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ABOUT THE COVER-
The surge of people to Florida and a more
intensive competition for coastal marine re-
sources has stimulated a greater interest in
deeper salt water and its living wealth.
As exploratory fishing and commercial
enterprise have entered areas far removed
from Florida's shores, so the Conservation
Department has broadened its view and as-
sumed new and more distant responsibilities.
In keeping with these enlarged and chal-
lenging duties, the cover of this biennial
report appropriately looks seaward.
N 5 -
FLORIDA STATE BOARD
R. A. GRAY
Secretary of State
J. EDWIN LARSON
RAY E. GREEN
Commissioner of Agriculture
THOMAS D. BAILEY
Supt. of Public Instruction
Director of Conservation
I4q/a Y7&e maa/ o7 ro n jev a & n.
ERNEST MITTS W. V. KNOTT BUILDING
DIRECTOR TELEPHONE 3-1064
January 29, 1957
Honorable LeRoy Collins,
Dear Governor Collins:
For many years the State Board of Conservation, in
spite of commendable advancements, has never fully suc-
ceeded in catching up to its ever-growing responsibilities.
If we are to handle our duties effectively and deal with
the increasing problems which are the natural concomitant
of Florida's growth, our means must be increased.
A feeling exists among many responsible citizens that
a small salt water fishing license would provide the ade-
quate and stable support our program needs.
In spite of our heavily strained resources, we are proud
of the many accomplishments of the past two years. We
feel you will be pleased as you note the steps forward that
have been taken since 1954 and which are outlined on the
succeeding pages of this report.
Table of Contents
Commercial Fish Landings
---- -------- 5
e a a
6 I -'- ~ M
The decline in mullet sales made gill net operations, such as this, less com-
mon. Attempts were made during '55 and '56 to bolster the market for
mullet which was still the most important food fish in pounds produced.
This report is a summary of goals attained and progress
achieved in the betterment of salt water conservation during
the past two years.
In general, the years 1955 and 1956 were ones of accomplish-
ment. Outlined briefly below are several of the most noteworthy
1. Merit system status was established for employees. Ap-
pointments and promotions are now covered by civil service
With minor variations, this scene is repeated daily on the docks of every
coastal town in Florida. Here everyone is either going fishing, returning,
or talking about the day's luck. A study was made in 1956 to show the
value of this great fishing enterprise.
2. Schools, short courses and correspondence courses were
made mandatory for all agents.
3. Establishment of marine laboratory in St. Petersburg
staffed and maintained by the Board of Conservation. This
marked the first undertaking, by the Board, of its own
4. A state-wide and comprehensive survey of the economics
of the salt water fishing industry was carried out for one
5. Conservation agents took on other duties in addition to
law enforcement. Their cooperation made possible such
studies as the sports fishing survey, mullet gear investi-
gation, Franklin County shrimp studies, and the collection
of statistics on fishery landings.
6. A dietician and home economist was appointed to promote
Florida seafoods, by public appearances, contact with in-
stitutional buyers, etc.
7. The vehicles of all law enforcement agents were equipped
with two-way radios and all radio communication was
coordinated with the already existing highway patrol
8. An additional aeroplane was put into service.
9. A new type, porpoise-tail boat was acquired for shallow
10. Four beach buggies were put into service for surveillance
of extended expanses of sandy shores.
11. Rehabilitation of state-owned oyster bottoms was revived
and in 1956 more extensive projects were undertaken than
in any previous year.
12. Efforts were made to attract northern seafood producers
Miss Eugenia Schmoe, a home economist, was given the job of stimulating
markets for Florida's seafood.
V L' .. L
i.. __. "
into the State to utilize presently unharvested resources.
Some success has been obtained and the efforts are con-
13. Cooperation, advisory and consultant services, together
with detailed results of department sponsored marketing
studies, were offered to the seafood industry in the present
mullet crisis. At the close of the biennium at least one
private company was commercially canning mullet.
14. A technically trained marine biologist was made an ad-
ministrator and worked closely with the director in the
many problems where scientific background was useful.
15. All agencies, federal and state, working on the problem
of Red Tide were officially coordinated by the Board. Pre-
viously, each organization worked independently on re-
search, results of which were not as easily available to
other institutions. Under the sponsorship of the Board of
Conservation, several conferences were held at which the
scientists exchanged results and ideas.
16. Extensive studies were carried out on the effects of dredg-
ing and filling on commercial and sports fishing. This
information was made available to all groups interested
in this problem over the State.
17. A patrol boat of sufficient size to patrol in offshore waters
was put in service.
18. A motor vessel, the Mayan, was acquired which was suit-
able for any type of deep water oceanographic research.
19. At the end of the biennium there were 81 uniformed law
enforcement agents, more than at any previous time.
20. In cooperation with the Marine Laboratory of the Uni-
versity of Miami the department sponsored a fishing school
in Fort Myers.
21. After several conferences, sponsored and conducted by
officials of the Board and by representatives of the hookers
and divers, a compromise arrangement was worked out
for exclusive areas to be assigned for hooking sponges
and other coastal regions to be reserved for diving. This
agreement was passed as a Rule of the Board and was
later passed as a law in the 1955 session of the Legislature.
This marked the first time that these two heretofore
rival groups had effected a successful compromise in their
long period of competition and friction.
22. Concern was felt in many quarters that the Tortugas
shrimp beds, discovered in 1949, and heavily exploited
since, might be experiencing depletion. The Board spon-
sored studies into possible preliminary measures to protect
the fisheries' future.
Following this research a Rule was passed setting a mini-
mum size for shrimp and prescribing certain mesh sizes
for shrimp trawl nets.
23. Greater harmony between the sports and commercial fish-
ing interests developed gradually during 1956. With the
encouragement of, and participation by, the Board of
Conservation, several conferences were held between lead-
ers of both groups and joined by delegates of the Florida
Outdoor Writers Association. As the biennium ended,
the Florida Wildlife Federation and Southeastern Fish-
eries Association were contemplating a mutually endorsed
24. At the request of the Army Engineers, the Board provided
information, advice and opinions on several pending coastal
projects. These opinions related to the effects of canals
and other drainage facilities upon marine and estuarine
organisms. This was a new responsibility and one which
taxed the Board budgetwise as no money had been as-
signed for the purpose.
25. The number of licenses for boats and wholesale and retail
dealers issued by the Board doubled during the biennium.
This large increase was due primarily to a more intensive
license inspection program.
There is no minimum age limit for Florida sports fishing (or maximum,
either). Here a group of potential addicts receive instruction in the
For many years Florida's salt water sports fishing has con-
tinued to attract anglers from all parts of the northern hemi-
sphere. Ever increasing thousands flocking to our State for
angling pleasures have stimulated business. Housing, boat
rental, party boats, fishing equipment, bait, food, lodging, sports-
wear, entertainment, transportation, guide services, and asso-
ciated fringe enterprises have all enlarged and prospered.
Strangely, no attempt had ever been made by the State Board
of Conservation to ascertain the value of sports fishing to the
State. In order that angling and related enterprises received
their proper recognition and consideration, a detailed study
was sponsored (in 1956) to determine how much the average
fisherman spends, how long he stays, how much he catches,
how far he travels and many cther aspects of his sport. (See
Research.) The study, as planned, was to take one year's time.
By the end of 1956 it still had two months to continue. All
data were put on IBM cards and tabulation will begin about
the middle of February. The investigation was planned by the
Marine Laboratory of the University of Miami and the field
work and interviews were made by Conservation agents.
A growing awareness of the importance of sports fishing in
Florida is also reflected in the research budget for the Board of
Conservation. About half of the projects now being undertaken
relate directly or indirectly to sports fishing. (See Research.)
Two sports activities which often compete with each other
collided during the biennium. Opportunities are always ample
for friction between spear fishermen and anglers-in many
instances they fish the same small areas, pursue the same spe-
cies, and discourtesies are sometimes indulged in by less re-
strained members of each group.
More and more areas are being restricted to the spear fish-
erman. The arguments for these restrictions are many but the
principal ones are listed below:
1. Spearfishermen scare fish away.
2. Spearfishing is so efficient that depletion is easily accom-
3. Injured animals taint the surroundings. This repels other
4. At the same time and place, spearfishermen have an unfair
advantage over the angler. In cases where both fish the
same small area simultaneously, the angler may get no
fish while the spearfisherman will load his boat.
5. Spear guns are dangerous.
6. Irresponsible spearfishermen have sometimes used their
equipment dangerously and rudely.
Confronted with these allegations, the department contacted
other states and countries to benefit from outside experience.
Other parts of the United States, and foreign countries as well,
reported similar problems. In most cases the administrators
were sufficiently impressed with the need for a remedy that
restrictions were already established against spearfishing or
were under consideration.
During the last half of the biennium, a study of spearfishing
Never before estimated, the importance of bridge fishing (and all other
kinds) was investigated in 1956.
was begun by the Board of Conservation through the Marine
Laboratory of the University of Miami to obtain facts on pro-
duction, practices and consequences of spearfishing (see Re-
search). As the biennium closed some information was already
Although in the past sports and commercial fishing interests
have frequently considered the other as a separate entity, in
fact inimical, there developed during the biennium a desire on
the part of both enterprises to work together. The Board of
Conservation attempted to foster this movement and took an
active part in conferences and meetings at which joint pro-
grams were planned.
During the 1953 session of the Legislature a definite move-
ment to prohibit the commercial use of snook would have
resulted in that animal being restricted to sport. This Legis-
lation did not pass due to lack of support by the commercial
interests. As the biennium closed, both sports and commercial
interests were conferring on the snook question in an atmo-
sphere of cooperation.
Actually, sports and commercial interests are simply parts
of the over-all fishing enterprise. The livelihoods of the mem-
bers of each industry come from the same salt water and are
frequently derived from the same animals.
When sportsmen and commercial men join together they will
make a formidable instrument for all aspects of conservation.
It was not only in Florida that a growing interest in the
importance of sports fishing existed. Various other states and
the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service felt that the true importance
and value had gone too long unrecognized.
During the early part of 1956, under the sponsorship of the
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a nationwide survey was con-
There is fun aplenty, no matter how much you wish to spend. Here a big
capacity party boat returns after a day at sea. Many thousands each year
take advantage of this economical way to bring back the deep ones.
ducted by Crossley, S-D Surveys, Inc., of New York. The in-
formation obtained referred to the year 1955.
The statistics developed about sports fishing by this investi-
gation refer to nationwide averages and totals. Since we have
a "watery" state, and have more fishing than, say, New Mexico,
West Virginia or South Dakota, the averages provided are
much too low for Florida. Then too, much of the fishing done
by people of such "dry" states was done in places like Florida.
