... Biennial report
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075939/00003
 Material Information
Title: ... Biennial report
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Florida -- Dept. of Agriculture. -- Shell Fish Division
Florida -- Shell Fish Commission
Publisher: T.J. Appleyard
Place of Publication: Tallahassee <Fla.>
Creation Date: 1917
Publication Date: <1915>-
Frequency: biennial
Subjects / Keywords: Shellfish trade -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Fisheries -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Aquaculture -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
Dates or Sequential Designation: 1st (1913/1914)-
Dates or Sequential Designation: Ceased with 10th (1931/1932)?
General Note: Third and fourth issues called reports of the Florida Shell Fish Commission.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001750196
oclc - 45623059
notis - AJG3100
lccn - sn 00229152
System ID: UF00075939:00003

Full Text





YEARS 1917-18

Shell Fish Commissioner

Commissioner of Agriculture

T. J. Appleyard, Printer
Tallahassee, Fla.

~.. -

" :'


This report is dedicated to the Fishermen of the State;
to those who brave the equinoctial storms and the sum-
mers "squalls," the chilling wintry winds and the blister-
ing summer's sun; to those who by day and by night, in
storm and in calm, in cold and in heat, by their toil pro-
duce for our tables the luxuries of the seas.
Shell Fish Commissioner.


W. A. McRae, Commissioner of Agriculture, Tallahassee,
J Asakiah Williams, Shell Fish Commissioner, Talla-
hassee, Fla.
L. S. Moody, Secretary, Shell Fish Commission, Talla-
hassee, Fla.


A. A. Meyer, Apalachicola, Fla.
J. B. Richardson, Cedar Key, Fla.
B. C. Williams, Saint Petersburg, Fla.
N. D. Lloyd, Panama City, Fla.
S. T. Davis, Sarasota, Fla.
R. R. MacGregor, Punta Gorda, Fla.
Mathew Bishop, Cedar Key, Fla.
John W. Bishop, Miami, Fla.
Chas. H. Nesle, West Palm Beach, Fla.
M. R. Johns, Stuart, Fla.
V. T. Worley, Titusville, Fla.
E. M. Preston, Sanford, Fla.
W. Y. Everton, Fernandina, Fla.
W. J. Williams, New Augustine, Fla.
R. G. Register, Jasper, Fla.

Charles Duckwall, Captain, Yacht "Seafoam," Sarasota,
C. Duckwall, Jr., Engineer, Yacht "Seafoam," Sarasota,


To the Honorable W. A. McRae,
Commissioner of Agriculture,
Tallahassee, Florida.

Dear Sir:

I herewith hand you a "detailed report" of my "acts
and doings as Shell Fish Commissioner, and of the con-
dition of the shell fish industry and the oyster, clam and
shell fish territory belonging to the State," as required by
Section 4, of Chapter 6532, Acts of 1913.
There appears to be no provision of the law requiring a
report to be made by the Shell Fish Commissioner of the
fishing industry of the State other than as above quoted,
yet I deem it to be proper, and clearly within the scope
of such a report, that at least the main features of the
entire salt water fishing industry be embodied therein,
and I have, therefore, done so. I have also included an
account and description of the property owned by the
Commission and of all monies received and disposition
made of the same.
The present Shell Fish Commissioner assumed the
duties of this office on July 19, 1917, and, therefore, is
unable to report concerning the acts and doings of the
Shell Fish Commissioner and the conditions of the fish-
ing industry of the State, or the condition of the State's
clam, oyster and shell fish industry for 1917, prior to
July 19th, other than what the official records show.
Unfortunately there is no provision of the law requir-
ing reports to be made by packers of the quantity or price
of the various kinds of fish handled by them, nor that the
transportation companies report the number of pounds
they carry. Therefore, the Shell Fish Commissioner can

give only an estimate of the value or quantity of Flor-
ida's annual fish production.
I have endeavored to procure from the Southern Ex-
press Company this information, but it was refused me.
From the best information available it is my opinion
that the Fishing industry of Florida amounts to about
twenty millions of dollars annually.
Since July 19, 1917, Florida's fishing industry, taken
as a whole, has never been so prosperous. This was par-
tially due to the high prices obtained for fish heretofore
unknown to the markets, and partially due to the mar-
keting of fish heretofore unsalable, or but little known
to the markets.
The prices paid for fish by the consumers of the State
were greatly enhanced in certain localities. Mullet, the
staple fish, were uniformly sold at from 12c to 15c per lb.
This, it will be admitted, was quite cheap when compared
with the prices of other food meats. An inquiry through-
out the State, made of restaurants, showed that fish was
the cheapest 'flesh food obtainable during the years
Sponge fishing, however, suffered a, great decline. This
was due to the prices paid fishermen for fish-the sponge
fishermen being thereby induced to use their boats to
engage in fishing instead of sponging.
The fish producers have met with many obstacles, one
of which was the scarcity of fishing tackle; at times it
could not be had, and often many months elapsed before
orders could be filled. Another obstacle was the scarcity
of fishermen, especially experienced, able-bodied men,
they having joined the Navy, Army, or engaged in war in-
dustries. For a period of time in the late summer of
1918, the industry was seriously threatened by the draft-
ing, or contemplated drafting, into the army of about all
the remaining able-bodied, experienced fishermen. At this
time, many fishing vessels were idle for lack of such
fishermen. In our western ports especially was this true.

Deep sea fishing by which snapper, grouper, king fish,
mackerel and blue fish are principally taken can only be
successfully conducted by experienced, able-bodied fisher-
men. To prevent this threatened calamity to the fishing
industry of the State, the Shell Fish Commissioner called
a meeting of the fish producers, at which meeting His
Excellency, Sidney J. Catts, Governor of Florida, pre-
sided, and Your Honor acted as Secretary. At this con-
ference steps were taken to have experienced, able-bodied
fishermen given deferred classification, and means to
bring about the same were adopted. The assistance of the
United States Food Administration, both at Washington
and Orlando, was obtained, and the effort would probably
have been successful, had not the signing of the armistice
made any further efforts unnecessary.
The Shell Fish Commissioner has had peculiar, numer-
ous, serious and extraordinary conditions and difficulties
with which to contend, which he deems his duty to refer
to in this report.
(a) Our laws prohibit the fishing in salt waters of the
State of Florida, east of the Suwannee River, with any
seine, gill-net, pocket net, or any other kind of net of less
size than 11/2 inches bar. Herring are a salt water fish,
but are taken in the fresh waters of the St. Johns River
during a certain period of the year. They cannot be
taken successfully in such a large mesh; their flesh is
very tender, and such a mesh catches them about the
middle, and to remove them when so taken bruises the
flesh and reduces their value. They are also a very cheap
fish, and quite small, and to have to remove each of them
by hand from the net, which has to be done when so
taken, makes the catching of herring unprofitable. The
Shell Fish Commissioner, therefore, held that the Legis-
lature never intended to prescribe the kind of net that
should be used in fishing for herring. To have otherwise
held, would have absolutely destroyed the herring in-
dustry of this State, which is of considerable importance.

This the Legislature could not have intended. The title
of the Act shows that it intended to protect the fishing
(b) Our laws prevent the use of seines north of Bis-
cayne Bay on the east coast, except in St. Lucie County.
The Commissioner found that very large and profitable
fishing operations with seines were carried on in the out-
side waters, especially from Titusville south. At West
Palm Beach five car-loads of mackerel were so taken in
one day, so the Commissioner was informed. Mackerel
are a migratory fish, and unless they are taken while pass-
ing along our shores, they would leave our waters and
probably never would be taken-at least not by our fisher-
men. To have enforced this law on fishing in outside
waters, would have resulted in great loss to our fish pro-
duction at a time when our country and our allies were
crying for food. The Commissioner ruled that the Legis-
lature did not intend to prohibit the use of seines in out-
side waters, but only in the inside waters, and thus this
important branch of the industry was saved At the time
of the passage of this law but little, if any seineing was
conducted in outside waters. Mackerel are taken almost
exclusively in the outside waters off the east coast.
(c) Shrimp are also taken with nets of less than three
inches mesh. To be required to use nets with meshes of
at least three inches, or even two and one-half inches, as
is required of all nets fished west of the Suwannee 1River
would destroy the Shrimp industry of the State, as
shrimp can pass through so large a mesh. Shrimp fishing
is the principal industry at Fernandina, and is of large
proportions at Apalachicola and Pensacola and of im-
portance at Carrabelle, St. Augustine and the lower por-
tion of the St. Johns River. The Shell Fish Commis-
sioner ruled that the Legislature never intended to pre-
scribe the size of mesh nets should have which were fished
for shrimp, and thereby shrimp fishing continued to exist.
To have held otherwise would not only have destroyed

shrimp fishing at Fernandina, but would have made the
law absurd.
(d) Georgia laws, prior to 1918, prohibited aliens and
non-residents from fishing in Georgia; Georgia officials
were enforcing the law. This condition became known to
the Commissioner soon after he assumed the duties of his
office. At least one-half of the shrimp caught by the
fishermen of Fernandina are taken from Georgia waters.
A continued enforcement of the Georgia laws would have
ruined the shrimp fishermen of Fernandina. The Shell
Fish Commissioner called the attention of the Governor
of Florida and of Your Honor to the situation, and
solicited the aid and advice of both, which was freely
given. The Governor wrote a letter to the Hon. Hugh M.
Dorsey, Governor of Georgia, advising him of the unfair-
ness and foolishness and injury from such law, and re-
questing his cooperation in having the same amended by
the Georgia Legislature, which was then in session. Your
Honor also wrote a similar letter to the Hon. C. S. Arnow,
then Fish and Game Commissioner of Georgia. Pro-
vided with these two letters, and armed with a righteous
cause, the Shell Fish Commissioner went to Atlanta to
endeavor to have this evil of the Georgia laws corrected.
Upon his arrival in Atlanta he was advised by the Fish
and Game Commissioner of Georgia that a bill had
already been introduced into the Legislature which would,
if passed, adjust the matter to the satisfaction -of the
Shell Fish Commissioner of Florida and the shrimp fish-
ermen of Fernandina. The Governor of Georgia sent a
message to the committee having charge of Legislative
bills requesting them to give to this particular bill prece-
dence. There was, however, only four days remaining be-
fore the adjournment of the Legislature, and the bill
failed to become a law. The Shell Fish Commissioner
was advised that it passed one branch of the Legislature,
and reached the third reading in the other, before ad-
journment. The Shell Fish Commissioner, however, ob-

trained a gentleman's agreement with the Fish and Game
Commissioner of Georgia which permitted Florida fisher-
men to fish in Georgia upon the same terms and condi-
tions we permitted non-residents to fish in Florida.
The United States Food Administration, Division of
Fisheries, later passed rules and regulations permitting
aliens and non-residents of a State to fish within such
State upon payment of the license tax required of citi-
zens of such State. The Georgia authorities, relying
upon the State laws being supreme, positively refused to
recognize the authority of the United States Food Admin-
istration, or to comply with or respect its regulations and
rules, so the shrimp fishing situation at Fefnandina re-
mained unchanged. The Shell Fish Commissioner of
Florida wired the Hon. S. J. Slate, the then Fish and
Game Commissioner of Georgia, requesting, as a favor to
the State of Florida, that he permit Florida fishermen
to fish in Georgia waters upon payment to Georgia of
the license tax Florida requires of aliens and non-resi-
dents. This request was most graciously granted to
Florida fishermen fishing from the shore line outward;
this is where shrimp are taken, and was all that was
desired. Thus again for the third time the shrimp in-
dustry at Fernandina was saved from threatened destruc-
tion, and probably a million and a half dollars of wealth
added annually to the State.
In 1918 the Shell Fish Commissioner, with Your Honor's
approval, again attended the session of the Georgia
Legislature in an effort to have the evils of the Georgia
laws removed. He took the matter up with Hon. S. J.
Slate, Fish and Game Commissioner of Georgia, who
rendered every assistance possible in the undertaking.
He advised the Shell Fish Commissioner that he then had
a bill pending that, if enacted into law, would meet the
situation and give us what we desired. He afterwards
advised the Commissioner that the bill passed to the third
reading unchanged, but that, on the last night of the

session, which was at the third reading of the bill, a
joker was slipped in containing a provision that aliens
and non-residents fishing in Georgia waters should fish
loats owned by Georgians and sell their catch to
Georgia citizens. This provision made void all the good
provisions of the law. Again we were able to arrange
with the Hon. S. J. Slate a renewal of our gentlemen's
agreement and for the fourth time the shrimp industry
of Fernandina was saved from disaster. This agreement
is in force today, but is only a gentlemen's agreement, as
a patriotic act, a war measure, and courtesy to the State
of Florida by the State of Georgia, and is liable to be
terminated at any time.
(e) Purse seines having meshes less than three inches
stretched, which therefore were illegal, were, during the
fall and early winter of 1917, being operated out of Key
West, and out of Miami, for fishing in Hawks' Channel
and other outside waters, and were mainly used in the
taking of mackerel. The Shell Fish Commissioner called
the attention of their owners and those fishing them to
the fact that it was illegal to fish them, but their owners
and those fishing them while admitting the fishing of
them to be illegal defied the law and State authorities.
The Shell Fish Commissioner, personally, did not believe
that as used and where used, they were injurious to the
fishing industry of the State, but the law was plain, and
fishermen were complaining against their use. Reluctant
to enforce the law under the circumstances, as the world
was crying for food, the Commissioner offered to not en-
force the law against such seines where operated, pro-
vided he could get a valid excuse for not doing so. The
Governor of Florida was wired to by those interested, or
by their attorneys, requesting that the law in this par-
ticular be suspended. His Excellency, of course, could
find no legal authority for such action and refused to
interfere. Your Honor was alike appealed to, with like
result, based on the same good reason. The Shell Fish

Commissioner then, for like reason, reluctantly undertook
to enforce the law in this particular, as no other course
was left to him, and two crews of some sixteen men and
two purse seines were taken by him in such illegal fish-
ing. The dealers who owned the nets appealed to the
Federal Food Administration at Washington and Or-
lando for relief, which resulted in a telegram being re-
ceived by the Commissioner, requesting that he refrain
from the enforcement of the law in that particular. Al-
though the Commissioner did not recognize the Federal
right to interfere with the State in the control of her
own indutries, nor in the protection of her own property.
nor in the enforcement of her police laws, complied with
this request, and with the consent of the Commissioner,
the court dismissed the caess, and the seines were re-
turned to their owners. The United States Food Admin-
istration thereafter issued rules and regulations govern-
ing purse seine fishing, and while such rules and regula-
tions, insofar as they sought to annul Florida laws within
Florida territory, were void, yet, as a war measure, the
Shell Fish Commissioner rejected such rules and regu-
lations, and they were permitted to be operated in such
In connection with this matter two things transpired
which were regretable
(1) The Shell Fish Commissioner received from the
United States Food Administration for Florida a tele-
gram practically threatening him, a State official, with
Federal prosecution for the discharge of his duties in
enforcing the State laws. This was an insult to the
State, and evidently came from some underling whose
authority had turned his head, and was done without the
knowledge or approval of those higher up, as the Com-
missioner has had, at all times, the cooperation of the
Hon. Braxton Beacham, Food Administrator for Florida.
(2) About the same time there appeared in the Times-
Union, over the signature of the Hon. Herbert Hoover,

