particularly in its chemical constituents, from the cod. The haddock has a food value which is probably not inferior to that of the cod. It is one of our most abundant fishes, and by some consumers the flesh is preferred to that of the cod. The usual weight of the haddock is about 3 or 4 pounds. It is, therefore, a much smaller fish than the cod. The species is Melanogrammus æglefinus. On the Atlantic coast it does not occur north of the Straits of Belle Isle. The haddock is particularly abundant on the Massachusetts coast in summer. Like the cod, the haddock is well suited for salting, smoking, and curing in various ways. It, however, has not been used to such an extent as the cod for those purposes, finding a more ready market in the fresh state.
The flesh of the haddock, it is seen, is even more exclusively nitrogenous than that of the cod. The two species resemble each other very closely in composition.
The Hake. There are several species of hakes, family Merluccidæ. The common European hake is the species Merluccius merluccius. The hake which is found mostly in American waters is Merluccius productus, and occurs very abundantly on the Pacific coast and is largely eaten as food. The flesh, however, is rather coarse and not very palatable. Another species which is found on our Atlantic coast from New England northward is Merluccius bilinearis.
Halibut. The halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) is a fish which is highly esteemed and occurs in great quantities.. It is a fish which frequents northern waters, and especially the North Atlantic on the American coast. It has not been taken south of Montauk Point, but extends as far north as the