Commissioner of Sea and Shore Fisheries

1911 and 1912



Sentinel Publishing Company

Presented to the Bangor Public Library
by Maine State Library July 25, 1913
Accession Number 19748



Letter to Governor Plaisted 10

Alewives 10
Bass 11
Clams 11
Eels 14
General Remarks 8
Groundfish 14
Herring 15
Inspectors of Pickled Fish, List of 28
Fish Wardens now in Commission, List of 27
Lobsters 16
Mackerel 18
Menhaden or Pogy 19
Oysters 20
Present and Comparative Value to the State of Maine of the Sea and Shore Fisheries 7
Salmon 21
Scallops 23
Shad 23
Smelts 24
Summary 25
Unused and Abandoned Weirs 25
Distribution of Lobster Fry 1912 29


December 27, 1912.

To His Excellency, Frederick TV. Plaisted, Governor of Maine:

I herewith submit as required by law, the thirty-second report of Commissioner of Sea and Shore Fisheries, for the two years ending November 30, 1912.


JAMES DONAHUE, Commissioner.




1900 $2,784,000
1904 3,380,000
1908 3,850,000
1909 4,595,000
1910 5,864,000
1911 5,863,000
1912 5,954,000

The above shows the value of the catch of the raw material as taken from the water by the fishermen year by year; and the comparison shows that the industry is gradually increasing, having more than doubled since 1900.

If the amount invested in boats, fish stands, factories, smoke houses, etc., and the amount paid for labor in handling, curing and packing the product were included, with allied interests, the total would represent more than $10,000,000; the addition being:


Value of plants, boats, gear, etc $3,187,396
Amount paid for labor in handling, curing
and packing fish, not including amount
paid for labor in sardine factories 235,278

Number of men employed 12,326

Number of persons dependent on
this industry, approximately 50,000




The Department of Sea and Shore Fisheries is one of the most important in the State from a commercial standpoint. It is also a department the importance of which comparatively few of the people of the State realize.

The statistics for the year 1912 show that there are more than 12,000 men employed in the fisheries and practically as many more employed in handling, curing and packing the product. The value of the product as taken from the water this year is nearly $6,000,000; and the amount paid out for labor at fish stands, cold storage plants, canning factories, etc., is nearly $250,000. This sum does not include the amount paid for labor in the packing of sardines, as the law of the State provides that no statement or estimate of the number of cases packed shall be made. The value of the vessels, boats, buildings, wharves, etc., used in connection with the fishing industry, is more than $3,000,000.

These figures show that the industry has increased year by year; and with the natural but undeveloped resources of the water front of the State, if the present methods of regulating the fisheries are continued, the returns will show still larger increase, as the report now shows the value has increased more than double since 1900

The Department as at present constituted consists of one commissioner appointed by the governor, and about twenty wardens who are recommended by the commissioner, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the council; also in some instances deputy wardens are appointed who are responsible directly to the commissioner. This number of wardens is insufficient at times to properly handle the work of the Department ; but on account of the amount of the appropriation it is impossible sometimes to provide the Department with the services of the number of wardens necessary to furnish the protection that is desire(]. In making up the estimate for the needs of the Department for the next two years, the Commissioner advises an increase in the appropriation for warden service of $2,500; the present appropriation being $15,000, which is not sufficient to properly have the laws enforced.

The Department has a system of annual, monthly and weekly reports from each warden, which give very complete and



thorough information as to every branch of the fisheries; viz: production, value, shipments, violation of laws, etc; in fact, all information that is of use to the department. Each warden forwards to the commissioner at the end of each week a report of just what he did each day, what conditions he found and observed. By this method the commissioner is in constant and close touch with the whole seacoast through the warden service.

These weekly amd daily reports are of greatest value, not only in giving accurate information but in locating each warden at a given time and thereby checking up any particular territory as being covered or not by the warden service. It is from these reports that the tables in this report are made. Each warden's report is carefully tabulated, so that the percentage of error in them would be very small, inconsiderable in fact; but the figures will always be too small rather than too large, as some small lots of fish may not come to the attention of the warden, but for all practical purposes the tables are consideraed as entirely accurate.

It is the present policy of the Department to furnish all possible information to those interested in the fisheries. Explanations of the use and purpose of laws are given, with the belief that if people understand the laws they will see that as a whole they are wise laws, and it is for the best interest of all to observe them.

Up to a comparatively recent date it was the general opinion that the sea snd shore fisheries were inexhaustible, and laws regulating them were looked upon by the fishermebn as restrictive and burdensome. At the present time however, it was been shown beyond a doubt tha the fisheries, like every other resource, require care and attention in order that they may be preserved. I believe that today all interested acknowledge and believe that enforcement of laws in necessary and that it is the proper way to handle the situation; I am pleased to report that the public in general approve of the methods adopted by the Department.

