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Biennial report
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Full Citation
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075929/00006
 Material Information
Title: Biennial report
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Florida -- State Board of Conservation
Florida Geological Survey
Publisher: The Board
Place of Publication: Tallahassee
Creation Date: 1948
Publication Date: 1936-1968
Frequency: biennial
regular
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Natural resources -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Conservation of natural resources -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Saltwater fishing -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Economic conditions -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: Florida State Board of Conservation.
Dates or Sequential Designation: 1936/38-1967/68.
Numbering Peculiarities: Vols. for 1936/38-1959/60 called 3rd-14th.
Numbering Peculiarities: 6th (1943/44) bound with the 6th Biennial report of the Florida Geological survey.
Numbering Peculiarities: Biennium ending Dec.31.
General Note: 13th (1957/58) has a subtitle "Salt water fishing."
General Note: Vols. for 1961/62-1963/64 include biennial reports of the individual divisions of the Board of Conservation.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001589422
oclc - 01410803
notis - AHL3395
System ID: UF00075929:00006
 Related Items
Preceded by: Biennial report to State Board of Conservation
Succeeded by: Biennial report - Florida Department of Natural Resources

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Title Page
        Page 4
    Front Matter
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Main
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Back Cover
        Page 40
        Page 41
Full Text






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UNIVERSITY

OF FLORIDA

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EIGHTH


BIENNIAL REPORT




STATE BOARD


CONSERVATION


GEORGE VATHIS
Supervisor


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FLORIDA STATE BOARD

OF

CONSERVATION
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FULLER WARREN
Governor

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R. A. GRAY
Secretary of State


J. EDWIN LARSON
Treasurer


CLARENCE M. GAY
Comptroller


NATHAN MAYO
Commissioner of Agriculture


THOMAS D. BAILEY
Supt. Public Instruction


RICHARD ERVIN
Attorney General


*0


GEORGE VATHIS
Supervisor of Conservation
















Letter of Transmittal


Tallahassee, Florida
April 1, 1949
To His Excellency,
Fuller Warren,
Governor of the State of Florida,
Tallahassee, Florida.

Sir:

Herewith is submitted the Biennial Report of the State Board
of Conservation for years 1947 and 1948. During the period the
department made some progress, particularly in the field of scien-
tific marine research. However, as the facts and figures testify there
has not been enough.

In general, I feel the report clearly reflects an incontrovertible
need for stronger conservation laws, expanded enforcement and
more detailed scientific study.

I hope the facts within may serve to give you and the members
of the forthcoming Legislature a clearer picture of the conditions
and needs of Florida's important salt water fisheries.


Respectfully submitted,
GEORGE VATHIS,
Supervisor.















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of Conm.nation.
















GENERAL REVIEW



FLORIDA has long been one of the nation's top producers of salt
water fish. Around the state lie thousands of square miles of
tidal and offshore waters which provide a livelihood for an esti-
mated 75,000 commercial fishermen and sport for nearly a million
rod-and-reel anglers. The responsibility of overseeing and protecting
this vast resource is placed in the hands of the State Board of
Conservation. The conservation board itself is made up of the
governor and his cabinet. These men are the policy making body
of the department; the laws are set by the legislature and directed
by a supervisor of conservation, appointed by the governor. This
report is designed to give you a resume'of the department's activi-
ties during 1947 and 1948, a general review of the salt fishing
industry during that period, and a rough outline of future depart-
ment plans.
The report is not all bright as the facts and figures will indi-
cate. During the biennium our food fish catch dropped to the
lowest point in 10 years; oyster production skidded to a bare 14
percent of its peak year; the clam yield hit a new low, and the
sponge industry virtually disappeared before our eyes. In addition
to this, a mysterious scourge called the red tide struck the west
coast, destroying millions of pounds of fish and causing extensive
damage to sports and commercial fishing alike.
In the face of all this, the State Board of Conservation came
in for a severe round of criticism. The department did what it
could, but unfortunately it lacked the funds to function thoroughly
or effectively. During the biennium commercial seafood operations
brought an estimated $60,000,000 income to the state, and sports
fishing contributed perhaps 10 times that amount; yet during
the same period less than $260,000 was available for the regula-
tion and supervision of these two great industries.
The department's operating budget must come from a state
conservation fund provided by the legislature. Revenues for this
fund are derived principally from licenses and fees paid by the
commercial seafood industry (See Fig. 1); about 5 percent comes
from a license on pleasure fishing boats. At no time has the total
revenue exceeded $140,000.


1r 7 z










Nearly 80 percent of the department's budget is devoted to law
enforcement, yet even this lop-sided allocation provides for a max-
imum of about 30 men to patrol nearly 5,000 miles of coastal and
tidal waters. With mediocre equipment each man is expected to
protect more than 160 miles of water. At the beginning of the
biennium the department had 28 conservation agents in the field;
as of December 31 1948 there were 30. This number includes five
general agents, who supervise agents in their districts.
During 1947-48 these agents made 167 arrests for violation
of conservation regulations; 30 percent of these arrests resulted in
acquittals. Franklin county, with 37, reported the greatest number
of arrests; Palm Beach and Monroe followed with 21 and 19 re-
spectively.
Below is the arrest report, by counties, for the biennium:


Total Convic-
COUNTY Arrests tions Acquittals Pending

Brevard... ................. 3 3 .........
Broward..................... 6 6 ........
C ollier...................... 8 .......... 8 ....
D ade ....................... 1 1
D uval...................... 18 15 2 1
Escam bia ................... 2 2 ........
Franklin..................... 37 18 19 ....
Gulf ........................ 1 1 ........
Hillsborough ................ 11 7 1 3
L ee......................... 11 3 8
M artin ...................... 6 2 4 ....
M onroe ..................... 19 17 2 ....
Palm Beach ................. 21 18 3 ....
P inellas ..................... 4 3 .......... 1
Sarasota..................... 3 ......... .......... 3
St. Johns.................... 7 6 1 ....
Taylor ...................... 3 1 2 ....
V olusia ..................... 6 6 .... .. ..
Total ............... 167 109 50 8


