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CHAPTER XII

BUREAU OF FISHERIES

Prior to 1871 the fisheries of the United States and the artificial propagation of fish were given considerable attention by certain of the States and by various individuals, and inquiries along these lines were also conducted by the Smithsonian Institution. Influenced by the action of a meeting of the commissioners of fisheries of New England, held in Boston in 1866, Congress passed a joint resolution, approved February 9, 1871, which provided for the appointment of a United States Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries, who was to conduct inquiries and investigations relating to the diminution of the food-fish supply, and suggest remedial measures. From this beginning has grown up the Bureau of Fisheries.

The propagation of food fishes was taken up under authority of an act approved June 10, 1872, which was the result of action leading to this end taken by the American Fish-Culturists' Association at a meeting held in Albany, N. Y., February 7, 1872. The early appropriations for the conduct of the Commission were relatively small, but with the assistance of the several Executive Departments--notably the Treasury, Navy, and War—as authorized in section 3 of the joint resolution of February 9, 1871, the work was steadily carried on and augmented.

A study of the methods and statistics of the fisheries was conducted in connection with the more abstract scientific work until 1979, when a specific appropriation for this purpose was made. Until the fiscal year 1892 the appropriations for the conduct of the work of the Bureau were general in their character, and discretion as to the expenditure was vested in the Commissioner, but in accordance with an act approved August 5 of that year, estimates have since been annually submitted to Congress, on which appropriations have been based providing specific sums for expenditure in different branches of the work.

By an act of Congress approved February 14, 1903, the Bureau was made a part of the Department of Commerce and Labor from and after July 1, 1903, on which date the old name of Fish Commission was changed by order of the Secretary to Bureau of Fisheries.

The Bureau of Fisheries is an institution peculiarly American in its conception, and with few parallel organizations in other governments. It has achieved a world-wide reputation for its enterprise and originality of method, and its work is greatly appreciated in other countries and held up as a striking evidence of the public spirit, intelligence, and liberality of the American nation. Exhibits have been made at all of the large expositions at home and abroad, and have received many medals and prizes for the excellence and originality of the work.

The work of the Bureau is along three lines:

(1) The systematic investigation of the waters of the United States and the biological and physical problems which they present. This includes not only a study of the life history of fishes of economic value, but the history of the animals and plants upon which they feed or upon which their food is nourished, as well as the currents, temperatures, and other physical phenomena of the waters in which they live, in relation to migration, reproduction, and growth.

(2) The introduction and multiplication of useful food fishes throughout the country, particularly in the coastal waters and Great Lakes.

(3) The investigation of the methods of the fisheries, past and present, and the statistics of production and commerce of fishery products. This includes a study of methods and apparatus, and a comparison of the same with those of other lands, that the use of those which are objectionable may be discouraged and those which are inefficient be replaced by others more serviceable.

The Bureau conducts investigations regarding the fur-seal herds of the Pribilof Islands and Bering Sea under the provisions of law of March 3, 1893.

At two points on the Atlantic coast are well-equipped marine biological stations. At various points throughout the country are thirty-six tish-cultural establishments. In the distribution of the output of fish and eggs five specially constructed railroad cars are used. · There are also employed two seagoing steamers and one large sengoing schooner, as well as two smaller steamers for river work, and seven steam launches. One of the steamers is especially equipped and adapted for deep-sea investigations, and the other vessels and boats are used both for scientific work and fish-cultural purposes.

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LAW PERTAINING TO THE BUREAU OF FISHERIES

[As modified by act of February 14, 1903.)

The Bureau of Fisheries and the Office of Commissioner Transfer to

* Commerce and of Fish and Fisheries, and all that pertains to the same, be, Labor." and the same hereby are, placed under the jurisdiction and made a part of the Department of Commerce and Labor. Sec. 4.

Fib. 11. 1903.
(32 Stat., 827.)

Section four thousand three hundred and ninety-five of Commissioner,

appointment, the Revised Statutes of the United States be, and the same salary.' is hereby, amended to read as follows:

Jan. 20,- 1888.

(25 Stat,, 1.) “There shall be appointed by the President, by and K. S. 4396. with the advice and consent of the Senate, a person of scientific and practical acquaintance with the fish and fisheries to be a Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries, and he shall receive a salary at the rate of five thousand dollars a year, and he shall be removable at the pleasure of the President. Said Commissioner shall not hold any other office or employment under the authority of the United States or any State.”

missioner.

The Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries shall prosecute Duties of Cominvestigations and inquiries on the subject, with the view "R. S., 4396. of ascertaining whether any and what diminution in the number of the food fishes of the coast and lakes of the United States has taken place; and, if so, to what causes the same is due; and also whether any and what protective, prohibitory, or precautionary measures should be adopted in the premises; and shall report upon the same to Congress.

The Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries is authorized Seal investigaand required to investigate, under the direction of the war. 3, 1893. Secretary of Commerce and Labor, and when so requested (27 Stat., 585.) report annually to him regarding the conditions of seal life upon the rookeries of the Pribilof Islands; and he is also directed to continue the inquiries relative to the life history and migrations of the fur-seals frequenting the waters of Bering Sea.

The Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries of the United Hawaiian fishStates is empowered and required to examine into the .Apr. 50, 1900. entire subject of fisheries and the laws relating to the fish- see ing rights in the Territory of Hawaii, and report to the [Secretary of Commerce and Labor] touching the same, and to recommend such changes in said laws as he shall see fit.

eries,

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(31 Sat., 160.)

The heads of the several Executive Departments shall Other Departcause to be rendered all necessary and practicable aid tom the commissioner in the prosecution of his investigations and inquiries.

ments to aid.

R. S., 4397.

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