For the purpose of this report it is neither necessary nor practicable to give detailed information as to all the smaller branches of the fishing industry, although each variety of fish is carefully tabulated whether the amount is large or small; but on the other hand, some of the most important should be con-



-sidered and recommendation made as to corrective and additional legislation. These will be taken up in alphabetical order, and for the benefit of those who are not familiar with the nature of the different species, I will touch upon each seperately, showing how they breed and how best to propagate them, and will advise adoption of approved methods whereby better results than at present may be obtained.


The alewife is a fish that is found in nearly all the rivers along the coast, in some more plentifully than others. The nature of the alewife is to leave the salt water in the spring and work up the rivers where there is a chance to get into a lake or pond, the outlet of which is into the river. In order that the fish may be able to get from the river to the pond to breed, it is necessary to have suitable fishways.

By acts of the legislature, the management of the alewife has been given to the towns in which are located the ponds where the alewives breed. The rule generally adopted by towns having control of this fishery is to appoint a fish committee at their annual town meeting to look after the interest of the town and to see to it that the fish have proper access to the breeding grounds, and also to arrange so that the fish can go back to salt water at the proper time. Some of the towns attend to this matter fairly well; while others do not give it the attention that it deserves.

The condition of unsuitable ways is brought about often by the fact that the fishway is in a dam through which the water runs and in some cases the dam is also used for mill purposes, and in years when water is scarce is the fishway is closed in order to save the water for the mill. Cases of this kind are very detrimental to the fishery; but I am pleased to state that within the past few years cases of this kind that have come to my notice have been discussed with all parties interested and conditions improved; so much so that the alewife catch for the past two years, 1911 and 1912, has shown a marked increase. I have other locations in mind that will be improved the coming year. The value of the catch in 1912 was practically $33,000



This fish is used largely by the people of the State fresh and smoked; the surplus is salted and packed in barrels the same as herring or mackerel and sold in the south and to the foreign trade.

This is one of the minor varieties; the amount caught each year is comparatively small, although they are a very nice food fish. As they are not plentiful enough to warrant a regular business of catching, there is not very much attention paid to them at the present time; although the demand is increasing annually.

This is a shell fish that is of great importance and value; as the clam is to Maine practically what the oyster is to Rhode Island, Connecticut and other states farther south.

The clam is used in various ways. As a food product in the State it is much sought for baking and for the famous clam chowder and stew. It is also used largely for bait for fishermen, and in the winter months there are thousands of barrels of clams dug and shelled and shipped away in barrels, usually to Portugal to be used there for fish-bait. In the State there are also located innumerable clam factories in which the clams are packed in different ways, -mostly in cans and glass jars. In these packages they are sold all over the country ; and you will find the Maine clams in cans on the shelves of nearly every retail grocery store in every state. In some locations, usually those in the vicinity of clam factories, also near summer hotels and cottages, the supply has been greatly depleted; so much so that at the present time there are but few clams to be found in some of the flats that were previously very productive.

Actual experiments show that nearly all of the flats along the coast can be easily replenished by systematic planting, the Department having within the past few years had several beds planted in different parts of the State; and results show that it is practicable to plant clams on barren or depleted flats.

For the information of those not familiar with the breeding of clams I will state that the spawning season extends through the months of May, June and July; at this season a great



majority of the eggs are laid. The eggs of the clam, which are extremely minute, are thrown out from the siphon or snout of the female clam into the water, where they are fertilized by sperm which the male clam expels in a similar manner. The free swimming period usually ends the last of July. If eel-grass ,and sea-weed are carefully examined at this time, large numbers of these little clams will be found hanging to the stalks by slender threads. They attach themselves also to drift-wood, piles, stones, etc.

Clams begin to burrow as soon as they find a favorable location. This may be soon after they have ceased swimming, or when they have finally settled upon the ground or flats.

Clams are beset from the very beginning by numerous enemies. The eggs and free swimming fry furnish food for many varieties of fish. But after all has been said concerning the physical condition and destructive enemies of the clam, the fact remains that clams have held their own in abundance .along our shores until a comparatively recent date. The decrease is without question a direct result of unlimited and unreasonable digging. There is no evidence that the physical condition or natural enemies have recently become more destructive; nor can more than a small part of the responsibility be charged to the manufacturers who allow detrimental waste products to pour into the bays and rivers. The decrease is quite as well marked in regions where the water is good and where the clams if left to themselves thrive well. They would undoubtedly continue to propagate if the practice when digging of picking up very small clams is discontinued.