Research
At last commercial fishermen and sports fishermen alike have
begun to recognize the value of scientific research in any long
range conservation plan. Despite its importance, however, little
or no money was available for marine fisheries research during the
greater part of the biennium. During the latter part of 1948,
though, the cabinet released additional funds for this important
work and at least a start was made. The department's research
program was put into effect through the cooperation of the Uni-


A8









versity of Miami Marine Laboratory. All investigations are con-
ducted by scientists from the University of Miami staff.
One of the most important research programs started last year
was a study of Florida's great food fish, the mullet. A field station
for carrying out the investigation was established at Cedar Keys
and a full-time biologist placed in charge. From his findings, the
State Board of Conservation hopes to establish more sound prin-
ciples for conserving, managing and developing the important mul-
let industry. One of the first studies made at Cedar Keys was to
determine the effectiveness of various types and sizes of mesh. No
detailed conclusions have been reached yet, but there is considerable
evidence favoring larger size meshes.
Experiments were also started at Cedar Keys to determine
whether mullet farming can be built into a new industry for the
state. Farming and fattening of these fish in enclosed seawater
ponds have long been practiced in the Pacific.
Research projects on crawfish and oysters were also put into
effect in 1948. In the course of the crawfish study, over 7,000 speci-
men were weighed measured and examined in the Key West and
Miami areas; about one-third of these were tagged and released
for migration studies. Net result of this study indicates that,
though crawfish production is holding its own, stronger laws and
better enforcement are badly needed.

A "red tide" experiment station has been set up at Sarasota, where scientists
of the State Board of Conservation and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
are making a joint study of the scourge.








In 1948, oyster studies were confined to an examination of
the Cedar Keys area. There was at one time a profitable oyster
industry in the locality, and a scientific investigation of the area
may lead to a method of restoration.
Spot surveys of our badly-hit sponge resources were made in
1947 and 1948. Though inconclusive, these surveys indicate that the
recent disastrous decline in sponge production was brought about
by disease and lack of proper supervision and inadequate regulatory
power.


Tonging for oysters near Apalachicola. At one time oyster fishing was one of
Florida's foremost industries, but production has dropped alarmingly in the
past few years.
RED TIDE
The spark that set off the research program was probably the
disastrous "red tide" of 1946-47. This strange epidemic, which was
heralded by an amber or red coloration of the water, first struck
in November, 1946, near Naples. Gradually it spread over the entire
southwest coast. It left in its wake tons and tons of dead fish; in
a short time they had littered beaches from Cape Sable to Ft. Myers.












Q)


o 11 "


































Wind-rows of dead fish left along the southwest Gulf Coast by the disastrous
red tide. The tide killed on estimated 500,000,000 fish.

The enormous loss of fish and the stifling odor of those decaying
on the beaches had a telling effect on both resident and tourist
business in the area.
In an effort to determine the cause of the seige the State Board
of Conservation in January, 1947, called in scientists from the Uni-
versity of Miami Marine Laboratories. At the time no state funds
were available for the investigation, and much of the cost was
borne by concerned individuals. After a determined investigation
the Miami scientists, led by Dr. F. G. Walton Smith, discovered
in the waters a microscopic organism, which they believed was the
seat of the trouble. Shortly after the investigation, the tide appeared
to die out.
However, during the summer of 1947 the scourge again broke
out with even greater loss of fish. This time it extended north
almost to Tarpon Springs. After this recurrence the U. S. Fish
and Wildlife Service, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,
and the Food and Drug Administration joined the conservation de-
partment in another investigation. The results of these combined
investigations confirmed the earlier findings of the Miami group


12








in all respects, but failed to determine the cause which brought
about the swarmings of the "red tide" organism.

Towards the end of August, 1947, the "tide" finally disappeared
and there has been no recurrence to date. Accurate estimates of the
total damage to fish resources are hard to make, but as nearly
as can be determined from actual observation and sampling the
total number of dead fish must have been in the neighborhood of
500,000,000.

In view of this enormous loss and the very considerable dam-
age to tourist and related industries along the Gulf coast, it was
imperative that something be done to determine the basic causes
of the attack and to prevent or minimize future outbreaks. Since
the 1947 legislature had been far-sighted enough to appropriate
$45,000 for marine fisheries studies, the department in 1948 joined
the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in setting up a cooperative
program to fully study the red tide. The federal service has built
a laboratory in Sarasota for this purpose, and scientists for both
agencies are now at work on the problem.


f 13 Y












COMMERCIAL FISHERIES



SALT water commercial fishing and its allied enterprises have long
constituted one of Florida's basic and major industries. There
are an estimated 75,000 persons in the state who are actively en-
gaged in commercial fishing, and perhaps another 25,000 who di-
rectly depend on the industry for a livelihood. During the report
period an average of nearly 8,000 fish, shrimp, oyster, sponge and
porgie boats operated in Florida waters. A total of nearly 4,000
wholesale and retail seafood establishments were in operation. All
of these businesses and their employees are completely dependent
upon a continued high yield from our marine crops. Yet production
drops during this biennium and over a period of years indicate
that our entire commercial fisheries structure is in danger unless
better management and wiser conservation is brought into practice.
In 1947-48 Florida's mean annual food fish production was 17,000,-
000 pounds off the previous five-year average, and slightly more
than 30 percent below the peak production year of 1943. Shellfish
production showed an even more alarming slump; the 1947-48 yield
was 55,000 gallons under the previous five-year average, and a
bare 14 percent of the production peak of 1939. In 1948 the sponge
output dropped to a bare half the 1946 yield and to less than 20
percent of annual harvest of 10 years ago.
The brightest picture was presented in the non-food fishing
industry. Production was low in 1947, but in 1948 it shot to an
all-time high of 900,000,000 pounds (see Fig. 3). Production of
miscellaneous seafoods such as shrimp, crab, etc., also rose, but
the rise was largely due to increased activity. On the next few
pages is a more detailed resume of commercial seafood operations
during the report period.