U. S. Food Administrator, a public statement that the
State Shell Fish Commissioner had refused to cooperate
with the Federal authorities. This was absolutely un-
true, as no request had been made by them of the Shell
Fish Commissioner for cooperation. Upon inquiry at
Washington, it developed that Mr. Hoover knew nothing
of the telegram, and Hon. Kenneth Fowler, the person
responsible for it, promised to retract, but if he ever did
so, the Commissioner is not advised of it.
In the early part of the year 1918, the U. S. Food
Administration, Division of Fisheries, called a conven-
tion of State Commissioners to meet at Washington to
discuss ways and means for increasing the food fish out-
put. Your Honor and the Shell Fish Commissioner at-
tended this convention.
Among others, one important matter concerning the
State of Florida came under discussion, viz.: The throw-
ing open of all the inland waters of the east coast to
seine fishing. To bring this about, it appeared that cer-
tain producers, those in favor of such proposed fishing,
had been especially invited to attend the conference,
although they were not Fish Commissioners; others
vitally interested in other than such seine fishing in said
inland waters, also producers, were not invited and did
not attend this conference. To have permitted those
waters to be so thrown open, would have been favoritism
of the rankest kind, and would have resulted in great
injury to the near future fish supply, for the following
1st. Few men, two or three persons, had seines, and
no more could be had for months, as the twine manu-
facturers had orders ahead for that length of time, and
before seines could have been procured by others, the
two or three, those then having them, would have reaped
the harvest.
2nd. The fishermen of the territory in question, for

many years had not used seines, and consequently, their
waters were teeming with fish of choice size.
3rd. Hundreds of thousands of dollars had been by
the local fishermen invested in other than seine fishing
tackle suited for taking fish in said waters, as the law
Such proposed action would have permitted those who
had not helped create such favorable conditions to reap
the benefits, while those who had created such conditions
would have been forced to stand by and see their invest-
ments depreciate in value, and become of no practical use.
The Shell Fish Commissioner took a positive stand
against such action, and Was rendered effective assist-
ance by Your Honor. So vigorous was our protest that
the United States Food Administration, Division Of
Fisheries, called a special meeting at Jacksonville to hear
those interested concerning the matter. It was at such
meeting, afterwards held, definitely determined that we
were right in our contentions, and said contemplated
rules and regulations were never issued.
(g) Another of the rules and regulations of the U. S.
Food Administration that was injurious was one hereto-
fore referred to, which permitted aliens and non-residents
to fish in the State's waters upon the same terms and
conditions as citizens of the State.
To permit the enforcement of this rule or regulation
would have so reduced the revenue of the Shell Fish Com-
mission, which is now too scant, as to have seriously
handicapped its operations. The Shell Fish Commis-
sioner further deemed it unfair that imported, profes-
sional fishermen, some of whom come here to avoid the
rigors of colder climates and all of whom come to fish
during the best of the fishing season, who contribute
nothing to our schools, churches or charitable institu-
tions, who pay no taxes, and do not shoulder the respon-
sibilities of citizenship, should avoid the small tax of
$10.00 imposed upon them by our laws, while our own





Sea Trout.

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citizen fishermen bear the burdens incident to citizen-
ship, and fish in season and out of season. To prevent the
enforcement of this rule of the U. S. Food Administra-
tion, the Commissioner made a trip to Washington, and
after about twenty days delay, succeeded in getting the
U. S. Food Administration to rescind this regulation.
(h) The U. S. Food Administration issued rules and
regulations permitting fishing in the inlets and passes
of the east coast, and forbade such fishing on the west
coast. Now, our laws are the reverse; they prohibit such
fishing on the east coast, making it unlawful to fish with
any device except hook and line and cast nets in any inlet
or pass, or within one mile thereof; as to fishing in the
west coast passes and inlets, our laws are silent. The
State laws are wise-based upon experience and wisdom.
The passes and inlets of the east coast are few and far
between, shallow and narrow; in one instance they are
one hundred and fifty miles apart. On the west coast
they are numerous, frequent, large and deep. Many food
fish pass from the outside waters through these inlets to
the inside waters to feed upon the vegetation growing
therein, and upon crustacian, insect and fish life therein
found. To have permitted nets or seines to be fished in
or near the inlets and passes of the east coast, would
have resulted in catching or frightening away the fish
about to pass through into the inside waters. There were
several hundred fishermen with suitable gear fishing the
inside waters, which gear was not suited for outside fish-
ing, and these fishermen's labors would have been ren-
dered unprofitable and hundred of thousands of dollars
worth of capital made useless. This would have been
a real calamity to the fishing industry of the east coast.
The Commissioner, by taking a decided stand, had the
U. S. Food Administration, Division of Fisheries, rescind
its ruling, and the inshore fishermen and fishing of the
east coast were saved from serious injury or destruction.
(i) The U. S. Food Administration issued rules and
2-Shell Fish.

regulations prescribing the minimum sizes of trout and
mullet that might be marketed. Our laws are silent on
this important provision. The said rules and regulations
prescribed a minimum size of eight inches for the Gulf
coast of Florida, west of the Suwannee River, and ten
inches for the rest of the State on mullet. Another pro-
vision of the Federal rules and regulations provided that
any size mesh net might be fished. The fishermen of the
west coast, west of Crystal River in particular, availed
themselves of this provision, also the purse seine fisher-
men of the east coast, and mullet as small as seven inches
in length were slaughtered by the thousands. I am in-
formed that in St. Andrews Bay alone some 150,000 lbs.
of 71/2 to 8 inch mullet were caught within one week with
haul seines. In the vicinity of West Palm Beach and
Miami many thousands of mullet too small to be market-
able, were caught and destroyed. Such destruction was
a crime. 'Mullet of that size are not desirable, and had
to be sold at a reduced price, thereby unstabilizing the
market, as well as lessening the future fish supply. These
same fish, in one year, would have increased about 100%
in weight. The Commissioner took this matter up with
the Federal authorities and succeeded in getting them to
change the rule, so as to prescribe a minimum length of
ten inches for mullet throughout the State. Unfor-
tunately the Food Administration took no such pains to
spread abroad this change as it did the rule establishing
the 8-inch minimum and besides the Food Administration
had no machinery for enforcing its regulations and rules.
Consequently, the fishermen availed themselves of all con-
ditions that gave them more license and ignored those
restricting their operations. Especially was this true in
the section of the State mentioned and much injury con-
sequently resulted therefrom. The rule authorizing the
use of nets of any sized mesh, was not rescinded. One
large dealer of the east coast, who possessed and used
purse seines of small mesh in taking mullet, now is

opposed to that provision, and his claim is well founded,
that if permitted, it will destroy mullet fishing in the
locality where said operations are carried on.
(j) The United States Food Administration promul-
gated rules and regulations forbidding the taking of
mullet during the closed season from November 25th to
December 20th on the west coast of Florida or from the
inland waters of the east coast, but permitted the taking
of mullet in the outside waters of the Atlantic coast. By
"outside waters" we mean from the shore line to the three
mile limit. These regulations and rules, if permitted to
stand, would have caused those having purse seines, who,
in the main, are persons that take menhaden for the pur-
pose of making oil and fertilizer, to have fished in the
Atlantic waters where the mullet had been permitted by
our home fishermen (those engaged in producing food
fish) to go to spawn, and by reason of their purse seines,
to have taken them in car load lots. This was unfair to
the fishermen of Florida, and the Commissioner requested
of the Federal authorities not to interfere with the State
in the enforcement of its closed season on mullet fishing.
This request was granted, but later the Food Administra-
tion, authorities took the matter up with the Fish Com-
missioner and insisted that mullet be caught all during
our closed season in the Atlantic outside waters. To
prevent this, the Commissioner prepared a telegram and
showed it to Your Honor, that he might, with Your
Honor's approval, send it to the Federal authorities at
Washington, which stated in substance that, notwith-
standing the rules or regulations issued by the United
States Food Administration, Division of Fisheries, the
Commissioner would arrest and prosecute any persons
taking mullet during the closed season, or bringing them
into the State of Florida. Your Honor, heartily approved
of my action and the telegram was sent.
(k) Notwithstanding its promise not to interfere with
the State in the enforcement of its closed season on

Mullet Fishing the Food Administration encouraged and
endeavored to get fishermen to take mullet at all times
during the closed season from the east coast outside
waters and wrote letters and sent out circular letters
to some fishermen and fish dealers on the west coast
advising them that they might take mullet during a por-
tion of our closed season if not for the whole season.
This outrageous action on the part of the Food Admin-
istration was after the signing of the armistice. Prac-
tically all fish of the east coast and of the west coast
south of the Suwannee River pass through Jacksonville,
Florida, where they are re-iced. The Commissioner placed
a deputy there who examined all shipments of fish to
ascertain if they contained mullet. Some twenty-five
packages were found from dealers which contained
mullet. Upon finding mullet in any package the Commis-
sioner wired the Consignor to advise why the Commission
should not prosecute him. After the receipt of each tele-
gram no more mullet were shipped by the receiver. Thus
in the bud all violations of the east and west coasts south
of the Suwannee river were nipped, the Food Adminis-
tration to the contrary notwithstanding. The Express
Company co-operated with the Commission and offered
to return to the conignor all shipments containing mullet
and instructed their agents to receive no mullet for ship-
ment. These instructions were of great assistance in
enforcing the law. We were not so fortunate on the west
coast, west of the Suwannee River, especially in Saint
Andrews Bay. Here the fishermen caught and salted
their mullet to a considerable extent following their in-
structions from the Food Administration. There has
also been at some other points some violations of the
mullet closed season but it was worse at Saint Andrews
Bay than elsewhere in the State. By far the greater part
of all violations were due to Federal interference.
These actions of the Food Administration are hard to
understand. One is loth to believe that the Honorable

Kenneth Fowler, Food Administrator, Division of Fish-
eries, so acted because if true prior to his appointment to
such office he was connected with Chesebro Brothers, No.
1, Fulton Fish Market,, New York City, or because Samuel
Z. Chesebro, President of said company is his father-in-
law or because if true, that said company owns many
purse seines and boats and crews that operate them or
because if true, that said company is interested heavily
in some east coast fishing operations in which purse
seines are used; but if such motives were attributed to his
actions the explanation would be clear.
The United States Food Administration promulgated
other regulations and rules governing other matters
touching fishing in Florida waters, all of them with
which the Shell Fish Commissioner could comply or agree
to allow enforced, he complied with or agreed to their
enforcement, feeling that such acts on his part were acts
of patriotism and would meet with the approval of our
To prevent, as far as possible, all friction between the
State and Federal authorities, the Commissioner pro-
cured the position of Director of Fisheries of the U. S.
Food Administration, of Florida, under the Hon. Braxton
Beacham. This office carried no salary or compensation
of any kind. The Shell Fish Commissioner pro-
cured an understanding with the U. S. Food Adminis-
trators in charge of the Division of Fisheries, at Wash-
ington, that they would not promulgate any regulations
or rules concerning the taking of fish in Florida, without
the approval of the Hon. Braxton Beacham and the Shell
Fish Commissioner.
At the conference of Commissioners held in Washing-
ton, heretofore referred to, when discussing the abolishing
of the closed mullet season in Florida, the Commissioner
took the position that as the mullet spawned much earlier
on the far western coast of Florida than on the central
and southern coast of the State, that if the closed season

was to be shortened to twenty-five days as proposed
(which was afterwards done by an order of the U. S.
Food Admiinstration), that the State should be divided
into zones, and that each zone should be closed at the
best of the mullet run in such zone, so as to get the best
results in the way of protection of the fish. Ndfhing
further was heard from this proposition until in the
summer, when the Shell Fish Commissioner was informed
by the U. S. Food Administration that it was their opin-
ion that the zone system should be adopted, and the Com-
missioner was requested to make an examination and re-
port, and make suggestions as to what should constitute
each zone, and the proper time for the closing of same
for twenty-five days. This the Commissioner did, with
the reult that the zone system was established by the
United States Food Administration, in Florida, for the
purposes above stated.
Unfortunately the U. S. Food Administration failed to
give notice in time for the producers of the most westerly
zone, to protect themselves from great losses; such pro-
ducers did not receive the notice of the closing of the
zone until about the day the closed season began. This
would have resulted in great harm to such producers, and
they asked for a hearing. This request was granted, and
a meeting called in Jacksonville for discussion of the
situation. Your Honor was invited, as well as His
Excellency, Sidney J. Catts, Governor of Florida-both
attended. At this meeting, many producers affected were
present, as well as some others. The Shell Fish Com-
missioner offered to undertake to have the Government
rescind its rules establishing the zone system, if the
Governor or Your Honor requested it of him, but not
otherwise. This you and the Governor did, and the Shell
Fish Commissioner immediately took the matter up with
the Federal authorities and in a day or two the order
establishing the zone system was rescinded.
It appears that some producers made to the Governor

vigorous protest and criticism of the action of the Shell
Fish Commissioner while acting in the double capacity
of U. S. Food Administrator, Division of Fisheries, for
the State of Florida, and Shell Fish Commissioner in
regard to the zone system; whereupon the Governor
promptly submitted the question of whether or not the
Shell Fish Commissioner could hold the elemosynary
office of Food Administrator, Division of Fisheries, to the
Attorney General for his opinion on the law, and the
Governor notified the Shell Fish Commissioner of his
action therein. The Shell Fish Commissioner, being
desirous of not embarrassing the administration imme-
diately resigned as Director of Fisheries. The Commis-
sioner is of the opinion that had he been able to have
retained the position of Director of Fisheries for Florida
for the Food Administration many if not all of the sub-
sequent conflicts and evils herein enumerated might have
been avoided.
At the conference in Washington heretofore referred to,
the Shell Fish Commissioner, in discussing ways and
means of increasing the food fish supply, recommended
that the laws protecting pelicans, and some other fish
eating birds, be changed so as to reduce them to the
lowest possible number consistent with a sure perpetua-
tion of the different genera and species In this the
Texas Fish Commissioner, and others, concurred. In
some states this matter was discussed and generally
endorsed by the press and the producers of fish. So
persistent became the demand for such suggested legisla-
tion, that the Federal authorities made provision for an
investigation of the pelicans alone (there are about 100
fish eating birds in Florida.) Dr. T. Gilbert Pearson,
Secretary of the Audubon Society of America, was
selected and sent by the Federal Government to make an
investigation of the pelican as to its destruction of food
fish. Dr. Pearson was received by the Commissioner at
Tampa on board the State yacht, Seafoam, and the differ-

ent pelican colonies from Pass-a-grille south to Key West
were investigated. Dr. Pearson's investigations were
thorough in the scope of his search, and impartial. We
estimated that there were about fifty thousand adult peli-
cans within that territory. We found two mullet in one
young pelican that would weigh about one pound each.
Fourteen small mullet were found in another young peli-
can. In the number of fish we took from the young peli-
cans, by far the greater number were non-food fish, but
about one-half in weight were food fish. In his report,
Dr. Pearson recommended that no change in the present
laws protecting them be made. There is much more in-
vestigation necessary before wise legislation, if any,
should be enacted. For instance, we do not know whether
pelicans are on the increase or decrease, nor do we know
how many pounds of fish it takes to raise a pelican or to
feed one daily when grown, nor have we any sufficient
data concerning other fish eating birds on which to base
intelligent action.