Never-the-less, some of the information provided by the study
is startling and brings vividly to everyone's attention the tre-
mendous enterprise which is Florida sports fishing. Worth
noting, for 1955, are the following:
1. At least 15'/ of the households had fishermen.
2. At least 20'/; of the persons over 12 years of age fished.
(in southeastern U. S.)
3. One in every four men fished.
4. One in every eleven women fished.
5. Salt water fishermen of the U. S. travelled 1.2 billion miles
in the pursuit of their sport.
6. American anglers spent 58,621,000 days with rod in hand.
In every coastal county of Florida, these sports fishing craft may be seen.
Many are available to take private parties fishing for a moderate fee.
At the height of the fishing season, over 400 shrimpers, with an average
value of about $60,000.00, trawl the famous Tortugas beds. Here a few
of the boats are tied up for Christmas. The Tortugas fleet has recently
been subject to regulations designed to protect the resource from
As for the past five years, the principal problem of the com-
mercial fishing industry was the continued decline of demand
The full resources of the State Board of Conservation and
the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service were thrown into the
struggle to save this important industry from further deteri-
Several studies were concluded during the two year period
on the economic and marketing aspects and other investigations,
centered on new products that might be developed from mullet,
provided technological know-how for producers.
By the end of 1956, the following progress had been made:
1. An excellent pack of canned mullet was developed and at
least one firm was actively producing it. Follow-up mar-
keting studies proved that this product had high consumer
acceptability and buyers were willing to pay a relatively
higher price for canned mullet. It can be retailed com-
petitively below tuna and salmon, both of which it some-
2. Research and the experience of one producer provided
strong evidence that mullet fish sticks must be moved
rapidly. The flesh of mullet, being oily, has a tendency
to become rancid and discolored. Additional studies may
indicate that antioxidants can solve the problem, but for
the present there is no production of frozen mullet fish
3. The same may be said for mullet frozen fillets, generally,
as is mentioned for frozen fish sticks (see (2) above).
4. Headed and gutted mullet, (H and G) were being pro-
duced in increasing numbers as the biennium ended. This
product, frozen, seemed to be acceptable in super markets
and was moving at an encouraging rate.
5. The smoked mullet industry grew substantially during
the biennium. Originally centered in Pinellas County,
production showed a tendency to become established in
other places. Every encouragement Was given to indi-
viduals to home smoke tasty mullet. Plans were made
available for do-it-yourself construction of smoke houses.
These plans were prepared after exhaustive tests spon-
sored by the Board of Conservation.
6. Economic studies indicated that restrictive gear laws are
preventing cheaper production of mullet. Such devices
as purse seines could conceivably catch great quantities
of mullet at one time, making the fish cheaper, more com-
petetive, and yet bring greater return to the fishermen.
7. A highly successful smoked mullet spread, delicious in
canapes and hors d'oeuvres, was being produced in Tampa
and marketed widely in Florida.
The second major commercial problem confronting the de-
partment was the persistent suspicion that the Tortugas shrimp
fishery might be over exploited. This sub-tropical bonanza was
discovered in 1949 and has since been vigorously fished. At
the height of the spring season, about 400 high seas vessels
trawl the area. In 1955 they landed in excess of 20,639,000
pounds of shrimp. Although the total landings have not shown
a significant downward trend, there was some reason for be-
lieving that the sustained landings might be supported by more
boats, more men, more time on the grounds and smaller
shrimp. Research sponsored by the Board of Conservation
showed that a mandatory 13/4 inch inside stretched mesh mea-
surement would hold almost all shrimp of larger size and would
permit 1/3 of the smallest to escape. These released shrimp
were shown to survive the experience of passing through
A rule was passed establishing minimum mesh sizes for
shrimp trawls and establishing a maximum count of 60 shrimp
to the pound, heads off.
By the end of 1956, the Board of Conservation was analysing
all available data to determine if a spawning season could be
sufficiently well identified to permit the establishment of a closed
All three of the restrictions described above should help to
protect the fishing at this doubtful time without any loss to
the industry. Prudence supports the wisdom of not taking
chances with a resource as rich as the Tortugas shrimp grounds.
As in the past, landings reports were not perfect. Many of
them were late, some were erroneous. With the aid of all agents,
a stepped up program to end delinquencies was inaugurated.
As a result, 97% of each month's reports were submitted within
one month after they were due. Even so, a substantial percent-
age of all landings is never reported upon. There are also no
statistics on the poundages of fish brought in by the sportsmen.
These figures alone would greatly increase Florida's total.
The data presented here has been extracted from Summaries
of Florida Commercial Marine Fish Landings for 1954-55 (mim-
eographed report), produced under the auspices of the State
Board of Conservation. Any persons desiring more detailed
information, particularly for each county, should refer to that
SUMMARY OF FLORIDA COMMERCIAL
MARINE FISH LANDINGS FOR 1954
This is the fifth year in which the Summary of Commercial
Marine Fish Landings has been compiled in the cooperative
program between the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the
Marine Laboratory of the University of Miami, research agency
for the Florida State Board of Conservation.
The over-all 1954 production of Florida's commercial catch
of marine fish and shellfish shows a decided decrease from 1953.
The 1954 total landings amounted to over 170 million pounds,
valued at $24.5 million, a decrease of about 36 million pounds
and a drop in value of $7 million from 1953. The decreases
occurred principally in the menhaden and shrimp catches. Men-
aden landings decreased approximately 28 million pounds and
shrimp catches decreased nearly 8 million pounds.
Of the 50.8 million pounds (heads-on) of shrimp landed in
Florida, 5.1 million pounds were caught on the East Coast,
18.3 million pounds on the Tortugas Grounds, 24.9 million
pounds from the Campeche Banks, and 2.6 million pounds on
the Upper West Coast of Florida. As compared to 1953, pro-
duction was about the same on three of these grounds with the
Campeche Banks sustaining most of the 8 million pound decline.
In spite of the sizeable decrease in shrimp landings, shrimp
still supports Florida's first ranking fishery in value and this
year exceeded menhaden in pounds landed. The shrimp fishery
is more valuable to the state than all the other fisheries com-
THE 10 TOP RANKING FLORIDA FISHERIES FOR 1954
Pounds Landed Value
(in millions) (in millions of dollars)
1. shrimp, heads-on (51) shrimp (14.6)
2. menhaden (42) black mullet ( 2.2)
3. black mullet (28) red snapper ( 1.6)
4. blue crabs (10) spotted sea trout ( 0.8)
5. red snapper (6) groupers ( 0.6)
6. groupers ( 5) Spanish mackerel ( 0.6)
7. Spanish mackerel ( 5) blue crabs ( 0.5)
8. spotted sea trout ( 3) menhaden ( 0.5)
9. king mackerel ( 2) spiny lobsters ( 0.4)
10. spiny lobsters (2) pompano ( 0.4)
SUMMARY OF FLORIDA COMMERCIAL MARINE FISH
LANDINGS FOR 1954
All-Florida by Species
FOOD FISH No. of Pounds Value
Reported in Dollars
Amberjack 388,095 $ 23,285
Barracuda 41,044 2,873
Bluefish -- 1,891,077 245,840
Bluerunner 510,163 30,610
Bonito 9,035 452
Butterfish 616 55
Cabio 19,221 1,922
Catfish (freshwater) 2,122,453 424,491
Catfish (sea) 142,289 11,383
Cero 242 29
Croaker 75,609 8,317
Dolphin 25,934 3,112
Drum (black) 75,475 4,528
Drum (red) 860,631 129,095
Eels 12,965 1,167
Flounders 96,413 17,354
Groupers 5,407,307 594,804
Grunts 102,344 7,164
Hogfish 29,019 4,644
Jacks (common) ._ 644,998 19,350
Jewfish 86,356 6,045
King mackerel 2,004,309 260,560
King whiting 1,031,800 82,544
Mullet, (black) 27,766,391 2,221,311
Mullet, (silver) 1,078,764 75,514
Permit 19,671 1,180
Pigfish -.- 45,509 4,551
Pinfish 290,489 23,239
Pompano 634,029 418,459
Porkfish 181 74
Sea trout (grey) 19,022 3,044
Sea trout (spotted) 3,458,786 830,109
Sea trout (white) 74,278 8,913
Shad 180,824 27,124
Shad, hickory 1,189 36
Sheepshead ----- 138,271 12,444
Snapper, (mangrove) 302,319 51,394
Snapper, (mutton) ..... -- 157,480 29,921
Snapper, (red) 6,119,655 1,652,307
Snapper, (white) 111,927 11,193
Snapper, (yellowtail) 330,846 72,786
Snook 452,974 63,416
Spanish mackerel 4,948,488 593,818
Spot 437,014 43,701
Sturgeon 1,501 300
Triggerfish 40,623 2,438
Tripletail 3,752 300
Tuna, yellowfin 15,000 1,500
Warsaw 265,758 23,918
Bottomfish 1,240,532 99,243
Trashfish 806,627 24,199
Miscellaneous 51,134 4,090
FOOD FISH TOTAL 64,570,429 $ 8,180,146
SUMMARY OF FLORIDA COMMERCIAL MARINE FISH
LANDINGS FOR 1954
No. of Pounds Value
Reported in Dollars
Alewives 69,542 $ 2,087
Ballyhoo 10,055 1,006
Cigarfish 109,309 7,652
Menhaden 41,853,504 485,501
Sharks 400 800
Tenpounder ladyfishh) 415,268 24,916
TOTAL NON-FOOD FISH ..--.- .------- 42,458,078 $ 520,962
Clams 31,366 $ 15,683
Crabs, blue (hard)
Crabs, blue (soft)
Scallops, bay (meats)
Shrimp (heads on)
Upper West Coast
3,770 $ 301
SUMMARY OF MARINE FISH LANDINGS
Food Non-food Shellfish, Etc. Grand
Fish Fish Excluding Shrimp Total
Bay and Gulf
64,570,429 42,458,078 12,824,683 50,882,876
858 112,287 309,132 6,695,946
865 874,143 906,854 6,769,153
400 886 167,164
336,075 131,085 4,704,648
798 226,351 1,467,409 5,765,645
820 1,232,544 4,129,784
3,132,345 1,894,545 6,274,831
013 10,186 378,900 4,975,998
074 1,103,500 1,953,144 6,374,274
293 274,930 17,883,534 20,075,991
654 828,655 2,216,305
1,428,506 10,831,255 16,936,265
,774 158,600 2,145,937
,038 39,304 1,742 1,113,088
,395 760,598 12,795,984 15,042,364
,540 1,220,663 1,661,951 44,541,501
,942 50 5,100 1,949,630
,353 60,751 44,761 4,414,158
,024 345,275 2,577,129
1,485 376,767 403,893
515 9,007 139,198 2,389,651
190 32,146 1,288,526
415 499,119 96,618 1,543,136
117 89,438 883,461
SUMMARY OF FLORIDA COMMERCIAL
MARINE FISH LANDINGS FOR 1955
Figure 1 shows a comparison of landings and their respective
values for the years 1950-1955.