Food Fish
Commercial fishermen in 35 Florida counties take and sell about
60 species of food fish each year. Marketable varieties range from
the vicious barracuda to the seldom-caught porkfish. The principal
"money fish" of course is the mullet. Year in and year out our
mullet catch constitutes about 40 percent of the total food fish
volume. Next in importance is the mackerel, followed by grouper,
red snapper, and sea trout. Other top-ranking market fish are cat-


* 14 *









FOOD FISH PRODUCTION

Pounds Pounds
SPECIES REPORTED 1947 1948
Amberjack ................... ................. 505,888 93,733
Ballyhoo. ...................................... 94,860 62,000
Barracuda................... .................. 33,008 61,648
Bluefish. ...................................... 1,904,679 1,263,664
Blue Runner .................................. 808,758 1,143,256
Bottom Fish (Mixed) ........................... 1,683,531 1,709,908
Bream........................................ 813,014 278,824
Butterfish............ .......................... 100,432 81,738
C abio ......................................... 24,296 27,511
Catfish....................................... 4,331,396 3,577,870
C ero.......................................... 10,900 11,000
Cigarfish...................................... 3,600 3,992
Crappie....................................... 199,526 13,870
Crevalle ....................................... 313,110 627,856
Croaker....................................... 93,366 75,513
D olphin.................. .................... 32,079 17,103
Drum........................................ 259,545 236,511
E els.......................................... 27,864 36,745
Flounders..................................... 243,025 310,594
Frogs......................................... 382,949 213,534
G ar........................................... 672 ,554 ............
Groupers..................................... 6,187,671 6,515,031
G runts........................................ 79,859 64,914
H erring ....................................... 697,964 432,562
Hogfish....................................... 26,779 33,291
Jacks......................................... 1,928 102,036
Jewfish........................................ 202,961 221.547
Kingfish (King Mackerel) ....................... 1,694,482 1,424,445
King Whiting (Kingfish) ........................ 975,714 2,347,114
Ladyfish ...................................... 506,786 .67,320
Ling.......................................... 265......
M ackerel ..................................... 7,670,086 7,547,123
M ullet .................................. 28,530,058 35,662,695
Mullet (Silver) ................................. 24,874 8,890
Muttonfish ................................... 62,476 161,885
Permit ................... ..... .... ... .... .. 11,122 28,155
Pigfish........................................ 73,467 60,574
Pinfish (Sailor's Choice)......................... 29,550 20,046
Pom pano..................................... 1,011,874 825,366
Porkfish....................................... 483 149
Sea Bass (Black) ......................... ..... 13,000 47,000
Sea Bass (Redfish) ............ ................. 1,180,968 1,282,634
Sea Trout (Gray) .............................. 145,419 633,305
Sea Trout (Spotted) .................. ......... 4,133,574 4,758,083
Shad ......................................... 623, 168 515,381
Shad (Hickory)................................ 43,754 44,074
Sheepshead.................................... 486,173 313,375
Skipjack...................................... 472,345 929,481
Snapper, Mangrove ............................ 242,440 237,310
Snapper, Red ................................. 4,277,468 4,913,592
Snook (Sergeant Fish) .......................... 676,263 800,698
Spot......................................... 104,087 111,997
Sturgeon. ..................................... 3,443 27,090
W hitting. ....................................... .......... 100,993
Tripletail (Black Perch)................ .......... 12,704 19,479
Triggerfish.................................:... 82,326 72,725
T urbot........................................ 6,250 2,800
W arsaw ....................................... 3,505 19,981
Y ellowtail ..................................... 469,161 225,910
Total Food Fish....................... 73,315,254 80,437,921

a 15 *









SEAFOOD PRODUCTION BY COUNTIES
(1947)

Crabs,
COUNTIES Food Fish Non-Food Shell Fish Crayfish,
Fish Shrimp, etc.
Bay................. 4,642,593 2,290 3,407 17,363
Brevard.............. 2,343,676 1,400 ............ 456,466
Broward ............. 478,725 ..... 100 14,500
Charlotte........... 3,426,230 6,189 ............ 35,000
Citrus ............... 2,588,610 ............ 2,178 17,700
C lay ................. 66 ,083 ............ ..... .. .
Collier ............... 7,232,120 ...... 1 52,949
Dade................ 7,823,271 3,000 .......... 3,371,000
Dixie................ 1,043,758 ...... 500 3,000
Duval ............... 1,699,601 9,655,000 32,568 4,392,378
Escambia ............ 4,416,861 855 278 138,319
Flagler .............. 17,366 525 8 3,522
Franklin............. 1,317,692 9,404,519 64,723 1,023,134
G lades............... 176,289 ........................ 5,668
Gulf ................ 26,000 ............ 5,850 60,000
H ernando ............ 35,244 ..................... .... .......
Hillsborough.......... 2,547,155 ............ 142 35,974
Indian River......... 1,085,790 165,671 ............ 127,000
Lee.................. 1,499,255 ..... 44 160,143
L evy ................ 1,221,714 ............ ............ 5,691
Manatee............. 3,119,905 ............ 250 142,110
M artin .............. 649,412 1,895,340 ......................
M onroe .............. 1,503,836 ....... ...... 1,132,905
Nassau............... 371,855 16,485,396 575 1,906,754
Okaloosa............. 2,325,158 44,010 ............ 2,337
Okeechobee .......... 152,845 ...............................
Palm Beach.......... 2,028,377 2,025 ............ 399,936
P asco ................ 276,433 ......... ....... ......
Pinellas.............. 5,526,770 2,500 2,098 13,379
Putnam ............. 5,495,210 700,586 ............ 845,506
St. Johns............. 306,838 ............ 1,350 2,056,906
St. Lucie........... 2,014,545 2,999 ............ 165,266
Santa Rosa........... 7,715...............................
Sarasota............. 1,792,228 ............ 2,850 12,300
Seminole............. 129,600.............................
T aylor ............... 894,833 ......... ...... .......
Volusia ............. 2,294,501 138,966 6,800 4,353,252
Wakulla ............. 706,360 4,000 1,200 83,600
W alton .............. 30,800 ........................ 30
TOTALS ...... 73,315,254 38,515,271 124,922 21,034,088