Upon the entry of the United States into the world
war, Federal laws were passed and Federal regulations
and rules regulating the navigation of the waters, and for
obvious reasons these laws, regulations and rules were
wise and were intended for individuals and were not in-
tended for the sovereign State or its vessels or officers.
The Shell Fish Commissioner being desirous of avoiding
any controversy or conflict with the Federal authorities
called upon them from Jacksonville south around the
State to Carrabelle and discussed the status of the State
as to such laws, regulations and rules, and was always
informed that they did not apply to the Shell Fish Com-
missioner or the yacht "Seafoam."
Upon arriving in the waters of the State in West Flor-
ida, while on board the State's yacht "Seafoam" and

while floating the proper flags and while the Shell Fish
Commissioner was engaged in the discharge of the busi-
ness of the State and while in the'State waters, the "Sea-
foam" was signaled to stop by the Roamer, a Coast Patrol
boat, and was boarded by officials of the Patrol boat for
the alleged purpose of search, whereas the officials of the
said Coast Patrol boat then knew that the "Seafoam" was
the property of the State, the business it was engaged in,
and that she was commanded by a State official. The Com-
missioner had not expected this action, and had given but
little thought to such high-handed proceedings and out-
rageous conduct. Some days later the Commissioner met
the same Patrol boat, under practically the same cir-
cumstances, and gave orders to the Captain of the "Sea-
foam" that if signalled to stop for him to lower the
tenders, take all on board the tenders and leave the "Sea-
foam" speeding in the care of the Commissioner, and
vowed that before he would again permit the "Seafoam"
to be halted and searched, and the State thus again
insulted, that he would let them blow the Seafoam out of
the State's waters. Fortunately the Patrol boat on this
occasion paid no attention whatsoever to the "Seafoam."
On arrival at Tampa a few days later the Commissioner
took the matter up with the proper Federal authorities
and gave them a full statement of the outrageous insult
perpetrated upon the State by the Federal Patrol boat
and was informed by them that they did not think there
was a man in the Federal Patrol service who had so little
knowledge and judgment as to think that such laws, regu-
lations and rules applied to the State, or to her officers,
or to the State's vessels when operated by State officers,
and orders were immediately given to all Coast Patrol
boats that this should not happen again.


Only the Salt Water Fishing laws are under the Shell
Fish Commissioner. The Fresh Water Fishing laws are
under the sheriffs of the several counties. The salt water
fishermen and those engaged in the salt water fish in-
dustries have as a whole been very law abiding, especially
when the constant interference by the U. S. Food Admin-
istration is taken into consideration.
As is true of all laws, both statutory and moral, the
fishing laws have been in some instances violated. A
healthy sentiment for obeying the laws generally prevail
among all persons concerned. Only in a few localities
have the violations been pronounced and these were based
on Federal regulations or instructions or were generally
in localities remote from transportation. The latter have
resulted in but little harm to the fishing industry. In
such localities there is usually a lack of public sentiment
for enforcing obedience to the law. When violators are
detected in such localities it is difficult to get convic-
tions. There is often too much sympathy shown by the
trial jurors toward the offenders. They fail to take into
consideration the fact that the great majority of fisher-
men are opposed to such violations and that the violators
have taken an unfair advantage of their competitors and
that their conviction would meet with the general
approval of those engaged in the fishing industry. It
also often happens that the dealers for whom the vio-
lators fish feel that their financial interest requires them
to do all they can to have the violators cleared in the
courts. These are generally men of influence and tfeir
action often has effect upon the jury. This interest of
the dealer is not often based on a desire to have the laws
violated, but from a fear that unless he assists them they
will become offended and sell their catch to his com-
petitor. Yet the Commissioner must in fairness say that
he has no complaints to make against any judge, prose-

cutting attorney or jury. The Shell Fish Commissioner,
in the enforcing of the laws, has been willingly and ably
assisted by the courts, and prosecuting attorneys have
ever been ready to freely and cordially render all assist-
ance in their power. Considering the innovation of the
laws and the short time they have been enforced, the
respect held for them by those concerned is very flatter-
ing indeed.


Mullet-Mullet are a local fish. They can probably be
reduced to a point where their natural enemies will exter-
minate them. Mullet, at present, constitute about one-
half of all fish taken in Florida waters. From early suml-
mer until early winter, they are one of our best flavored
fish, and in great demand.
As will be seen from the cut elsewhere found herein,
their heads are small, and consequently there is but little
waste; they have large scales which are easily removed;
they usually contain sufficient fat to almost fry them-
selves; they have but few bones. These are sufficient rea-
sons to make them popular. They are taken throughout
the year, save in the closed season. They are preeminently
a poor man's fish, whether he be producer or consumer.
There are two recognized species-the silver mullet
and the common mullet. The latter should probably be
again divided into two kinds, the fresh water, those that
habitually live in fresh waters until spawning time and
then go down to barckish waters, and those that habit-
ually live in the salt waters. The fresh yater variety,
if there be such variety, has a blunter nose, and are of a
darker color than the salt water. So far as the
Commissioner knows this distinction has never heretofore
been made by any Ichthyologist.
Silver mullet are small, being about 14 inches when
grown. They spawn in May and June. They are found

in our southern bays when small but the adults are
usually found in the southern open seas. They are seldom
found in the northern portion of the State. All further
remarks will be concerning the common mullet, as the
silver mullet is of little importance from a commer-
cial standpoint, and concerning their habits, but little
is known.
Almost any man, if he desires, can equip himself with
suitable and sufficient gear to successfully take mullet.
The consumer, be he ever so poor, if he is able to procure
flesh of any kind for food, can buy mullet; they are the
cheapest fish ,and the most widely distributed, both in
our waters and in our southeastern markets. Prior to 1915
they were rapidly diminishing, both in numbers and in
size. They grow about four inches in length a year; they
do not spawn until they are twelve inches in length, or
in their third year. The first enforced closed season was
in the fall or winter of 1915; in 1918 we should, and did
begin to get the benefits of the first closed season. Mullet
were more plentiful in the St. Johns River and from
Daytona to Pensacola, with possibly a few local excep
tions, than they have been at any time for from six to
forty years.
Mullet do not mate as some fish do. They gather to-
gether from the surrounding waters into great masses
called "schools;" they then run through the waters at a
rapid rate to the place which they have chosen for repro-
duction, where the females exude the eggs as they swim,
and the male their milt. There would be little chance
of the two elements coming in contact, which is necessary
before the egg would hatch, were it not for their great
numbers. In dense masses, almost or quite touching each
other at the time they give forth their elements of repro-
duction, they, by their swimming and churning, agitating,
stirring and mixing the water, cause, to some extent the
two elements to come in contact. The smaller the school,
the less chance for the elements to come in contact. If

they are, at this time, disturbed, chased and scattered, the
eggs and milt thus exuded will drift with the currents,
but will not come in contact and the eggs become stale
and never hatch.
To keep a commercial supply of mullet, it is necessary
that for a period of each spawning season they are not
molested, so that they may gather in such masses, and go
into suitable spawning waters and grounds, and there
reproduce as nature has provided.
The Shell Fish Commissioner made inquiry at the
Bureau of Fisheries at Washington, in person, for in-
formation regarding the hatching of mullet eggs by arti-
ficial means, but was unable to get any definite informa-
tion from those he was able to consult. Dr. Smith was
then engaged in getting some data for a Congressional
Committee and Dr. Moore was away on his annual vaca-
tion. The Commissioner then urged upon the Depart-
ment the importance of making investigations concern-
ing artificial hatching of the eggs of this important fish,
and requested that they send a person to conduct such
investigations in Florida during the spawning season of
1919, and offered to cooperate and give any possible assist-
ance, but was informed, that, owing to the war, they
feared the Bureau had no man that could be spared.
Later the Shell Fish Commissioner purchased a battery
of hatching jars, and all necessary apparatus, save an
engine and pump, at a cost of $........ for the purpose
of making such experiments. He then detailed one of
his deputies, Chas. H. Nesle, of West Palm Beach, who
has had many years experience in hatching fish eggs, and
who had for two or three years fished for mullet in Flor-
ida, to conduct the experiments in hatching mullet eggs.
This he did, and based upon his reports, we make the
following statements:
He began operations at Cedar Key, about November
Sth, 1918. He observed, investigated and found that the
schools of mullet were traveling to the westward-toward

the Suwannee River. Knowing that many sea fish spawn
in brackish or fresh waters, he reasoned that these schools
were on their way to the Suwannee River to spawn. He,
therefore, went to the Suwannee River to conduct his in-
vestigations further. He made a trip up the Suwannee
River as far as Old Town, some 40 miles from the mouth
of the river, but finding no trace of the schools of mullet,
he returned. On his way down the river he found, near
Turkey Island, the first school having in their numbers
ripe red roed mullet. This was some ten miles from the
mouth of the river; the river then being very low; the
water was brackish.
He continued further down the river to the forks of the
east and west passes, some three miles from the mouth;
here he found great schools of mullet. They appeared to
gather mainly at night and upon the sand-bar in the forks
of the river. Individual fish would rise to the surface,
and not "jump" but "flip," or splash the surface of the
water with their tails-a quick flip. There were hun-
dreds doing this at the same time, thereby making a
"shower" or "roar" that might be heard for some distance.
Then they appeared to settle to the bottom of the river,
for the purpose of depositing and fertilizing their eggs. It
was here on the 17th, 18th and 19th of November that he
took ripe eggs from the female and ripe milt from the
males, and mixed the two elements in a vessel using the
dry method, thus fertilizing the eggs. The hatching jars
and other paraphernalia having been delayed in transit,
he proceeded with his first experiment as follows:. He
took a box with the top end open; this box he placed in
the water where the low tides would just cover it; at ex-
treme low tide the water was fresh, at half low tide the
water was brackish, at high tide it was salt. In the bot-
tom of the box he placed turf gathered from the bottom of
the river, making as nearly as possible, natural con-
ditions, and placed in different parts of the box the differ-
ent days' take of fertilized eggs. Over the open top he

spread and made fast a mosquito bar, so as to prevent
small fish from entering in and eating the eggs. He thus
could at each low tide take observation of the eggs and
note their condition.
From these investiagtions,' experiments and observa-
tions, he determined as proved the following:
1st. Only 5 to 8 per cent. of red roe mullet taken have
ripe eggs.
2nd. That all the eggs in such ripe fish are not ripe at
the same time, but probably spawn for a period of from
two to four days.
3rd. That he was enabled to procure not over 50% of
the eggs from any mullet, but upon after thought, he be-
lieves that by opening the vent, the taking could be in-
creased probably as much as 25 per cent.
4th. That about 50% of all bucks taken are ripe.
5th. That the eggs, after fertilization, "set up" rapidly,
grow and develop; that they change color and grow to
about ten times their ordinary size in from ten to fifteen
minutes; that they eye in about eight days so as to be
seen without glasses, and hatch in about fourteen days,
in the temperature of the water in which he experimented.
6th. That all eggs of the same taking did not hatch
at the same time, but some would be a day or two longer
than others.
7th. That eggs may be taken from mullet that have
been caught one and one-half hours and fertilized with
milt from live bucks and hatch.
8th. That fish taken for hatching purposes with gill
net, should be backed out of the net, as passing them
through causes them to give forth a portion of the ripe
eggs or milt.
9th. That they do not spawn in fresh water.
Heavy rains set in, and the schools of mullet all disap-
peared. Upon investigation he found that they had prob-
ably gone to Dead Man's Bay, as numerous schools were
to be found there, and off the Steinhatchie River; hither

he went and continued to take ripe eggs, and fertilize
them, and "set them up"-a state of hatching which
shows they will hatch, and "planted" (distributed) them
upon shallow, grassy flats where small fish were few.
Thus he planted about twenty-eight million eggs.
The Commissioner regrets that Mr. Nesle was not pro-
vided with suitable instruments for taking the tempera-
ture of the water when he conducted his experiments and
also that he was unable to set up the hatching jars. The
Commissioner believes that mullet prefer to spawn in salt
water and where the waters are turbulent.
He ceased his operations on December 14th. Thus
terminated an experiment successfully demonstrating for
the first time, so far as known to the Commissioner, the
hatching of mullet eggs. This experiment is probably
destined to greatly benefit the mullet fishing industry.
These operations were solely an experiment to deter-
mine the facts stated.
Mullet are successfully handled fresh, salted, pickled,
dried, smoked and canned. In two or three places a mail
order business is carried on in salt cured mullet, and a
great mail order business could, in the opinion of the
Shell Fish Commissioner, be built up in smoked mullet.
Spanish Mackerel-Spanish Mackerel fishing is con-
ducted in the east coast outside waters from Cape Cana-
veral south to Key West, with purse seines, haul seines
and gill nets. In the deep waters of Hawks Channel, and
in the,open seas, purse seines are generally used, and
quite successfully; in the shallow bays, gill nets are
operated; and along the shores of the east coast, haul
seines are used. Mackerel are also taken in scattering
quantities along the entire west coast. At Cedar Key,
they are taken in pound nets. But little mackerel fish-
ing operations are conducted on the west coast in com-
parison with the east coast. I am of the opinion that this
is, in a large degree, due to want of suitable appliances
and effort. Mackerel are a choice fish, and command

Red Fish.



