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FUR-SEAL AND SALMON FISHERIES OF ALASKA
The protection of the valuable tisheries of Alaska received the attention of the Government soon after the acquisition of that Territory from Russia, March 30, 1867. By act of Congress approved July 27, 1868, the supervision of the fisheries of Alaska and the islands of St. Paul and St. George was given to the Secretary of the Treasury; the act approved March 3, 1899, was a reenactment of a portion of the above law. An act approved December 29, 1897, prohibited the killing of fur seals in the waters of the North Pacific Ocean, and regulations were promulgated under this law. The right to engage in taking fur seals on the islands of St. Paul and St. George (Pribilof Islands) was given by contract to the North American Commercial Company for twenty years from May 1, 1890, under the law of July 1, 1870.
Supervision of the fur-seal fisheries on the seal islands is exercised through four agents appointed by the Secretary of Commerce and Labor, under the provisions of the act of March 5, 1872. The maintenance of the natives on these islands is provided for in part by the Government through annual appropriations granted by Congress, but the lessees care for the widows and orphans and the aged and infirm, as prescribed by the terms of their contract.
The salmon fisheries are under the immediate supervision of the Secretary of Commerce and Labor, and under his direction two agents appointed by the President annually visit the fisheries and canneries to enforce the laws and regulations and report thereon.
The law approved February 14, 1903 (An act to establish the Department of Commerce and Labor), places the supervision of the Alaskan fisheries in the Secretary of Commerce and Labor on and after July 1, 1903.
Copy of contract between the United States and the North American
l'ominercial Company, under which said company is granted the enclusive right of taking fur scals upon the Pribilof Islands in Alaska for a period of twenty years from May 1, 1890.
This indenture, made in duplicate this twelfth day of March, 1890, by and between William Windom, Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, in pursuance of chapter 3 of title 23, Revised Statutes, and the North American Commercial Company, a corporation duly established under the laws of the State of California, and acting by I. Liebes, its president, in accordance with a resolution of said corporation adopted at a meeting of its board of directors held January 4, 1890:
Witnesseth: That the said Secretary of the Treasury, in consideration of the agreements hereinafter stated, hereby leases to the said North American Commercial Company for a term of twenty years, from the first day of May, 1890, the exclusive right to engage in the business of taking fur seals on the islands of St. George and St. Paul in the Territory of Alaska, and to send a vessel or vessels to said islands for the skins of such seals.
The said North American Commercial Company, in consideration of the rights secured to it under this lease above stated, on its part covenants and agrees to do the things following, that is to say:
To pay to the Treasurer of the United States each year during the said term of twenty years, as annual rental, the sum of sixty thousand dollars, and in addition thereto agrees to pay the revenue tax, or duty, of two dollars laid upon each fur-seal skin taken and shipped by it from said islands of St. George and St. Paul, and also to pay to said Treasurer the further sum of seven dollars sixty-two and one-half cents apiece for each and every fur-seal skin taken and shipped from said islands, and also to pay the sum of fifty cents per gallon for each gallon of oil sold by it made from seals that may be taken on said islands during the said period of twenty years; and to secure the prompt payment of the sixty thousand de' us rental above referred to the said company agrees to deposit with the Secretary of the Treasury bonds of the United States to the amount of fifty thousand dollars, face value, to be held as a guarantee for the annual payment of said sixty thousand dollars rental, the interest thereon when due to be collected and paid to the North American Commercial Company, provided the said company is not in default of payment of any part of the said sixty thousand dollars rental.
That it will furnish to the native inhabitants of said islands of St. George and St. Paul annually such quantity or number of dried salmon and such quantity of salt and such number of salt barrels for preserying their necessary supply of meat as the Secretary of the Treasury shall from time to time determine.