In 1950 there was a relatively small catch of menhaden (a
low value per unit fishery) and shrimp. In 1951 and 1952 in
both the menhaden and shrimp fisheries there was a large in-
crease in landings. Menhaden increased five fold and shrimp
almost doubled their 1950 catches. 1953 saw a decline in the
landings of non-food fish (60 million pounds) but shrimp con-
tinued to gain, reaching the highest point in the history of the
fishery, or 58.5 million pounds. In 1954 and 1955 there were
further drastic cuts in the non-food fish production. Shrimp
dropped to 50 million pounds in 1954, but regained one-fourth
of the loss-2 million pounds-in 1955 (see Figure 2).
During this period of six years, the menhaden industry,
despite its spasmodic operation, had little influence upon total
value of Florida fishery products. The fishery always having
the greatest single influence upon value is shrimp.
Food fin fish landings from 1950 through 1955 were relatively
stable. The extremes were 62.7 million in 1950 and 72.3 million
in 1951, with an average landing of approximately 66 million
pounds for the entire period. The 1955 catch was 65.8 million
Certain species have shown declining landings, while others
have increased. For example, spotted trout has receded from a
high of 4.8 million pounds in 1952 to 2.9 million in 1955; Span-
ish mackerel from 8.3 in 1951 to a low of 4.9 in 1955; Pompano's
highest point was 1951, 966 thousand, its lowest in 1955, 455
thousand pounds. Their respective values decreased corres-
Kingfish, mackerel, mullet and red snapper were fisheries
showing gains in landings. In the case of mullet, despite an
increase in landings, the value of this fishery declined.
There are 21 of what might be called primary fisheries -in
the state of Florida. These include. 9 food fin fish, 2 non-food
fin fish and 7 shellfish fisheries.
The total seafood landings for the state in 1955 was 174,-
306,901 pounds. The fisheries mentioned above accounted for
in excess of 163.5 million pounds or nearly 94% of the total.
The remaining 10.7 million pounds of the total catch include
species caught incidentally to the other group.
The value of the primary group exceeded 95% of the total
value of all fisheries in the state.
Included in the primary fisheries is that for trout, a portion
of the landings of which are incidental to the mullet fishery.
Listed on the following pages are the primary fisheries, with
their landings and values for 1955.
TOTAL LANDINGS AND VALUES
MILLIONS OF LBS. Millions of Dollars
300 Leeena. 60
3 L0..L Landings
D Value in Millions 256.3
of Dollars 5
200 -- .4,.. 50
22. .. *.* *.*,
118-.5 :.:.:. B*U:- -- 24. .5 24 .5. 6
U::::.: :*:::-1 -: fff' ---
100. 20a "' "'"
.. 15.7 :.:.: ... .. v..U:ec
i... 7 ... ... ... :.:.:. i...
':ii:! "" :::' ii :':"
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955
U..U-. ...:... ,v.'.aS *.e.
TEN LEADING FISHERIES (SALTWATER) AS TO LANDINGS
Millions of Lbs.
0 10 20 30 40 50
SHRIMP ::.$.... ....... 52.7
MENHADEN ...:.::...:.:.:.. ...:.... ::...3 38.1
MULLET *::, :.......:.* .. .. 28 .7
(BLACK) : :: :-:::1::: :: 2d.
(BLACK) ..:5... .. .I... .......
BLUE CRABS ,.*: .: 12.6
(HARD SHELL) ***:.:."." "
RED SNAPPER 6.4
GROUPER ? 4.9
lMillions of Dollars
RED : .:.:
TEN LEADING FISHERIES (SALTWATER) AS TO VALUE
4 6 8 10 12
SUMMARY OF FLORIDA COMMERCIAL MARINE
FISH LANDINGS FOR 1955
Landings of Primary Fisheries
FOOD FIN FISH
Catfish, Fresh Water
Scallops, Bay Meats
Shrimp (Heads On)
*Does not include sponge
SUMMARY OF FLORIDA COMMERCIAL MARINE
FISH LANDINGS FOR 1955
All Florida by Species
Sea Trout: Gray
Sea Trout: Spotted
Sea Trout: White
TOTAL FOOD FISH
of Pounds in
17,274 $ 1,036
65,727,665 $ 7,936,554
SUMMARY OF FLORIDA COMMERCIAL MARINE FISH
FISH LANDINGS FOR 1955
No. of Pounds Value
Reported in Dollars
Alewives ------- 93,523 $ 1,870
Ballyhoo 29,390 2,939
Cigarfish 504,740 35,332
Menhaden 38,165,327 362,571
Tenpounder ladyfishh) 310,344 12,414
Trashfish 593,083 17,792
TOTAL NON-FOOD FISH 39,696,407 $ 432,918
Clams, hard 22,033 $ 5,068
Crabs, blue (hard)
Crabs, blue (soft)
Scallops, bay (meats)
Shrimp (heads on):
Upper west coast
SUMMARY OF FLORIDA COMMERCIAL MARINE
FISH LANDINGS FOR 1955
East and West Coast by Species
Sea trout: Gray
Sea trout: Spotted
Sea trout: White
TOTAL FOOD FISH
Pounds Value in
9,487 $ 569
Pounds Value in
Pounds Value in
Alewives 57,123 $ 1,142 36,400 $ 728
Ballyhoo 4,100 410 25,290 2,529
Cigarfish 939 66 503,801 35,266
Menhaden 36,247,053 344,347 1,918,274 18,224
Tenpounder ladyfishh) 952 38 309,392 12,376
Trashfish 479,646 14,389 113,437 3,403
FISH 36,789,813 $ 360,392 2,906,594 $ 72,526
Clams, hard 6,294 $ 1,448 15,739 $ 3,620
Conchs 109 11
Crabs, blue (hard) 7,682,817 384,141 4,953,986 247,699
Crabs, blue (soft) 60 3 825 41
Crabs, stone 28,260 13,282 251,245 118,085
Lobsters, spiny 1,079,359 248,253 1,216,003 279,681
Oysters (meats) 19,340 4,255 630,241 138,653
Scallops, bay (meats) 222,959 53,510
Shrimp (heads on):
Upper west coast
20,639,680 $ 6,191,904
4,136,103 $1,116,748 48,597,887 $14,323,432
441 44 4,884 488
55 8 1,286 193
12,952,838 $1,768,193 55,929,991 $15,417,261
69,249,545 $4,505,771 105,057,356 $21,049,155
SUMMARY OF FLORIDA COMMERCIAL MARINE
Bay, Gulf &
LANDINGS FOR 1955
FNsh etc., Exclud- Shrimp
Data obtained from Tarpon Springs Sponge Exchange.
During the closed season of December 10, 1955, to January
20, 1956, accurate records were kept of the storage and move-
ment of mullet during that period. According to the regulations,
a declaration must be made at the start of closed season, Decem-
ber 10, by all persons holding mullet. Another declaration must
be made five days later, by which time all fresh mullet must
either be sold or frozen. All subsequent movements of mullet
must be under permit from the Board of Conservation. It is
thus possible to maintain an accounting of mullet during this
A summary follows for the period December 10, 1955 to
January 20, 1956.
STATE-WIDE MULLET HOLDINGS
Closed Season December 10, 1955 to January 20, 1956
Fresh Mullet 507,425
Fresh Roe 1,375
Frozen Mullet 1,822,170
Frozen Roe 106,619
Salted Mullet 230,596
Salted Roe 3,903
Frozen Mullet 2,009,037
Frozen Roe 103,179
Salted Mullet 199,780
Salted Roe --____- 4,459
Mullet Withdrawn During Closed Season
Transported out of state
Frozen Mullet 664,277
Frozen Roe 151
Salted Mullet 5,900
Salted Roe 00
Released for smoking during closed season
Frozen Mullet 38,359
Mullet Left in Freezer After January 20, 1956
Frozen Mullet 1,344,760
Frozen Roe 103,028
Salted Mullet 193,880
Salted Roe 4,459
Oystermen load tongs with which they will pluck oysters from the bay
bottoms. Continued drought and higher salinities have greatly reduced
the number of acres of productive beds in Florida.
As before, the Board of Conservation offered expert advice
and free consultation services to those persons who wished to
undertake the private cultivation of oysters on leased bottoms.
The most extensive program of oyster rehabilitation ever
attempted in Florida was carried out during the summer of 1956.
The following table summarizes the projects.
East of Channel
East Point __
shucked shell .
Broken bldg. block
21 small barge loads
As the biennium ended, plans were completed for experi-
mental plantings of oysters in Crystal River, a locality that has
experienced large scale mortalities due to recent elevated sa-
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Tagging is a valuable aid in discovering migration habits, growth rate, and
fishing intensity. Here are the tools of the fish taggers' trade: pliers,
strap tags, and finny subject-a tagged snook.
Scientific investigations were carried out in three different
ways during the biennium. These methods were:
1. By contract with an outside institution (Marine Labora-
tory, University of Miami).
2. By a marine laboratory operated and staffed by the Board
of Conservation (St. Petersburg).
3. By agents of the Board who collected data under technical
Summaries of accomplishments for each of these research
activities are given separately on the next few pages.
MARINE LABORATORY, UNIVERSITY OF
MIAMI, CORAL GABLES, FLORIDA
The Marine Laboratory of the University of Miami con-
ducts scientific research for the State Board of Conservation
on biological, technological and economic problems of the Florida
1. Fisheries Production Statistics:
The collection of monthly reports of fishery landings started
in 1950 has been continued, and modified during the biennium.
Monthly "Florida Landing" reports were issued and the "An-
nual Summary of Florida Landings" for 1955 was published.
Both of these publications include a breakdown of seafood land-
ings by species and county.
Considerably better-more accurate and faster-coverage of
landings has been accomplished during the past two years. This
has resulted from improvements in handling preliminary reports
by the IBM machines, increased coverage of the shrimp land-
ings by Fish and Wildlife Service personnel, and active and
vigorous assistance of the State Board of Conservation agents
who have assisted in collecting monthly forms.
This program, carried as a cooperative arrangement between
the State Board of Conservation and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, and employing the facilities of the Marine Laboratory,
is vital to regulation and an intelligent evaluation of the worth
of Florida's commercial marine products.
