George M. Bowers Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries

Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries

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Excerpt from Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries: For the Fiscal Year 1912 and Special Papers

Sir: I have the honor to submit herewith a report giving an outline review of the operations of the Bureau of Fisheries during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1912.

The commercial fisheries of the United States during the two calendar years involved in the fiscal year covered by this report were in a generally flourishing condition, and the outlook on the whole is favorable. Although no census of the fishing industry of the United States has been taken for some years, it is possible to make a close estimate based on general information and on special statistical canvasses that have been undertaken by the Bureau. During the calendar year 1911 the fisheries of the country, including Alaska but excluding insular possessions, may be regarded as having had the following approximate extent: Persons engaged, 225,000; vessels employed, 7.500, of 217,000 tons; total capital invested, $65,600,000; yield, $76,000,000, this sum representing the first value of the various products. At present the fisheries of the United States are more valuable than those of any other country except possibly Japan.

The great food-producing fisheries of the offshore, coastal, and interior waters show few specially marked recent changes in condition. The tendency in the last few years, whether downward or upward, has for the most part simply been continued. Among the most important fisheries of the Atlantic coast it may be noted that the mackerel fishery not only shows no signs of improvement but has reached a lower ebb than ever before, owing to the scarcity of fish, while the lobster fishery, more valuable in Maine than in all the other States combined, is reported to be undergoing a marked recuperation as a result of protection and artificial propagation. The major fisheries of the Great Lakes continue to suffer from lack of uniform and consistent regulation. Under present conditions artificial propagation is regarded as essential for the perpetuation of the industry.

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