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have attained some prominence during the year, and increased gold production in a number of others is noted. The use of dredges in the recovery of placer gold is increasing, and there are now in operation on Seward Peninsula, northwestern Alaska, about 40 of these dredging machines. Their use is also being extended to other districts. In interior Alaska and in the northwestern region there is a large field for the operation of power dredges, but the low-grade placer areas of interior Alaska will not be developed, in a large way, until cheaper transportation and cheaper power are afforded. The first will be provided by the Government railroad from Seward, on the coast, to the Tanana Valley, work on which was begun the past summer, and by wagon roads and trails. Cheaper power will be furnished by the development of interior coal fields and water powers. These great alluvial gold deposits will not be exhausted in a century or more.
Agriculture. It has been demonstrated that Alaska possesses great agricultural possibilities. The Territory is gradually securing an agricultural population, which is reclaiming the wilderness and establishing homes. During the past year hundreds of homesteads have been located, crops of various kinds have been planted, live stock is being raised, dairies have been started, and an era of permanent agricultural development has been ushered in. It is not improbable that Alaska may in the course of years become an exporter of agricultural and dairy products. It is certain that the Territory's agricultural resources are such as to warrant the prediction that within a few years it will produce sufficient farm products to supply home consumption, with the possible exception of wheat. Alaska needs population that its latent resources may be made productive; and to accomplish this access to the Territory's lands should be made as free as possible. The man who is anxious to till the soil is fairly entitled to such encouragement as it is possible for the Government to give him. Unnecessary restrictions should be removed and the fullest information concerning available agricultural lands, their location, nature of the soils, estimates of the cost of development, and other practical and accurate information should be furnished to the intending settler without cost. Surveys of farm lands should also be made free of cost to him. It has been estimated that Alaska has 30,000 square miles of agricultural lands besides large areas suitable for grazing. Two-thirds of these areas are probably tributary to the proposed Government railroads. In all the coast towns of Alaska increased attention is being given to raising vegetables for home consumption and the market. There are numbers of truck farms in the vicinity of Haines, Skagway, Juneau, Seward, Valdez, Sitka, and other towns, whose products find ready home markets. The town of Haines, on Lynn Canal, has a wide reputation as a producer of
cultivated strawberries, and the town of Skagway annually holds an agricultural and horticultural fair, where the finest varieties of vegetables, small fruits, and beautiful flowers are shown. At Fairbanks annually is also held the fair of the Tanana Valley Agricultural Association where excellent displays of the various products of the farms and gardens of this section may be found.
Population.—The white population of Alaska is estimated at 44,000, an increase of 5,000 over the estimate contained in the report for the fiscal year 1914, the increase being largely confined to the coastal divisions. According to the census of 1910 the population of Alaska was 64,356, of which 25,331 was returned as Indian. The Indian population is probably slowly decreasing, except possibly in southeastern Alaska, where the habits of life and sanitary conditions are better among these people than elsewhere in the Territory. The white population has been increasing steadily in southeastern and southwestern Alaska—the Pacific coast divisions-for the past several years. In other geographical divisions it has remained practically stationary, although it will probably be found that the population of the interior country, which suffered a decrease through the exhaustion of the richer placer areas, is again slowly increasing, due to the fact that a considerable number of people are engaging in agricultural and other pursuits.
Alaska has 16 incorporated towns; and reports received from 11 of these, which caused an assesment of property to be made and a tax levied in 1914, show a total assessed valuation of $12,546,494. The tax rate of these 11 towns ranged from 0.6 of 1 per cent to 2 per cent, the average being 1.28 per cent.
Fisheries. The first Alaska industry to be developed was its fisheries. The Russians engaged in fishing, but their efforts to develop the industry were necessarily limited. But in comparatively recent years, however, the fisheries have developed into a great industry that has made salmon and other of its fishery products known to many nations and have produced values of approximately $20,000,000 per year; and since the purchase of the Territory in 1867 it has produced fisheries products to the value of $254,000,000, almost equaling the total value of the mineral output during the same period. The chief importance of the fisheries lies in the salmon industry. Next in importance is the halibut fishery, which, as yet, has been only partially developed, and which offers great promise in the future. The herring fishery is also important, and many other food fishes abound in the waters of Alaska. The whale fishery is of considerable value, and there are numberless quantities of clams, mussels, and shrimps. A feeling of apprehension has arisen on the part of some people as to the future of the fisheries industry of Alaska, it being alleged that the waters of the Territory are now being ex
ploited in a commercial way to an extent that will result in serious permanent depletion before many years. It is true that in some isolated instances the number of fish has apparently decreased, and this applies particularly to salmon. Generally speaking, however, the waters of Alaska are still as richly productive as they were formerly. The supply of fish is subject to seasonal fluctuations, and if the production falls off in any one particular year, it does not necessarily follow that the fishery is being too vigorously prosecuted. To adequately conserve and protect this industry competent and careful regulation by the Government is necessary. The Federal Government in its administration of the fisheries of Alaska has always been severely hampered by a lack of funds and a personnel of sufficient proportions to cover the vast extent of the Territory's fishing areas. The most trying feature of this is the failure of Congress to realize the necessity of providing a fleet of patrol boats so urgently required in, looking after and protecting the fisheries of the Territory. At the present time the United States Bureau of Fisheries (which service is charged by law with the enforcement of the fisheries regulations and the conduct of all matters, both scientific and economical, pertaining to the fisheries industry in Alaska waters) has but one small boat in its service; whereas there ought to be a fleet of at least 10 such boats for even the most urgent requirements. This need of additional patrol boats should be given most serious consideration by Congress.