Spanish Mackerel.

good prices. They not only contribute to our wealth as a
commercial fish, but at St. Petersburg especially, and
at many other points, they constitute the main sport for
the tourists. They are the swiftest takers of the hook
known to the Commissioner. In Florida they are handled
only in the fresh state.
Little is known of their methods of reproduction, or
where they spawn. In the early spring they come from
the southern seas, and in shoals, travel along our coasts
north and west. They are rapid travelers, and the "run"
soon passes beyond the State's borders. In the waters
just south of Cape Canaveral, and in some of the larger
bays of the west coast they appear to linger longer than
at other places along our coasts. It is probable that
pound nets, or some new fishing device, may be con-
structed along our eastern shores that will greatly in-
crease the present catch.
King Mackerel-King Mackerel fishing is conducted
with hook and line, and found quite profitable, from Key
West north along the Atlantic coast as far as Titusville.
Hardy seamen, two to the boat, go out upon the open sea
and fish by trolling for this giant mackerel. These opera-
tions are largely conducted by aliens and non-residents.
Such fishing is also done in the vicinity of Sarasota but
only to a small extent.
In order that Your Honor may have an idea of the im-
portance of this kind of fish, and the profits derived
therefrom, the Commissioner will state that he was in-
formed, from reliable sources, that during the month of
December, 1909, two men caught, with hook and line, and
sold within one week, $800 worth of king mackerel.
Many citizens of foreign countries and of other states
annually come to our east coast for the sole purpose of
engaging, for the season, in this profitable sport. Begin-
ning with the "run," which first commences about Key
West, they follow them up the east coast to about Titus-
ville where all trace of therm is lost.
--Shell Fish.

King Mackerel have been taken as far north as St.
Marks on the west coast, but there is little king fishing
operation conducted on the Gulf side. Like Spanish
Mackerel fishing, it is probable that a much larger catch
could be had on the west coast, if suitable appliances and
effort were put forth.
At Key West, there is a large export fishing business
carried on with the Cuban markets-king fish consti-
tuting by far the greater portion of the fish exported
Sea Trout-Like mullet, sea trout are with us all the
year. They are widely distributed, being found in all
salt and brackish waters of the State. They constitute
the main fish taken after the beginning of the closed
mullet season, and continue so until settled spring. They
constitute a material part of the State's output during
every month of the year.
Like mullet, they are a local fish and spawn and hatch
in our bays and bayous. From the best information
obtainable by the Commissioner, trout spawn from April
to July; their eggs are semi-bouyant and glutenous, and
floating in the water, they come in contact with the grass
on the water bottoms, where they remain until hatched.
It therefore follows that all seines and devices drug over
such bottoms in fishing operations, destroy these eggs
while in the embryo state, and doubtless many little ones
just hatched are injured and killed by such operations.
On cold days they gather in the deepest holes of our
shallow bays, often where fresh water mingles with the
salt, and being numbed by the cold, are easily taken by
the fishermen who "drag net" and "haul seine" these
holes. They are so numbed by the cold on such days, that
they are practically powerless to escape through the
meshes of the net or seine, even if the meshes are large
enough, or as large as the law requires.
Trout have no protection whatever by our laws, except
in Escambia county, where they are protected from April
1st to May 1st; neither are they protected by State laws

limiting the size at which they may be marketed. The
trout taken in the vicinity of Oak Hill often weigh from
five to eight pounds; while those on the west coast often
weigh from 1/4 to 1 pound. Where they are so large, they
are taken with four inch mesh gill nets and with hook
and line, and where so small, they are taken with trammel
nets, houl seines, or drag nets on cold days. They would
grow as large on the west coast as in any other waters
of the State, if given an opportunity.
When one considers the extent of theaters in which
trout are found, their great favor in the markets, creat-
ing always a demand and good price, and the large size
they attain if permitted to grow, it appears strange that
measures have not heretofore been taken by our Legis-
lators to insure a large annual catch.
Not only does the trout by its numbers and value cause
it to be sought after by commercial fishermen, but it is
also a swift taker of the hook, and once hooked, fights
fiercely for its freedom; owing to its tender mouth, the
angler seeks to land it as quickly as possible-thus it con-
stitutes one of the main fish taken by our sportsmen.
Shad-Shad constitute an important part of Florida's
fish supply. They come in from the sea and ascend one
or two of our rivers to spawn. They usually appear about
the first of November and remain until May of the follow-
ing year. They are mainly taken in the St. Johns River,
and principally by seines.
A great deal is known concerning this important fish.
As to its methods of reproduction: Shad in spawning in
the St. Johns River ascend to its head waters. It appears
that they spawn but little, if any, until they have reached
Lake Harney. It is quite evident that the greater por-
tion spawn much further up the river where the river
dwindles into holes of various depths and sizes. Here the
fishermen, during the spawning season, gather and with
short seines daily drag these holes and thereby not only
take the fish, but often take them before they have

deposited their spawn, and also drag out and destroy
many little shad that may have been hatched, and cover
with mud such eggs as have been spawned. Some remedy
for this evil should be found. The law on closed night
fishing for shad, and Sunday fishing, is not enforced.
The enforcement of the law is not the duty of the Shell
Fish Commissioner but is under the officers of the several
counties of the State. These officers have so many
arduous duties to perform that the enforcement of these
laws are overlooked. The result is that shad fishing in
the St. Johns River is only a small per cent of what the
Commissioner believes it should be. The Shell Fish Com-
missioner being desirous of the State profiting from the
knowledge, experience and methods of others, and as it at
the same time owns a small suitable hatching equipment,
and as the Commissioner has in the service of the Com-
mission one experienced in the hatching of fish, he has
decided to take, fertilize, set up and hatch shad eggs and
to distribute the hatched shad in the St. Johns River,
and intends that some such hatched Shad shall be intro-
duced into other streams of the State. In order that you
may know the value of such fishing, you will recall the
one sent to Your Honor by the Shell Fish Commissioner.
Its weight was seven pounds and the dealer stated that he
received f.o.b. forty cents per pound for roe shad, making
a total of $2.80 for one fish at wholesale prices. Shad are
mostly taken with haul seines which are drug across the
river, usually at its narrowest points. So persistently
are some of these places operated that Shad have a poor
chance to pass up to their spawning grounds. Were it not
for the fact that such seining localities are ratherscarce,
taking into consideration the length of the river, there
would be but few fish, if any, that would be able to pass
up to the spawning ground. In the lakes constituting a
part of the St. Johns River, gill nets are used but the
catch is light when compared with that taken by seines.
All of our shad laws are good and should be enforced,

and some further protection given to them at spawning
time especially in the upper waters of the St. Johns
River, if this industry is to be maintained or enlarged.
Herring-Herring are a salt water fish and like shad
come up the St. Johns River about the same time the
shad do and for the same purpose. The herring in shape
and color is so much like a shad, only being smaller, that
a layman cannot tell them apart only by their size. The
herring taken in the St. Johns River are shipped in bulk
to other markets where they are cured and distributed
to the trade. By this method the Florida herring bring
but a very small price and but little profit to those who
take them. Some few attempts to cure them here, before
placing them on the market, have been made, but it
appears that owing to either the want of capital or proper
handling, or by reason of established channels of frade,
such attempts have been financial failures. A sufficient
quantity is taken in the St. Johns River to justify curing
them in Florida before putting them on the market. Per-
sistent effort would create a trade for such fish.
Menhaden-Menhaden, though not used for food, is a
very useful fish. In form and color it is similar to a shad
only it is much smaller, being about eight inches long.
It hatches in our southern bays on both the east and west
side, where they bear many local names. They are to be
found, when small, in the greatest abundance in Char-
lotte Harbor Bay and vicinity. Here they are usually of
the proper size to be canned and thereby made into
sardines. In some portions of the New England states
some cities have a thriving business in canning sardine.',
and their citizens who have long engaged in the industry,
have acquired great wealth because they discovered that
by putting a young herring into a can with a little cotton
seed oil for olive oil, and calling it a sardine, it became
a sardine for commercial purposes. Experiments have
shown that young menhaden make as good or better
sardine than young herring, besides menhaden furnishes

its own oil. At Boca-Grande some efforts were recently
put forth to establish a sardine canning factory, by using
these small menhaden for sardines, which, from last
accounts, was in a fair way to success. The menhaden
seems created to serve. It constitutes the main food "f
the Blue fish and many other food fishes. Menhaden are
taken by fishermen for the purpose of making oil, and the
waste product is called "scrap" and is used in the making
of fertilizers.
In 1917 one firm only was 'operating in the State. Its
business amounted to about $750,000.00 a year. In 1918
two other firms went into the business and two more
are preparing for operations. At St. Marys, Georgia,
is a firm which also at times takes menhaden along our
shores for the same purposes. Menhaden fish, when taken
in Florida, are smaller and less productive of oil than
when taken farther north. Starting in the southern part
of the state, they run northward along our entire Atlantic
coast, and are taken in many states north of us for the
purpose above stated. They are also found to some extent
in West Florida where they are used for snapper bait.
Some years back a fish dealer advertised menhaden exten-
sively in certain portions of the interior as "Summer
Mackerel"-his plan was a success. He established a
good business, but about the time his business was estab-
lished a law was passed by the United States Government
requiring that all fish be sold by its right name. The
markets he had built up for them under the name of
"Summer Mackerel" knew them not as menhaden. They
knew menhaden as an oil and fertilizer fish and would
have none of them. Thus, prejudice keeps the fish eating
people of America from having fish at ten cents per pound
retail price.. They are worth about one cent per pound
wholesale price. They are well flavored, nutritious, quite
bony and small. There is but little waste to them, how-
ever, and they are easy to prepare for cooking. The Com-
missioner has been out on the waters of our east coast

where fishermen were fishing for menhaden and have seen
as many as five hundred barrels taken at one set of the
purse net. It is not an uncommon thing for a crew of
fishermen to take over one thousand barrels a day.
Snapper-Snapper fishing is the main fishing industry
of Pensacola, St. Andrews and Carrabelle and constitutes
an important part of the catch of all the Gulf Coast of
Florida north and west of Boca-Grande. This is the
main fish taken during the spring and early summer.
Snapper fishing is also carried on to some extent at Miami.
In snapper fishing the red snapper is mainly sought after
as it commands a good price in the markets and can
usually be readily sold. The markets for red snapper are
mainly in the Middle and Central states. The snapper
fishing industry of Florida is largely indebted to Captain
Wells and other wholesale fish dealers of Pensacola, who
after a long time, and at great expense, built up a market
for the fish taken by such operations. To conduct this
kind of business, staunch sea-going vessels are necessary.
These must be manned by a sufficient crew of able-bodied
seamen to insure the skillful and safe handling of the
vessels upon the, at times, tempestuous seas. It is also
necessary that the captain be an experienced snapper
fisherman in order that the best grounds may be located.
Furthermore, men that follow the sea should constitute
the fishing crews, for otherwise they are apt to be sea-
sick during the whole trip and unable to fish.
Grouper-Of the catch by snapper fishermen, usually
the large number are grouper. The snapper and grouper
inhabit the same waters, eat the same food and are found
on the same rocky reefs or banks. These banks or reefs
are to be found around our entire coast from Pensacola
to Miami. At some points, as at Clearwater and Carra-
belle, these fish may be profitably taken at times within
a few miles of the shore. Fishermen at times, however,
go hundreds of miles in search of them. The grouper is
capable of changing its color and can assume as many as

five different colors. This fact was discovered and estab-
lished as follows: In the aquarium in New York there
are some grouper fish. Those having charge of the
aquarium desired a painting of one of these fish true to
color, and a capable Japanese artist was employed to take
the painting. As he painted he soon noticed that the fish
was not any longer the color of the painting he was mak-
ing, and he thereupon started another picture of the fish
and soon again found his painting off color, and when
the fish returned to the color of the first painting he re-
sumed the painting of that picture, and when he had
finished there were five distinct colors of the fish. The
grouper, however, is not the only fish that has this ability.
Several of the grunt family have as many as three colors
but no other fish known to the Commissioner has as many
as five colors. The grouper has never been a favorite food
fish, and until recently the demand for them was light,
though its flesh is white, firm, palatable and of an attrac-
tive appearance. We are of the opinion that this want of
popularity has been largely due to certain obstacles, all of
which are being overcome. The main one of these obstacles
is the fact that the scales of the grouper are very fine, firm-
ly embeded in the skin and hard to remove. The housewife
being unaccustomed to methods of skinning fish, and un-
prepared to do so if she did, and finding it very difficult
to remove the scales, avoided purchasing them when visit-
ing the markets. Another reason, probably, is that they
have very large heads. The heads of fish are usually
thrown away, for the reason that they are best when pre-
pared differently from the usual way of preparing the
body of the fish, and also because of prejudice of eating
fish heads. In buying this fish the housewife considers
the waste too great and that is another reason why she
does not purchase them. The packers, however, are now
usually skinning these fish before sending them out and
also remove at least a part of their heads. The skinning
is too often roughly done and leaves the fish with its

flesh torn and with an unattractive appearance. The
packers do not make any use of the heads, skins or offal
except at Pensacola, where they have been utilized for
divers purposes for some time. The main use to which
they are put at this time are for the making of oil, glue
and fertilizer. Grouper fish, owing to their great num-
bers and proximity to our coast, and -wide distribution,
and the season of the year when taken, seem destined to
become one of our greatest money producing fish. The
grouper industry has received a great impetus during the
war, as the scarcity and price of meat caused a large
demand for fish. During this time the grouper sales in-
creased probably one hundred percent. This increased
production was due more to the spread of the grouper
fish industry than to any increase at any of the old estab-
lished grouper fishing ports. At one time during the
year 1918, this promising industry was seriously menaced.
A large producer of fish in Florida was furnishing one
of the cantonments with fish. The greater part of this
fish supply was grouper. The army officer in charge of
the cantonment ignorantly, foolishly and falsely issued
an order declaring that the grouper was a scavanger-
unfit for human consumption-and forbade their use in
that cantonment. As soon as this ruling was made known
to the producer and he wired the Shell Fish Commis-
sioner, who at once took the matter up by wire with the
Food Administration at Washington. And in reply while
they stated that his assertions were untrue, they also
stated that the army had a right to select its own food.
The Commissioner realized this to be true, but did not
believe that the officer had a right to promulgate things
that were false regarding one of our most promising
money-making fish and thereby prevent its increased con-
sumption. The Commissioner then took the matter up
with Congressman Drane, who immediately took up the
matter with the proper authorities, and the cantonment
continued to use the grouper. If this slander of the

