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Fisheries Historical Highlights: 1900s

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

Ship deck iced over


The western-style purse seine is first used in the Pacific herring fishery, gradually replacing the Norwegian style of oar-propelled seine boats.

President Theodore Roosevelt signs a law for construction of the second Federal fisheries laboratory in the United States at Beaufort, N.C. Its first director is Henry Van Peters Wilson, a University of North Carolina professor.


Charles A. Wilson begins summer work at the Woods Hole Laboratory, that culminates in publication of "The Copepods of the Woods Hole Region Massachusetts",- a standard reference in copepod biology.

The Commission employs a fish pathologlst on a part-time basis.


photo of monument plaque

The American Fisheries Society places a granite monument to Baird at the Woods Hole lab, where it remains today in a public park.

The Nation's second Federal fisheries laboratory, in Beaufort, N.C., is occupied on May 26th. Though not yet complete, it provides a laboratory, aquarium, office, 12 bedrooms, storerooms, etc.


U.S. Fish Commission research activities are turned over to the Department of Commerce and Labor Bureau of Fisheries.

By Act of February 14th, the U.S. Fish Commission and the Office of the Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries are placed in the Department of Commerce and Labor which is also created by the new Act. The transfers take place on July 1st.

The formerly independent Fish Commission is named the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. The new Bureau retains the scientific responsibilities of the Fish Commission and incorporates other fishery-related functions: i.e. jurisdiction, supervision, and control over the fur seal of Alaska are assumed from the Department of the Treasury.

David Starr Jordan is chosen to head a commlttee appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to investigate the causes for the decline in the salmon fisheries of Alaska.

The first salmon-marking experiments are begun by Fred Chamberlain of the Bureau of Fisheries in southeastern Alaska.


One million whitefish, 100,000 brook trout, 53,000 lake trout, and 50,000 landlocked salmon eggs leave New York harbor for Argentina. Losses are later reported as only 10% except for lake trout which began hatching en route.


The first Federal hatchey in Alaska is established on a lake at Yes Bay in southeastern Alaska

In 1905, the fishing on New England banks was revolutionized by the introduction of the otter trawl ... which met with a great deal of opposition from many members of the industry--Herbert W. Graham, writing in 1952.


Bureau testing begins on a new wooden shipping case that holds 24 trays of eggs. Each tray can hold 192,000 lake trout eggs.

The Sponge Act is passed as the first assertion of Federal authority to manage marine fisheries. It set conservation rules for taking sponges from the Gulf of Mexico and Straits of Florida

During a raid on the Pribilof Island (Alaska) seal rookeries, five poachers are killed by bureau personnel acting in self defense, and a dozen others are jailed

The Albatross sails on a lengthy research cruise to the Aleutian Islands, Russia and Japan, making extensive biological collections and discovering hundreds of new genera and fishes. Capt. LeRoy Mason Garrett, U.S. Navy, thrown from the vessel in a violent storm is lost at sea.

"The 1906 cruise of the United States Fisheries steamer Albatross had for its especial object the investigation of the fish and fisheries of the Japanese seas, where the ship spent most of the time. The journey out was made by way of the Aleutian Islands, at several of which they stopped, Petropaulski, Kamchatka, and the Kuril islands. They returned by way of Honolulu. As the purpose of the expedition was the investigation of fish and marine invertebrates, and the ship was usually occupied in work offshore, their opportunities for collecting birds theyre reather limited, especially as their time was largely taken up by their duties in connection with the marine work, as the representative of the Bureau of Fisheries."

  • Unalga Pass (24 May 1906?);
  • Dutch Harbor/Unalaska (24-28 May 1906);
  • off Bogoslof Islands (28 May 1906);
  • Atka (30-31 May 1906);
  • at Bower’s Bank (3 Jun 1906);
  • off Semisopochnoi (?);
  • Agattu (7-8 Jun 1906);
  • off Semichi Islands (?);
  • Attu (9-11 Jun 1906);
  • Copper Island SIBERIA (13-14 Jun 1906);
  • Bering Island SIBERIA (15-16 Jun 1906);
  • Petropavlovsk/Avacha Bay KAMCHATKA (17-20 Jun 1906);
  • off Cape Lopatka SIBERIA (?);
  • Simushir KURILES (23-24 Jun 1906);
  • Japanese waters and ports (27 Jun 1906-20 Sep 1906);
  • Korsakoff SAKHALIN (24 Sep 1906);
  • off Cape Patience/Terpenia SAKHALIN (27 Sep 1906);
  • off southern KURILES (1 Oct 1906);
  • Japanese waters and ports (4 Oct 1906-10 Nov 1906); and
  • Honolulu (24 Nov 1906-2 Dec 1906).
From the paper entitled " The Birds Collected and Observed during the Cruise of the United States Fisheries Steamer "Albatross" in the North Pacific Ocean, and in the Bering, Okhotsk, Japan, and Eastern Seas, from April to December, 1906"


Rachel Louise Carson is born on May 27th. The famed conservationist, author, marine biologist, and Bureau employee wrote "The Sea Around Us" (1951), "Silent Spring" (1962), and other books that heightened public environmental awareness.

The Albatross leaves San Francisco for a 2-1/2 year cruise to Midway, Guam, Philippines, Borneo, Dutch East Indies, and Formosa.


The second Federal hatchery in Alaska is built at Litnik Lake on Afognak Island, near the site selected in 1889 by Livingston Stone and on the resereve established earlier by Presidential proclamation.


A.E. Verrill

A.E. Verrill completes his study of the specimens collected during the survey that began at the Woods Hole lab in 1871. The project has formed the basis of hundreds of scientific papers on invertebrates. The specimen collection includes some 2,000 species taken from 3,000 locations in New England and is eventually given to the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard with duplicates in the Peabody Museum of Yale University.

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