2. Mullet Biology:
During the biennium the data on black mullet (Mugil cepha-
lus) which had been accumulated over a considerable period, was
analyzed. Two reports were completed, one dealing with the
tagging experiments and the other with racial studies using
During the tagging program sufficient fish were returned
with desired data to determine their migration distance, which
ranged from 5 to 350 miles. Most of the 23 percent of all re-
leased fish recovered were from the commercial fishery. The
time at liberty had little influence on the distance migrated. A
movement of mullet down the Florida east coast prior to the
spawning season was noted and a similar movement south from
Cedar Keys and Homosassa on the west coast at the same time
of the year. Most of the other movements of these tagged fish
seemed to be in a random fashion.
The percent returns from the fish released in various months
is similar. Mullet released just prior to spawning having as
high a rate of recovery as fish released at other periods of the
year. This at least in part contradicts the theory commonly
held by the fishermen that the mullet do not return after spawn-
ing and are lost to the fishery.
*t JlU L
Scene showing Board of Conservation educational display
which appears in all major Florida fairs and exhibitions.
It is felt that by dissemination of information in a proper man-
ner, such as is being carried out by this administration, that an
aroused public will become aware of the values and potentials
of our great commercial and sports fishing industries of Florida.
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of shrimp caught. If it did, then the capture of small shrimp
might be reduced by establishing minimum mesh sizes.
The experimental net used was a 100-foot Florida flat trawl.
This was fitted with a cover bag of very small mesh to catch
the shrimp passing through the codend. The cover is untarred
cotton of 1" stretched mesh. It was attached about 12 meshes
below the beginning of the codend and trailed about 4-5 feet
past the end of the codend. The net was fished exactly as a
commercial net would be. When the net came aboard the cover
net was opened and its catch put aside. Then the codend was
opened. Estimates were made of (1) the weight of the total
shrimp and trash; (2) of the trash; (3) shrimp; (4) finfish,
shell and sponge. The shrimp were measured and the propor-
tion of sizes in the cover net and the codend was determined.
Fishing was done on two successive nights during each
month for a full year. Three hauls were made each night of
two hours duration, covering about 61/2 nautical miles each.
One year's data are now on hand and these show that dif-
ferent sized meshes (13/%", 2", 21/4" and 21/") catch different
sized shrimp, and only with the larger sized meshes will one
find significant escapement of the small shrimp.
The question is sometimes raised, arid reasonably so, that
even if small shrimp are allowed to escape will they live after
escapement? It was therefore deemed necessary to determine
the mortality or damage to shrimp which pass through the
meshes of a cover bag. To answer this question shrimp that
had passed through the 21/4" mesh and had been in the cover
bag were placed in a tank on deck of the Fish and Wildlife
Service vessel George M. Bowers. There was no apparent dam-
age to these shrimp and all of them lived until the experiment
terminated 92 hours later.
5. Survey of the Saltwater Game Fishery:
The economic importance of Florida's marine game fish re-
sources, both as a tourist attraction and through their exploita-
tion, has long been recognized. For the purpose of management
of marine resources to obtain continuous good fishing, informa-
tion on fishing pressure and catches of the most important
species by all fishing methods is essential. Because no trust-
worthy estimates of these very basic facts are available the
State Board of Conservation began a survey to obtain specific
information on the numbers of days spent in recreational salt-
If the mortality calculations can be considered reasonable
estimates of the forces at work in the fishery, it can be said that
fishing has a considerable effect on the stocks of fish available
to the commercial fishery.
The racial investigations were completed and the results pub-
lished as Technical Series No. 19. It appears from this work
on body measurements, and taking into consideration the tagging
work and studies on growth, that the mullet in Florida fall into
four populations: (1) an east coast population in the area from
Jacksonville to Miami; (2) a west coast population from Ever-
glades northward to Steinhatchee; (3) a northwest coast popu-
lation of Apalachicola and St. Marks; and (4) a Pensacola popu-
lation. This conclusion is important in considering regulation
of the fishery.
3. Bay Scallop Fishery:
During the biennium the work on the bay scallop fishery
was completed. This work, begun in 1953, gives information
on the biology of the commercial bay scallop, the fishing and
handling methods and the economics of the fishery. The pur-
pose of the report was to assist the State Board of Conservation
in deciding whether regulation of this fishery is desirable or
During 1953-54 there was an extended spawning season,
with some scallops spawning as early as May while others were
found spawning as late as January. Scallops that may origi-
nate from the late spring or summer spawning are first fished
during the following May or June when they are about 2 inches
It seems probable that the life expectancy of the scallop in
Pine Island Sound is less than two years. Thus they must be
caught between the time they attain commercial size and the
time when losses from mortality are greater than increments
resulting from growth.
July and August are considered to be the most favorable
months, in terms of meat yield, for this fishery to operate, but
it is not considered good management to restrict the fishery at
present from operating whenever economic conditions are favor-
4. Small Shrimp Studies:
The purpose of these experiments was to discover whether
the size of shrimp trawl meshes had any influence on the sizes
water fishing in Florida, by both residents and visitors during
the current year, on the total amount of money spent by them
in connection with fishing, and on their catches of fish. The
survey plan was made by the Marine Laboratory of the Univer-
sity of Miami and the results are being analyzed by that agency.
The participation of Mr. Ernest Mitts, Director of the State
Board of Conservation, and his staff has been very substantial.
All agents of the State Board of Conservation are assisting in
the survey and 17 of these agents are spending approximately
half of their time on this project.
Information is being obtained by two methods: specially de-
signed questionnaires sent by mail and by personal interview
forms. Continuous supervision has been given to the conserva-
tion agents assisting in this both by personal contact and by
Approximately 4,000 anglers, charter and party boat cap-
tains and pier and fishing camp operators have been interviewed
since the survey started in February of 1956. About 200 com-
pleted questionnaire forms which had been sent to fishing clubs
have been returned to date and approximately the same number
of completed questionnaire forms mailed to owners of Florida
licensed boat trailers. Response to this program is considered
Due to the volume of data, machine tabulation is essential
for efficient analysis. With this in mind, negotiations have been
completed with the International Business Machines Corpora-
tion to obtain the necessary totals and tabulations. Soon after
the close of the sampling period all effort will be directed to the
analysis and preparation of a report embodying the findings of
the survey. The preliminary results indicate that sports fishing
contributes a very significant portion of the State's income.
Also see Sports Fishing.
6. Weakfish (Sea Trout):
The necessity of learning about the basic biological aspects
of the sea trout (Cynoscion nebulosus) caused the State Board
of Conservation to recommend the initiation of studies during
July, 1955. In the vicinity of Cocoa, Florida, a thriving sport
fishery exists for this species so it was decided to direct effort
to this area. It is probable that the findings from the intensive
study in this area can be applied to the trout populations in
other parts of coastal Florida. The biological studies deemed
of greatest practical value in the understanding of this species
to allow wise management practices are those on age, growth,
spawning habits, migrations and food habits. Accordingly, regu-
lar observations of the fishery are being made twice a month,
the data gathered including catch records and biological in-
formation. Samples have been obtained from the commercial
and sport hook and line fisheries and from the commercial net
Fish taken in the samples ranged in size from less than one
inch to 34 inches. It appears from the analysis of scale marks
that the fish may reach an age of about 8 years. Growth is
rapid in the first year when an average length of about 6 to 7
inches is attained. Growth is fairly constant throughout life,
which seems to indicate favorable feedings and activity the
There is a strong indication of high mortality among males
after the third year of life. Fish older than four years are
almost invariably females. This phenomenon is well known
by fishermen and all large spotted sea trout are called "sow
Studies of the maturation of the gonads have shown spawn-
ing to occur during a rather sharply defined period of activity,
with the peak spawning taking place in mid-May and through
the month of June. On the basis of gonad examinations, spawn-
ing is later by about 3 weeks in the Cocoa area than it is in the
Bascayne Bay area.
Collections made with fine mesh seines have produced small
sea trout and eggs. Work is now in progress to establish the
identity of the large numbers of eggs and larvae believed to
be day old young and eggs of the species.
The sea trout exhibits considerable variation in its choice of
habitat during the year. All sizes of this species are sensitive
to cold and are found together in deep water in winter and dur-
ing this time the large trout become a serious predator on the
small trout. During the warm months the small and large sizes
are separated and show preference for certain areas. Further
there are indications of a resident population which remains in
the Indian and Banana Rivers through the year and a non-resi-
dent group which arrives at the onset of cold weather in the
There have been reports of decline in the fishery. It seems
that increased fishing pressure is being placed on this inshore
species by sport fishermen and that environmental changes such
as dredging, filling and pollution may also have far reaching
effects on the sea trout as well as other desirable species. Catch
records over an extended period of years, from both the com-
mercial and sport fisheries, are being studied to aid in determin-
ing whether this is true.
7. Marketing Survey:
Segments of Florida's fin fisheries have suffered depression
in recent years. The price paid to fishermen began declining
in 1952 and this downward trend has continued. Dealers have
been unable to market the catch at a satisfactory profit and this
has resulted in curtailment of production in many instances.
A study of market conditions began in the Florida fisheries in
1954, as part of the fisheries research program sponsored by
the State Board of Conservation. This early study showed the
desirability of doing a complete market analysis, and upon
passage of the Saltonstall-Kennedy Act, a Federal research
grant was obtained to supplement the state study. A contract
with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service was formalized in
It was apparent at the outset that the problem of a declining
market for Florida food fin fish was not caused by a shortage
of fish. An increased catch of several species could be made
if there were a market for the fish. Mullet is the principal
species in the commercial catch in Florida, and the market prob-
lem for this species is more acute hence the major emphasis was
The method of obtaining data for this analysis was personal
interview at all levels in the fishery, fishermen through consumer.
In conjunction with this analysis, promotion effort was put forth
by suggesting advertising and quality improvement. Other mar-
ket outlets suggested are expansion of the smoking and canning
of mullet. Questionnaires were mailed to numerous state insti-
tutions in the southeastern United States to determine their
buying habits. Interviews were obtained with institutional
buyers, brokers, processors, fishermen, union representatives
and government officials. Northern markets were visited to
determine the possibilities of further expanding sales in these
areas. Wholesalers, processors, commission merchants, retail
stores, and restaurants were contacted' in Chicago, Detroit, Min-
neapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, New York, Phila-
delphia, Washington, D. C., and Baltimore.
As part of the program to expand demand for mullet, an
experimental smokehouse was built. Enquiries were made on
the possibility of creating a market for mullet in Milwaukee for
In the highly competitive seafood market, new and more palatable products
are constantly being sought. Here, Florida mullet is inspected during the
smoking process. Many thousands of pounds of mullet are now annually
prepared in this manner.
smoking. Locally smoked mullet were taken to Milwaukee to
demonstrate the quality of the product and several hundred
pounds of fresh and frozen mullet were shipped to Milwaukee
and smoked there by a large commercial smoker. The smoked
mullet were introduced through the regular channels of distri-
bution. Use of mullet for this purpose will depend on solving
problems of price and low yield after cleaning.