grouper fish had been permitted to go unchallenged, un-
contradicted and not recalled, it is probable that it would
have spread from cantonment to cantonment and the use
of the grouper fish prohibited in all of them. If the army
once condemned them as unfit for food, then who would
have eaten them?
Red Fish-Red Fish grow to weigh as much as forty
pounds or upwards. The large ones, especially those
weighing more than five or six pounds, are not a favorite
with consumers. Their flesh is coarse, firm and well
flavored. They are to be found in all salt and brackish
waters of the state. In search of food, they frequently
ascend our streams, even into fresh water. Their jaws
are very strong, and they subsist largely on crustacians.
They are a very game fish and are much sought after by
anglers. When once hooked, it makes a vigorous, long
and game fight. Often after the fisherman thinks it has
given up and brings it to the side of the boat, and it looks
into the eyes of its would be captor, it wakes from its
lethargy and makes off into the waters and the fight is on
again. This is sometimes repeated two or three times
before the fish can be landed. To the sport fisherman of
Florida and to those who come here to enjoy our fishing
and who have never caught a red fish, we recommend to
them a trial at this great sport.
Sturgeon-Sturgeon are found and taken for commer-
cial purposes in the Suwannee and Apalachicola rivers,
and possibly to some extent, in some other of our rivers.
They are not found in the St. Johns, Withlacoochee, Hills-
boro, and many other of our rivers and streams where
they might be expected. They grow to be very large,
weighing from fifty to one hundred and fifty' pounds.
They are a salt water fish which annually return after
maturity to fresh water streams for the purpose of
depositing their eggs in the upper waters. Their eggs are
very large and therefore easily seen by the smaller fish
that frequent such waters. Cat fish of all kinds, the

sucker family, the bream and perch family and many other
kind of fish, ferociously feed upon the eggs of the sturgeon
wherever found, consequently, there are but few eggs.of
the sturgeon that ever hatch, and even after hatching the
fry have to make their way to the sea, subject to be
prayed upon by almost every kind of fish that inhabit the
fresh waters. It therefore follows that by natural means
the increase of the supply of sturgeon fish will be exceed-
ingly slow, if at all. Sturgeon are taken in our bays and
fresh river waters. After spawning they pass out to sea.
They are clothed with a tough horny skin. Their flesh
is free from bones except the back bone and the bones of
the head. The head is small. The females are called
cows and sometimes contain as much as forty pounds of
eggs, which should be and usually are carefully removed
and made into cavia, and when properly cured command
the fancy price of $1.50 the pound. Sturgeon are some-
times taken in trawl nets when being fished near
Apalachicola for shrimp and are caught by gill nets
operated in the deep, wide, straight stretches of the
lower portion of the rivers. These latter nets are
called drift nets. They are stretched across the river
where there are no obstacles with which they can
become entangled and permitted to float with the current
down the stream. One edge of the net is held to the top
of the water by means of floating corks. The other side
of the net is held near the bottom of the river by-means
of lead scattered along on the line. The sturgeon as it
ascends the river, becomes entangled in this net and is
taken: As soon as it becomes entangled in the net it ii
known by reason of its mighty splashing. Immediately
upon the arrival of the fisherman he passes through its
gills and mouth a small stout rope from eight to ten feet
in length, called a bridle. Then he removes the fish from
the net and fastens the loose end of the rope securely to
his boat and thus tows the fish to a floating raft to which
it is tied and where it remains until enough fish are taken,

which may be a day or two, to make a shipment. Then
they are all killed, skinned, and the eggs made into cavia,
and the flesh sent to northern markets. No use whatso-
ever is made of the skin of the sturgeon, though it is ex-
ceedingly tough-fully as tough as that of the alligator.
It is an easy matter to artificially hatch sturgeon. We
believe a very large sturgeon fish industry could be built
up in the state at very small expense by artificially hatch-
ing their eggs and planting the fry obtained in the
different streams of the State.
Sheepshead-Sheepshead are widely distributed in all
our salt and brackish waters and at times ascend for
some distance our fresh water rivers. They are a local
fish and constitute a small but steady and important part
of our fish supply. They have strong jaws and feed
on crustaceans and vegetation, consequently they are
found most abundantly on oyster bars and around piling,
wrecks, rock piles and other places where their food may
be found. Their flesh is firm and well flavored, but coarse.
They take the bait readily when it is crustacean but bite
only a still hook. They are great nibblers and hard to
hook but once hooked fight hard. A hand line is most
successfully used in hook and line fishing.
Tarpon-The tarpon is the silver king of the South
seas. As a game fish he has no superior and only one
equal. The capture of large tarpon with rod and reel con-
stitutes the crowning efforts of all anglers. Like Alex-
ander, they "may weep for there are no new worlds to
conquer;" no higher angling achievement to be attained.
To engage in this unequal pastime sportsmen and sports-
women from all parts of the world come to our southern
waters where if they patiently, persistently and intelli-
gently pursue the silver king-the fish of beauty, life,
endurance and grit-their efforts are' crowned with

Pompano-The pompano is pre-eminently the peer of
all food fish of every sea. Its small head and cavity and
its soft edible bones make it almost free from waste. Its
flesh is very nutritious and the most exquisitely flavored
of all fish.
It is found in all our waters, but most abundantly in
the southern portion of the State. So light is the catch
in the most northern and western portions as to be negli-
gible from a commercial standpoint, and while they are
not taken in great quantities in any portion of the State,
yet, owing to the high prices they bring and the amount
taken, they are of importance to the fishing industry.
They grow to weigh four or five pounds, or upwards. In
certain inland waters on the east coast they are taken in
quantities as small as five to six inches in length and put
upon the markets. When so small, they are not so well
flavored and are not much in demand, and consequently,
bring a lower price than the more choice ones-often sell-
ing as common small fish. They should not be taken so
small; it is a waste, a destruction, and unstablizes the
While but little is known of its habits, haunts, food
:and manner of reproduction, yet it may be reasonably
inferred that they spawn in our inshore waters of South
The pompano fishing industry would be improved
by laws prescribing the minimum size at which they
might be marketed.

Porpoise-Porpoise are found in abundance in the
deeper waters of our bays and in the outside waters along
our coast.
Their skins are very thick and have great tensile
strength. I have understood that in France quite a busi-
mess had been built up, prior to the war, in porpoise hides
-which were used as coverings for automobile tires. We

are all familiar with porpoise shoestrings, which are
made of porpoise leather.
In addition to leather, they also yield an excellent oil'
made from their jowls. This oil is as clear as water,
demands a great price and the yield is large for such
a size fish. Oil of an excellent quality, but inferior to
that made of the jowls, is made from all the fat of the
fish. This yield is large also.
The flesh is dark and coarse and the flavor is more
like the flavor of beast than of fish. The Commissioner
has had it smoked, and while it could be eaten,'it was not
tempting. It is possible that had it been smoked as beef
is smoked instead of as fish are smoked, it would have
been more palatable.
Porpoise are excellent fishermen; three or more will
drive a lot of mullet into a cove and then rush
in on them, catching them. They destroy vast quantities
of food fish. If they can be successfully commercialized
it will greatly help the fish industry.
They have a peculiar habit of coming along side of fast
moving boats as if racing them. At such times they sport
along on either side of the bow at the same rate as the
boat and some ten to twenty feet away. Great sport is
had by some bold spirits by reason of this peculiarity.
Two men or more take a fast launch and rig a harpoon,
or similar device, attach it to the prow, then one person
-stands in the front part of the boat and looks for the
porpoise and when they come along side the harpoon is
hurled, by the person standing forward, into a por-
poise, while another person handles the boat so as to
keep it head on the course taken by the struck fish. As
sbon as the line is taut, the engine is stopped, and the
fish for hours pulls the boat at a rapid rate, if the boat
be small, through the waters. When they have enjoyed
their ride, or their steed has weakened, they capture it.
Such fish have been known to tow a boat 64 feet long, 14

feet wide, and drawing 3 feet of water, for hours. Sports-
men who have never tried this kind of fishing should try
In fishing for porpoise with nets, it is found that fre-
quently they leap over the net. To avoid their escape in
this manner, a second net should be set just far enough
behind the first one to take them soon after they strike
from their leap, and before they have time to get up
speed for the next leap, or time to check their headway.

Sharks-There are many varieties of shark in all our
brackish and salt waters. In the spring they move north-
ward and in early summer they migrate from our south-
ern waters north and west and even pass beyond our
shores into more northern states, but there are at all
times during the summer, quantities of shark in all our
salt waters, and they then even ascend for some distance
our fresh water streams.
Some of the varieties have excellent skins for making
leather. The Commissioner has had some of these skins
tanned and the leather is now on exhibition in our little
museum in the Capitol building at Tallahassee.
The oil of the shark liver is deemed the equal of cod
liver oil for medicinal purposes and is doubtless often
used as such. Oil from the livers of Florida shark is
now being experimented with for medicinal purposes.
The family of shark known as dog-fish is the best for
food. Some other varieties make good food. Shark flesh
is white, medium fine, fairly well flavored and nutritious.
In commercializing shark, whether for its skin, liver
oil, or flesh for food, there will necessarily be a large per
cent. of offal and waste. This can probably be turned
to advantage in the making of oil, fertilizer and glue.
At Sanibal Island, the Ocean Leather Company, under
the direction of Dr. Stone of Punta Gorda, has a plant
where all sharks, together with many other fish, are
utilized. They use the skins, oil of the livers, and by
de-hydrating the flesh, cure it in such manner as to keep

indefinitely. A company at St. Andrews is being char-
tered which will be under the direction of Captain Doty
and which will take sharks for all such uses.
Sharks are great destroyers of food fish. Their effect
upon the food fish supply cannot be determined, or even
approximately estimated, but it is immensely baneful.
These new plans of utilizing them will benefit the fishing
industry of the entire State.

Salt Water Cats-There are at least two varieties of
salt water cat-fish in our salt waters. Both varieties are
found in all salt and brackish waters of the State. In
some localities they are too plentiful to please the net
fishermen. They do not grow to a very large size. The
"schooner-rigged" cat, however, attains a sufficient size
to suit the markets. Their flesh is white, fine grained and
fairly well flavored. Only at one or two places in the
State are they taken for commercial purposes. Those en-
gaged in fishing for them for the markets use "trout" or
set line and hooks and batteau. The whole is probably
worth five to ten dollars, certainly not over ten. Their
fishing operations are profitable. The average catch to
the person is over $5.00 a night. The dealer handling
them makes a good profit. In some of the Gulf
states quite a business is carried on in salt water cat-
fish-they being preferred to mullet. Our net fishermen
do not like to take them because of their spines which get
badly tangled in the net and which are poisonous.


There are many other varieties of food fish taken for
commercial purposes in different parts of the State that
we have not mentioned in this report, for the reason that
they are mainly local and are not of great commercial
or scientific importance.

7 -

,~ A -


11 ;

A Catch of 154 Sea Trout in Two Hours with Rod and Reel.



2 -


-%aB ~

A Big Catch of Fish at Sarasota.


Leaping Tarpon.

. .0-

Manatee-(Manatee or Sea-cow)-This large mammal
is occasionally found in our inshore waters from St.
Augustine south to the Keys, and thence westward as far
as Charlotte Harbor.
They subsist upon vegetation growing in our shallow
bays and the mouths of our rivers. Their skin is thick
and tough and would make excellent leather. They are
covered with dark, bare skins. Their flesh is good for food
and is not unlike that of beef in flavor. A full grown
one will yield from five to eight gallons of an excellent
oil which, for culinary purposes, makes a good substitute
for the fat of hogs. Their rib bones, and probably all
their bones are solid and are ivory. They are not of a
shy nature, and therefore become an easy prey to the
hunter or armed fisherman. The laws of the State pro-
tect them, but the law is not enforced. This law, like
many others concerning marine life, is not under the
Shell Fish Commissioner to enforce. The genera is fast
disappearing and, if possible, something should be done
to protect them.

iGreen Turtle-In the years gone by there once flour-
ished in many ports especially in those of the southwest
portion of the State a good industry in green turtle fish-
ing. Only a remnant now remains.
These creatures of the seas wear their ribs outside
which being greatly flattened come together and consti-
tute a bony covering for back and front, a house into
which they may draw so as to be protected to a great
extent from all but a few of the more ferocious and
powerful fish.
Their food is vegetable matter. They swim along on
the bottom of the shallow waters of the sea feeding on
the grass growing there. Ever and anon they come to
the surface to "blow" (get breath.) There are no known
places along our shores where they reproduce, yet they are
sometimes found as far north and west as Deadman's
4-Shell Fish.

Bay. When about the size of a dinner plate I have seen
them weigh less than five pounds. It is hard to believe
that they when so tender and small, so tempting a bate
for many fish could have traveled hundreds of miles from
the West Indies in safety and at so early a period in their
The fisherman ties a turtle net out of coarse twine with
meshes of about 6 to 12 inches, 150 to 300 yards long. He
then hangs it on cork and lead lines as a gill net is
"hung," only their leading is lighter. At each end of
the net is attached an anchor, also a buoy, usually a five
gallon keg. Thus equipped he lays in a sufficient supply
of provisions to last him for the trip whether it be for a
week or a month, and sails away to "grassy flats" where
it is known that turtles like to "feed" and having arrived
at the turtling grounds a sharp look-out is kept for them
so that not one may "blow" without being seen. So well
trained are the ears of these fishermen that if a turtle
blows of a still night within 100 yards of them he will
be heard. Turtles like to associate in groups or herds.
Turtles have been located; the nets are, "set"-spread
Logger-Head Turtle-Logger-head turtles are natives to
our climate and shores. They are crustaceous and flesh
eaters. They grow to be very large. The Commissioner
has seen them weigh as much as eight hundred pounds.
Their flesh is strong, but liked by many persons. They
are often taken in nets by fishermen while fishing for
"green turtle," but are more usually taken by persons
who of moonlight. nights walk the sand beaches of the
southern portion of the State and turn all turtles they
find which have crawled out to lay. The mother logger-
head when ready to do her part towards perpetuating her
particular species goes to some sandy beach in tropical
seas and laboriously crawls on her "flippers" up the beach
to a point just above high tide where the sand is dry and
once a day is heated by the summer's sun. Here she with

those same flippers digs a hole in the sand and there
deposits her eggs from about 150 to 210, and covering
them with the sand returns to the sea. This is the begin-
ning and ending of her motherly care, efforts, anxiety and
trouble. This she repeats about three times a year, dur-
ing the summer months. She lays during bright moon-
light nights. So little interest does she take in what be-
falls her offspringg" that it often happens that rac-
coons and minks stand around the rude nest and
animals eat the eggs at this time but travel the
beaches at the laying season of the year in search of
these nests and finding a nest of eggs they eat them and if
they chance to come upon the young hatch as they make
to the sea they eat them. The eggs thus left in hot sand
in due time if no evil befalls them hatch and the young
turtles immediately scratch out and crawl as rapidly as
they can to the sea and swim away.