I have always been of the opinion that it would be wise for the State to lease a portion of the clam flats to individuals for private planting and cultivating; and in accordance with my recommendation the legislature of 1911 passed a law giving the selectmen of each town the right to lease one-quarter of the clam flats within its limits, the other three-quarters to be left in common for the public. I am somewhat surprised to know that this law has not been taken advantage of more than it has up to the present time; although there are quite a few places in different parts of the State where people have leased portions of the flats for private planting, and at the present time there are numerous inquiries as to just what procedure is



necessary in order to get control of a portion of the flats. The selectmen of the towns, whose duty it is to lease the flats, evidently have not given it much attention; and cases have been brought to my notice where selectmen of towns did not know that there was such a law. But the matter is attracting more attention now, and I expect within a few years to see a large portion of the flats leased for private planting. If one-quarter of the flats in each town were leased and seeded and cultivated as they should be, the benefits derived by the three-quarters reserved for the public would be of great value; as the spawn coming from the cultivated pieces would drift and settle on the public flats, thereby increasing the product of all.

For the benefit of those not familiar with the method of planting clams, I will say that there are many things which must be taken into consideration: the size and condition of the clams, kind of soil, time of day, time of tide, etc. The main point in planting is to get the largest possible proportion of the clams well installed in their burrows. Where the flats are quite hard a furrower drawn by horses, that will dig several furrows about one foot apart at a time, should be used. Then have the clams dropped into the furrows. When the tide comes in it will wash the dirt back into the furrows and cover the clams. Or if the party planting thinks best, turn the furrower upside down and drag it over the furrows, which will move the earth back into the furrows. Another method of planting is sowing on the surface, which has been tried with good success, especially in the case of small clams, usually up to one inch in length. This method has two distinct advantages: first, it is very rapid; second, when the clams have burrowed they are in their proper position and at the natural depth.

Clams sown on the flood tide have an advantage of an immediate chance to burrow ; whereas those sown on the bare ground rarely succeed in burrowing until the tide has risen to cover them. It is not advisable to plant clams in the late afternoon. because with the approach of darkness the eels, crabs and other enemies come inshore.

Clams can also be sown from a boat on the flood tide after the flats are covered with water. The value of the clams taken in the State in 1912 was $768,303.



Not many fishermen follow catching eels as a business. There are a few men, however, who make good wages. The most successful way is with traps, although there are comparatively large quantities of them caught with spears from boats, and also in the winter time with spears through the ice.

Lincoln, Washington, Sagadahoc and Cumberland are the largest eel-producing counties in the State. The total value this year of the eel fishery was about $29,000.

Cod, haddock, hake, pollock and cusk are the principal varieties that come under this head. The ground fisheries give employment to a very large number of people. It is one of the largest under the Department. Being deep-water fish, it has not been necessary to have any restrictive laws for protection. The catch varies from year to year, caused principally by conditions of the weather, lack of bait, and the ravages of the dog fish, which some years are very much more plentiful than others but always more plentiful than welcome.

The value of the ground fish is gradually increasing; it is in more demand year by year. Haddock, hake and pollock only a few years ago were considered of but very little value; while today the haddock is considered one of the best fresh fish on the market, and the pollock are used very largely in making slack-salted dry fish for domestic trade and are also used largely heavy-salted and dried hard for the foreign trade. The same is true of the hake, which is considered by many the best variety from which to make corned fish. They are also used by packers for boneless fish; and very large quantities of them are sold in Cuba, Porto Rico and Trinidad, dried hard and packed in small barrels or what is commonly termed drums. The cod are the most valuable of the ground fish and are used fresh, and very extensively as boneless fish packed in cartons after the skins and bones have been removed.

The value of the ground fish catch in the State this year is practically $1,114,000.



The herring is the most numerous variety of fish caught on this coast, and directly and indirectly probably of the greatest money and economic value. The indirect value of the fish comes from the fact that the ground fish industry and the lobster industry are almost entirely dependent upon the herring for bait, and the failure of the herring catch always works a serious hardship to these fishermen. A direct value of the fish comes from their enormous use when packed as sardines. Large herring are also used for pickling and smoking. Small sizes are packed in boxes, also made into boneless, so called, packed in glass jars and cartons.

Large and medium are put in cold storage in the summer time to be used later as bloaters for smoking, and for use as bait for fishermen in the winter months. On account of this enormous direct and indirect use, and from the fact that herring are always caught in schools, there has always been more or less friction as to rights to catch them between two classes of fishermen known as weirmen and seiners; and anyone who has been around the State legislature when in session will readily recall the bitter fights that have been carried on between the two factions.

The legislature of 1911 was no exception to this rule. It passed a law that was not entirely satisfactory to either faction; both sides claimed an advantage; but in 1911 about the time the fish commenced to come to the shores the different interests got together and made an agreement to abide by the laws and not infringe on the others' rights, and for the past two years there has been less friction in the herring fishery than in any two years that I can remember for the past twenty. I trust present conditions will continue, and the spirit of fairness and the motto of "Live and let live" will be observed in the future by all interested in this fishery.

