NOTICE: Parts of the U.S. Government are closed. This site will not be updated; however, NOAA websites and social media channels necessary to protect lives and property will be maintained. See for critical weather information. To learn more, see

Fisheries Historical Highlights: 1890s

1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000

Woods Hole Lab staff, 1891


The Albatross carries two presidentially appointed commissions to study the plight of the fur seal; their reports confirm that seal populations are being seriously harmed by pelagic (high-seas) seal hunting.


September 6th, Vineyard Haven, Mass.: About 7 o'clock last evening, during the southeasterly storm, United States Fish Commission schooner Grampus, bound to Woods Holl (sic) from Hyannis, ran ashore on L'Hommidieu shoal, Vineyard Sound. United States Fish Commissioner Col. McDonald, his wife and daughter, Assistant Commissioner Capt. J. W. Collins and Mrs. Bean and Patten, left the schooner in a dory, and succeeded in making a safe landing at Falmouth.' The Grampus was later refloated.


One of the Commission's fish train cars

Based on Stone's recommendations, Afognak Island, Alaska, is set aside as a Forest and Fish Cultural Reserve.

The last of four carloads with 1,000 specimens of fish representing 40 species is delivered by the Commission to the Chicago World's Fair for a fish culture exhibit.

A contract to complete a fishway at Great Falls, Va., on the Potomac River is accepted for $15,000.


The U.S. Fish Commission becomes responsible for northern fur seal research.


The Commission's Division of Propagation and Distribution of Food Fishes is established.

 Marshall McDonald

Marshall McDonald steps down as commissioner of the Bureau of Fisheries and Herbert A. Gill becomes acting commissioner.


Salmon research from the Albatross leads Congress to regulate Alaskan salmon fishing with net restrictions, closed seasons, spawning escapement requirements, etc.

The first successful Pacific coast sardine cannery is established at San Pedro, Calif.

The rainbow trout is now successfully acclimatized in almost every state east of the Rocky Mountains.


The Fish Commission publishes "A Manual of Fish Culture," and 60 years later it is still considered the most complete text on the subiect.

George M. Bowers


In response to commercial obstruction of Alaska's Karluk River, Congress passes its first salmon protection law.

George M. Bowers becomes commissioner of the Bureau of Fisheries.


The U.S. River and Harbors Act allows Alaska fishermen to secure a permit granted by the War Department to buy salmon traps. The War Department's sole interest in the matter is to assure that the traps would not obstruct navigation.

For the first time, total Commission production of fish eggs, fry, and larger fish exceeds one billion.

Link disclaimer | Email webmaster | Privacy policy |     File Modified Feb 16, 2018