fish, blue fish, kingfish, king mackerel, redfish and blue runners.
In 1947 Florida marketed 73,315,254 pounds of food fish, a
decrease of 18,000,000 pounds under 1946. In spite of the fact that
a record number of 6,900 fishing boats operated that year the
yield was the lowest in more than a decade. In 1948 production
increased to 80,437,921; however, the mean annual volume for the
biennium was still only 81 percent of the previous five-year average.
Computed at prevailing market prices this meant a loss of nearly


* 16 *











SEAFOOD PRODUCTION BY COUNTIES
(1948)

Crabs,
COUNTIES Food Fish Non-Food Shell Fish Crayfish,
Fish Shrimp, etc.
Bay ................. 3,909,065 154,380 300 7,117
Brevard............... 4,651,403 60,004 ............ 507,637
Broward ............. 895,200 ...................................
Charlotte............. 3,697,807 ............ ............ 73,860
Citrus............... 2,498,952 ............ 1,345 1,000
Clay.................. 7,779 .... ............
Collier.. ............ 7,047,578 ......................... 1 ,500
Dade........ ....... 5,535,980 ........... ............ 2,333,723
D ixie........... .... 634 ,873 ............ 3 ,414 ............
Duval ............... 2,130,793 373,788,434 17,901 7,019,729
Escambia ............ 4,736,597 78,379 496 212,581
Flagler. .............. 16.134 33 4 390
Franklin ............ 3,550,787 30,000 86,584 2,270,340
Glades ............... 117,350 ............ ............. 10,000
Gulf........... .... 1,416,200 ............ 6,000 10,000
Hernando ............ 57,397 ...... ............
Hillsborough ......... 1,459,444 ......................... 10,140
Indian River ......... 665,487 627,825 ............ 143,000
Lee................ 2,675,372 120 ............ 549,774
Levy................ 2,488,561 ............ 75 5,000
Manatee. ............. 3,564,053 1,100 1,130 13,000
M artin .............. 461,387 1,726,760 ............ 10,530
M onroe............. 1,993,517 500 ............ 1,450,025
Nassau. ............. 980,007 485,127,000 150 2,726,057
Okaloosa. ............. 2,068,416 11,007 ............ 19,761
Palm Beach .......... 4,269,720 34,604 ..... .... 1,207,971
Pasco................ 340,551 ...................................
Pinellas.............. 7,200,707 500 5,945 220,088
Putnam. .............. 3,061,755 1,279,521 ........... 862,126
St. Johns............. 480,908 ............ 1,935 2,965,881
St. Lucie............. 1,919,978 86,424 ............ 154,846
Santa R osa........... 14,210 ........ ...............
Sarasota ............. 1,882,495 14,314 723 3,560
Seminole............. 82,000 ...................................
Taylor............... 1,014,719 ...................................
Volusia .............. 1,387,062 372,500 80 6,771,815
Wakulla ............. 1,520,577 7,000 674 34,452
W alton .............. 3,100 ...................................

TOTALS...... 80,437,921 863,400,405 126,756 29,595,903


$7,000,000 to the industry over the two-year period.
The principal drops were registered in the output of Florida's
two major food fish-mullet and mackerel. In 1942 and 1943 the
state's mullet catch averaged about 55,000,000 pounds each year;
in 1944 it dropped to 39,000,000 pounds and the following two
years the catch was 34,000,000 and 36,000,000 pounds respectively.
The average yearly take in 1947-48 was only 32,000,000 pounds.
During the report period the total mackerel take was approxi-
mately 15,000,000 pounds, nearly 10,000,000 pounds off the pre-


* 17 *































a- -


Two oystermen work at bed in the Apalachicola Bay. In spite of overfishing in
this area, it still continues to produce most of Florida's oysters.

vious two-year period. The 1948 catch of 7,547,000 was only two
million pounds over the lowest mackerel production year on
record.
Elsewhere in this report is a complete recapitulation of food
fish productions, by species and by counties.


Shellfish
Aside from the sponge supply, our shellfish supply has probably
suffered a greater depletion in recent years than any other salt
water fisheries resources. In 1939 and 1940 Florida produced more
than one million gallons of shellfish; this biennium the total yield
was approximately 250,000 gallons. Oysters constitute the bulk of
our shellfish production, and they have shown the greatest drop.
In 1947, 113,571 gallons were harvested. This was, next to the
notoriously low 1941 crop, the lowest oyster yield on record. A five
thousand gain was shown in 1948, but the figure was still 37,000


* 18 s*






194- -AZ 'A,3


\4d4 5 \A4 \ 7l 1948


~7,)d c75s~sh


M,1/,on
Powund
110

/00

9o



7e

6c

Sof
9-1

22

16

17f


tS
rs








9
9
2


M1$ 5VPZ77


7rod 1c7


FIG. 2-FLORIDA FOOD FISH AND


SHELLFISH PRODUC-


TION OVER AN EIGHT-YEAR PERIOD.