In a report covering the findings of this analysis and pro-
motion effort, certain important facts have been uncovered.
Among these are that some of the factors contributing to the
decrease in demand for mullet are: (1) increased competition
from other seafoods, meat and other protein items; and (2)
changes in food marketing techniques as exemplified by the
growth of the super market and the increase in packaged frozen
Restrictive legislation and the failure of the Florida industry
to take advantage of recent developments made in the fishing
industry are contributing factors to the decline in the demand
for mullet and other Florida fishery products.
Interest in this popular game fish has indicated the need
for fundamental biological research on the species. During the
summer of 1955, the life history study of the tarpon was begun
involving a tagging program and the collection of biological
measurements and samples. Some of the expenses of this project
are derived from an outside source (Mr. Roger Firestone).
The bulk of the field tagging work employed voluntary sports
fishermen who kindly donated their services. Tagging kits, con-
sisting of the dart type tag, striking irons and postal cards were
assembled and distributed during the winter and spring. Last
year's taggers were revisited and alerted for the May through
August tarpon season. Approximately 40 fishermen now have
tarpon tagging equipment and through their efforts 97 tarpon
have been tagged, mostly on the southeast coast and in the
Florida Keys. As yet, no recoveries have been made. The
anglers who have done the bulk of the tagging claim to have
no serious difficulties in attaching the tag.
At present, tarpon are being collected and held in the Vir-
ginia Key pond. Studies will be made of the effects of tagging
upon the fish using different types of tags and different parts
of the body for tagging.
A skin diver cautiously watches a large sting ray, half buried in the sand.
A study was begun in 1956 to obtain as much information as possible about
this method of fishing. Of particular interest to the investigation was the
degree of competition between spear fishing and angling.
9. Spearfishing Survey:
During the past quarter the Director of the Florida State
Board of Conservation requested the Marine Laboratory to in-
vestigate the extent of spearfishing activity in Monroe county
and the possible effects of this activity on the fish stocks, and
upon the economic progress and development of the Florida
Keys. The investigation was to provide estimates of the num-
ber of spearfishermen, and the fish they catch, as a method of
assessing the fishing pressure by this group.
Resolution 21, of the State Board of Conservation in force
August 1st, 1956, effectively banned spearfishing in the waters
of upper Monroe County. For this reason it was decided to
estimate the number of fisherman days spent by spearfishermen
in this area for the period from August 1, 1955, to August 1,
1956, and to estimate their catch for this same period.
During the biennium five trips were made to Monroe County.
Most of the locations used by spearfishermen to launch or rent
boats have been visited and interviews have been obtained from
fishing camp operators and spearfishermen. Estimates were
obtained concerning their past activities and observations were
made concerning their present activities.
Other interviews were obtained from charter boat fisher-
men, motel owners, commercial fishermen, sport fishermen and
persons operating businesses along the Florida Keys to obtain
any additional aspects of the problem which might aid in its
clarification and solution.
A report embodying the findings of this study will be pre-
pared in the near future.
Fundamental biological studies on snook (Centropomus un-
decimalis) were begun during the biennium with major effort
on the tagging phase. To date, 1267 snook have been tagged.
The tagging program was started using individual sport fisher-
men as taggers. Several methods were used to inform and in-
terest anglers in this project. This involved addressing anglers'
clubs and urging them to tag snook as a club'project. Individu-
als who showed interest in the program were contacted and
given tagging equipment. To encourage recoveries, one dollar
reward was offered for tagged fish found. Notice of this reward
was made in the tagging area by posters.
To date numerous tagging kits have been given to anglers
from Clearwater on the west coast to Vero Beach on the east
coast. Six hundred and fifty-four snook were tagged by these
individuals with 354, or more than half, being tagged by six
A total of 613 snook were tagged by laboratory personnel.
Fifty-one tags have been recovered. Movement in the majority
of instances has been less than 5 miles.
Beach seine hauls and plankton net tows were made for eggs,
larvae and young snook in the tagging area. The identification
of the material in those samples is in progress.
The sailfish (Istiophorus americanus) tagging program that
has been carried on for the past six years under the auspices
of the Florida State Board of Conservation, is still receiving
much interest. Fishermen are continuing to tag and release
sailfish in a genuine effort to learn more about the biology and
life history of one of Florida's prize sporting fish.
Since the beginning of the program six years ago, about
1300 sailfish have been tagged. The greatest numbers of tag
returns have come from the fleets fishing out of Stuart, Boynton
Beach and Islamorada, Florida. The main concentrations of
sailfish appear to have occurred in an area just north of St.
Lucie Inlet and off Alligator Reef light near Islamorada. Lesser
numbers of taggings have been reported at many points be-
Five sailfish have been tagged and subsequently recaptured.
Four that were captured previous to 1955 were at large for 56
to 155 days and travelled a minimum distance of 40 to 66 miles.
The fifth recaptured sailfish was tagged by Capt. G. C. Whiticar
near St. Lucie Inlet and was recaptured off Boynton Beach on
February 20, 1956. This fish had been at large 26 months and
had gained 20 pounds in weight and one foot in length.
Four of the above five fish were bearing the metal strap or
cattle tag on the pectoral fin. The fifth tag was a neoprene
rubber ring on the bill.
12. Fishing School:
It has been recognized that Florida needs schools for train-
ing fishermen, for arousing the interest of students in profes,
sional fisheries, and to stimulate interest in the seafood industry.
With the possibility of federal and state support in the future,
as the result of a bill in Congress, the Marine Laboratory under-
took to start the school with private funds. Later, it became a
cooperative effort between the Marine Laboratory and the State
Board of Conservation.
The school has been set up as a club in the Ft. Myers High
School. The club is run by an advisory committee of Ft. Myers
citizens, Mr. Ernest Mitts, Director of Conservation, and Marine
Laboratory personnel. Meetings are held one evening weekly
at which time instruction is given boys in some phase of fishing
and marine science. On Saturdays a fishing trip is conducted,
during which instruction is given in boat handling, fishing
methods and related subjects.
The school has so far proved successful and it is hoped to
expand it in the future. Regular vocational credit is being con-
sidered as a possibility.
The usual large number of enquiries on marine fisheries
matters have come to the State Board of Conservation or to the
Marine Laboratory directly. Many of these are from maga-
zine or newspaper writers seeking background material for
news releases on Florida fisheries; many are from students seek-
ing data for class assignments, others are from persons enquir-
ing about the possibility of establishing themselves in the sea-
food business in the state.
A large number of meetings and talks were given by staff
members acquainting the industry, public and scientific per-
sonnel with the research being conducted for the State Board
of Conservation by the Laboratory
Television and radio appearances and a considerable number
of talks were made at service clubs and sport fishing clubs,
describing the research activities of the Marine Laboratory and
the State Board of Conservation during the biennium.
14. Emergency Projects:
Reports of pollution in the Escambia River and in Bayou
Chico Bay, Pensacola, were investigated. The findings of these
investigations are embodied in reports sent to the State Board
of Conservation and to persons interested in these problems.
Other minor complaints too numerous to list were also investi-
gated but did not justify formal reports.
Some time was spent on problems in the St. Lucie estuary,
in consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service. In connec-
tion with proposed sediment removal, the usefulness of alterna-
tive dredging proposals was considered. In connection with
this matter, visits were made to Stuart, Palm City and Vero
Beach. The proposal of the U. S. Army Engineers to widen
and deepen certain canals entering into St. Lucie Inlet was also
Complaints concerning operations in the bait shrimp fishery
in Estero Bay, Lee County, were investigated at the request of
the Director of Conservation.
Applications from several aquaria for permits to collect,
maintain and exhibit marine animals to the public were investi-
gated and recommendations were made to the Director of Con-
A report of mullet and sunfish mortality in the Biscayne
Canal, Miami, was investigated and reported upon to the State
Board of Conservation. The mortality was restricted to fish
entrapped within the dammed area. Most of the fish popula-
tion survived, although individuals were noticeably showing
signs of distress following the rainfall, according to the wit-
nesses who reported the mortality. Those that survived initial
changes were extremely active on the following day.
15. Control of "Black Spot" on Shrimp:
The problem of the cause and control of the black spot forma-
tion in shrimp has received a great deal of attention in the past
few years by the Marine Laboratory. Previous reports have
stated that this condition is not caused by bacteria, but by
certain naturally occurring chromogens (colored bodies) of the
phenol amine type which are oxidized in the presence of an
Present work at the Marine Laboratory is concerned with
field and laboratory studies which will lead to the elimination
of the "black spot" condition. The work sponsored by the
State Board of Conservation is supplemented by grants from the
Federal Fish and Wildlife Service, particularly in studies on
improving handling procedures. Experimental treatment of the
shrimp by chemicals has been the approach under the State
Board of Conservation work, and this has been aided by grants
from the Shrimp Association of the Americas.
Several chemicals have been tested as a possible control for
black:spot. Dipping the shrimp in dilute solutions (11/4 per
cent for 1 minute) of sodium bisulphite has been successful as
a control, and this is now being used in some places by the
shrimp industry. Another chemical, butylated hydroxy toluene
(lonol), has been tested as a possible control. An improved
technique for distributing lonol in ice is now being tested and
it is hoped to add another technique for the control of shrimp
16. Control of Shrimp Spoilage:
Antibiotics (aureomycin and terramycin) as dips and frozen
in ice show improvements in the keeping qualities of shrimp in
terms of bacterial counts and organoleptic criteria. Shrimp
treated with the antibiotics have an extended shelf life of from
4 to 7 days. The antibiotics appear to encourage the onset of
black spot, however. A bivalent metal ion is used to keep the
antibiotic evenly distributed through the ice, and this may be
the cause of the increased black spot. Calcium, magnesium,
nickel and manganese salts were tested, of which the last two
showed the best results in keeping black spot at a minimum.
Several monovalent salts were tested, of which potassium showed
much better results than the bi-valent forms. Studies on the
preservative effects of combinations of the antibiotics with each
other and also with various antioxidants are being carried out.
17. Tests for Shrimp Freshness:
Studies are being continued to find a satisfactory chemical
test for freshness of shrimp. The use of indole has been found
to be useful as a laboratory test but it may be impractical in the
field. Another test involving the estimation of the total amount
of volatile substances produced during spoilage. Results indi-
cate that the method is satisfactory more as a laboratory test
than as a field test. Chromatographic analyses of the amino
acids in shrimp to determine whether and what type of relation-
ship exist between the degree of spoilage and the quality and
quantity of certain amino acids present. It is hoped to use such
a relationship as an indicator of incipient spoilage in shrimp.