The supply of herring is very uncertain on this coast, varying from year to year. There has been no satisfactory explanation of this fact; but it has been noted that if in the early part of the season there are very few storms and the prevalent winds are light, the schools of fish lay off in the bay, not coming in toward the shores or coves, and almost always with the coming of the fall winds the schools move inward and are then caught in both seines and weirs. There is another reason, in my opinion, why the fish do not come to the shores earlier in



pleasant weather; and that is, if fine weather prevails through the summer the coast of Maine from one end to the other is patrolled by pleasure boats and fishing boats of all kinds and especially the lobster boats that ply along the coast, practically all of which now use gasoline engines. That constant chug-chug of the engine would have a tendency to frighten the fish and would naturally keep them off-shore; whereas if the weather is stormy the boats are not out and the fish work in at that time.

The use of the herring for bait by the deep-sea and lobster fishermen is of the utmost importance. If they can obtain sufficient herring for bait their burdens are much lightened and they can ply their vocation regularly. If, on the contrary, they are obliged to depend on other substitute baits, such as sculpins, squid, flounders, clams, scallop rims or refuse trimmings from other kinds of market fish such as can be obtained, they lose a great deal of time in procuring a inch poorer bait and the proceeds of their season's work are much smaller.

The value of the herring catch of the State in 1912 amounts to a little over $1,000,000. There is no immediate danger of the extermination of the herring, notwithstanding the statements that were made in some of the heated hearings before the legislature of 1911.

This branch of the fishery for the past two years shows very satisfactory results, as the total value of the catch paid to the fishermen exceeds $2,000,000 in each year and the average price per pound for 1912 was a little less than the average for 1911. There has always been and probably always will be a difference of opinion as to the best methods to adopt for the protection of the lobster; but from results of experiments that have been made I believe that the present methods are right and that there is no danger of a depletion of the industry so long as present methods are maintained. The State of Maine is producing more lobsters and receiving more money from them than all the other states of the Union combined; and while some advocate a change of our laws to conform with laws in the other states, the experience in all cases would not seem to warrant such change, but rather that the other states should


IMAGE Mother Lobster
An adult female lobster in "berry," so-called, or bearing the egg-clusters under the tail
(Photograph from life)


Page 17 unscannable



they are several days old, thus carrying them past the floating r,~ stage. They are then taken to the different localities and liberated in the protected coves and harbors among the eel-grass, thereby avoiding the possibility of their being destroyed by drifting ashore or being eaten by gulls or surface-swimming 11 fishes, as at this stage they immediately sink to the bottom among the eelgrass, which other fishes do not frequent and which is a real paradise for the young lobsters.

The number of young lobsters thus planted that survive is of course problematical and can only be judged by the amount of very small lobsters- that are caught in the fishermen's traps; although that is not a very satisfactory way of obtaining such information for the reason that the openings between the laths in the traps are so large that the small lobsters could easily leave the traps while they are being hauled up to the boat from the bottom. While 1 it is impossible to give any accurate information as to the mortality of the young stock, it is satisfactory at least to know that under the present conditions the value of the lobster fishery shows a large increase within the past ten years.

This is one of our choicest varieties of salt water fish, and f, at one time was very plentiful along the New England coast; but for the past twenty years has shown a large falling-off in numbers. The reason for this decrease is more or less problematical; but it is generally conceded that the method of catching mackerel with seines has had a very bad effect. Before the seines came into general use the mackerel were caught principally with hook and line, although some were caught in mesh nets. The method of fishing with hook and line was to throw on the water from the vessel's deck what was called toll-bait, made of porgies, herring, clams and such fish mixed together and chopped fine; this attracted the mackerel in schools around the vessels and boats, where they were caught by baited hook and line. Large amounts of the toll-bait would settle to the bottom; and as it was usually thrown in bays where mackerel frequently schooled in large numbers, it would have a tendency to attract and hold the mackerel in those localities and also make excellent food for the fish.

But with the advent of the purse seine. they used the same method of getting the mackerel



to the surface in schools,—namely, throwing toll-bait,–and then run the seine around them and pursed it up at the bottom, enclosing practically the whole school, which were then taken aboard the vessel; and as the small mackerel were of but little value for salting they were culled out and thrown overboard, thus causing a wholesale destruction of what is now considered a very valuable fish.

The habits of the mackerel during the winter months is a mystery up to the present time. We know, however, that the first mackerel are seen in the spring, usually in large schools in southern waters, working north toward the spawning beds. These schools are met off Cape Hatteras and vicinity by a fleet of seiners and drag-netters, and if the weather is suitable large catches are often made. Examination of these fish when put upon the market shows that they are mostly loaded with spawn; and, being caught at this time both fish and spawn are destroyed. Therefore it seems logical that this method of catching in the early spring is one reason why the mackerel fishery has declined. It is a question over which the states have no jurisdiction, and it is wholly a national or international question as to passing some law to prohibit the catching or landing of these fish at that season of the year.