r


/."----, .- -
^ ^-ro d5 IACTIL L-/_


________ / roducf

- -

I-


S'I~IIii~I 1i Min min i n---


* 19 *


I


s
ft


771S~t









.4`


4


S. SHRIMP FLEET AT DOCK


* 20 *


; *wrr -- ~F '

1
iii


I
tot














i/
/























. SPORTS FISHING BOATS HEAD OUT TO SEA
21


1~114~4~1~'--'P~~---------~"---~'~




































Clam dock and cannery at Naples, center of this important business.

gallons below the 1942-46 average. Though only limited oyster
studies have been made, it is believed there are three primary causes
for our oyster depletion-overfishing, lack of scientific manage-
ment, and pollution. The latter has undoubtedly robbed us of thou-
sands of gallons of edible shellfish. As of December, 1947 there
were a total of 22 shellfish areas condemned by the State Board
of Health as polluted. Among these were beds that had once pro-
duced some of our finest oysters. Over fishing and lack of any
sort of oyster culture program has probably taken an even greater
toll. Unless wise conservation is practiced and a scientific develop-
ment program is instituted, Florida's oyster industry may face
ultimate destruction.
Clam production has always been subject to wide fluctuations,
but indications are that it has been hurt worse than normal during
the past biennium. The two-year yield was a little over 7,000 gal-
lons as compared to 36,000 gallons in 1945-46 and 23,000 in 1943-
44. Scallop production for the two-year period totaled slightly over
12,000 gallons, or about two-thirds of the average yield for the
three previous bienniums.
three previous bienniums.


^ 22 *








Non-Food Fish


The taking of non-food fishes showed the greatest increase in
history of the industry in 1948. Approximately 863,000,000 pounds
of three principal non-food species were marketed to top the pre-
vious high record of 1943 by more than 700,000,000 pounds. Men-
haden boats accounted for 858,375,347 pounds of the total; 1,658,213
pounds of shark and 3,362,845 pounds of trash fish made up the


y


4


2


!


00 "


//oe! -_/Coool ^/Sh r
Prodtu c /'o Al

00




S00



50
r0 -__---

594 7- 4____4 ___4_


FIc. 3-NON-FOOD
YEAR PERIOD.


FISH PRODUCTION OVER AN EIGHT-


* 23


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%s*nc~~`dz \k~s l&d \L~6 a~ \L~7


tO~lA










rest of the catch. These fish, particularly the menhaden, are used
in the production of oil and fertilizer.
The startling harvest of 1948 came after particularly low pro-
duction figures of some 38,000,000 pounds in 1947. The total yield
for the biennium nearly doubled the total non-food fish production
for the previous five years. See Fig. 3 for comparative productions.


(Left) Fresh fish from Florida are loaded aboard a plane for a quick trip to
northern markets. (Right) a clam cannery in Southwest Florida. Clam pro-
duction has also dropped sharply during the past two years.

Sponges

In years past the United States has depended solely upon Flor-
ida for its sponge production. The great industry based upon the
collection, preparation and marketing of sponges has been one of
the state's major maritime businesses. An average of over $1,000,000
worth of sponges have been marketed annually for the past 14 years.
The maximum in value-but not in production-was reached in
1946. During the years 1943 through 1946 wool sponge sales were
well over $2,000,000 per annum. Total sales have at times been
nearer $3,000,000.
During the report period, however, the sponge "bottom" literally
fell out-not out of the market, but out of the source of supply. In
1936 Florida produced 468,000 pounds of sheepswool sponges; ten
years later, with a 38 percent larger fleet, it produced 162,000
pounds (see Fig. 4). In 1948 the yield was little more than half


* 24 *






























Here sponge handlers sort their product at Tarpon Springs, America's sponge
capital. This important industry has been all but destroyed by lack of scientific
investigation and management.

in this area had been so damaged by disease and overfishing that
they were virtually useless as a source of supply. The department
then supplied additional funds for a survey of the waters north of
Dry Tortugas and west of Carabelle in an attempt to find new
sponge beds suitable for commercial utilization.

The expedition was handicapped by weather, and the biological
and chemical results have not yet been completely analyzed. Never-
theless, the survey offered strong evidence that there is little hope
of restoring the industry simply by extending fishing into neigh-
boring waters or deeper grounds. The industry can only be returned
to normal through a long-range scientific restoration program
backed up by adequate law enforcement tools. However, in an effort
to hasten the recovery process the State Board of Conservation and
the Marine Laboratory are conducting studies on certain other
sponges which may have commercial value because of their chemi-
cal nature. A preliminary field investigation is also being carried
on in order to select the most suitable location for experimental
sponge cultivation. The projects, though, are of a long term nature
and progress may be slow, but it will be basically sound.

27 *










ANNUAL REPORT OF SPONGES SOLD THROUGH THE
TARPON SPRINGS SPONGE EXCHANGE, INC.

1947


Rock Island Sheep Wool

Large W ool .....................
X Med, Med & Sm Wool.
Large Wool Rags ..........
X Med, Med & Sm Rags.


Yellow and Grass
Yellow ............
G rass ...............


GRAND TOTAL
Rock Island Wool ..
Y ellow ............... ..
G rass ........... ...- ..