18. Red Snapper Color Retention:
The fading of the red color of fresh red snapper during stor-
age has presented a problem to the industry. Tests being con-
ducted at the laboratory indicate that at least part of the color
can be retained when treated with the antioxidant Ionol. The
brilliant red color was retained even after six months storage.
19. Rancidity of Fish in Frozen Storage:
The high fat content of mackerel and mullet causes them to
be prone to oxidative rancidity when stored at freezing tempera-
tures. Experiments are being carried out with antioxidants to
control this rancidity. Results after 6 months storage at -10 F.,
shows that the treated samples of mackerel are significantly
better than the control in odor, flavor and appearance. Breaded
mullet fillets when treated with antioxidants and chelating
agents have also shown better odor and flavor than the non-
20. Red Tide:
Research continued during the biennium into causes and
cures for the planktonic blooms which infrequently kill fish
along Florida's lower west coast. Concentrated effort was put
into methods of prediction, causative hydrographic and meteoro-
logical agents, and associated currents. This work was accom-
plished by a team of mathematicians, the services of the re-
search vessel Gerda, and the use of long range weather data.
All of these activities were being continued as the biennium
Several technical publications dealing with prediction of Red
Tides and related currents were published during 1955 and 1956.
Publications issued on results of fisheries research by the
Marine Laboratory for the State Board of Conservation include
mimeographed reports, Education Bulletins, Technical Bulletins
and papers in national journals. Also available are the Quar-
terly Reports of Fisheries Research (4 numbers per year),
Florida Landings (12 numbers per year), the Saltwater Game-
fish Research Newsletter and the Biennial Report on Fisheries
Research (see above). The following individual papers were
issued in the biennium.
Alexander, J. E., C. I. Camber, C. P. Idyll. 1955. The Use of Indole as
an Indicator of Spoilage in Shrimp. Proc. Gulf & Carib. Fish. Inst.
Arata, George F., Jr. 1956. Use of a Depth Recorder in Locating Fish.
Tech. Series No. 15.
Brawner, Jack and C. P. Idyll. 1956. The Ft. Myers, Florida, Fisheries
School of the Marine Laboratory of the University of Miami. Pro-
Brawner, Jack and Philip A'Brams. 1956. How to Produce and Sell
Smoked Florida Mullet. Educational Series No. 8.
Broadhead, Gordon. 1956. The Migration and Exploitation of the Black
Mullet (Mugil cephalus L.), in Florida as Determined from Tagging
During 1949-1953. Tech. Series No. 18.
Camber, C. Isaac. 1955. A Survey of the Red Snapper Fishery of the
Gulf of Mexico, with Special Reference to the Campeche Banks. Tech.
Series No. 12.
Camber, C. Isaac. 1956. Mullet Fish Sticks. Mimeo. 55-35.
Camber, C. Isaac and Gordon Broadhead. 1955. Shrimp Vessel Efficiency
Studies. Proc. Gulf & Carib. Fish. Inst.
Camber, C. Isaac, James E. Alexander and Mary Vance. 1956. How to
Use Sodium Bisulfite to Control "Black Spot" on Shrimp. Spec.
Serv. Bull. No. 12.
deSylva, Donald. 1955. Relationships of the Black-Fin Tuna. Bull.
Marine Sci. V(1) Sci. Con. No. 140.
deSylva, Donald. 1955. Report on Pollution and Fish Mortality in Bayou
Chico, Pensacola, Florida. Mimeo. 55-21.
deSylva, Donald. 1956. Poisoning by Barracuda and Other Fish. Spec.
Serv. Bull. No. 13.
deSylva, Donald, Howard B. Sterns and Durbin C. Tabb. 1956. Popula-
tions of the Black Mullet (Mugil cephalus L.) in Florida. Tech. Series
Ellis, Robert W. 1955-1956. Saltwater Gamefish Research Newsletter
Nos. 1-8. Mimeo.
Ellis, Robert W. 1956. Tarpon Cooperative Research Program Progress
Hela, Ilmo, Donald de Sylva and Clarence A. Carpenter. 1955. Drift
Currents in the Red Tide Area of the Easternmost Region of the Gulf
of Mexico. Mimeo.
Higman, James B. 1956. The Behavior of Pink Grooved Shrimp, Penaeus
duorarum Burkenroad, in a Direct Current Electrical Field. Tech.
Series No. 16.
Higman, James B. 1955. Observations on the Live Bait Shrimp Industry
of Pasco and Pinellas Counties, Florida. Mimeo. 55-16.
Higman, James B. and Robert Ellis. 1955. Investigation of Sport and
Commerical Fishery activities in Old Tampa Bay North of Gandy
Mefford, H. P. 1955. The Silver Mullet Fishery in South Florida. Mimeo.
Murdock, James F., 1955. Investigation of the Lee County Bay Scallop
Fishery. Mimeo. 55-13.
Murdock, James F. 1955. An Evaluation of Pollution Conditions in the
Lower Escambia River. Mimeo.
Rivas, Luis Rene. 1955. Summary of Investigations for the Period Com-
prising January, 1954, through August, 1955. Charles F. Johnson
Billfish Investigation. Prog. Report No. 1.
Rosen, Albert. 1956. Summary of Florida Commercial Marine Fish Land-
ings. Mimeo. 56-21.
Siebenaler, J. B. 1955. Commercial Fishing Gear and Fishing Methods
in Florida. Tech. Series No. 13.
Westerlund, Barton A. 1956. Florida's Fish Marketing Problems Can Be
Solved. Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Inst. Proceedings.
Young, Robert. 1955. How to Set Up a Soft Shell Crab Plant in Florida.
Spec. Serv. Bull. No. 11.
Shown above is the staff of the new Board of Conservation Marine Labora-
tory in St. Petersburg. Left to right, seated: Eldred, Mitts, Ingle. Stand-
ing: Woodburn, Switzer, Hutton.
FLORIDA STATE BOARD OF CONSERVATION
Maritime Base, Bayboro Harbor
St. Petersburg, Florida
One aim of the Florida State Board of Conservation is to
further the maximum possible procurement and use of Florida
seafood products in such a way as to insure sustained peak pro-
duction. A total of $25,554,926 was reported for Florida com-
mercial marine fish landings in 1955. Of this figure over 78
per cent ($21,049,155) was reported as being landed on the
west coast. In view of the tremendous increase in population
and the numerous dredging and filling operations which might
affect sustained peak production adversely on the west coast,
the State Board of Conservation deemed it wise to operate its
own marine laboratory.
On September 10, 1955, the State Board of Conservation
acquired a marine laboratory at the Maritime Base, Bayboro
Harbor, St. Petersburg. The Laboratory is ideally located near
the center of the State, being approximately equidistant from
Miami, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee. The location of the Lab-
oratory offers a wide range of conditions, hydrographic, geo-
logical, and biological. The fourteen-room building fronts on
Bayboro Harbor, which is open to Tampa Bay, and via the
latter to the Gulf of Mexico. A channel with a controlling
depth of over 14 feet permits vessels of considerable size to
approach the Laboratory docks. In addition to the above de-
sirable features the Laboratory is readily accessible by land
and air. It is located only eight blocks from downtown St.
Petersburg. Immediately adjacent to the Laboratory is Albert
Whitted Airport which is used frequently by the planes of the
Board of Conservation.
The Laboratory is presently staffed by two biologists, a
laboratory technician, a clerk-typist, a part-time janitor, and
a part-time boat-maintenance man. The Department recently
acquired as a gift a motor vessel suitable for coastal research
and also for deep water oceanographic studies. This vessel,
the Mayan, is 104 feet in length. It is equipped with radio,
fathometer, and power winches as well as with other gear. In
addition to this vessel a 14-foot skiff has been obtained for in-
During the 1955-56 fiscal year the Marine Laboratory oper-
ated on a State Budget of $15,650. In addition to this sum a
grant of $4,774 was received from the U. S. Public Health Serv-
ice, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, for work
on marine parasites.
1. Red Tide
The State Board of Conservation acts as coordinator for all
red tide research being carried out in Florida waters. Periodic
meetings are held with researchers from the U. S. Fish and Wild-
life Service, University of Miami, and the Conservation Marine
Laboratory attending. The researchers report on the results of
their investigations and plans for future work. During the
1955-56 fiscal year twelve fish kills were investigated by the
St. Petersburg Marine Laboratory. Most of these kills were the
result of pollution or the dumping of fish from fishing boats.
Gymnodinium brevis, the causative agent of most of Florida's red
tides, was not found associated with any of these fish kills. Rou-
tine sampling of marine waters in Tampa Bay and in the Gulf of
Mexico off St. Petersburg did not reveal G. brevis at any time
during the period from September 10, 1955, to July 1, 1956.
Mrs. Bonnie Eldred, laboratory technician, continued her studies
on the sulfur bacteria and their suspected role in the etiology
of the red tide. This work was originally started by Mrs. Eldred
early in 1955 while she was associated with the University of
Florida. An annotated bibliography of publications dealing
with Florida's red tides has been prepared and published by
the Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences.
2. Effects of Dredging and Filling Operations Upon Commercial
and Sports Fishing
During the first six months of 1955 the Florida State Board
of Conservation received a large number of communications
concerning the possible destruction of fish and wildlife resources
The many light-colored, fingered projections are extensions of land which
were created by pumping sand up from the nearby bottom. Originally the
sites now occupied by this new real estate were bay bottoms, providing
growing spaces for tiny fishes and shrimp.
in the southern part of Boca Ciega Bay as a result of hydraulic
dredging and the filling of submerged lands. The Department,
in cooperation with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, carried
out a preliminary investigation of the fish and wildlife resources
of the area and found a high value of resources involved. Mr.
Ernest Mitts, Director of the State Board of Conservation, de-
cided to have the State Laboratory carry out a more extensive
investigation of the area and the resources involved'. The re-
sults of this investigation were published in the form of a tech-
nical bulletin, "The Ecology of Boca Ciega Bay with Special
Reference to Dredging and Filling Operations," Series No. 17.
It is believed that much of the information obtained in this study
will be of benefit in evaluating other similar projects along the
west coast of Florida. One general conclusion reached was that,
in time, if dredging and filling operations continue on the shallow
banks along the west coast of Florida where turtle grass (Tha-
This is a close-up of fill shown in lower part of adjacent picture. To make
this new land, a dike was first constructed along the outside edge. Then,
mud and sand were pumped from the bottom nearby until the entire project
was filled above the water line.
lassia testudinum) grows abundantly, the fishing industries could
suffer drastically thus seriously jeopardizing the economy of
the entire State.
