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The Salmon Fishery of Penobscot Bay and River in 1895-96   By: (1865-1941)

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E text prepared by Ronald Calvin Huber while serving as Penobscot Bay Watch, Rockland, Maine, with technical assistance from Joseph E. Loewenstein, M.D.




Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission , 1898 Pages 113 124



Extent and condition of the fishery in 1895 and 1896

Detailed statistics for 1895 and 1896

Comparative data relative to the salmon fishery

Apparatus and methods of the fishery

Salmon at Matinicus and Ragged islands

Salmon at the Cranberry Isles

Salmon caught with hook off Maine coast

Destruction of salmon by seals

Evidences of results of propagation

Extension of salmon hatching operations on the Penobscot

Planting of quinnat salmon and steelhead trout in Maine streams

During the months of August and September, 1896, the writer visited the shores of Penobscot River and Bay in the interests of the United States Fish Commission, for the purpose of securing data regarding the condition and extent of the salmon, shad, and alewife fisheries. Special attention was given to the salmon fishery, as the Penobscot is now the only important salmon stream on the Atlantic coast of the United States and has been the field for very extensive fish cultural operations on the part of the Fish Commission. A large majority of the owners of the salmon weirs and nets along both sides of the bay and river were interviewed and accurate accounts of their fishing obtained, together with their observations as to the effect of artificial propagation on the supply.

The history and methods of the salmon fishery of this basin have been well presented in papers by Mr. Charles G. Atkins, superintendent of the Government hatchery at Craig Brook, Maine. [1,2] The present paper is primarily intended to show the extent and condition of the salmon fishery of Penobscot Bay and River in 1895 and 1896 and the influence of artificial propagation on the supply. The methods and apparatus of the fishery are briefly considered. A chart of the Penobscot region, giving the location of salmon weirs and traps in use in 1896, is appended, and illustrations of some of the types of salmon apparatus are shown.

[Footnote 1: On the Salmon of Eastern North America, and its artificial culture. In Report of Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries 1872 3, pp. 226 337, 9 plates of apparatus and methods, and map showing location of salmon weirs in Penobscot region.]

[Footnote 2: The River Fisheries of Maine. In The Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States, section V, vol. I, pp. 673 728.]

Extent and condition of the fishery in 1895 and 1896.

While the number of nets operated in these two years was practically the same, the catch in 1896 was much greater than in 1895, and was one of the largest in the recent history of the fishery. A comparatively large number of fishermen reported that they took more salmon than in any previous year. The salmon, however, were smaller than usual, and their market value was but little more in 1896 than in 1895.

The traps set especially for salmon, or in which salmon were taken, numbered 193 in 1895 and 184 in 1896. These, with the accessories, had a value of $12,474 and $13,146, respectively. The boats and scows required in the construction and operation of the nets numbered 188 in 1895, the same in 1896, and were valued at $3,576 and $3,599, respectively. The number of men engaged in the fishery was 127 in 1895 and 126 in 1896. In the comparatively unimportant branch of the fishery carried on with gill nets in the vicinity of Bangor, 10 nets, valued at $189, were used in 1895, and 11 nets, worth $199, in 1896; these were set by 6 men in the first year and 7 in the next. The boats numbered 4 in 1895 and 5 in 1896, and were valued at $29 and $37, respectively... Continue reading book >>

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