Bunches*
698
1297
1789
7462

8583


.......... 2640
..... ... 4681

2235


...11,245
... 2,640
... 4,681

18,566

1948


Rock Island Sheep Wool
Estimated
Bunches*
Large W ool .......................... 725
X Med, Med & Sm Wool .. 906
Large Wool Rags ............ 1367
X Med, Med & Sm Rags .... 5585
Yellow and Grass
Yellow ..............- ..-. ...-- ...- 1182
Grass ...... ...... .. .---------... 2235
GRAND TOTAL
Rock Island Wool ............... 8,583
Yellow ................. .....------.---- 1,182
G rass .......-.-..... ------.. ---..-.--- 2,235
12,000


Value
$ 235,114.30
179,407.40
323,223.86
404,749.36

433,989.47

45,390.11
58,386.33

465,938.02


Av. Per Bunch*
$ 336.83
138.33
180.67
54.24



17.20
12.47


bunches" $1,142,494.92
45,390.11
58,386.33

$1,246,271.36


Value
$ 87,345.00
69,364.58
109,944.48
167,335.41

12,864.73
19,083.82


Av. Per Bunch*
$ 120.48
76.50
80.43
30.10

10.88
8.49


bunches* $433,989.47
12,864.73
19,083.82

$465,938.02


Shrimp and Miscellaneous Seafoods

Next to commercial fishing, shrimping is the most productive
branch of Florida's vast seafood industry. In 1948 there were 590
shrimp boats operating out of 20 coastal counties. These boats
brought in hauls totaling 16,973,397 pounds, five million pounds
over the year before and four and one-half million pounds above
the 1942-46 average. This increased yield however, is not due as
much to a growing supply as to expanded activity and lack of wise
conservation practices. For instance, in spite of the heavy 1948









production, the catch-per-boat was almost 10,000 pounds less than
that of 1946.
The production of blue crabs and crawfish has also shown a
sharp increase. Nearly one-third more crabs were marketed in
1947-48 than in any other two-year period on record, while the
biennium volume of crawfish ran almost three times the average
yearly output from 1942 through 1946. Small increases were also
noted in other minor sea food products. Below is a list of Florida's
lesser seafoods and their yield for the biennium.


Pounds Pounds
SPECIES REPORTED 1947 1948

Blue Crabs... ......... .......... 4,697,543 8,446,935
Conchs........... .... .... ........ .. 41,853 80,619
Crayfish ..................................... 4,890,900 3,953,561
Sea Turtles......................... ....... 60,536 33,671
Shrim p....................... .......... 11,233,569 16,973,397
Stone Crabs .. ....... ... .... .......... 98,687 97,720
Terrapin .......... .......... ... 10,500 10,000
Total..... ........... .......... 21,034,088 29,595,903














N-.
^;

sih ~ r i


< 29












SPORTS FISHING



T ODAY Florida recognizes salt water sport fishing as one of
its foremost attractions and one of its top sources of income.
Research experts and chamber of commerce authorities estimate
no less than 800,000 tourists and residents fish in our coastal
waters each year. The state is generally regarded as having
more and better deep-sea fishing territory than in any other
state in the union; more record-size salt water fish have been
caught in Florida waters than in any other state or foreign
country. A prominent national magazine recently commented
that east coast towns like Stuart and Ft. Pierce, and even cities
like West Palm Beach, "owe much of their prosperity to countless
hordes of cooperative sailfish." The same can be said for the
tarpon and West Coast towns like Venice and Naples.

This busy scene was shot at the Sarasota charter boat docks during the tarpon
season. The West Coast owes much of its prosperity to good tarpon fishing.

































A West Palm Beach sailfisherman hauls his catch aboard a charter boat.

There are an estimated 750 charter boats which operate the
year round from such tourist centers as West Palm Beach, Miami,
Key West, Ft. Myers, Sarasota, St. Petersburg and Pensacola.
No less than 15 major localized fishing tournaments and con-
tests are conducted annually in coastal cities. Such events have
proven to be great tourist attractions. In St. Petersburg, busi-
nessmen have estimated that the city's two-month Tarpon Round-
up brings in between five and ten million dollars annually.

Amount of Income
All in all salt water sports fishing represents one of our
greatest single sources of income-an income which has been
variously estimated at from $200,000,000 to $600,000,000. In spite-
of size and value of the industry, however, it contributes less
than $8,000 annually to the state's salt water conservation pro-
gram. If the research men are correct in their estimate of the
number of salt water fishermen, this would mean that each is
actually paying less than one penny a year toward the manage-
ment and protection of the sport! This revenue comes solely in
the form of a license on pleasure boats, and as a source of funds
even this measure has been bitterly criticized in some sportsman
circles.


S31 7












FUTURE PLANS



As You doubtlessly have gathered from this report, there is an
urgent, crying need for a well-rounded, scientific conserva-
tion program for our marine resources. The need is an imme-
diate one-not one that can be filled two, three or five years
hence. Our sponge industry is a perfect example of "too little,
too late" in the way of assistance. In the past, the State Board
of Conservation has sometimes been condemned as a "do nothing"
agency. On occasions there may have been some justification,
but more often the agency was a "do nothing" for the same
reason a broke man is stingy-there was no other alternative.
No governmental department, individual, or corporation can
operate efficiently without funds. As was previously mentioned
the State Board of Conservation has never had an annual oper-
ating budget exceeding $140,000. With the greatest marine fish-
eries in the nation to regulate, this is less than the conservation
law enforcement budget alone in the tiny state of New
Hampshire.

This picture was taken in 1946, when oyster fishermen were working overtime
to supply a lucrative market.










NUMBER OF LICENSES ISSUED FOR BIENNIUM


1947
Wholesale Seafood ................. 673
Retail Seafood ........................3390
Non-Resident Fishing .............. 596
Commercial Boats -..................6980
Pleasure Boats .....................1005
Shrimp Boats ....................... 456
Sponge Boats ...-...................... 168
Snapper Boats ....................... 8
Menhaden Boats .................. 57
Oyster Boats ......................... 63
Purse Seines .............................. 21
Non-Resident Boat Tax .......... 304
Excess Nets .......................... 206


1948
Wholesale Seafood .......... .. 685
Retail Seafood .......................3561
Non-Resident Fishing .............. 650
Comemrcial Boats ...................5956
Pleasure Boats ......................1044
Shrimp Boats ...................... 590
Sponge Boats ............................ 91
Snapper Boats ............................ 6
Menhaden Boats ...................... 53
Oyster Boats .............................. 21
Purse Seine ............................... 18
Non-Resident Boat Tax .......... 422
Excess Nets .............................. 80