The Federal Government maintains and operates two salmon hatcheries in Alaska, while five are owned by companies engaged in the canning of salmon. For each 1,000 of red or king salmon fry released these companies are allowed a remission of 40 cents of the Federal fisheries tax. For the fiscal year 1915 rebates to the amount of $25,741 were credited to the operators of the private hatcheries for 64,355,380 red' salmon fry released. During the same period the two Government hatcheries released 51,163,100 young red or sockeye salmon, making a total of approximately 120,000,000 young sockeye salmon released to the waters of Alaska during the year. In addition about 17,000,000 humpback salmon fry were planted by the Government. The Government should own and operate all salmon hatcheries, and provision should be made by Congress at the earliest possible time for taking over these private hatcheries and committing their operation to the Government. The total investment in Alaska fisheries in 1914 was $37,038,632, and the total fisheries product was valued at $21,242,975. This is the greatest the industry has ever shown in any one year. The pack of salmon was 4,056,653 cases, valued at $18,920,589. There were 21,000 persons engaged in all branches of the fisheries industry in Alaska in 1914. This number was made up of 11,178 whites, 4,184 Indians, 2,138 Chinese, and
2,382 miscellaneous, under which head are included Filipinos, Mexicans, Koreans, and some others. In 1914 there were 81 canneries in operation, a gain of 2 over the previous year. The first salmon cannery in Alaska was erected in 1878. In 1914 the total investment in Alaska salmon canneries was $30,834,435, and employment was given to 16,307 persons.
In addition to the canning of salmon there are several other important branches of the industry, such as mild curing, hard pickling, freezing, and marketing in a fresh condition. The most important of these is the mild-curing industry. There was considerably less mild curing done in 1914, as the war in Europe destroyed the principal market for this product. Immediately upon the beginning of hostilities all mild-curing work was discontinued. Advance figures have not yet been obtained for operations in the season of 1915, but in a general way it is known that all preliminary work in southeastern Alaska showed much more satisfactory results than were experienced last year, while in western Alaska it is apparent that there will be quite a decrease in the production of salmon in that section.
A thorough system of inspection of the products of the salmon canneries should be inaugurated. While some of the canneries are models of sanitary perfection there are others which are not, and the products of all suffer because of the negligence on the part of those cannerymen who do not exercise proper care in the selection of the fish or in the canning process.
Eighty-five per cent of the halibut consumed in the United States comes from the Pacific coast, of which Alaska furnishes a large share. Some of these fish are not shipped through Alaskan ports, but their source of supply is, nevertheless, the rich halibut banks off the coast of the Territory.
The recent opening of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway from Prince Rupert, British Columbia, direct to the East may lessen the quantity of halibut handled through Ketchikan, which is the principal center of the industry in Alaska. It is not so much a question of individual or independent fishermen suffering any serious loss as the result of the bid which Prince Rupert is making for the control of the halibut industry, for the fishermen may sell their catch where they can obtain the best price; but it is, however, the concerns buying and freezing halibut in Alaska that may be hurt as a result of being forced to compete with the Prince Rupert companies, which have a distinct advantage in the matter of transportation to the markets of the East. The merchants of southeastern Alaska who deal in supplies used by halibut fishermen will feel to a certain extent also the loss of trade, although it is not believed that this will be as serious or will be felt as much as may seem apparent at this time. The privileges of shipping in bond are such that fish may be sent through
Prince Rupert to points in the United States duty free. The granting of terminal rates by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway to shippers of halibut at Ketchikan, 90 miles distant, would do much toward insuring the retention of the business to the southeastern section of Alaska, but the granting of such rates and privileges can scarcely be expected in the immediate future
In the season of 1914 there were 18 large schooners and 5 smaller vessels engaged in the cod fishery in Alaska. A successful season was experienced and good prices were realized on the season's production. There is a great opportunity for the expansion of the cod fishery of Alaska, as there are many cod-fishing banks that are scarcely touched. The total investment in the Alaska cod fishery in 1914 was $632,921. These figures include both the off-shore and the shore stations operated in Alaska. The number of persons engaged in this fishery was 677. The products aggregated 15,045,378 pounds, valued at $438,208, as compared with the production of 11,916,900 pounds, valued at $357,711 in 1913. This shows a substantial increase for 1914.
Quite an extensive herring fishery has been developed in Alaska, but it is by no means of the proportions possible, considering the quantities of fish available. For food purposes the herring of Alaska are practically the equal of the Norway or Scotch herring. The industry, however, in Alaska has not been developed to its fullest possibilities, and the cause has heretofore been due to the negligence displayed by those engaged in the industry as to their methods of preparing the fish. The situation in the last year or two has improved, and it is hoped that before long the herring fishery of Alaska will be developed on much more extensive lines. For years a company operating at Killisnoo, southeastern Alaska, has made extensive use of herring in the preparation of oil and fertilizer, and it has been charged that the activities of this plant have resulted in a decrease in the number of herring in those waters. It is hardly probable that any serious depletion has resulted from the use of herring at this Killisnoo plant, nevertheless it is believed advisable and proper to prohibit the use of herring for such purposes, a reasonable amount of time being given to the concern to close up its affairs.
The whale fishery in Alaska in 1914 was conducted chiefly from two shore stations, which killed and utilized a total of 482 whales. The total investment in the shore-whaling industry in Alaska in 1914 was $1,456,649. The number of persons employed was 225, and the value of the product was $291,099. Four vessels were also employed in whaling operations in the Arctic last year. The value of their catch was $26,250.
Agricultural experiment stations.—The Government agricultural experiment stations in Alaska are doing an excellent work and their