A New Century: 1897-1921
The turn of the century; the Nation's "progressive conservation movement" era brought many advances: national wildlife refuges and national forests were being set up, and new laws were passed to protect the Nation's fish and wildlife resources, notably the Lacey Act and the Black Bass Act.
For the 30-year-old U.S. Fish Commission, it brought a new home. Formerly independent, the agency was renamed the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries (BOF) in 1903 and placed in the newly established U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor. A year earlier the Nation's second Federal marine science laboratory had been built at Beaufort, N.C., and in 1905 the first Federal fish hatchery in Alaska was set up at Yes Bay.
Pacific coast fisheries and oceanographic research had greatly expanded with entry of the Albatross into the Pacific and saw further growth in 1909 as a Pacific Fishery Investigations group was set up at Stanford, Calif., under ichthyologist Charles H. Gilbert. And as Alaska fishery research and management progressed, the Bureau's "Alaska Fishery and Fur Seal Service" was upgraded to an operating Division in 1911. Then, in 1913, Congress separated the Departments of Labor and Commerce, with the Bureau of Fisheries remaining with the Department of Commerce.
While the Bureau had long worked to improve fishery marketing and product development, the onset of World War I and associated food shortages accelerated those studies. Bureau scientists at Woods Hole and other research sites emphasized the immediate increase of aquatic food supplies. In addition, Bureau research on the healthful and nutritive values of fish oils began during this era. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy commandeered the Albatross for WWI Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea patrols and occupied the Bureau's Woods Hole and Beaufort Laboratories for specialized war-related research.