A New Program
In the hope that the 1949 legislature, through a new license
and fee schedule, will provide more money, the new Supervisor
of Conservation has prepared a prospective program for future
salt water conservation. Some of major items are set forth
below:
1. Expanded Enforcement-Enforcement is the cutting tool of
any conservation program. The present staff of conservation
agents is woefully inadequate to patrol Florida's huge coast-
line. Under the proposed program, at least 30 agents would be
added to the force; they would be well-equipped with speed
boats, a two-way radio system and other modern enforcement
aids. The department needs at least four airplanes-two on each
coast-to do daily patrol duty. Better salaries should be insti-
tuted in order to attract higher type enforcement agents. The
average salary of our agents is now less than $165 per month.
We hope to establish a minimum salary scale of $175, gradu-
ating up to $300 for supervisory officers.
2. Scientific investigation-This is an essential part of modern
conservation which has been sadly neglected in Florida. If we
had inaugurated a marine research program 10 years ago, our
sponge and shellfish industries would doubtlessly still be pro-
ducing at a normal rate. Some of the same basic scientific proj-
ects Florida began during the past biennium were carried out
in Norway more than 30 years ago. As a consequence it con-
tinues to be the world's largest food fish producer. Studies of
oyster and sponge resources have already begun and a mullet
research program is underway. This, however, is only the be-
ginning: detailed studies of every major commercial species


i 33 *









should be made; experiments should be conducted to determine
the economic potential of other marine products such as sea-
weed. It was through such experiments that the nation's men-
haden and shark industries were discovered. The State Board
of Conservation should have a minimum of six trained marine
biologists studying and developing our salt water resources. It
is only upon scientific findings that we, the administrators, can
base a course of action.
3. Conservation education-It is becoming more and more ap-
parent that a wise conservation program can only be established
through the support of a public educated to the need for wise
use of our natural resources. This would be an important part
of our proposed program. A man would be employed to prepare
classroom literature on salt water conservation, and to impress
the importance of the subject upon school children, sportsmen's
clubs and commercial fishing groups.
These are the highlights of our proposed program. The pro-
gram will take money. In fact the supervisor feels that $500,000
a year is the bare minimum under which an efficient program
can operate. However, if the program can help preserve and
develop a resource that nets Florida an estimated half-billion
dollars a year it would be cheap at ten times the price.
The manufacture of fishing lures is a big business in Florida. It is but one of
the many lucrative branches of the sports fishing industry.


* 34


L
























FINANCIAL STATEMENT
1947-1948












SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS AND DISBURSEMENTS
1947


Balance credited to State Conservation
Fund in Comptroller's Office as of
December 31, 1947 .................................$100,712.27 $100,712.27
RECEIPTS
Commercial Salt Water Fishing Industry
Resident Wholesale Seafood Dealers Licenses..$ 33,650.00
Resident Retail Seafood Dealers Licenses....... 33,900.00
Resident Commercial Fishing and Oyster Boat
Licenses ........................................... 15,999.60
Alien or Non-resident Commercial Fishing
and Oyster Boat Licenses ............................... 1,600.00
Alien or Non-resident Commercial Fishermen
Licenses ........ ............................ ... ... 690.00
Excess Net Commercial Licenses ...................... 206.00
Sale of Shipping Permit Tags ......................... ... 3,974.50 90,020.10

Shrimp Fishing Industry
Resident Shrimp Fishing Boat Licenses .......... 3,748.25
Alien or Non-resident Shrimp Fishing Boat
Licenses ............- .......... .... ...... ........ 3,625.00
Alien or Non-resident Shrimp Fishermen
Licenses .................... ............ 1,500.00 8,873.25

Menhaden Fishing Industry
Resident Menhaden Fishing Boat Licenses .... 637.75
Alien or Non-resident Menhaden Fishing Boat
Licenses ................................. ... ......... 250.00
Alien or Non-resident Menhaden Fishing Boat
Licenses ---........... --------....... --................ 790.00
Purse Seine Licenses ............... ................... 525.00 2,202.75

Oyster Industry
Oyster Bottom Lease Rentals ........................... 2,000.94
Two Cent Privilege Tax on Oysters Gathered.. 370.22
Three Cent Privilege Tax on Oysters Gathered 53.62
Five Cent Privilege Tax on Oysters Gathered 2,878.04 5,302.82

Sponge Industry
Resident Sponge Boat Licenses ..................... 645.85 645.85

Pleasure Fishing
Resident Pleasure Fishing Boat Licenses ........ 3,327.75
Alien or Non-resident Pleasure Fishing Boat
Licenses ............---........-------- ............... 2,125.00

5,452.75
Oyster Shell Sales
Sale of Oyster Shell ........................ ......... .... 9,470.74

9,470.74


* 36 *











RECEIPTS AND DISBURSEMENTS

(Continued)


Miscellaneous Items
Sale of Confiscated Nets, Fish and Other
Equipment ............................................ 1,455.90
Court Cost Collected ....................................... 384.55
Sale of Postage Stamps ................................... 3.79
Insurance collected from Camden Fire In-
surance Co.-Damage to Boats .............. 460.30
Insurance Collected from Camden Fire In-
surance Co.-For burned Boat ................. -- 1,500.00
Sale of Motor ........................ .. ......... ..- 31.00
Insurance Refund ........... ........-.......... .56 3,836.10
$125,804.36 $226,516.63
DISBURSEMENTS
Administrative and Office
Salaries .....................-------. .......................$ 13,580.00
Traveling Expenses ................................-- 2,078.63
Printing and Stationery ........................ .......... 1,244.45
Telegraph and Telephone ...........................- 611.42
Postage and Box Rent .....................................- 1,005.50
Employees Bonds .. ...................-- ......... 35.00
Employees Insurance ......................--...-- ..- 7.92
Office Rent ..........................--.........- 1,572.00 $ 20,134.92

