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AFSC Historical Corner:  1900 - 1909

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U.S. Bureau of Fisheries

salmon hatchery at Yes Bay
Yes Bay salmon hatchery built in 1905.  Bureau of Fisheries photo, 1921.
 

By a Congressional act on 14 February 1903, the U.S. Fish Commission and the Office of the Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries were placed in the Department of Commerce and Labor, which was also created by an act of Congress. The transfers took place on 1 July.

That same year, the Fish Commission was renamed the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. The new Bureau retained the scientific responsibilities of the Fish Commission and incorporated other fishery-related functions (i.e., jurisdiction, supervision, and official control over northern fur seal research in Alaska), which were assumed from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Many of the early Albatross cruises were led by Dr. Charles H. Gilbert, a professor of biology at Stanford University and associate of David Starr Jordan. In 1909, Gilbert was appointed by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries as Scientist in Charge of the Bureau's Pacific Fishery Investigations group based at the biology department of Stanford University. This would serve as the Bureau's fisheries research hub for the Pacific coast and Alaska until 1931.

During the decade, the western-style purse seine was first used in the Pacific herring fishery and gradually replaced the Norwegian style of oar-propelled seine boats.


Other significant events:

  • 1902 - Auke Lake was claimed by William Win and Martin Needham for establishing a fish hatchery, which was built but never operated.
     
  • 1903 - David Starr Jordan was chosen to head a committee appointed by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt to investigate the causes for the decline in the salmon fisheries of Alaska.
     
  • 1903 - The first salmon-marking experiments were begun by Albatross naturalist Fred Chamberlain of the Bureau of Fisheries in southeastern Alaska.
     
  • 1905 - Construction began on the first federal hatchery in Alaska on McDonald Lake at Yes Bay in southeastern Alaska. Claudis Wallich was appointed to supervise the construction.
     
  • 1906 - During a raid on the Pribilof Islands seal rookeries, five poachers from the Japanese pelagic sealing fleet were killed by Bureau of Fisheries personnel acting in self-defense – a dozen others were jailed.
     
  • 1906 - The Albatross sailed on a lengthy research cruise to the Aleutian Islands, Japan, and Korea, making extensive biological collections and discovering hundreds of new genera and species of fishes. On the return trip, the Captain, Lieutenant Commander LeRoy Mason Garrett (U.S. Navy), was lost at sea after being thrown from the vessel during a violent storm.
     
  • 1907-08 - The second federal hatchery in Alaska was built at Afognak Lake (Litnik Lake) on Afognak Island, near the site selected in 1889 by Livingston Stone and on the reserve established earlier by Presidential Proclamation.
     


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