This variety of fish in the past was very numerous on the Maine coast. They were caught in very large numbers and used principally for making oil, from which a large return was received each year. But for the past ten years or thereabout they have not frequented the Maine coast as in former years, although they have been caught in large numbers in the waters farther south. The reason for this change is probably the location in which they find food while working north from their winter quarters. Some years they are very numerous in Massachusetts bay; and last year, 1911, there were large quantities of them on the Maine coast, and there were taken by boats and steamers owned by the Atlantic Fertilizer & Oil Company of New York 10,000,000 pounds of porgies, valued at $100,000. Mr. Church, the Superintendent of the Company, informed me that if they had been equipped on the Maine coast as in former years there could have been taken more than a million dollars'



worth, as the fish never were seen in larger numbers in the history of the fishery on the coast of Maine. In 1912 but comparatively few were taken in Maine waters, the total value of which was a little over $10,000; but there were large quantities taken in Rhode Island and Massachusetts waters.

Aside from food, no other fish product of the United States is so valuable commercially as that provided by the utilization of the menhaden herring along the Atlantic coast. It includes a high grade fish oil which is utilized for many purposes and a fertilizer which has to a large extent supplanted the guano which was formerly imported in such large quantities from the western coast of South America. The average annual catch of menhaden is 600,000,000 fish, from which is produced about 70,000 tons of fertilizer and over 35,000 barrels of oil, together amounting to at least a million and a half of dollars in value. There are now 32 menhaden factories in this country which engage about 70 steamers in taking the fish.

In recent years several small beds of oysters have been planted in the State as an experiment to demonstrate whether oysters can be successfully grown on this coast. The experiments show that they can. After this fact was proven, the Department took steps to locate suitable grounds for planting oysters on a large scale; and much to the surprise of the investigators it was found that there was but very little of the bottom along the coast suitable for oyster culture on account of its being in most places very rocky and the water deep, and in other places where the depth of water was favorable the bottom was found to be covered by marine growth which made it entirely unsuitable for oyster culture. There are, however, numerous small pieces of bottom along the coast on which oysters could be raised; but the area of these places is so small that they would not be suitable for oyster-planting as a mercantile proposition. Examination of other sections, particularly at or near the mouth of rivers,—such locations being best adapted to the growth of oysters on account of the amount of fresh water that comes down the river and mixes with the salt,—showed that where there was not so much trouble from marine growth on the bottoms they were almost invariably found to be covered



with a thick coating of black, soft mud, evidently the result of sawdust and mill-waste that came down the rivers and settled and rotted on the bottom, making a soft mud on which it would be impossible to plant oysters successfully; except, at considerable expense, by covering the bottom with a thick coating of gravel or shells or some hard substance that would keep the oysters when deposited on the bottom from sinking in the mud and being smothered. The expense of preparing a bottom of that kind would be so great that there is a question whether it would ever be profitable.

The proper bottom for raising oysters is a clean gravelly bottom free from all marine growth, located, near or at the mouth of rivers where there is a good supply of fresh water running. It is also necessary in order to make the business profitable, to have a large area of flat bottom with not more than ten to twenty feet of water covering the beds; as oysters grow in shallow water very much faster than in deep water, and it is also much easier to dredge them and keep the beds in proper condition. Shelling the bottoms each year before the oysters spawn is practically a necessity in order to get good results. It is necessary to have substances like shells put in the water at the spawning time in order to catch the spat so that the small oysters may attach thereto and grow.

The investigation proved a great disappointment to this Department, finding the bottoms in such condition; as it was hoped that Maine might add another valuable branch to the sea and shore fisheries. It is possible, however, to raise oysters in Maine on a small scale, as before mentioned.

This is a variety of fish that at one time was quite numerous in nearly all the rivers of the State; but on account of the many dams built in the rivers for manufacturing purposes, oftentimes without fishways by which the fish could get up the river to the spawning ground; with the immense amount of mill-waste allowed to run into the rivers, this fishery was seriously diminished, to the extent that but very few have been taken within the last twenty years. There has, however, always been a few of the big sea salmon caught,particularly in the Penob-



scot and St. Croix rivers; and a strenuous effort is being made to arrange proper facilities so that what are left can get to the spawning beds in these rivers and also to open up and prepare some of the other rivers for their culture, notably Denny's river in Washington county. This river at one time abounded with salmon; but on account of reasons above stated the supply has been very seriously diminished. Efforts are now being made, however, to put Denny's river in proper condition for the migration of the fish at the proper time.