Field Division
Salaries .............................. ................ 52,168.88
Traveling Expenses .............................. 36,091.71
Printing and Stationery ..............................------ 2,491.35
Purchase, Maintenance and Operation of
Patrol Boats ..................-.............. ..... .- 12,634.14
Telegraph and Telephone ......................-.---.- 282.78
P.O. Money Order Fees ......................------- 46.50
Employees Bonds ............-- .......---------- .00
Employees Insurance ..............------.----- 706.78
Insurance on Boats ....................-.---..-- 1,092.68
University of Miami-Research Work ............. 863.00
Boat Tags ...................- ......--- ......--- 170.00
Other Tags ........ .........--............. 2,450.35
Refunds ........ .......... .. -..-. ................174.30
Surveying Franklin County ..............--..-..-- 405.25
Court Cost ............................- .... 80.80
One File Cabinet ....... ....--.. .-- -.... .......- 86.90
Typing ................................... 65.25
Miscellaneous Items ................. -----....--. .- 42.34 109,853.01
$129,987.93
Balance Credited to State Board of
Conservation Fund in Comptroller's Office
December 31, 1947 .........-... ..--..------------ 96,528.70
$226,516.63

37 *











SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS AND DISBURSEMENTS
1948


Balance credited to State Conservation
Fund in Comptroller's Office as of
December 31, 1948 ............................................$ 96,528.70 $ 96,528.70

RECEIPTS
Commercial Salt Water Fishing Industry
Resident Wholesale Seafood Dealers Licenses..$ 34,250.00
Resident Retail Seafood Dealers Licenses.......... 35,610.00
Resident Commercial Fishing and Oyster Boat
Licenses ..................................... 14,267.75
Alien or Non-resident Commercial Fishing and
Oyster Boat Licenses ........................................ 1,500.00
Alien or Non-resident Commercial Fishermen
Licenses .............. ........... .... ......... ........ 595.00
Excess Net Commercial Licenses .......................... 80.00
Sale of Shipping Permit Tags .......................... 3,915.50 90,218.2t

Shrimp Fishing Industry:
Resident Shrimp Fishing Boat Licenses ........ 5,263.85
Alien or Non-resident Shrimp Fishing Boat
Licenses ........ ........... .......... .... ................ 5,550.00
Alien or Non-resident Shrimp Fishermen
Licenses ............ ...... ...... ........ ........... 1,935.00 12,748.85
Menhaden Fishing Industry:
Resident Menhaden Fishing Boat Licenses...... 560.70
Alien or Non-resident Menhaden Fishing Boat
Licenses ..................... .... .. ........ ......... 200.00
Alien or Non-resident Menhaden Fishermen
Licenses .......................................... ............. 720.00
Purse Seine Licenses .......................... ............ 450.00 1,930.70
Oyster Industry:
Oyster Bottom Lease Rentals ............................ 453.28
Two Cent Privilege Tax on Oysters Gathered.. 50.18
Three Cent Privilege Tax on Oysters Gathered 21.78
Five Cent Privilege Tax on Oysters Gathered.. 2,201.57 2,726.81
Sponge Industry:
Resident Sponge Boat Licenses ...................... 479.80 479.80

Pleasure Fishing:
Resident Pleasure Fishing Boat Licenses ........ 4,132.80
Alien or Non-resident Pleasure Fishing Boat
Licenses .......... .............................. 3,300.00 7,423.80
Oyster Shell Sales:
Sale of Oyster Shell .................... .............. 16,515.94 16,515.94


* 38 *












RECEIPTS AND DISBURSEMENTS

(Continued)


Miscellaneous Items:
Sale of Confiscated Nets, Fish and Other
Equipm ent ............................. ..................... 4,609.60
Court Cost Collected ........................................ 440.47
Sale of Postage Stamps ............................... 3.25
Sale of Motors ................................. 218.76
Sale of Rowboat .............................. .............. 10.00
Insurance Refunds and other Small Items...... 185.17 5,467.25

$137,520.40 $234,049.10

DISBURSEMENTS
Administrative and Office
Salaries ..................... .. ................... 15,452.00
Traveling Expenses ....................-........---- ..... -2,378.78
Printing and Stationery .........................- 1,859.90
Telegraph and Telephone ............................. 569.93
Postage and Box Rent .................... ........ ... 1,151.00
Employees Bonds ....................... .......... 65.00
Employees Insurance ............. ..................... 7.46
Office Rent ............. ... ........... 1,572.00 $ 23,056.07

Field Division
Salaries ....................... ............ 53,427.92
Traveling Expenses ................... ................... 38,131.31
Printing and Stationery .... ................... ......... 2,571.51
Maintenance and Operation of Patrol Boats.... 7,973.16
Telegraph and Telephone ...........................-.. 274.94
P.O. Money Order Fees Paid by Agents ............ 43.49
Employees Bonds ....................... ....... -........ 398.50
Employees Insurance ..................... ............. 490.13
Insurance on Boats ...--- ..................- ........ 1,129.13
Boat Tags ................. ....... ... -- -------- ..- 178.50
Other Tags ..............-............ .....- .--- 1,588.00
Refunds ...................-. -----. --....- 32.25
One Boat ..............-...-......-.-----.... 1,949.95
One Boat ........................--- ......... 2,700.00
Two Filing Cabinets .............................. 156.00
Three Typewriters .................... .........- 322.74
Attorney Fees and Court Cost ........... ...... 81.75
Miscellaneous Items ..................... ...... 191.46
University of Miami-Research Work ........... 1,203.44 $112,844.18
135,900.25
Balance Credited to State Board of
Conseravtion Fund in Comptroller's Office
December 31, 1948 ........... ..... .......... -- 98,148.85

$234,049.10


S39 .





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