That it will also furnish to the said inhabitants eighty tons of coal annually, and a sufficient number of comfortable dwellings in which said native inhabitants may reside, and will keep said dwellings in proper repair, and will also provide and keep in repair such suitable schoolhouses as may be necessary, and will establish and maintain during eight months of each year proper schools for the education of the children on said islands; the same to be taught by competent teachers, who shall be paid by the company a fair compensation, all to the satisfaction of the Secretary of the Treasury; and will also provide and maintain a suitable house for religious worship; and will also provide a competent physician or physicians, and necessary and proper medicines and medical supplies; and will also provide the necessaries of life for the widows and orphans and aged and infirm inhabitants of said islands who are unable to provide for themselves; all of which foregoing agreements will be done and performed by the said company free of all costs and charges to said native inhabitants of said islands or to the United States.
The annual rental, together with all other payments to the United States provided for in this lease, shall be made and paid on or before the first day of April of each and every year during the existence of this lease, beginning with the first day of April, 1891.
The said company further agrees to employ the native inhabitants of said islands to perform such labor upon the islands as they are fitted to perform, and to pay therefor a fair and just compensation, such as may be fixed by the Secretary of the Treasury; and also agrees to contribute, as far as in its power, all reasonable efforts to secure the comfort, health, education, and promote the morals and civilization of said native inhabitants.
The said company also agrees faithfully to obey and abide by all rules and regulations that the Secretary of the Treasury has heretofore or may hereafter establish or make in pursuance of law concerning the taking of seals on said islands, and concerning the comfort, morals, and other interests of said inhabitants, and all matters pertaining to said islands and the taking of seals within the possession of the United States. It also agrees to obey and abide by any restrictions or limitations upon the right to kill seals that the Secretary of the Treasury shall judge necessary, under the law, for the preserva tion of the seal fisheries of the United States; and it agrees that it will not kill, or permit to be killed, so far as it can prevent, in any year a greater number of seals than is authorized by the Secretary of the Treasury.
The said company further agrees that it will not permit any of its agents to keep, sell, give, or dispose of any distilled spirits or spiritous liquors or opium on either of said islands or the waters adjacent thereto to any of the native inhabitants of said islands, such person not being a physician and furnishing the same for use as a medicine.
It is understood and agreed that the number of fur seals to be taken and killed for their skins upon said islands by the North American Commercial Company during the year ending May 1st, 1891, shall not exceed sixty thousand.
The Secretary of the Treasury reserves the right to terminate this lease and all rights of the North American Commercial Company under the same at any time on full and satisfactory proof that the said company has violated any of the provisions and agreements of this lease, or in any of the laws of the United States, or any Treasury regulation respecting the taking of fur seals or concerning the islands of St. George and St. Paul or the inhabitants thereof.
In witness whereof the parties hereto have set their hands and seals the day and year above written. (Signed)
Secretary of the Treasury. NORTH AMERICAN COMMERCIAL COMPANY.
[North American Commer
Signed by I. LIEBES, cial Company, incorpu
President of the North Amerirated December, 1889.]
can Commercial Company. Attest: (Signed) H. B. Parsons,
LAW PERTAINING TO THE SEAL AND SALMON FISHERIES OF ALASKA
[As modified by act of February 14, 1903.] Prohibiting No citizen of the United States, nor person owing duty killing of seal in North Pacific. of obedience to the laws or the treaties of the United States, Dec. 29, 1897. (30 Stai.,226.) nor any person belonging to or on board of a vessel of the
United States, shall kill, capture, or hunt, at any time or in any manner whatever, any fur seal in the waters of the Pacific Ocean north of the thirty-fifth degree of north lati
tude and including Bering Sea and the sea of Okhotsk. Sec. 2.
No citizen of the United States, nor person above described in section one, shall equip, use, or employ, or furnish aid in equipping, using, or employing, or furnish supplies to any vessel used or employed, or to be used or employed in carrying on or taking part in said killing, capturing, or hunting of fur seals in said waters, nor shall
any vessel of the United States be so used or employed. Penalty.
