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The Alaska daily empire. [volume] (Juneau, Alaska) 1912-1926, January 01, 1915, DEVELOPMENT NUMBER, 1915, SECOND SECTION, Image 10

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^ J -
$ The Fisheries of Alaska ^
( By C. L. A ndrcws ) -
V? =
THK XOKTHEKX waters are the
great storehouses of the fish foods
of the world and Alaska is one
of the greatest For more than a
century and a half ? ivilized peoples
have been gradually discovering the
riches, exploiting one resource after
another, some of them to the point1
of utter depletion, while others have
as >et only been discovered to exist.
The sea-otter fishery, discovered i>>
the survivors of Hering's expedition
in 1741. led the Russians along the
Aleutian inlands and they gathered a
rich plumb r from the sea. This fish
en was nearly exhausted when the
Russian American Company was or
ganized. hut Ilaranoff gathered about
skins per year up to IMS. al
though to proi urc these he scoured the
s-a with his Aleuts as far south as
San Quentin Hay in Lower California
and took the last colony of otters
from und*-r the very noses of the
Spanish Iu>ns of San Francisco Hay.
This valuable field was so completely
exploited that th?- year I'PlL* hut
^1 ?>tt? r tah? ti in all of Alaska wa
t? rs.
With the tl*-? 11n?.* of sea otter the
fur-seal fishery linanii' the greatest
iii the north I'm Hie ami though the
beginning of the nineteenth century
saw them nearly swept away, a wise
management rebuilt the supply until
the time the islam! was taken
over by the I'hi ted States there were
estimated to be five million seal on
the rookeries. In l>?3x the govern
ment forgot the seal fisheries. Two
companies harvested IMo.ihmi seals
from the ITibvlof group, and the Unit
ed States by its forgetiulliess dropped
over three quarters of a million dol
lars in revmie, estimated at the rates
of the lease of the following year.
Pelagic sealing and other mismanage
ment reduced this valuable asset un
til the herd, in 1H12, instead in five
millions, was hut 175,000, and now is
again in process of rebuilding, as it
was a hundred years ago.
Kvery one of the early voyagers
along the coast of Alaska, almost
without exception. mentioned the
abundance of life in the waters from
the great schools of whales that
skirted along the Aleutian Islands
and north into the Arctic, to the her
ring that spawned in countless myr
iads along the island shores.
The whale fishery was one of the
early industries prosecuted In Alaskan
waters The Itussian American Com
pany built ships and entered Into the
business, but with Indifferent success.
The great prize of the whaling busi
ness fell to the whalers of the New
Kngland States. In the early forties
they entered Fleming Sea. A few years
later they had swept the giant cet
acean from the Sea of Okhotsk, had
decimated the vast schools that sport
ed along the shores of Kodiak Island,
and by the early fifties the first
whaler had entered the Arctic. At one
time nearly six hundred whalers of
different nationalities were hunting
In the waters of the North l'aclflc. j
?
The cream of the whale fishery was
taken before the days of the Civil
War. but enough of the tleet remained
for the Privateer Shenandoah to cap
ture and burn over thirty vessels on;
her notorious raid in lvia.
Aleuts hunted the a hale from their
skin kyaks or bidarkas and killed'
them with their ivory headed spear.-, j
Then came the sailing vessels that \
; made their way around Cape Horn
and hunted from the whaling boats'
with the steel headed lance. Whales
have been killed in the waters of the
North Pacific ocean in whose bodies j
have been found lance heads from
vessels hunting in the North Atlan
tic. Today the whale fishery is con
ducted from shore stations in swift,
vessels driven by powerful engines
and the killing is done with bomb
guns mounted in the bow. In 17'so a
Russian expedition visited Kodiak
Island and one of the historians of the
voyage in writing of it said: "During
the whole night the whales swam
around our ship, and perpetually oc
casioned by their violent lashing of
the waves, a report very similar to
that from the discharge of a c annon,"
In 1&13 the industry had declined
through the unceasing pursuit of the
animals until hut one shore whaling
station was maintained The total
cat<)i of the season was 1*0 whales.
The previous season the catch was
6S5.
The whalers still go to the Arctic
Ocean in ?iuest of their prey and one
, of the interesting annals of the north
is to be foutnl in the exciting tales of
the pursuit of the aquatic monsters
from among the ice flows off I'oint
Harrow where so many vessels have
I been crushed in the pack. Three ves
sels cleared for the whaling grounds
during 1913 and of these one was
i crushed by the ice und wrecked, while
the most successful ship took 32,450
<r
gallons of oil valued at $12,072.00.
The Whole of the results of the whal
ing from the shore stations was over
$157,000.00 and SS men w ere etn-?
ployed in the trade.
