Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

pisciculturists Buist and Brown, at their propagating establishment at Stormontfield. The cost has been trilling. The Robe River, in Irelanci, by means of a fish way two miles in length, five rods wide, with a fall of thirty feet, has assumed importance as a salmon stream. A fall in the Claregalway has been artificially surmounted, and one of the best fishi. eries in Great Britain is the result.

In the larger streams of France a good beginning has been made. Basins have been dug along the shores of some of them, furnished with canals for ingress and egress of the water, which have prored safe harbors for fecundated ova and the young that are too small to risk the dangers of the stream. The parent fishes voluntarily seek these artificial spawning beds and deposit their roe, where a much larger than the usual proportion of eggs will be hatched. The damage to fish spawn from city sewers is avoided by these works, wherever constructed. Two years ago there were eighty such basins distributed through thirty-five departments of France, at a cost of only $5,000—about $60 each. As early as in 1861 six millions of fish had been turned out of these basins. Protection is accorded to all fish in the spawning season; none can lawfully be taken except for fish breeding. From the celebrated piscicultural laboratory at Huningue, near Bâle, on the Rhine, supported by the government of France, millions of eggs of tlie Danube salmon, (Ombre chevalier, and other valuable kinds, are annually distributed to the chief rivers of the country. They are packed in wet moss and inclosed in wooden boxes. People are employed to procure these eggs from the rivers and lakes of Switzerland, and from the Rhine and Danube, and are paid 1s. 8d. per thousand. The spawn of a fish weighing twenty pounds often yields to the pisciculturist a sum equivalent to eight dollars in our currency. A considerable trade has arisen in fish eggs.

It is claimed that the artificial breeding of oysters in France pays an average profit of a thousand per cent. Results have been equally satisfactory in England.

The variety essayed in operations of French pisciculture is wonderful. Even the muscle is grown artificially. Nor is this a new thing: for a muscle farm near Rochelle has been cultivated, it is claimed, for hundreds of years. The muscles are grown on frames of basket work, called bouchots, and are larger than those grown naturally, and of superior flavor.

The information concerning fish-breeding experiments, with details of accomplished results, was quite full and satisfactory, as reported from all parts of France, at the International Exposition of Fisheries, recently held at Arcachon, in that country. Many rivers, almost destitute of fish a year or two previous, had been restocked to a wonderful degree.

At Concarneau, in Lower Brittany, are large viviers or tanks, hewn out of solid rock to the depth of ten feet-one containing only lobsters, another turbot and rock fish, and others still the nurseries of fish of various kinds. This establishment is under government management, and is self-supporting, the sale of fish more than paying the expenses.

Lake trout and salmon are bred in the Lake of Geneva, in Switzerland, by the efforts of Professor Chavannes, who receives a stipend of eight hundred francs from the government and the right of fishing in a small stream near Granson, at the south end of Lake Neufchatel.

At Cortaillod, south of Neufchatel, Dr. C. Vauga also receives eight hundred francs per annum for efforts toward increasing the lake trout in the Lake of Neufchatel. In the second year of his operations he turned out eighty thousand. He has adopted a novel method of fructi. fying the roe. Instead of letting the roe fall into the water, he allows

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

it to fall upon the bottom of a clean, dry vessel, and, pouring water enough over it to cover it, he expresses a few drops of milt, so that the water, when stirred, becomes slightly colored. In about a minute he pours off the water, replaces it with fresh water, and transfers the roe to the hatching-boxes. He obtains in this way sixty per cent., while at Huningue thirty to thirty-five per cent. only are hatched.

The fish-breeding works at Huningue, near Bâle, were built in 1852, upon a plan of Professor Coste, of Paris, at a cost of 30,000 francs, and have since been greatly enlarged. Water is conveyed from springs, by an underground canal two thousand feet long, into a building, in which it is divided into three parallel canals two feet wide, the bottoms covered with gravel, and gratings laid down on which to place the hatching-boxes, which are eighteen inches long and six broad, placed in rows of four through the length of the canal. These boxes contain each two thousand roe "corns," and seven millions are annually received into tthe establishment from Switzerland, North Austria, and other regions. In 1865, four millions of roe“corns” were distributed to private individuals, and three hundred to four hundred thousand small fry were hatched. For transportation of the latter, round, tin jars are used, ten inches high and nine inches in diameter. They are half filled with water, with which air is mixed through a perforated pipe fastened to the bottom. In such a vessel three thousand three months old can be conveyed, the water being changed once in three hours.