Every person guilty of a violation of the provisions of this Act, or of any regulations made thereunder, shall, for each offense, be fined not less than two hundred dollars or more than two thousand dollars, or imprisoned not more than six months, or both; and every vessel, its tackle, apparel, furniture, and cargo, at any time used or cmployed in violation of this Act, or of the regulations
made thereunder, shall le forfeited to the United States, Sec. l.
If any vessel of the United States shall be found within the waters to which this Act applies, having on board furseal skins or bodies of seals, or apparatus or implements suitable for killing or taking seals, it shall be presumed that such vessel was used or employed in the killing of said seals, or that said apparatus or implements were used in violation of this Act until the contrary is proved to the satisfaction of the court.
. Any violation of this Act or of the regulations thereunder may be prosecuted either in the district court of Alaska, or in any district court of the United States in California, Oregon, or Washington.
This Act shall not interfere with the privileges accorded to Indians dwelling on the coast of the United States under section six of the Act of April sixth, eighteen hundred and ninety-four, but the limitations prescribed in said Act shall remain in full force.
This Act shall not affect in any way the killing or taking of fur seals upon the Pribilof Islands, or the laws of the
United States relating thereto. Right of Any officer of the Naval or Revenue-Cutter Service of
the United States, and any other officers duly designated by the President, may search any vessel of the United States in port or on the high seas suspected of having violated or of having an intention to violate the provisions of this act, and may seize such vessel and the offending officers and crew and bring them into the most accessible port of the States and Territory mentioned in section tive of this Act for trial.
International agreement pro
Fib. 21, 1893.
The importation into the United States by any person Sec. 9. whatsoever of fur-seal skins taken in the waters mentioned in this Aet, whether raw, dressed, dyed, or manufactured, is hereby prohibited, and all such articles imported after this Act shall take effect shall not be permitted to be exported, but shall be seized and destroyed by the proper officers of the l'nited States.
The President shall have power to make all necessary Regulations. regulations to carry this Act into effect.
Whenever the Government of the United States shall In conclude an effective international arrangement for the posed..., protection of fur seals in the North Pacific Ocean, by agree- (27 Stat., 172.) ment with any power, or as a result of the decision of the tribunal of arbitration under the convention concluded between the United States and Great Britain February twenty-ninth, eighteen hundred and ninety-two, and so long as such arrangement shall continue, the provisions of section ninctoen hundred and fifty-six of the Revised Statutes, and all oiher provisions of the statutes of the United States, so far as the same may be applicable, relative to the protection of fur seals and other fur-bearing animals within the limits of Alaska or in the waters thereof, shall be extended to and over all that portion of the Pacific Ocean included in such international arrangement.
Whenever an effective international arrangement is concluded as aforesaid, it shall be the duty of the President to declare that fact by proclamation, and to designate the portion of the Pacific Ocean to which it is applicable, and that this act has become operative; and likewise when such arrangement ceases, to declare that fact and that this act has become inoperative, and his proclamation with respect thereto shall be conclusive.
During the extension as aforesaid of said laws for the protection of fur seals and other fur-bearing animals all violations thereof in said designated portion of the Pacific Ocean shall be held to be the same as if committed within the limits of Alaska or in the waters thereof, but they may be prosecuted either in the district court of Alaska or in any district court of the United States in California, Oregon, or Washington.
Whereas the following articles of the award of the Ap":6, 189%, Tribunal of Arbitration constituted under the treaty concluded at Washington the twenty-ninth of February, eighteen hundred and ninety-two, between the United States of America and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland were delivered to the agents of the respective governments on the fifteenth day of August, eighteen hundred and ninety-three:
The governments of the United States and Great Britian Articles of shall forbid their citizens and subjects respectively to kill, "mirt. i. capture, or pursue at any time, and in any manner whatever, the animals commonly called fur seals, within a zone of sixty miles around the Pribilor Islands, inclusive of the territorial waters.