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Boston Fish Pier historical photo

Historical Highlights 1910's


On July 7th the United States~ Great Britain (for Canada)~ Japan, and Russia conclude a convention for the protection of the North Pacific fur seals that had been virtually decimated by overhunting on the high seas. This provides a sound basis for managing the species.

The Albatross returns to San Francisco after a trip along the California coast in which six yearling elephant seals, thought to be extinct, are captured and sent to the New York Aquarium.

The Alaska Fishery and Fur Seal Service is separated from the Division of Scientific Inquiry and made an operating Division of the Bureau of Fisheries.

H.B. Bigelow  at the ships wheel H.B. Bigelow


H.B. Bigelow begins sixteen years of research on the oceanic fisheries in the Gulf of Maine. This fundamental work, along with extensive investigations with W.B. Schroeder results in the 1953 treatise "Fishes of the Gulf of Maine," a standard reference in the field.

The eruption of Alaska's Mount Katmai covers a Bureau salmon hatchery with nearly a foot of volcanic ash.


The Bureau of Fisheries publishes results of a massive bottom sampling program operated out of Woods Hole, describing the distribution of about 250 animal and plant species at several hundred sampling stations.

The Department of Labor is separated from the Department of Commerce, which retains the Bureau of Fisheries.

A study on age determination of Pacific salmon is begun by Charles Gilbert, initially using the scales of fish collected from the Columbia and Fraser Rivers.


A small office opens in Seattle's historic Smith Tower Building as an administrative center for the Bureau's Pacific coast operations.


The Department of Commerce and Labor becomes the Department of Commerce.

William F. Thompson, an early student of David Starr Jordan's, begins his study of the halibut fisheries of the North Pacific; later he will become the director of investigations for the International (Halibut) Fisheries Commission, the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission, and the Fisheries Research Institute of the University of Washington. This halibut research is the first scientific study made on the Pacific coast fishery that is aimed at fishery management.

Congress approves the appointment of a full-time fish pathologist to the Bureau staff.

1915-21 The Albatross conducts research off Oregon, Washington, and California, including tuna studies of southern California and Baja California. However, during World War I, the Albatross is placed under U.S. Navy direction and patrols the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea region.


The Albatross undergoes repairs for a November transfer to the U.S. Navy for the duration of WWI. It is returned to the Bureau in 1919

Research emphasis at the lab is changed from general interest to work concentrating on the immediate increase of aquatic food supplies--a change precipitated by the onset of World War I. During this time, the Navy occupies the lab.

Fire destroys the fisheries laboratory building at Fairport, lowa, with total loss of a collection of rare scientific papers related to freshwater mussels.


The U.S. Navy takes over the Bureau's Beaufort, N.C., fisheries laboratory in World War I to study the fouling of ship bottoms, and returns it to the Bureau in 1920.

Funding is approved for the first fishery products laboratory, in Washington, D.C. to house rooms for drying, smoking, canning and refrigerating of fish. An experimental kitchen is also built.

The first of 125 nationwide cooking demonstrations begins in Seattle to show consumers the best and most economic ways of preparing and cooking fish.

The Supreme Count confirms its prior opinion enjoining Alaska Pacific Fisheries "from maintaining" and compelling it to remove, a fish trap erected by it in Annette island Waters. Alaska.


The Bureau reports that, "In no branch of the fisheries is there greater need for exhaustive study than in the methods or preservation of fishery products"

Vinal Edwards dies on April 5. Vinal was the first permanent employee of the Bureau of Fisheries.

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(File Modified Jun. 16 2011)