Another method of assisting and increasing the breeding is now being conducted at the hatchery at East Orland by the federal government. Large salmon are bought from the fishermen who catch them in weirs and take them alive. After being taken from the weirs with nets, they are immediately put into cars made of small dories bored full of holes so that they will fill with water and covered so that the fish cannot jump out. After being deposited in the cars they are delivered to the hatchery, put in enclosures and kept there until the spawning time, when they are stripped of the eggs, which are then hatched, and the small salmon are liberated in the river. The catch of salmon for this purpose in 1912 was 1,133, from which has just been taken about 4,000,000 eggs. These will probably produce about 3,000,000 young salmon to be liberated in 1913. The number liberated in 1912 was nearly 2,000,000. In 1911 more than 2,000,000 were liberated.

The total catch of sea salmon in 1912 was 151,000 pounds, of a cash value of $28,600. These figures show a marked increase in value for this fish within the past few years; the value in 1910, was $16,234. There is no doubt that with proper regulations the receipts can be made very much larger.

The catch and number of fish seen at the Bangor pool in 1912 was the largest in the history of the fly fishing. As a sporting proposition the sea salmon is the king of all the sporting, hard-fighting fish that are taken in this State. If conditions were such that salmon were more abundant in the pools at Bangor and Calais, it would be of great financial benefit to those cities; as the people who catch fish with rod and fly would come to those locations during the fishing season in large numbers, which would be of great benefit to the guides



and hotels. Any man who has ever caught a sea salmon on a rod will admit that there is no

fishing sport that equals it.

The scallop fishery has developed into quite an industry by itself, as it employs a large number of men during the season. The records of 1912 show that there was nearly 2,000,000 pounds of scallops taken, of a value of more than $225,000.

The principal beds of scallops thus far discovered are in the East and West Penobscot bays and in Bluehill bay and its tributaries, although scallops have been caught in other sections of the State.

They are growing in favor, and the demand is increasing each year. The supply, however, does not seem to increase; as the reports show that the same boats with the same equipment are not getting as many scallops at the present time, December 15, 1912, as they did on the same grounds in March of this year. No one can tell just why this is so, and different reasons are advanced for the condition; but it is quite evident that the scallops have changed from the beds on which they were found the first of the year, but may work back to them later.

They are caught in very deep water by means of a dredge dragged on the bottom by a large gasoline-engine boat. Fishing for scallops was impracticable until the advent of the gas engine.

The number of men employed in this fishery in the season varies- from 300 to 500; and ordinarily it is a very profitable business.

The shad are much sought for in the spring months, the first catches bringing exorbitant prices; but as the season progresses and the fish become more plentiful, the demand decreases, and the surplus caught at that time is generally put into cold storage and taken out and used later as demand requires. For the past few years large schools of shad have been caught in the outer bays along the coast by seiners, and those catches are practically all taken to cold storage plants.

The Kennebec River has always been considered the best spawning ground for the shad, and there are probably more



large shad caught in that river in the early part of the season than any of the other rivers of the State.

The report shows a large increase in 1912 over previous years, which would indicate that the obstructions in the rivers and on the spawning beds are not of so serious a nature and that the fish are now on the increase. The total number of pounds caught this year was nearly 1,500,000, with a cash value of about $33,000.

This is one Of the smallest, also one of the best food fish. While its commercial value is not so large as that of some others, it amounted to $125,000 in the year 1912.

There are innumerable laws, both general and special, governing the catching of smelts ; and it is practically impossible for smelt fishermen when changing from one section to another to know when they are violating the laws, as the law between two specific points on the coast in one section is entirely different from that in another section but a few miles distant. The legislature of 1911 passed a law that prohibited taking smelts in any other way than by hook and line or weirs or set nets through the ice, within one-half mile of the coast line at mean high water mark, from Cape Small Point on the west bank of the Kennebec river and continuing easterly along the coast of Maine to Owl's Head in Penobscot bay.

This law is very unsatisfactory and working great injury to the smelt fishery in the rivers between those two stated points, as it allows the fish to be taken in weirs and with set nets through the ice in the rivers which are so narrow that such devices catch practically all the fish that come into them. I would advise that that law be repealed; and that a new general law be passed, prohibiting the catching of smelts in any river or bay the entrance to which or any part thereof is less than one-half mile in width, in any other way than by hook and line. The present method of catching, viz : with nets and weirs, in those small rivers and bays which the smelts frequent for the purpose of spawning, will ultimately destroy the species.

There seems to be no good reason why one general law cannot be framed that will apply to all sections of the State.



There was a law passed by the legislature of 1911 making it obligatory upon people wishing to build weirs to get permission from the owner of land in front of which the weir is to be built; also a license from the selectmen of the town in which the weir is to be located, said license to be issued only after a hearing on the spot to all interested parties; and the selectmen are also obliged under the law to procure bond from the licensee, the conditions of which are that upon discontinuing the use of the weir, all poles, stakes, and other material used in its construction shall be removed from the water. This matter is entirely in the hands of the selectmen of the towns, and they are probably granting licenses in conformity with the law.