SUCCESSFUL EXPERIMENT IN AFRICA.

The following extract from a letter received from Hon. Amos Perry, United States consul at Tunis, in Algiers, gives information concerning a profitable and somewhat novel mode for raising fish for market:

"At Bizerta, a maritime city of seven thousand or eight thousand inhabitants, situated about fifty miles from here, is a contrivance for the production of fish, which may merit some attention.

"Å small stream running into the sea is widened out just above the city into a shallow pond of some sixty or a hundred acres. The water in this pond is at no time much above the level of tho sea, and at times the water flows profusely back from the sea into the pond. Most of the area of this pond has been from time immemorial divided into twelve apartments, separated by an upright cane fence, which allows the water to circulate through all the apartments, and at the same time prevents the fish in the different apartments from communicating with each other. Each of these apartments is said to contain a different kind of fish.

These fishing grounds are under municipal control. No one is allowed to approach them except the officers of the government. The officers are said to take the fish from the same apartment for one entire month, and then to leave that ground unmolested for the next eleven months ensuing.

“The fish are taken in nets at a fixed hour each day. When I witnessed the operation, several boatloads of fish were brought ashore and deposited in the government fish-house. There they were carefully sorted over. Persons from the city and from villages near by were on hand to get their daily supply, at an expense merely nominal. Most of the fish were put into baskets and sent off on camels and mules to supply the markets of Tunis and different points.

"I could not learn that any artificial means, other than those named, Lave ever been employed for breeding these fish. Our consular agent at Bizerta informs me that the profits realized by the government are from twelve thousand to fifteen thousand dollars a year."

WHAT MAY BE DONE IN THIS COUNTRY.

It may be said that foreign rulers may amuse themselves, and possibly attempt to aid in feeding their hungry subjects, with increase of food supplies, by the practice of the art of pisciculture, but that the fertile fields and teeming waters of this continent require no supplementary resources of an art of so doubtful productive value. With a population of forty millions, to become eighty in twenty-five years, and no one knows how soon to equal that of Europe, it is unwise to contemn any source of production, and rank folly to allow so great a delicacy as the speckled brook trout (Salmo fontinalis) to become extinct, as has the sea-going salmon (Salmo salar) very nearly upon our eastern coast. The shad (Alosa prastabilis) is becoming comparatively scarce in all our waters. And why should not the lakes and ponds of the East, full of yellow perch and pickerel, be stocked with the superior black bass (Grystes fasciatus) and white fish (Coregonus alba) and other valuable kinds? It has been done successfully in a few cases; why may it not be done generally ?

Legislative protection. It is an internal improvement that governments may properly favor, not by enterprises in pisciculture, but by laws for its protection. The genius of our institutions favors the remitting to local legislation of such regulations as are necessary for the conservation and replenishing of this element of food supply; and the peculiar requirements of each section may be better met by laws framed to meet the specific want. While this is conceded to be true, it is evident that the general government may properly encourage in a variety of ways and with superior efficiency the practical development of this new branch of national economy. The Report of Agriculture may appropri. ately show how valuable an adjunct to its store of food supply for family use the fish preserves of the farm may become. When farm labor is too valuable to be used in hunting very small game and fishing in precarious waters for obtaining a needful variety of animal food, it is at least worth an inquiry whether a cheap and abundant occasional substitute for salt pork may not be found, when chickens or eggs are not always available and roasts of beef and legs of mutton are only possible at irreg. ular intervals. Congress may appropriately direct experiments or investigations, which would promise practical results of general acceptance, if such tests should not otherwise be made as well or as promptly; or it may introduce valuable foreign species of food fishes, such as the gourami, described in the report of 1866, if such acclimation should be deemed necessary while our native supplies are so various and so valuable.

The Commissioner of Agriculture has been urged to ask the attention of Congress to this subject by many interested in fishing and fisheries, among them Messrs. Robert B. Roosevelt and Seth Green, of the New York Commission; Royal Phelps, president of the New York Sportsmau's Club; W. J. Hayes, secretary of the same organization ; Francis E. Spinner, Treasurer of the United States; and many others-from whom the following petition has been received.

"The undersigued, having been impressed with the vast importance to the country of augmenting all its resources connected with the supply of food, and convinced, either from experiments made by themselves or by studying recorded facts and the experience of others, that the supply of fresh and salt-water fish can be greatly increased by a little care and attention devoted to their propagation, would suggest to you the propriety of applying to Congress for a moderate appropriation to be expended under the direction of your Department in organizing operations for prop

« AnteriorContinuar »