Bastard Turtles-There is also another turtle that is
hard to place. It is called the bastard turtle. It appears
to be a cross between the green turtle and the logger-head
turtle. It resembles both. It is in color, shape and flavor
a cross between the two, but little is known by the Com-
missioner about them. They are also taken in nets and
are excellent food.
Kraals are stalls in the water built of stout poles or
palmetto logs placed deep in the ground side by side so as
to make a well without holes sufficiently large for turtlse
to pass through, and sufficiently high to extend above high
water. The kraal if large is usually divided by partitions
so that in each such stall may be placed turtles of average
size or in which those just brought in may be placed
separately from those re-freshed by being kraaled for
some time. When in these kraals the turtles are fed
either sea-grasses gathered from drifts on the sea, but if
this cannot be readily had they may be fed a kind of
parsley growing in the marshes, or watermelon rinds,

pea vines and such like weeds and grasses. Sometimes
turtle take lock-jaw either from the slits cut in their flip-
pers for tieing them or from being long on their back or
from both causes. Once it takes the lock-jaw it rarely
At Key West is a green turtle canning factory. In the
years gone by a Frenchman arrived at Key West and find-
ing that green turtle was one of the most choice of sea-
food undertook to can it. His efforts for a long time
were fruitless, but at last he discovered a method of can-
ning them that brought to him prosperity. It is proba-
bly the only place in the world where canned green turtle
can be had. Ships for this cannery go down into the
Carribean sea and make long journeys, often returning
with large catches. The green turtle fishing industry
has all but ceased-destroyed by our fishing.

Spiny Lobster-Spiny lobster are found in abundance
at certain seasons from Jupiter inlet, on the east coast, to
Key West and among all the Florida keys as far west as
Cape-Sable. Occasionally they are found further to the
north and west. A very large one was taken as far west
as Cedar Keys by sponge divers. It appears that they
inhabit rocky reefs of deep waters adjacent to our shores.
and when preparing to reproduce they migrate to shallow
waters. They can and do move very quickly for short
distances, after the manner of crawfish, but soon cease
their violent efforts. They are taken with baited traps
which are constructed somewhat after the fashion of a
rat trap, also with a dip net and, alas, also by spearing.
Both of the former methods take the fish alive and unin-
jured. Spearing is usually done at night and with a
light. The waters that they inhabit are usually very
clear, and by means of an ordinary lantern a lobster can
be, and often is seen in five feet of water or at a distance
of thirty feet when in shallow water. The lobster is
capable of exerting tremendous force and is very brittle.

It therefore often happens that when struck with a spear,
iii its violent efforts to escape, it breaks in two at the
joint where the spear enters the body and is lost. Prob-
ably twenty-five percent. of all lobsters speared are thus
lost. Those that thus escape die. Lobsters are usually
held after being taken, for days at a time in kraals, until
enough have been gathered to make a shipment and are
then shipped alive. Thus it will be seen that spearing
lobsters is a very destructive method of taking them.
They spoil quickly after death. There is no provision of
our law that is clearly applicable to the situation-one
that would prevent spearing of lobsters. This matter
was discussed between the United States Food Adminis-
tration and the Commissioner. In the discussion the
Commissioner advised that as the State laws gave no
protection to lobsters, it would be well for the United
States Food Administration to issue rules and regula-
tions to prevent spearing, which they afterwards did. A
new method of handling them has recently been intro-
duced. The tails, which constitute about all the edible
portion is broken off, iced and shipped to market. These
iced tails are worth 40c the pound wholesale, and a
large lobster's tail will weigh a pound or more. The
female lobster carries its young on the underside, at-
tached to the mother lobster. The young do not all
mature at the same time, but continually, and after
developing to that stage when it can shift for itself the
mother lobster being provided with a claw peculiarly
suited to that purpose, strips them from her, and thus
they are turned adrift to shift for themselves. While the
mother lobster is carrying her young she is called a
"spongy" lobster, and can be readily identified. She is
at such times rather undesirable for food and should not
be held. If taken with the spear, she is vitally injured
and need not be returned to the water. If taken by either
of the other methods she may be returned without injury,
The spiny lobster has a very deilcate flavor and is sought

after by epicures. They bring a good price in the
markets. This industry can be made much more import-
ant than at the present time. No protection is needed
other than that the "spongy" lobster be returned to the
water and all spearing, of lobster be prohibited. The
U. S. Bureau of Fisheries has requested Florida to enact
a law requiring all spongy lobster to be returned to the
waters. A closed season is not practicable for the reason
that closed seasons are intended to give the fish protected
a chance for reproduction, and the spiny lobster only
comes out of his inaccessable fastnesses of the coral rocks
of the deep at such spawning season, and to close that
period would prevent entirely the taking of lobsters. A
custom prevails among some fishermen of using them for
bait. I am not sure that this should be permitted. In
the first place such bait is so very valuable as food in the
markets that it is a waste to so use them. In the next
place it is a bait easily removed from the hook. In the
third place there is some cheap substitute that could be
more advantageously used. Only cheap inferior food fish
or wastefish should be used for bait.

Shrimp-At Fernandina, Florida, there is quite a large
shrimp industry, as elsewhere herein stated. There are
three large canning factories and many dealers in raw
shrimp. It was only comparatively recent that a way to
can shrimp was found. The acid in the shrimp corroded
the tin and turned the whole dark, unattractive, unwhole-
some and unsalable. It was found that by lining the tin
with wax paper this condition was prevented and imme-
diately a great industry in canning shrimp sprang into
existence. The fish taken at Fernandina, commonly
called shrimp, are very .properly prongs. They resemble
each other so closely that laymen can distinguish one
from the other only by their size. The prong, to all
appearances, is a giant shrimp. At Apalachicola and
rensacola there are also shrimp fisheries of considerable

importance. The discovery of prongs in Apalachicola
waters in sufficient quantities to justify the establishing
of canneries and the handling of raw shrimp on a very
large scale, was made by the Rice Bros., to whom much
credit should be given. Soon after the shrimp business
sprang into existence in Fernandina they desired to en-
gage in the shrimp industry, and with that intention
visited Fernandina. After looking over the situation they
decided to try the same kind of fishing operations in
Apalachicola waters before starting in the business at
Fernandina. They did so and found prongs in paying
quantities. Prongs are taken from the outside open salt
waters. Shrimp are usually found in brackish waters.
Here and there around the entire coast of Florida prongs
are found. The Commissioner has seen them in great
abundance near St. Augustine. He has seen the Matanzas
River "alive" with them. At the mouth of the New River
they were recently seen in vast quantities. Shrimp may
be taken in many parts of Indian River. They are
sometimes found in Bay Biscayne. They have flipped into
the tender boat of the Seafoam at Key West. The trout
taken in certain portions of Tampa Bay have freshly
eaten prongs in their stomachs. The Commissioner feels
safe to say that prongs abound in many places around the
entire coast of Florida. There are many sections of our
coast waters where, owing to the rocks or grass or
other unsuitable bottoms, and owing to bleak dangerous
coasts, shrimp cannot be successfully fished, yet there
are many places we confidently believe will be developed
into large fishing grounds. In fishing for shrimp on a
large commercial scale, a drag net is used called an otter
trawl. It is so constructed that the wider the net the
wider the mouth opens when it is being drawn along the
bottom. About two bushels of fish, on an average, are
taken with one bushel of prongs and about one-half of
the fish so taken are food, fish of which only a small per
cent. is large enough for commercial purposes. All these

fish are permitted to die and are thrown away, with the
exception of a few, which the fishermen take for their
own use. The destruction of food, therefore, seems to be
great, yet in value the loss is very small in comparison
with the value of the shrimp taken. It would be folly to
prohibit the taking of prongs because of the fact that this
quantity of food fish is wasted; yet it would be a great
thing if a way could be devised for the taking of prongs
as successfully as they are now taken without such great
destruction of fish. The Shell Fish Commissioner has a
suitable boat and net, both well equipped, and men in
training, for the two-fold purpose of trying to devise a
net, or the operation of the nets now in use, in such a
manner as not to destroy so large a quantity of food fish
and at the same time catch as many shrimp; and also for
the purpose of trying out shrimp fishing in all parts of
Florida where they are not now taken for commercial
purposes. This boat, while fishing for shrimp at Fernan-
dina, will protect our coast from alien and non-resident
fishermen who have not procured proper fishing license,
and at the same time the shrimp that may be taken will
be sold for the benefit of the Commission. I deem it no
wild fancy to believe .it highly probable that in a few
years the shrimp industry of Florida will equal in value
the entire catch of fish at this time. During the holidays
of 1918-19, the express company at Fernandina in one day
handled five hundred barrels of picked shrimp (shrimp
with heads, hulls and waste parts removed). The can-
neries of this city generally use daily as many shrimp
as the raw dealers. If they did so on this day, the total
catch was about one thousand barrels of the value of
O20,000.00. Reecntly, while in Fernandina, three shrimp
fishermen were paid for their shrimp catch of the pre-
vious day $175.00. The importance of the shrimp in-
dustry by these instances are clearly shown.
South American countries and Mexico are good mar-
kets for dried shrimp. So far our packers have dried no

shrimp. A large new field is open to the shrimp packers
of the state.

Oysters-After the passage of the Act of 1913, provid-
ing for the leasing of water bottoms suitable for the grow-
ing of oysters, many persons leased water bottoms. At
that time such cultivation was practically an unknown
industry in this State. Many persons so leasing lands
were entirely ignorant of the oyster industry and engaged
in it as a matter of speculation. These persons were
forced to employ others to superintend the planting, and
as there were almost none who uhderstod the planting
of oysters in Florida, their undertaking was doomed to
failure. Others, then engaged in the oyster business,
leased bottoms for the purpose of monopolizing in cer-
tain sections those bottoms that could be profitably
planted without a view to their development. These last
took advantage of their leases to spoil such beds as were
left, at the same time preventing others from gathering
from such beds such few oysters as could have been there.
In 1916-17, a flat worm, improperly called a leach, ap-
peared south of Cedar Key and at many points destroyed
all natural and artificial beds. In 1917-18 it appeared in
Tampa Bay where it did considerable damage to planted
beds. This worm never enters the oyster, but feeds upon it.
It is about the size of an ordinary little finger nail and
flat like a flounder, white on one side and brown on the
other. It is very slick like an oyster and the moment the
shell is open it slips off the oyster. It can only stay on
the oyster by being held there by the oyster shell and
when that is removed it must slip off. Where it feeds
upon the oyster the flesh of the oyster turns brown. So
no one need fear to eat oysters because of these worms
for by doing so they will not eat in any of these worms.
Furthermore they apparently have all disappeared.
All above described classes of lessees have as a rule
failed to pay theii leases which are and have been due

from one to three years.. Hoping to encourage the in-
dustry Your Honor adopted the policy of not cancelling
such leases until some other person made application for
the same bottom. The law provides that those forfeiting
their leases shall have the same advertised, and this
causes great expense to the commission and Your Honor
has hesitated to spend the meager income of the Commis-
sion in this manner. Many lessees finding that their
leases would not be cancelled neglected to pay their
annual lease rent. Other bona-fide lessees in certain sec-
tions of the State claimed that they did not receive ample
protection from the State-that trespassers stole their
planted oysters making their investments and labors un-
profitable. There is evidently some merit in their con-
tention but it is doubtful if as many oysters were so taken
from these leased bottoms as the lessee contended. The
fault lies not in the Commission, but in the lack of funds
to employ a sufficient number of special deputies for
these special localities.
For these reasons the planted oyster business of the
State has fallen short of what it should have. However,
Your Honor, has, I believe, decided to enforce the law on
delinquent leases, and all those not paying their leases
when due will have them cancelled and such bottoms as
they now hold will again be thrown open for re-leasing or
held by the State for developing by the Commission for
the good of the public. We believe this will bring about
a greater business in the cultivation of oysters. The
high prices now received for oysters should stimulate the

Oyster Shells-In spite of all educative effort of the
Commission the shells of opened oysters are not, except
in very few instances, as soon as opened returned to the
natural beds or used for the making of new oyster beds
nor are they as a rule returned at all. There has been
a great interest in hard-surfaced road building through-

out the State and these shells have usually been used or
saved for this purpose. At some places they have been
returned to the water soon after being shucked and the
result has been most gratifying. In these places the pro-
ducers, lessees of the water bottoms, by the return of
shells, have kept their beds ever-growing with their
annual oyster yield ever on the increase. If, for a few
years only, the State could have all such shells returned
to suitable grounds and waters the oyster industry would
probably be increased after the third or fourth year as
much as one-hundred per cent. At Apalachicola they are
given by the packers to the railroads to be used as ballast.
They accumulate on the dealer's hands and are by him
considered a nuisance. They are valuable for the making
of lime but they are put to no commercial use.
It must not be understood from this report that the
planting and cultivation of oysters on leased bottoms
in this State is a failure. Those who leased such bottoms
for the purpose of developing them and have industrially
and wisely applied themselves thereto have been amply
repaid, their fondest hopes realized.
Instead of capitalist and speculators who know nothing
of the cultivation of oysters and who are not engaged in
the oyster business leasing such bottoms, persons, resi-
dents and citizens, oystermen and fishermen preferred,
of the locality where suitable bottoms for growing oysters
exist should lease such quantities of such bottoms as they
and their families can develop. These would find in such
undertaking great profit and the oyster industry of the
State would thereby be greatly increased.
When the present Commissioner assumed the duties of
his office he found on file application for certain bottoms
in Manatee county. This application had been made for
some months. The Commissioner was so engaged in hav-
ing the "Seafoam" made seaworthy and in other more
important and equally pressing matters, and not being in
that portion of the State, he did not for a month or two

find it convenient to make a personal investigation of the
bottoms applied for. The application was pressed, and
by reason of the delay, the application appearing regu-
lar on its face, Your Honor granted a lease to the urgent,
persistent applicant. As soon as it was practicable the
Commissioner made an investigation of the waters so
leased and matters pertaining thereto. He found that the
bottoms would not grow and mature marketable oysters,
that within the lease was included a shell bed of from
three to fifteen feet deep covering practically the entire
leased area of about seventy acres, that Manatee county
had engaged extensively in building hard surface roads,
that it had contracted for these roads to be built of shell,
that the Board of County Commissioners and contractor
were depending upon using shell from these leased bot-
toms, that the lessee had known of these undertakings,
contracts and intentions, and that after procuring the
lease he held up their operations, offering to sell the shell
from these bottoms to the Contractor at, I believe, ten
cents per cubic yard as they lay, and that he had gone
so far in his negotiations as to have drawn a contract
to that effect and to have deposited it in escrow in a
bank. The Commissioner informed the contemplated sub-
lessee that he had better not enter into the contract and
that the lessee had not acquired through his lease of such
bottoms any rights except to plant oysters thereon. The
Commissioner also advised Your Honor of the result of
his investigation, and then, at Your Honor's request, the
Commissioner appeared before the Trustees of the In-
ternal Improvement Board and laid the result of his find-
ings before them, and the outcome is that a judgment in
favor of the State has been obtained in the circuit court.
The bank of shell is probably worth fifty thousand dollars.