There is, however, a nuisance along the coast that is complained of largely by people who own motor boats; that is, the old abandoned weirs that were built previous to 1911, and in innumerable cases where those old weirs were constructed there now stand the old posts and stakes that were used in the construction, which are a constant menace to people going about the waterfront in boats.

Some action should be taken to have those stakes removed. Usually the locations are on the sides of the river or bay away from the main channel, so that the federal government hardly considers them an obstruction to navigation; but when the tide is full in a great many of the locations there is plenty of water for an ordinary power boat or yacht, and numerous cases have been reported of valuable boats having been destroyed by coming in contact with old submerged posts. I trust the incoming legislature will take some action to the end that this menace may be removed.

The following summary tables in this report are believed to contain in a condensed form all valuable data pertaining to the fisheries. From these tables it is possible for anyone interested to make up other tables showing the value of the products in any particular locality. The entire report has been condensed as much as possible consistent with clearness.

The Department has in its office a large quantity of detailed figures which have been used in making up the tables appended. Those figures are furnished monthly by the wardens, it being



their duty to get a report of the catch of all the different kinds of fish caught on territory over which they have jurisdiction and report to the commissioner at the end of each month.

The Department is not only willing but always pleased to, receive communications asking for or giving information on any subject pertaining to the fisheries.




J. F. Goldthwaite. Biddeford

George A. Dow Portland
I. H. Snow Brunswick
J. R. Wallace Long Island

A. C. Johnson Ashdale

C. A. Fossett Boothbay Harbor
E. E. Bailey New Harbor
R. T. York Damariscotta Mills,

C. S. Coughlin Rockland
A. J. Rawley Tenant's Harbor

T. E. Sullivan Bangor

Leander R. Bunker Cranberry Isles
James A. Hill West Gouldsboro
F. L. Hodgkins Lamoine
W. B. Thurlow Stonington

W. W. Blood Milbridge
F. W. Bowker Machias.
D. O. French Jonesport
W. A. Henderson Cutler
J. L. Parker Eastport
F. A. Townsend Calais.




Name_____Residence_____Date of Commission

A. E. Nickerson, Boothbay Harbor. December 11, 1908
J. R. Holmes, Eastport. December 11, 1908
William Teel, Long Island Pl. November 11, 1909
Clarence E. McIntire, Long Island. April 22, 1910
William H. Shurtleff, Portland. November 29, 1910
Lyman H. Merry, Boothbay Harbor. June 16, 1911
William E. Durgan, Lubec. June 16, 1911
Thomas E. Raye, Eastport. December 26, 1911
James E. Brennan, Port Clyde. July 23,1912

The above are commissioned for five years.


Record of Lobster Propagation 1912.

1.Date____Number of fry.__________Where Planted.

June 4 2,000,000 North Haven Harbor, North Haven, Maine.
4 2,000,000 Mackerel Cove, Swan Island, Maine.
4 2,000,000 Pigeon Hill Bay, East Steuben, Maine.
4 2,000000 Cape Split Harbor, Jonesport, Maine.
4 2,000,000 Englishmen's Bay, Jonesport, Maine.
4 2,000,000 Starboard Is'l Harbor, Machiasport, Maine.
4 2,000,000 North West Harbor, Machiasport, Maine.
4 2,000,000 North East Harbor, Machiasport, Maine.
5 4,000,000 Shackford Cove, Eastport, Maine.
5 5,000,000 Boothbay Harbor, off McKown's Point.
6 6,000,000 Ebenecook Harbor, Southport, Maine.
7 5,000,000 Head of Linekin's Bay, East Boothbay, Maine.
7 2,000,000 Cape Porpoise Harbor, Maine.
7 2,000000 The (Creek, Cape Porpoise, Maine.
7 2,000000 Kennebunkport Harbor, Maine.
7 2,000,000 Wells Bay, Wells, Maine.
7 2,000,000 Perkin Cove, Ogunquit, Maine.
7 2,000,000 York Harbor, Maine.
7 2,000,000 Little New Harbor, New Castle, N. H.
7 2,000,000 Pepperell Cove, Kittery, Maine.
7 2,000,000 Hampton Harbor, Hampton, N. H.
7 2,000,000 Isle-of-Shoals Harbor.
8 6,000,000 Pemaquid Harbor, Pemaquid, Maine.
10 2,000,000 Townsend Gut, Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
11 250,000 Penobscot Bay, Vinalhaven, Maine.
11 7,500,000 Vinalhaven Harbor.
11 1,000,000 Crockett's Harbor, North Haven, Maine.
12 125,000 Camden Harbor.
12 125,000 Lincolnville Harbor.
12 125,000 Lazell's Is'l Harbor, Camden, Maine.
12 250,000 Pulpit Harbor.
12 125,000 Marsh Cove, Pulpit Harbor, Maine.
12 500,000 Swain Cove, Deer Isle, Maine.
12 750,000 W. Penobscot Bay, Eagle, Maine.
12 250,000 South West Harbor, Deer Isle, Maine.
12 3,000,000 Christmas Cove, S. Bristol, Maine.



