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New College of Fisheries in the Northwest
DEPARTURE IN TECHNICAL EDUCATION PLACES AMERICAN FISHING INDUSTRIES ON A SCIENTIFIC BASIS
By HUGH M. SMITH
United States Commissioner of Fisheries
HE recent establishment by the University of Washington of a college of fisheries is of such importance as almost to mark an epoch in the history of technical education and in the development of the fishing industry in America.
This event is of great interest to the United States Bureau of Fisheries because the bureau welcomes every agency that extends knowledge of and increases concern for the welfare of the American fisheries and the creatures which make those fisheries possibleand also incidentally because the director of the college is a former valued assistant of the bureau. The founding of the new college is particularly pleasing to the present commissioner because of his long and continued advocacy of technical instruction in fisheries and because it is the outcome of a special recommendation to and conference with the authorities of the University of Washington.
The new college of fisheries provides a four-year course, divided into three sections, namely, commercial fisheries, technology or the methods of preparing aquatic products for foods and for use. in the arts and industries, and aquiculture. The instruction will be both didactic and practical, but for the last two years of the course the students will be expected to devote a large part of their
time to practical training at fishing establishments and fish hatcheries.
The college has a strikingly fitting environment. Seattle is the principal city of one of the great fishing states, and, as pointed out by the university authorities, is the only American city within whose corporate limits or in territory immediately contiguous may be found in active operation practically every type of plant for turning raw aquatic materials into human food and other useful commodities. Fishery operations are conducted in the very harbor of Seattle; the great fleets of vessels resorting to the Alaska fishing grounds make Seattle their principal headquarters for outfitting and for discharging their catch; the salmon fisheries of the Puget Sound - Fraser River - Strait of Fuca system are the most valuable in the world. Internationally the region is of special fishery interest. The Fraser River, the principal red salmon stream in the world, is in British Columbia, and all the spawning grounds of the red salmon frequenting the international waters are in the Canadian province, while the major part of the annual tribute exacted by man from the salmon schools is taken in Washington. From the fish-cultural standpoint, the operations by nation. and state in the waters of Washington are on a scale of almost unequaled mag
Panoramic view of part of the campus at the University of Washington, showing Meany Hall and (on the opposite page) Science and Denny halls. The University is expanding its present instruction in ichthy ology into a technical college of fisheries to train fish-culturists for government and private fishery work
nitude, and every species of Pacific salmon abounds, spawns, and is artificially propagated in the local streams. The wide expanse of waters that may be regarded as the real campus of the fishery school rich in other life, and ample material is afforded students for work on the anatomy, physiology, embryology, and life history of important creatures whose conservation is a matter of public concern.
A practical point in connection with
the college of fisheries is that the graduates in the various courses may expect to find congenial employment in national, state, and private fishery work. The demand for fish-culturists has far exceeded the supply in recent years. The need for young men and women qualified in aquatic zoology, in the use of fishing methods and appliances, and in the technology of fishery products and byproducts is very real and is certain to increase. In the fishery department of every state, there should be, as a part of the permanent staff, men with expert knowledge bearing on all the duties and problems that arise in connection with the administration of the local waters and their inhabitants.1 Some states have already realized and acted on this responsibility; other states may be expected to fall in line as the growth
The Hatchery Building of the newly established College of Fisheries is situated on the government canal connecting lakes Union and Washington. Regular instruction and research in the subject of fisheries begin at the new fall term when two new professorships are to be established to amplify the work of the zoology department in this line. Coöperation will also be effected with government agencies and private industries
1 In this connection, see one phase of necessary expert knowledge in Prof. Baker's article on "Fresh-water Farming," pp. 479-488.-THE EDITOR.
The University of Washington is most favorably situated for the study of fisheries. Seattle lies in
the center of the great northwestern fishing industry, and is the headquarters and discharging station of the Alaska fisheries
of public sentiment demands it and as qualified assistants become available.
The University of Washington, while entitled to all the prestige and honor that deservedly belong to it as a pioneer, should not indefinitely enjoy a monopoly of a college or school of fisheries. Other universities favorably situated should follow suit; and at the present time there should be serious attention given to the establishment of such institutions on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, on the Great Lakes, and in the Mississippi Valley.
Colleges of fisheries, through the influence they exert at large and through their graduates, can do much to guide
fishery legislation and should become potent agencies for molding the public sentiment that should be back of all beneficent laws for the conservation of aquatic resources and the regulation of the industry. An improvement in the quality of legislative fishery measures should confidently be expected through the working of the leaven of fishery graduates in all parts of the country.
One of the chief boons that colleges of fisheries can hope to confer on fishery work throughout the country will be the substituting of accurate observations and sound biological principles for the unscientific methods that have often characterized fishery procedures.
Fisheries Hall, University of Washington.-The campus extends to the edge of lakes Union and Washington and the scientific work of the university can be closely connected with the practical work in fisheries
HE habits of the red salmon (Hypsifario nerka Walbaum) are absolutely unique among fishes. The fish casts its spawn in the fall, but only in small streams tributary to some lake. After hatching, the young fishes slip downward tail foremost, with the current, into the lake. There they mostly remain through the first year, then dropping downward, head always against the current, to the
In the sea they remain until the fourth year, when they start upstream to the spawning grounds. Whether they go to the same grounds or not, no one knows. The idea that they do reach substantially the same streams is borne out by some evidence. Yet that this instinct should be minutely accurate is not conceivable.
After entering the river, the fish feeds no more. The digestive organs shrivel and the fat and cell-substance are gradually consumed. On arriving at the spawning grounds, the fishes, male and female, are battered and exhausted. The jaws are greatly elongated in the male, the front teeth enlarged, and the color changes from clear blue to dark dull-red. On the way upward the fishes pair off. The
male scoops a furrow in the sand or gravel. The female fills it with eggs. The sand is smoothed over, after which the fishes drift back into the current and float downward "tail foremost in the old salmon fashion," every one dying in the course of a week or so, none ever reviving or reaching the sea.
A few spawn prematurely at three years; others are belated and spawn at five years, these being of larger size than the others which range from about seven to eight pounds.
The age of the salmon, as Dr. Charles H. Gilbert has demonstrated, can be determined by the study of the scales. The scales are marked by closeset concentric rings of growth. These are widest apart in the summer, when feed is best, and become close together in the winter. By these, the age of the fish can be ascertained, in a fashion analogous to finding the age of a tree by its rings of growth.
The most remarkable fact is that the red salmon never enter a stream which has no lake. So far as their range goes, northern Japan to Bering Strait and south to Oregon, there is not a stream with a lake which they do not enter. And the time of starting to run in the spring bears some relation to the