Clams-Canning factories exist at Caxambas and
Marco, Florida, for the canning of clams. Here steam
dredges are used in the gathering of clams from numer-

ous natural beds to be found around Umbrella Key. In
1917 and 1918 about 90,833 bushels of clams were
gathered and canned. In the latter part of 1918 the can-
ning factory at Marco, which had for some time been
closed, was again put into operation. The scarcity of
labor and the difficulty of procuring certain machinery
for the dredges seriously reduced the output of these
factories. Unfortunately one of the steam dredges in
1918 was burned and several months was required to
construct another. At these factories the clams are put
up in divers manners. There is a bouillon made out of
the juice or essence of the clam that is much in demand
at the hospitals, where its use is recommended by
physicians. The flesh of the clam is made, some into
chowder and some merely canned. The factories are very
modern in every particular and their operations are

Clam Shells-In the clam fishing operations heretofore
referred to hundreds of bushels of clam shells are daily
accumulating. Their disposition is an expense to the
canneries. Efforts have been made to have buttons man-
ufactured out of them, but so far these efforts have been
unsuccessful and no further effort along that line is now
being expended. Owing to the fact that at Marco and
Caxambas wood is expensive, only mango wood being
obtainable, it would probably not pay to convert them
into lime. These shells should be, if possible, converted
into some profitable by-product.

Donax Clams-There is a little clam on the east coast
of Florida, extending from Mayport south to Daytona
and beyond, usually called eoquina, but which is more
properly named donax. This clam also appears at places
on the west coast, where it has other names, one of which
is pompano clam. They are to be found on the outer
beaches between the high and low water marks in count-

less thousaflds. They vary in size in each locality, but ifi
each locality are of uniform size. In some localities they
are about one-half inch in length and in others about
one and one-fourth inches in length. They are of various
colors. By opening and closing their shells rapidly they
quickly burrow into the ground to about the depth of
one inch below the surface, the sharp end of the shell
extending downward. They are taken by first scraping
off from a half to one inch of dirt leaving the top edge
of the shell exposed, and then running a spade or similar
instrument about one inch deep under them and lifting
out the catch thus taken. Practically about one-half of
what is gathered is donax. The gatherer then tosses
these into a wire frame and drags it into the surf where
a wave or two washes the dirt from the donax and they
are then ready for use. For the making of bouillon the
donax is placed in a vessel and sufficient water added
to about cover them and the whole is slowly brought to
a boil, then the bouillon is strained through a cloth which
is thick enough to prevent any passing of sand. In the
mind of the Commissioner there is no better bouillon on
earth. Its flavor is so delicate as to make one wonder
how it can be, like a faint smell of the sweetest flowers.
Bouillon made from the donax has no superior for the sick
or the well. It is much sought after by the tourists and
is served in the hotels and eating places along the east
coast. For a period of fifteen years or more prior to 1918
efforts have been made to find some method of putting
up this bouillon for market in a way that it would retain
for a reasonable length of time its delicious and delicate
flavor, and probably some $30,000.00 has been expended
by different people during this time with this end in view,
but 60 to 90 days was as long as it would keep. Some
change takes place within the bouillon itself and the deli-
cate flavor passes away like the fragrance of a withered
flower. However, there was in 1918 a process developed
by Mr. Allen, of Daytona, for bottling this bouillon under

a low temperature, the full formula of which was a secret.
I am advised that this formula was discovered by a
chemist of DeLand who gave it to Mr. Allen. This
product was found some three or four months test by the
Commissioner to have a very fine flavor if not the exact
flavor it had when first bottled. Mr. Allen was at last
accounts doing a good profitable business in bottled
donax bouillon. The Commissioner found a powdered
oyster that had been de-hydrated and put in a small vial
which might have been carried in the vest pocket and
which by proper preparation, would make a pint of
delicious oyster stew. In de-hydrating the oyster, fresh
oysters are selected and by steam vats, freed from water,
the whole then reduced to a powder and put in a small
bottle, the mouth of the bottle then stopped with a cork
which has been dipped in parafin. Mr. Main who lived in
Daytona had been studying along this line also trying
to find a formula for putting up donax bouillon in a way
that it would retain its flavor so they could be commer-
cialized. The Commissioner called his attention to the
method of de-hydrating oysters and furnished him with a
sample. The Commissioner is glad to state that Mr. Main
has purchased and installed a de-hydrating apparatus
and is now de-hydrating donax and putting it up after the
manner of de-hydrated oysters and we are confident that
put up in this manner he will be able to introduce them
in the markets of the world. There has nothing yet been
found so tempting to the appetite or so good for the con-
valescent as this donax bouillon.

Blue or Channel Crabs-Blue or channel crabs are to
be found in all salt and brackish waters of the State.
Soft crabs are blue or channel crabs which have shedded
their shells, like a snake sheds its skin, and their new
shell is soft like tissue paper. This shedding takes place
several times a year. They are, when in this stage, a
great luxury and highly prized, and find ready sale in the

markets of the country. When being prepared for ship-
ment the two claws may be pinned together in front in a
natural position by inserting the sharp point or toe of one
claw into the point at the root of the other, and in this
condition they are harmless, helpless and will live for
many days. They should be then carefully placed in a
layer on the bottom of a light crate lined with wet sea
weed, grass or moss. Then a shelf so placed in the crate
as not to press upon these, should be inserted and it
should likewise be covered with wet sea weed, grass or
moss and another layer of crabs laid thereon, and this
should be repeated until the crate is full. Each shelf
should contain about one dozen crabs. In this condition
they will live for many days. This method of handling
insures fresh crabs to the consumer, and a crab unless
cooked while fresh is a dangerous thing to eat. They
are also put on the market in a boiled state. There is
no general business in soft crabs carried on in this State.
Locally there is some little business, but it is limited,
and the supply is uncertain.
If gathered and placed in crawls and fed until shed-
ding time, then packed as above described and shipped
to eastern markets, the Commissioner believes a good
profit could be had upon the money and labor expended.

Stone Crabs-Stone crabs are found only in certain
localities along our coast. They are not forever on the
move as are the soft crabs. They have burrows or holes
in the grassy bottoms of salt waters suited for that pur-
pose and around these they move and have their being.
They are gathered by the fishermen putting a hook, or
his hand, down into their holes at low tide, when their
holes can be seen and worked, and carefully inserting it
along the top until the crab is passed, and then a quick
jerk and out comes the crab. The hand process is quick-
est, but the Commissioner himself has never tried it and
many others are like him for the reason that these crabs

Si All


Oyster Tonging and Culling.



Oyster Fleet at Apalachicola on Oyster Opening Day.

~r?~k&~ 2~

Stone Crab.

An Oyster.

have great power in their claws, probably power enough
to crush a finger. This crab as soon as practicable after
taken is placed in boiling water while yet alive and there
permitted to remain until thoroughly cooked. It is then
permitted to cool and is ready for the market. The flavor
is most delicious. Some people prefer it to all other
kinds of flesh. After cooking the shell turns red. The
edible portions are contained almost entirely in the two
giant claws. These claws are usually one larger than the
other. The smaller is used by the crab to hold the food it
eats, the larger one is used by it in combat. After the
larger one attains a certain size it may without injury to
the crab be removed and a new one comes out instead.
The claw grows so large as to be out of proportion to the
body of the crab and becomes unwieldly and absurd. If
the claw is improperly removed a puncture.is made and
the crab dies. This fact opens up a field for experiment.
Why could not these crabs be put into crawls where they
could be fed on waste from packing houses, and their
claws cropped in the same way that collards are cropped.
Every so often a claw may be removed from each crab.
It is certainly not the part of wisdom to kill the crab
to get its claws when its claws can be removed without
injury to the crab and it left to grow another. The atten-
tion of the Commissioner to this fact was called by a
Frenchman running a hotel at Pass-a-Grille, Florida, a
well posted man, who applied to me for a lease of certain
salt water bottoms for the very purpose above stated. I
was compelled to inform him that the law made no pro-
vision for such leases.

Horseshoe Crabs-Horseshoe crabs are queer, awkward,
creepy, uncanny things of the deep; are all shell, even
their legs. They are found during certain months of the
year in great abundance along the entire southwestern
portion of our State and to some extent in all of the salt
waters of the State. Once a year, at a given time they
5--Shell Fish.

come up out of the deep and fill our waters to the dis-
gust, annoyance and trouble of the fishermen, even mak-
ing their way toward the beaches and waters adjacent
thereto for the purpose of reproduction. They have been
considered an annoyance, a nuisance and worthless, but
it has recently been definitely determined that they are
rich in ammonia, running as high as 18%. In New Jersey
they are industriously gathered for the purpose of mak-
ing fertilizer. One person undertook to handle them on
our west coast during the season of 1918, but began too
late to make a success. He was also handicapped by
choosing for a location a rather unsuitable place.

Fiddlers-Fiddlers are small, active, grotesque crabs,
and very interesting to watch. Each has a hole in the
sand or mud and when disturbed quickly disappears into
its hiding place, so that it often happens that the
pedestrian walking a sand beach may ever see off ahead
of him thousands of these crabs, standing high on their
stiff, stilt like, many legs, with their large claws running
to right and left in unison with all his associates after
the manner that the fiddler handles his bow, hence the
name of "fiddler." Ever they are seen in the distance,
none at his feet, for, as he approaches, they descend like
a prairie dog into their holes, hence the saying, "every
fiddler to his hole." These land crabs have various colors,
varying with and matching the soil in which they burrow.
They never move forward or backward, but they are the
greatest side-steppers, except politicians, on earth. They
have always been considered good fish bait for sheep-
head, red fish, grunts and many other kinds of fish. They
also constitute a large portion of the food of diamond
back terrapin. They, like the horseshoe crab, are about
all shell, even to their legs. They have but little meat.
They too contain a large percent of ammonia.
The Commissioner is advised that in the vicinity of
Sanibel Island a company has been formed which will

soon be prepared to handle Horseshoe crabs and fiddlers
in all quantities obtainable for the making of ammonia
for commercial purposes.
If we thought it proper for a report like this many
other things might be said interesting concerning these
little land crabs.

Scallop Cl'iis--Scallop clams are of excellent flavor
and most desirable for food. This bivalve by a rapid
closing and slow opening of its shells can propel itself
through the water from place to place. They are not
fished for commercial purposes in our waters, though they
are ever found in great abundance along portions of our
coast, especially the lower southwest portion. In St.
Andrews Bay they command a very fancy price in the

Rare Shell Fish-A species of the pearl producing
oyster has been found near Biscayne Bay. They were not
known to exist this side of Central America. The Com-
missioner has also found near Key West, and the Com-
mission now possesses, shell of a shell-fish not heretofore
known to exist in America, or probably this side of India.
These discoveries are probably worthless from a commer-
cial standpoint but are valuable from the standpoint of
a conchologist.

Shell Banlks-There are here and there throughout the
State piles of shell that have accumulated from the cast-
off of the aborigines of this country. Usually they are
close to natural oyster beds or waters and bottoms suit-
able for the growing of oysters. Sometimes these piles
of shell are under the waters. If all these were given
to the Shell Fish Commission to be used for the good of
the industry much advantage could be had therefrom.

Sponge Reefs-Sponge are found from off Carrabelle on
the west coast eastward and southward around the Flor-
ida peninsula and as far north as Biscayne Bay. There
are several varieties of sponge, some of which have no
commercial value. Of those having a commercial value,
"wool," "silk" and "grass" sponge are the most sought
after. For a generation or more "sponging" has been a
large industry in Florida. For many years Key West was
the main port from which sailed the sponging fleets.
Each fleet mainly consisted of trim, neat, staunch, fast
sailing, wind jamming schooners. This was true of the
vessels devoted to sponging in waters more or less distant
from the home port. Now and then sloops could be found
constituting fleets. These, however, were usually destined
to operate in waters adjacent to the home port. These
vessels were all usually manned by American citizens of
Key West. They used in their operations sponging
hooks. These hooks are constructed very much like a
common claw hammer, except that the points of the claw
are longer, round and sharp. The claws are attached to
long, smooth, round pine poles ranging in length from
sixteen to fifty-five feet, about one and one-quarter inches
in diameter. In operating the fleets, the schooner or
mother ship, on which the crews lived, carried one or more
dingeys. These dingeys are small stout built boats well
designed to ride the waves of the sea, even when quite
rough. The mother ship, being stored with provisions for
a cruise of from three weeks to three months, and pro-
vided with a dingey for each two men of the crew save
the cook, sailed away until she came on to the "sponge
reefs." There she was anchored if the weather was good
and the water was clear. If the water was muddy, or the
sea tempestuous, or weather otherwise adverse, the ship
sailed into a nearby harbor until conditions were more
propitious and the waters clear-the waters had always
to be clear. The sea and weather being favorable, the
dingeys were lowered and into each was placed a spong-

ing glass-usually a common wooden water bucket from
which the bottom had been removed and a common win-
dow glass bottom inserted-one of the sponging-hooks as
heretofore described-the length of the pole of the hook
selected depending upon the depth of the waters to be
fished; and two members of the crew-one a "hooker," the
other a "sculler"-took charge of each outfit. The hooker,
whose business it was to find and gather the sponge,
leaned over one side of the forward part of the boat, with
his head, to his ears or neck, buried in the bucket or
sponging-glass, the glass bottom of which was well down
in Ihe water, with one arm and hand encircling the bucket
and holding it tight, and the other hand holding the end
of the pole which was nearest the hook. The water being
clear, he could see the bottom of the waters and easily
discern everything thereon so large as a commercial
sponge. The dingey was always slowly propelled by the
sculler in the direction indicated by the hooker. When the
hooker saw a sponge he gave a signal to the sculler indi-
cating the direction for the dingey to be sculled and at
the right moment he gives another signal whereupon the
"sculler" quickly throws up his end of the pole and the
other end, being weighted with the hook, rapidly descends
to the bottom of the water, the hooker then deftly turns
the pole so as to catch the bottom of the sponge tightly
between the prongs of the hook, similar to drawing a nail
with a claw hammer. The sponge is hooked, a quick
jerk, and the sponge is torn from its bed or "gathered,"
brought to the surface, and added to the "catch."