All the early voyagers along the
Alaskan coast remarked the great
abundance of fish In the waters and
entered it in their records. The na
tives lived on them almost exclusive
ly and had many ways of procuring
them, from traps and spears to hooks
of ingenious construction. Kvery one
in Alaska is familiar w ith the rather |
unwieldy looking halibut hook offered j
for sale by the natives, but this same
hook is most effective in capturing,
the immense white meated fish that!
lies close to the bottom of the inland j
passages of the Southeast coast. The
chief reliance of the Aleutes was the'
store of dried salmon that they pre-1
pared for winter and called ukali. The j
herring was taken with sharp spikes
or nails in a strip of wood with which '
the native combed the water when j
the school was running, ami the her
ring eggs were a delicacy esteemed ?
by them as greatly as do the Kurop
rans the caviar of commerce, The;
herring eggs were gathered by placing
hemlock houghs in the water when
the school of fish was lying in the
inlets depositing the spawn, the'
houghs would be covered with the'
ova. the boughs then taken out and
the eggs stripped off to he preserved
for future use. The eulaclion. furn-l
ished the t'hilkats with an oil that 1
was a substitute for butter. This fish
is so oily that when dry it burns like
a piece of pitch pine. The Indians
catch them in great quantities and'
after allowing them to partially decay
in large vats, extract the oil and use
it for food So in different ways
has the finny inhabitant of the water
afforded a means of sustaining life
for the native inhabitant since the)
beginning.
The Russians made use of the fish
lor local purposes but they did not
attempt toMj.ake a commercial use of
the treasure. They procured most of
their supplies from traps or barri
cades which they called zapors. These
consisted of obstructions placed
across the stream to prevent the fish
ascending and at one side an opening
allowed them to enter an enclosure
but did not allow their escape. It was
a forerunner of the modern fish trap
but was placed In the streams and
prevented that fish reaching their
spawning grounds. The stream at
Karluk was ttie great source of supply j
for the Kodiak Island settlement
from the inception of the colony in
1783. At Sitka they procurred their
salmon mainly from the Redoubt Lake
Zapor about ten or twelve miles
southwest of the town. From 18051
until the close of Russian occupation ' '
of the territory their supply was
drawn regularly from this source.
The fisheries of the north were urg- 1
ed as potent reason for the purchasej*
of Alaska from the Russians. KvenI'
in Russian days there were some ves
sels which sailed from San Francisco''
to the hanks off the Aleutian Islands 3
for cod, and some of them went as '
far as the Sea of Okhotsk. . Although !
this was considered as an asset it was
not realized upon for many years and
is not yet being utilized as would be
justified by its value.
Across the Atlantic over 300 years 1
ago came vessels from Biscay and i'
from Brittany to fish for cod on the ' J
| Grand Banks of Newfoundland and j
over this same fishery has many a j
, quarrel arisen between Blucnosc and y
Yankee. Here in the north Pacific!,
are 2.000 square miles of cod banks
practically untouched while Canada
makes a fuss over the Gloucester fish- j1
errnen cutting bait on her shores and '
in turn tries to appropriate the halibut 3
fishing trade of the Alaskan coast.!1
From Seattle and San Franelsco dur- '
ing 1013, nineteen vessels sailed for 1
the cod banks and secured full fares, j'
while the shore stations on ihe Alcu-1'
* " (
ian islands did well. This fishery
lumbers its employees at 477 men
ind its product totals $357,711.00 to
he year and is but in its infancy.!
SVhere one boat fits out for the cod
>anks at present there will in a few ^
fears be fifty and the Industry can
>e carried out under better conditions
han are founded on the ice-berg in
'ested, fog-covered banks of New
foundland. It took years to remove
he prejudices in the minds of people
:hat the cod of the Pacific was not
io good as that of the Atlantic. The ;
M-oan is not as salt in the Pacific {
'.hey said and the cod are not so good.;
They did not find out better until !
'.hey discovered that they were eating'
Pacific cod when the Atlantic cod
was short and that they could not tell
the difference.
One day the people of the United |
States who eat fish discovered that
there was a fine whitemeated deni
zen of the northern waters called the
lalibut that was fit to grace the table
>f a King or of any man. Then the
rishermen went out and began to
^htch them. They fished them off
the wharves till they became scarce,
then they went a little further and'
dragged them up from the inland
passages from Ketchikan to Skagway
ind packed them in the ice of the1
glaciers that floated about the inlets, i
until the white monsters and the !
chicken halibut began to grow scarce.
Then to the sea the fishermen went
and from the banks off shore are tak
ing their catch and aro sending them
from Washington to Florida and from
San Francisco to Boston. More than
a thousand men find employment in
this fishery, their equipment la val
ued at nearly two and one-half mil
lion dollars and each year they send
fish to the market# of the United
States to the value of over half a mil
lion dollars.
