Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission 1881

The Destruction of Young Fish by Unsuitable Fishing Implements.
By B. P. Chadwick, Deputy Fish Commissioner, Massachusetts
Bradford, Mass, December 23, 1881.

Prof. Spencer Baird:
Dear Sir, I take this method of calling your attention to a subject that has occupied my mind for a long time, and that is, the destruction of the young fish along our coast from Cape Henry to Nova Scotia, by use of ill-constructed nets, pounds, weirs, and traps of every description: For instance, in the seining of mackerel it often happens that 200 barrels are taken at a time; of this amount only 25 barrels are found to be large enough to be of any value in the market, the other 175 barrels thrown back into the sea, all dead.

This is a daily occurrence in a hundred places, and countless millions of young fish are destroyed during the mackerel season annually. The catch of mackerel is of vast importance to this country, and the useless destruction of the young fish is four times the amount of that sold as food. This wanton waste of the young fish can all be avoided by act of Congress, compelling fishermen to use seines, the mesh of which is large enough for the young of a useless size to pass through; thus there would be no fish taken except such as are marketable. This subject is probably nothing new to



you, but upon investigation you will find it of much importance; should you deem it of sufficient importance to bring the subject before Congress, with a view of regulating our fisheries so far as the government has jurisdiction from the shore along our coast, I would be pleased to furnish you with further information and such suggestions as have come to my observation in years past.

Very Respectfully

B. P. Chadwick,
Deputy Fish Commissioner, Massachusetts