3. Oyster Predators
In the Tampa Bay area, the crown conch, Melongena corona
Gmelin, is one of the most serious predators of the oyster. Lab-
oratory experiments have shown this predator to be incapable
of surviving a salinity of less than 8 0/00 for more than a short
period of time. In the field a salinity of 19 0/00 was the lowest
in which this predator was found. Since the oyster is capable
of surviving and in fact thriving at a salinity well below 19 0/00
it would be advisable, if possible, for oyster culturists to place
new beds in areas having a salinity of less than 19 0/00.
4. Marine Parasites
Land animals have parasites, some of which are harmful
to man. This is also true of marine animals. The U. S. Public
Health Service issued a grant to the Conservation Marine Lab-
oratory for work on certain marine parasites. This study has
been arranged on a three-year basis, eleven months of which
were completed at the end of the 1955-56 fiscal year.
In addition to the above parasites those of Penaeus duorarum
are being investigated. To date a trypanorhynchan cestode and
a digenetic trematode have been found and are being investi-
5. Mink Culture
Much trash fish is produced in Florida during shrimp trawl-
ing operations. Many other fish abound on both coasts which
have never been caught commercially because no use for them
has ever existed. Also, sea-food companies discard large amounts
of scrap fish.
Two possibilities for the use of these are being investigated.
1. The use of trash fish and scrap fish as one of the main
dietary items for mink raised in the North. Freezing
and shipping frozen fish to mink ranches offers a definite
2. The development of a mink ranching industry in Florida
based upon trash fish and scrap fish as one of the main
The latter possibility is being investigated experimentally.
In addition to a suitable food, three other important aspects of
mink ranching must be determined before the feasibility of such
an industry in Florida can be judged. These are as follows:
1. Determination of the quality pelt produced in Florida's
2. Effect of disease, especially at whelping time when it is
possible that the screw-worm fly may offer a serious
3. The highest percentage of trash fish and scrap fish that
can be used in feed rations to produce a pelt of good
To date experimental work has shown that mink raised in
Florida and fed a diet containing 50 per cent scrap fish will
thrive and attain a size equal to that of northern mink of the
same age. It will be several months before other experimental
work will be complete.
6. Miscellaneous Investigations
Weekly hydrographical and meteorological observations are
made from the finger-pier nearest the Laboratory. Such ob-
servations are of great value to various phases of the biological
research being carried out.
The Conservation Laboratory is cooperating with the U. S.
Fish and Wildlife Service in its study of the plankton of the
Gulf of Mexico. Bi-monthly plankton hauls are being made
at a station approximately one-quarter to one-half mile off Don
Laboratory personnel are called upon to aid in emergency
investigations from time to time. In many cases these investi-
gations are of a cooperative nature involving conservation
agents and scientific personnel. Problems connected with oyster
leases are among the most common emergency investigations.
Infrequently, legally protected marine animals are found dead
in the field. Agents bring these animals to the Laboratory to
determine if death was from natural causes. If not, the agents
make provisions to see that such situations do not recur.
7. Educational Program
A school was held from January 22, 1956, through January
24, 1956, at the Florida State Board of Conservation Marine
Laboratory, St. Petersburg, for fifteen selected agents. These
agents were given instruction in techniques of interviewing,
types of persons to be interviewed, methods of random sampling,
Bait shrimp is big business in Florida.
Pictured here is a modern truck
equipped to transport the valuable fish
lures around the State.
and an overall picture of the
sports fishing survey which was
to be carried out during the
year. These agents were to work
on this project a substantial
amount of their time for one year
beginning February 1, 1956. The
survey was to be under the su-
pervision and sponsorship of
the Conservation Department
and the technical planning and
execution under the Marine Lab-
oratory of the University of
Several hundred phoned, written, and telegraphed requests
for information were handled during the year.
Laboratory personnel gave a number of talks to sports clubs,
civic organizations, high schools, and colleges on the work of
the Florida State Board of Conservation.
Laboratory personnel appeared on both radio (WSUN) and
television (WFLA-TV and WSUN-TV) programs where the
work of the State Board of Conservation was explained.
8. Shrimp Studies
A complete survey of the bait shrimp fishery from Cedar
Key to Naples was completed and a report prepared. This was
preliminary to a full scale study of the biology of the pink-
spotted shrimp, Penaeus duorarum, in the vicinity of Tampa
Bay which was begun at the close of 1956.
1. Hutton, Robert F., Bonnie Eldred, Kenneth D. Woodburn and Robert M.
1956 The Ecology of Boca Ciega Bay With Special Reference to Dredg-
ing and Filling Operations. Tech. Bull. 17, Florida State Board
2. Woodburn, Kenneth D., Bonnie Eldred, Robert F. Hutton, Eugenie
Clark and Robert M. Ingle.
In Press The Live Bait Shrimp Industry from Cedar Key to Naples.
Tech. Bull. No. (to be announced), Florida State Board of
3. Hutton, Robert F.
1956 An Annotated Bibliography of Red Tides in the Marine Waters of
Florida. Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences
19 (2-3): 123-146.
(Data gathered by Conservation Agents)
With few exceptions, the conservation agents have always
restricted their efforts to law enforcement activities, but during
the past two years these men have taken over added responsi-
In addition to the interviews and data gathering in connec-
tion with the sports fishing survey (see Sports Fishing and Re-
search), agents measured thousands of mullet over the State
to determine seasonal variations in size and efficiency of differ-
ent sizes of net webbing.
The agents for Franklin County made weekly samplings for
shrimp at fourteen selected stations in Apalachicola Bay. This
study, which is continuing, has thrown new light on certain
phases of the biology of three bay-dwelling commercial species
of shrimp. This knowledge has greatly facilitated the regula-
tion of this fishery.
Accurate statistics on the production of salt water products
are valuable for many purposes. With 705 wholesale dealers
located along 4500 miles of coastline, the acquisition of prompt
landings reports has always been a problem.
Now, Conservation agents have assumed much of the re-
sponsibility for the personal contacts needed to insure monthly
reports from each dealer. As a result, the landings reports are
more complete, more accurate, and cause less difficulty than
1. Ingle, Robert M.
1957 Intermittent shrimp sampling in Apalachicola Bay with biological
notes and regulatory applications. Proc. Gulf and Caribbean
Fisheries Institute. 9 Nassau, Bahamas (1956).
2. Ingle, Robert M.
1957 Seasonal size frequency of mullet landed with notes on gear effi-
ciency. (In preparation.)
Several types of seafood and boat licenses are issued by the
department. All wholesale seafood dealers are required to ob-
tain wholesale licenses and all retail outlets, such as grocery
stores, meat and fish markets, as well as the fish peddlers and
rolling stores, must procure retail licenses.
During the past license year of 1955-56, 737 wholesale li-
censes were issued to dealers from Fernandina to Pensacola with
Hillsborough County (Tampa) leading the list with 56. Frank-
lin County (Apalachicola) was close behind with 50.
Salt water products, such as fish, oysters, scallops, spiny
lobsters, blue-crab meat and stone-crab claws were shipped by
these wholesalers to markets in at least half the states of the
Retail seafood licenses numbered 3588 during the twelve
month period ending June, 1956, with every county in the State
being represented. Dade County led the group with a total of
350 followed by Duval with 281 dealers-Glades and Okeechobee
Counties accounted for the smallest number, totalling 2 each.
The number of persons employed in the wholesale and retail
phase of the industry is conservatively estimated at well over
15 thousand according to the last commercial fishing survey.
This total does not include the many thousand commercial fisher-
Boat licenses accoun'ifor more individual licenses, reaching
well over 18,000 during the-license year.
They are divided into eight classifications; namely: commer-
cial, hire, menhaden, oyster, pleasure, shrimp, snapper and
Licenses were issued to 5600 commercial, 5722 for-hire, 48
menhaden, 115 oyster, 5519 pleasure, 964 shrimp, 79 snapper
and 107 sponge boats during the last license period. Commer-
cial boats are, of course, those used by the commercial fishermen
in catching all types of seafood while the for-hire boats are those
for rent at the many salt water fishing camps over the State.
These also include the charter and party boats that take groups
of four to sixty to the deep-sea fishing areas. Menhaden boats
are the larger craft that use purse seines. Menhaden are used
for fish oil and fertilizer. Oyster boats are just what the name
implies-those used in the taking of oysters from the beds in
the inlets, bayous and rivers of the State.
The great number of shrimp boats (964) indicates the im-
mensity of this part of the seafood industry. They use an otter
trawl which may vary in length from 20 to 100 or more feet.
Snapper boats are mostly concentrated at Pensacola but
others are located all over the State. Most of these are large
and equipped to stay out of port for many days at a time. Sponge
boats are fairly large and the design remains somewhat the
same as those in use off the coast of Greece. The larger boats
are used by divers whereas the hookers use smaller craft.
The great number (5519) of pleasure boats licensed (and the
amount grows yearly) indicates the great trend not only of the
citizens of Florida, but of people all over the nation, for boating
and fishing. At present, several citizens of the State of Cali-
fornia have boats in Florida which are licensed by the depart-
Application forms for all types of licenses are mailed to each
previous holder during July of each year. Conservation agents
all over the State have a supply and these are used for persons
starting new businesses, etc.
While the retail licenses seem to have remained static during
the past biennium, there has actually been a slight increase.
The increase is not reflected because of the loss of over 150
retail bait dealers who were exempt from licensing by an act
of the 1955 Legislature.
Wholesale Seafood Licenses .. 728 731
Retail Seafood Licenses 3,621 3,553
Commercial Boat Licenses 4,344 5,600
For-Hire Boat Licenses --. 4,550 5,722
Pleasure Boat Licenses 3,860 5,519
Menhaden Boat Licenses 15 48
Oyster Boat Licenses 43 115
Shrimp Boat Licenses 699 964
Snapper Boat Licenses 24 79
Sponge Boat Licenses --------- 25 107
Non-resident Fishing Licenses -- 102 117
Special Purse Seines 17 17
The main office in Tallahassee is manned by the staff shown above. The
names and assignments are given left to right. Seated: R. M. Ingle, As-
sistant Director; Jo Kelley, bookkeeping; Elizabeth Bussey, purchasing;
Jo Batchelor, licenses; Hazel Jones, secretary; Ernest Mitts, director.
Standing: Barbara Lee, bookkeeping; Eugenia Schmoe, home economist;
Jim Sample, chief agent; Emily Nibler, licenses; John McColskey, Chief,
licenses; Sue Forsythe, licenses; B. M. Eaton, accountant; Ann Whatley,
secretary: Miriam Beattie, bookeeping.
Personnel. All employees of the Board of Conservation ex-
cept the director and two of his closest associates were put under
civil service (Merit System) on January 1, 1956. All qualifi-
cations are now standardized and new employees will be hired
through the Merit System by examination.
All personnel except clerical and secretarial workers were
enrolled in an in-service training program that included a corre-
spondence course. At the termination of several exercises of
the correspondence course an examination was given which all
employees were required to pass.