Scotland, lying half way around the
earth, with Its capital almost directly
east of us, catches and preserves a
crop of herring that sells for $11,000,
000,00 each year. On the coast of
Norway the herring brought In from
the waters by the fishermen's boats
are valued at from four to five mil
lion dollars a tear and from 86,000 to
40,000 men are employed at It during
the season. Of the finished products
of that fishery, sardines, anchovy
sauce, etc., etc., we, the United 8tates
Import nearty two million dollars per
year while we allow as many her
ring as school along the coast of Scot
land to pass unheeded, or if taken, ill
the use that we make of them Is a
paltry $86,000.00 as fish oil and fertil
iser, for halibut halt about $77,444.00;
and enough for food purposes to carry
the total up to the sum of $191,105.00.
There are a total of 200 men employ
ed in this branch of the fisheries, but
the day is not far distant when there
will be more than a thousand men
pulling their nets for them in season
and instead of using one of the finest
food fishes of the world for fertilizer
they will be found in the markets
of the world as choice Alaska kipper
ed herring, sardines, etc., and the mil
lions of dollars paid to foreign coun
tries for fish, prepared and preserv
ed, will be distributed among the
Alaska fishermen.
There Is one fishery that was dis
covered, and is worked to its fullest
capacity. The next few years will de
cide whether it will be preserved as
one of the great industries of the land
or whether it will go the way of the
sea-otter and the whale fisheries,
from over-exploitation. Eleven years'
after the acquisition of the Territory |
by the United States, Sissons, Wallace !
?Mil 1 1 I 1 I 1 1 1 11 I i 1 I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 I 1
?It -t- a a - -- -- -- -
I
& Co., of San Francisco, purchased i
the trading and fishing post of Geo..
Hamilton at Klawock, put in the lat- j:
est machinery for canning salmon I
and commenced operation. They were i
incorporated under the name of the!
North Pacific Trading and Packing i
Company. At Old Sitka this same J
year Cutting and Co., of San Francis
co, established a cannery, and the sal- j
mon packing industry in Alaska was I
begun with a pack of 8159 cases in j
the year 1878. The next year opera- j
tlons were extended to the Westward ;
by another company.
There are live species of salmon!
in the waters of Alaska. The kinf '
salmon, called Chinook on the Colum
bia river, Tyee, or Quinnat, in differ-1
ent localities on the West coast; the
humpback, or pink salmon; the red j
salmon, calley sockeye, or blueback in !
some localities; the silver salmon, or
cohoet, and the dog salmon, known
also as the calico or the chum. They !
are found from the southeast part of
11111111111111111111111 1 1 11
the district as far north as Kotzebue
sound. Salmon, as a matter of fact
are found as far into the Arctic as
there have been found streams for
Ihom to enter. Even among the isl
ands of the northeast part of the con
tinent they are found in (lie streams
entering the Arctic ocean. There
are a few still remaining in Maine
waters, the dog salmon is found in
Japah, and Norway secures about $25,
000,000 from her fisheries. The west
coast of North America practically
furnishes the salmon pack of the en
tire world and of this more than one
half comes from Alaska.
From the beginning of little over
S.000 cases in 1878, the industry in
creased until in the year 1895 there
were 27 canneries, and 14 salterles,
the pack of the year was 817,379 cas
es and 2894 men were employed. Ev
en after the lapse of 17 years, to that
date, the industry was but In Its In
(Contlnued on Page 15)
-H-'r-i-M- 1 1 1 1 1 I 1 I 1 11 1 1 1 I 1 1 I 1 1
FISH ROOM IN ALASKA CANNERY
JUNEAU 300-POUND HALIBUT
Oliver Drange, Manager of the Juneau
Cold Storage Co. on Left. Frank
Court, Formerly Pacific Coast
S.S. Co. Wharfinger on Right
TYPICAL ALASKA CANNERY SCENES
1.?Brailing a Floating Trap. 2.?A Typical Cannery?Chilkoot Cannery of the Alaska Pacific Fisheries. 3.?Trap Brailing Scene.
~
PAUT OF JUNEAU HALIBUT FLECT 1
? T ii rrrmw mttw I M l
i!" Q"^y Union Made
? Saw 1 n America
if WE CHALLENGE THE WORLcj jjj
i|i| STO PRODUCE ITS EQUALS ||jj
; The mixture of Vanadium Metal with High Speed Tool Steel glrec theee Sawa a temper and ?
; permanent cutting edge far auperlor to an; other aaw made. (Ask any uaer.) ?
122 INCH
! $2.00
24 INCH
$2.1S
26 INCH
$2.25
28 INCH
$2.50 11
! 1 1-16 Id. Ship Aofert [Wlthoot Screw]
; Reft?lar 11.29 Special Uatll Stock jkg\
; Reduced to Noraal. Bach ? . ? 4vC
Gorbii laihk Lock Sets (Morttocf) A g* 1
i 1-211 1-2 Bali Tip Buna, Si... 1 (? : :?
le/l. A.jr Flnlah . IvC ;;1!
ssj?TUttss; i|
M H?yy Hardware, Iron, Steel and Machin'rr
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1| GASTINEAU IIAKDWAk 15 Co. jjii
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