13 2,000,000 Seal Harbor, South Thomaston, Maine.
13 3,000,000 Stonington Harbor.
13 500,000 Minturn Harbor, Swan Island, Maine.
13 2,000,000 Old Harbor, Swan Island, Maine.
13 250,000 Frenchboro Harbor, Long Island, Maine.
13 2,000,000 Bass Harbor, Mount Desert, Maine.
14 3,250,000 Islesford Harbor, Cranberry Island, Maine.
14 500,000 Seal Harbor, Seal Harbor, Maine.
14 500,000 Duck Harbor, Mount Desert, Maine.
13 3,000,000 Goose Rock Passage, Stonington, Maine.
15 3,000,000 New Harbor.
17 1,500,000 Boothbay Harbor, off McKown's Point.
17 i,000,000 Quohog Bay, Orr's Island, Maine.
17 4,000,000 Casco Bay, Freeport, Maine.
19 1,000,000 Pig Cove, Southport, Maine.
20 2,000,000 Matinic Is'l Harbor, St. George, Maine.
20 3,000,000 Port Clyde Harbor, St. George, Maine.
20 3,000,000 Friendship Harbor.
20 2,000,000 Delano Cove, Lawry, Maine.
21 2,000,000 Damariscotta River, Damariscotta, Maine.
22 2,000,000 Five Islands Harbor, Georgetown, Maine.
24 4,750,000 Prospect Harbor, Gouldsboro, Maine.
24 2,I25,000 Gouldsboro Bay, Corea, Maine.
24 125,000 Frenchman's Bay, Sorrento, Maine.
24 3,000,000 Frenchman's Bay, S. Hancock, Maine.
25 6,000,000 Boothbay Harbor, Ocean Point, Boothbay, Maine.
26 5,000,000 Biddeford Pool Harbor.
26 5,000,000 Wood Island Harbor, Biddeford Pool, Maine.
27 7,000,000 Linekin's Bay, Boothbay, Maine.
30 1,000000 Gray's Cove, Brooklyn, Maine.
3o 1,000,000 Eggemoggin Reach, Brooklyn, Maine.
30 1,000,000 Union River, Ellsworth, Maine.
30 1,000,000 Dyer's Bay, Millbridge, Maine.
30 1,000,000 Wasco Cove, South Addison, Maine.
30 5,000,000 Wheeler's Bay, Tenant's Harbor, Maine.

July I 500,000 Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
3 500,000 Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
5 1,000,000 Monhegan, Harbor, Monhegan, Maine.
5 1,000,000 Rockland Harbor, Rockland, Maine.
8 1,000,000 New Meadows River, West Bath.
8 1,000,000 Sagadahoc Bay, Phippsburg, Maine.
9 300,000 Prospect Harbor, Gouldsboro, Maine.
9 200000 Corea, Gouldsboro, Maine.
10 1,000,000 Rye Harbor, Hampton, N. H.
12 2,000,000 Harman Harbor, Georgetown, Maine.
15 1,000,000 Boothbay Harbor, Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
16 1,000,000 Matinic Harbor, Matinic, Maine.
16 1,00O,000 Rockland Harbor, Rockland, Maine.



17 1,500000 Pig Cove, Southport, Maine.
18 1,000,000 Portland Harbor, Portland, Maine.
19 1,000,000 Boothbay Harbor, Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
20 500,000 Sheepscot River, Wiscasset, Maine.
22 500,000 Boothbay Harbor, Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
23 1,000,000 Wood Island, Biddeford, Maine.
24 500,000 Ebenecook Harbor, Southport, Maine.
26 500,000 Squirrel Island, Boothbay -Harbor, Maine.
30 1,500,000 Harpswell Sound, Harpswell, Maine.
31 1,500,000 Portland Harbor, Portland, Maine.

Aug. 2 2, 500,000 Pemaquid Harbor, Pemaquid Harbor, Maine. 5 1,000,000 Linekin's Bay, East Boothbay. 7 500,000 Monhegan Harbor, Monhegan, Maine. 8 1,000,000 John's Bay, Bristol, Maine.

TOTAL 188,500,000

There was also hatched and planted in the waters of the State in 1912 over 6,000,000 cod fry, nearly 12,000,000 haddock fry, and 490,000,000 flat-fish or flounder fry.




















This report was copied from an original edition at the Bangor Public Library, then digitized and uploaded to the internet by Ron Huber, Penobscot Baywatch, Rockland, Maine, 11/28/07. Please contact him to point out errata, or for more information or with your inquiries.