Promotion. Because Florida seafood was locked in a bitter
struggle with out-of-state competition, the Board hired a tech-
nically trained home economist to promote the use of such
products as mullet, crabmeat, shrimp, crawfish, etc.
The promotional activities of the home economist touched
many present and potential users of seafood through radio, tele-
vision, public appearances, conferences with buyers, lunchroom
supervisors and others.
An enlarged staff and increased work performed necessitated
an enlargement of office space. As the biennium ended the
office facilities of the Board were doubled.
Law enforcement agents of Areas 1 and 2. Seated, left to right are: McCall,
Padgett, Sanders, Wright, Johnson, Livingston, McLeod. Standing: War-
ren, Thomas, Martina, Bullock, General Agent Clark, White, Henderson,
Law enforcement agents, Areas 3 and 4. Bottom row, left to right: Wil-
liamson, Thompson, General Agent Guess. Second row: Allen, King, Olson,
Davis. Third row: Collins. General Agent Gibson, J. H. Gibson, O'Berry.
Top row: Dempsey, Oliver, Everett, Keen.
Law enforcement agents of Area 5 and 6. Seated, left to right: Anno,
Courtney, Whitehead, General Agent Hendrix, Mickle, Levins, Byrd, King.
Standing: Morehead, Saunderson, Klein, Gross, Scott, General Agent
Parker, Knight, Little, Dodson, Pearce, Purdom.
Law enforcement agents for Areas 7 and 8. Seated, left to right: Cheatham,
Roasch, Morgan, Pfister, Byrd, General Agent Jones. Standing: Register,
Gillespie, Midgett, Dowty, Joyce, General Agent Mackery, Williams,
STATE BOARD OF CONSERVATION
STATEMENT OF RECEIPTS AND REMITTANCES
FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDED JUNE 30, 1956
Excess Nets Tax -
Special Tax on Sponge Boats
Licenses and Permits:
Fish Dealers' Licenses -
Purse Seine Licenses
Total Licenses and Permits --
Use of Property:
Oyster Leases -
Sale of Seafood Shipping Stamps
Other Revenue Receipts:
Sale of Confiscated Materials ---
Court Costs from County Official
Total Other Revenue Receipts
Total Revenue Receipts
Refund of Prior Year Expenditures
Total Net Receipts
Licenses and Permits
Use of Property
Other Revenue Receipts
Total Revenue Receipts
Total Net Receipts
Year Ended Year Ended
$ 61.00 $ 111.00
$ 64,240.00 $ 53,260.00
$ 1,626.71 $ 2,050.63
$ 1,257.50 $ 1,357.50
$ 133.11 $ 513.61
s 1,584.38 7.50
_$ 1,757.08 $ 531.41
$ 6.47 $ 1,212.86
$ 61.00 $ 111.00
STATE BOARD OF CONSERVATION
Salaries and Wages $230,943.89
Advertising Florida's Commodities
Resources and Attractions _----_ $ 3,094.63
Communication and Transporta-
tion of Things 10,791.43
General Printing and Reproduc-
tion Services 22,152.32
Repairs and Maintenance ---- 13,471.34
Other Contractual Services -. 1,602.13
Total Contractual Services ----- $198,891.77
Materials and Supplies
Bedding, Clothing, Linens and
Other Textile Products --..---. $ 165.82
Building and Construction Materi-
als and Supplies 199.29
Coal, Fuel Oil and Other Heating
Educational and Scientific Ma-
terials and Supplies -------- 273.92
Maintenance Materials and Sup-
Motor Fuels and Lubricants ..---- 9,945.16
Office Materials and Supplies ---. 6,552.01
Other Materials and Supplies --.. 5,426.99
Total Materials and Supplies $ 22,758.96
Current Charges and Obligations
Insurance and Surety Bonds ---.- $ 11,479.08
Rental of Buildings and Equip-
Other Current Charges and Obli-
Total Current Charges and
Obligations $ 14,575.68
Educational and Scientific Equip-
ment $ 853.70
Motor Vehicles-Passenger -----.. 15,859.64
Office Furniture and Equipment- 8,556.89
Other Capital Outlay ---... 1,295.15
Total Capital Outlay .--- $ 26,565.38
Distributions and Transfers-
To State Funds $ 0.00
Grand Total $493,735.68
Capital Outlay 26,565.38
$ 5,659.47 $ 5,825.29
$ 31,424.22 $ 54,183.18
$ 10,851.61 $ 22,330.69
$ 13,922.41 $ 28,498.09
STATE BOARD OF CONSERVATION
REPORT OF ARRESTS
Alachua ---- 1
Bay -------- 2
Bradford --. 1
Broward ---- 7
Charlotte --- 2
Dade --- 22
Escambia -- 1
Franklin -- 13
Gilchrist --- 1
Indian River 1
Lee ------1--- 1
Marion ---. 1
Monroe ..--- 17
Palm Beach 37
Pinellas ---- 17
St. Johns .- 2
St. Lucie --- 11
Seminole ---- 2
Taylor ----- 7
Total .---- 198
% of Total
Arrests -- 100%
21 16 21 1
10.6% 8.1% 10.6% 0.5%
Indian River 3
Palm Beach 3(;
St. Johns 12
St. Lucie 11
/ of Total
STATE BOARD OF CONSERVATION
REPORT OF ARRESTS
FISCAL YEAR 1955-56
2 .. 1
129 37 27
54.4%/ 15.6V, 11.4%
Areas of Turtle grass, commonly found in shallow, coastal waters, have
been shown to be valuable as nursery and feeding grounds for shrimp and
fishes. The destruction of such "meadows" by dredging and filling opera-
tions cuts down on available growing areas for many important species
The most prominent trend during the past two years has
been a greater interest in deeper and more distant salt water
A larger Florida population and greater competition for in-
shore fishery resources has resulted in a more intensive search
for potential harvests in the high seas.
The pioneer spirit in Florida fisheries is reflected by several
developments, some of which are listed below.
1. Intensive program of offshore exploratory fishing was
undertaken by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
2. Discovery of commercial quantities of yellowfin tuna were
made in the Gulf of Mexico.
3. Discovery of commercial quantities of a new shrimp,
"Royal Red" Hymenopenaeus robustus at great depths
between Cape Canaveral and Jacksonville.
4. Landings of shrimp in Florida ports which had been
These Tortugas shrimp are nine inches long and weigh about 4 ounces each.
Present studies are aimed at preserving this valuable fishery.
caught south of North Latitude 19 (probably Honduras).
5. Exploratory fishing was carried on for sardines off the
south Florida coast by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
First reports were encouraging.
6. Annual increase in intensity of fishing in Tortugas
grounds and resulting concern lest over-exploitation take
place. (See Review.) Studies were undertaken to deter-
mine what means, if any, could be taken for protection
of young shrimp.
7. High production of deep sea fishing craft continued.
The bulk of the larger new boats was for the shrimp
8. Resolutions were passed by the Gulf States Marine Fish-
eries Commission requesting the Coast Guard to provide
more patrols in the Gulf of Mexico.
9. All leading shrimp producers formed a new organiza-
tion, the American Shrimp Congress, to protect their
interest in high seas fishery.
10. Request of Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission
was sent to Washington requesting a weather ship in
the Gulf of Mexico.
11. Resolutions were passed by the Gulf States Marine Fish-
eries Commission and the Atlantic States Marine Fish-
eries Commission opposing any seaward extensions of
continental limits by any nation.
12. A statistical system was established by the U. S. Fish
and Wildlife Service by which accurate records were
kept of the exact areas in the Gulf of Mexico where
shrimp were caught. The kind, amount, size, and depth
of water were also recorded for each catch. Previously,
no accurate figures were available on much of the high
13. Technological advances were made on the preservation
of high seas perishables, e.g., shrimp and snapper. These
new techniques helped solve the old problem of bringing
seafood to the dock in good condition despite the fact
that the fishing banks were a great distance from land.
14. Shrimp, a Gulf of Mexico high seas product, achieved
the distinction of being the most valuable fishery resource
landed in the United States. As such it was beginning to
get the attention it deserved from scientists. Federal and
State agencies all undertook valuable studies on various
aspects of shrimp biology.
Another trend worthy of note was the rise of public interest
in the preservation and proper use of water and land resources.
There were several evidences of this arousal, some of which are
1. Appointment by Governor Collins of a State Land Use
Commission to advise him, the Legislature, and the
Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund on the fu-
ture policies and disposition of State-owned lands includ-
ing submerged bottoms.
2. Appointment by Governor Collins of a Water Resources
Use Commission to advise him, the Legislature, and
interested agencies on policies concerning the full and
proper use of water. Pollution abatement ranked high
on the list of responsibilities for the Commission.
3. New knowledge is being made available almost weekly
concerning the biological importance of shallow, estua-
rine embayments. Scientists are finding that the coastal
regions serve as nursery grounds for many species of
fish and crustaceans. Many other species visit to feed
and reproduce. This knowledge, now in the hands of the
layman, has brought forth a vigorous public response to
save all such areas from further destruction.
4. In many parts of Florida, real estate values are quite
high. Many times, in such areas, it has been possible
to fill in shallow bays and lagoons, thereby creating
building lots where there had previously been water.
Usually bottom mud, from nearby, was pumped up and
used as filler. Such a process has come to be known as
dredging and filling. All over Florida there has been a
general reaction toward unlimited dredge and fill proj-
ects. This reaction crystallized into organized public
opposition in Pinellas County where much valuable sub-
merged bottom has already been filled.
At the end of 1956 there was a movement toward the
establishment of new and far reaching policies, State-
wide, with regard to further dredging and filling.
Grateful acknowledgment for contributing to the pictorial
portrayal of many phases of the activities of the Florida Board
of Conservation and the great fishing industries with which
this state is so fortunately endowed, is made to the following:
Bert Livingston, St. Petersburg, page 72.
Boyle's Studio, Panama City, page 65.
Brink Price, St. Petersburg, page 54.
Burgert Brothers, Tampa, center spread, pages 38 and 39.
Dayton Photo, Clewiston, bottom of page 66.
Don Pinder, Key West, pages 15 and 73.
Florida State News Bureau, cover, pages 6, 10, 12, 13. 14, 33 and 46.
Forrest Granger, Tallahassee, pages 7 and 64.
Holly Hill Studio, Holly Hill, page 67.
Lt. Comdr. Harry Massingill, (deceased), St. Petersburg, pages 56
Marty Nordstrom, Minneapolis, Minn., pages 17 and 44.
Marine Laboratory, University of Miami, page 35.
Robert Forsyth, University of Georgia, page 60.
Robert Leahey, St. Petersburg, top of page 66.