Then Greek divers came and demonstrated that spong-
ing could be successfully gather by divers. These same
divers established a sponge market at Tarpon. Those
backing the enterprise had plenty of money. Greeks from
the Mediterranean, trained for generations to "diving"

for sponge, were employed together with their small,
cramped, gaily painted, yet staunch, sea vessels, to
exploit the sponge reefs of Florida. A small, neat little
town was quickly built up at Tarpon. The gathering of
sponge with divers was a great success and the sponge
business at Key West rapidly grew less and less, while
that at Tarpon as rapidly increased. Key West could
not afford to give up so important an industry without a
fight. The "hookers" of Key West were citizens of the
United States and of Florida. The "divers" of Tarpon
were Greeks and aliens. The hookers resorted to the
Legislature and a bill was passed and became a law which
prohibited the use of diving devices within Florida waters
for the gathering of sponge.


Divers-Divers go down to the bottom of the sea to as
great a depth as ninety feet in diving devices, for sponge.
Once down, properly equipped, he walks along the bottom
and gathers all marketable sponge. Within the year, at
this great depth, a very fine quality of sponge has been
found, having a fiber finer and as tough as that of the
"wool" sponge. This has been named "silk" sponge. As
yet, however, it is not as well known to the markets as
is the wool sponge and consequently demands a lower

New Sponge Reefs Discovered-Quite recently sponge
reefs have been found in the Atlantic Ocean, near Miami,
so the Commissioner is advised, which holds much
promise. The entry of this country into the late war
delayed their development.

Manner of Handling Sponge-Sponge when first taken
are covered with tough black "skin", which soon begins
to decay and from which a powerful and sickening stench

arises. After fishing for two or three days and kept
out of the water they die. They are then wet and
scraped with knives until their black skins are re-
moved. The sponge are then "clipped," with a pair
of shears, the rough, stony projections removed and
the torn or uneven edges trimmed. This being done,
they are then strung upon strings about five feet
long until the string is full. They are then called
bunchese" and are ready for the market. After the
sponge is "bunched" as heretofore described, it is handled
as follows: The "catch" of the crew for the trip is placed
in a bin and the number of "bunches" therein is kept
account of. Twice a week the buyers assemble and /the
"lot" is auctioned off to the highest bidder. The bidder
is informed of the number of "bunches" and is permitted
to handle or examine them, but he bids on the whole, a
lump sum. The buyer, however, when he sells to the
consumer, sells by the pound. It takes men of many years
of experience and of a peculiar fitness of mind to be able
to determine what each "lot" of sponge will weigh and
at the same time grade them and classify them. So diffi-
cult is this that there are but few men with five or ten
years experience in buying and dealing in sponge who
will bid more than five, six or eight thousand dollars for
one "lot" of sponge. When the "lot" is worth more than
that sum the bidding ceases and one buyer purchases, at
his own price, all these more valuable "lots," and through
his superior ability and grit to back his own judgment
and opinion it is said that this particular person buys
85% of the world's catch of sponge. There is annually
about $750,000.00 worth of sponge handled at Tarpon
alone. In Miami, Key West and other ports where
sponge are handled there is probably all together $250,-
000.00 handled, making a total annual catch of sponge of
about $1,000,000.00 under normal conditions.

Shipment-To make a shipment, after purchasing the
sponge the buyer presses it into bales very much after the
fashion of pressing cotton into bales, only much smaller,
and in this manner it is sent to distributing points.

Laws Protecting Sponge-Realizing the importance of
protecting the young sponge so that the industry might
be perpetuated, several years ago the United States Gov-
ernment enacted a law providing that no sponge should
be taken from governmental waters having its greatest
diameter less than five inches. Prior to 1917 the Florida
laws required that this diameter be only three and one-
half inches: This conflict as to the size between the
ladis of the State and the United States enabled the
sponge gatherers to invariably evade the law. If Govern-
ment agents boarded a vessel and found sponges smaller
than allowed by law their possessors claimed that they
had been gathered in State waters, and for this reason it
was very difficult to enforce the United States law. At
the request of.the Bureau of Fisheries the Legislature of
1917 increased the minimum size to five inches. If in the
gathering of sponge one cell only could be left to the root
another sponge would grow and in a year or two would be
large enough to be gathered. If it was possible that by
diving devices sponge could be gathered so as to always
leave a cell to grow, the sponge beds would ever be on
the increase instead of ever on the decrease as now. The
Commissioner has been intending to make an investiga-
tion with that end in view, but as yet has not been able
to do so.

Sponge Revenue to the State-Probably for a period of
thirty years or more a million dollars worth of sponge
has been annually taken, and for more than a dozen
years the greater portion has been taken by aliens, who
are a people unto themselves, who have their own restau-
rants, stores, bakeries and schools and who send their

money abroad and pay no taxes and when they have made
a competency return to their native home;
The State has never received any direct benefit from
the industry until in 1917, when the Legislature imposed
a nominal tax upon the industry. The tax imposed is the
smallest imposed upon any of our fishing industries.

New Reefs-It is highly probable that new sponge reefs
may be discovered from time to time.


Gill Nets.-Gill nets are used in all salt waters of the
State in the taking of fish. They are the cheapest of all
fishing devices except traps and hook and lines. The law
requires that their mesh be at least three inches when
fished in the salt waters of the State, east of the Suwan-
nee River and at least two and one-half inches when
fished in all waters west of the Suwannee River. This
net consists of fine thread tied into knots so as to leave a
square opening called a mesh through which the fish try
to escape when frightened. This portion of the net is
called the web, one side of which is fastened to a line
strung with corks about every three feet which floats that
side to the surface of the water. The other side of the
web is fastened to another line on which are strung
"leads" placed every two or three feet, which sinks that
side to the bottom. It can readily be seen that these nets
must either be fished in comparatively shallow water or
they must be very wide. They are almost exclusively
used in shallow inland waters. As the gill net takes the
fish by catching them around the gills, making its re-
moval very difficult, it nearly always so injures the fish
taken that they would die if released. For this reason the
mesh of gill nets should be sufficiently large to permit all
small fish to easily pass through. In some of the states
it is considered that gill net fishing is injurious to the

fishing industry and is forbidden. They are very success-
ful in the taking of fish, and being cheap, are the best for
poor men, and should be fished provided the meshes are
larger. It is usually fished by surrounding the fish to be
taken, then frightening the fish by threshing and beating
the waters with the boat oars until in their efforts to
escape they take the net. After this is kept up from fifteen
tothirty minutes the net is taken up and the gilledd" fish
taken. Sometimes two nets are used by joining two
ends together and then circling the fish and bringing the
other two ends together. Occasionally three nets or more
are used in this style. After the fish are surrounded any
remaining portions of the net is run off in the waters
enclosed and criss-crossed through, until all the net is
run out.

Trammel Nets-Trammel .nets are also used in some
parts of the State. This net is a web constructed the
same as the web of the gill net, save it is usually of much
finer thread. It is likewise hung to a corked line and a
leaded line. On either side of this web is suspended an-
other net made out of coarser twine and having its meshes
four or five inches large. The fish becoming frightened
after being surrounded as above described, seeing the
coarser web, undertakes to pass through the openings,
and does not notice the finer web until he becomes en-
tangled. By the time he has pushed the finer web through
the opening of the coarser web, he finds himself in a
pocket, somewhat similar to the pocket of a man's
trousers, and there is no escape for him. Very small fish
may be caught in this kind of a device and its use is very
destructive to small fish. The fish can, however, be taken
alive. If the law prescribed a minimum size for all
marketable fish there would be less objection to their use.

Seines-Seines are operated in St. Lucie County and in
all waters south of and including Biscayne Bay of the

east coast and in all waters of the west coast. Seines are
constructed like gill nets, only they are of much heavier
twine and much more heavily leaded, so that they may
stand a greater strain. They are usually operated on the
outside waters and on the beaches of our bays at points
where the fish are accustomed to pass. When the fisher-
men think the waters to be seined have a sufficient quan-
tity of fish therein to justify a "haul," one end of the seine
is usually left on land and the other is by boat run out
and around the fish to be taken. Then the fishermen "haul
in," pull ashore the seine, and all fish, great and small,
as well as all vegetation suitable for fish food, and any
fish eggs that may be there, are destroyed, killed or in-
jured. Often the ends or wings are of the legal size mesh,
but it is seldom indeed that the middle portion or pocket
of the net is of the size required by law, and the fish see-
ing the sides or wings, in motion are frightened away
from them and do not attempt to pass through the mesh,
even if the fish are small enough to do so, and even they
approach nearer the mouth of the "pocket," which is
large, and at last, it being larger than any mesh of the
wings or sides, they pass through the mouth into the
pocket where all the meshes are small and then all escape
is impossible. When seining operations are conducted
only in the outside waters or on sandy beaches and shores
of our bays, but little injury is done to the fish industry.
Most of the smaller fish taken are alive and can be re-
turned to the water. If our laws required that only a
minimum size fish could be marketed, there would be no
objection to such seines being used in such waters. The
use of haul seines in inshore waters is very destructive,
especially if the inshore waters be shallow, or narrow or
small. Many of our fish come to these inshore waters at
certain seasons of the year to reproduce their species and
others to find food. The latter come at all seasons of the
year. The hauling of seines over these shallow bottoms
destroys the vegetation, eggs and feeding grounds. There

are, however, places in some of our large, deep bays where
they could be operated without such destruction, but such
areas are usually small and few in number in any bay.

Drag Nets-Drag nets may be any of the heretofore
described styles of net or of any other make. It is the
method of fishing them that makes them drag nets. Drag
net fishing consists in dragging the net over the bottom.
The drag lead. line is much less heavily weighted and con-
sequently does some less damage than seines when
dragged over the bottoms. It is usually used in shallow
waters along'the west coast, and in portions of Indian
River and Mosquito Lagoon. Drag nets are sometimes of
great length, and are often short nets fastened one to the
other until they constitute a net of great length-some-
times miles in length-and are run out in shallow inshore
waters so as to inclose a vast territory. Then for hours
and often for days and nights this great net is dragged
along the bottoms, ever making smaller the enclosure
until at last the fish are taken. In southwest Florida this
kind of fishing is called "stop net fishing," but it is in
fact "drag net" fishing. Our laws forbid "stop net fish-
ing," and the Commissioner has frequently been criticised
by those who do not drag net fish for permitting drag net
fishing on the west coast, but the State laws do not pro-
hibit such fishing. It is prohibited in the waters of the
east coast north of Biscayne Bay. Like seining it is a
destructive method of catching fish. It is also too exten-
sive in its operations as practically all fish taken within
an enclosure as large as nets one to five miles long can
surround are taken and destroyed at one time.
'Gill netters sometimes surround the fish to be taken
and then bringing the two ends together and then
"wind"-drag-one end around and around the other end,
everlessening the enclosed space, until finally the fish are
huddled together, where they are easily taken with a cast
net or by working the lead line under.them and lifting

them out of the water. This custom is growing in prac-
tice in the inside waters of the east coast, where such
fishing is forbidden by the laws of the State, but which,
owing to the war, the Shell Fish Commissioner agreed
with the United States Food Administration not to en-
force. The Commissioner gladly entered into this agree-
ment so as to give the Food Administration no excuse to
interfere in those waters.

Stop Nets-Stop nets like drag nets may consist of any
kind of a net. It is the manner of fishing it' that deter-
mines what it is, though usually a net intended mainly
for stop net fishing has the web constructed of heavier
twine than a common gill net for the reason that the
crabs can and do play havoc with a fine thread net and
cannot do so much damage to one that is built of coarser
In stop net fishing the fishermen wait until the tides
have come in, for with the in-coming tides the smaller fish
feed right on the edge, as the waters advance,,and are
ever pursued by fish a little larger, and those in turn are
pursued by fish which are larger still, until all have gone
up into the creeks or bayous, bays or lagoons, and while
the fish are in there and the waters are high the fisher-
men run a net across the river or portion of the bay or
lagoon from one point of land to another, though not
always quite from land to land, that not being necessary,
and await the fall of the tide. As the tide falls the fish
turn to go back to deeper waters. The larger fish come first
to the net and seeing it, are frightened and will not ap-
proach it. The smaller fish coming next, and seeing the
larger fish not approaching the net, stay away. Even the
smallest fish never approach the net to pass through it.
Ever the tide falls lower, finally leaving the fish on the
land or in shallow holes about. The fishermen then walk
over the ground and pick up the larger food fish stranded
thereon or with pieces of old nets. or seines drag out the

shallow holes and take the choice fish and carry them to
their boats. All the little food fish as well as all others die.
So destructive is this method that for many days after
the operating of a stop net no fish can be found entering
that place. This kind of fishing is prohibited by our laws.
All fishermen know that it is very destructive and are
opposed to such fishing, but it is very profitable to those
who violate the law at the proper time and place, and is
therefore quite an inducement to some to resort to that
kind of fishing. The Commissioner has used every effort
tc prevent stop-net fishing.

Purse Seines-Purse seines are built out of very heavy
material like that of the haul seine and usually have a
very small mesh, not exceeding two inches. They are very
deep, so that they may be fished in water twenty feet
deep or more. They are usually fished in the open sea.
The fish found and desired to be taken, are surrounded,
and the ends of the net brought together, one side of the
net floating and the other resting on the bottom. The
bottom gide of the net is closely attached to the rope so
that the net can be slipped or pursed on the rope. A
heavy weight is attached to one end of the bottom side of
the net having a ring and through this ring is drawn the
rope like a draw string to which is attached the bottom
side of the net causing the bottom of the net to be all
brought to one point or pursed and thereby confine the
school of fish; then the net is taken in, little by little, over
one edge of the boats, one boat on each side, until the
bottom of the net lifts the fish to the surface where they
may be easily taken. This kind of fishing is profitable
when used for mackerel and is used in fishing for mack-
erel from Key West north beyond Palm Beach. When
used for the taking of mullet it is very destructive, for
it often catches tons of mullet that are so small as to be
of little commercial value in the markets and which
should not be taken until much larger, but which are

unable to escape through such small meshes, and it is
unfair to other fishermen, for the reason that the
mullet so taken are so small that they could pass through
gill nets of three inches mesh.

Pound Nets-The use of pound nets is in salt waters
forbidden by our laws. Why their use is forbidden is to
the Commissioner unknown. By a rule of the United
States Food Administration their use was permitted dur-
ing the period of the war. Few persons, however, availed
themselves of this privilege for the reason that they knew
not when the war would cease and their nets become junk.
At Cedar Key, however, there are several pound nets
operated beyond the boundaries of the State. These have
proven very successful. High priced fish such as pom-
pano, mackerel, king fish, and blue fish are taken in large
quantities therein. All fish taken by them are alive and
can be sorted. Food fish that are too small can be re-
turned to the water and permitted to grow. Those that
are marketable can be taken and sold. Those that are
unfit for food, and suitable, can be made into fertilizer
and oil. Those that feed upon food fish and are destruc-
tive can be killed. The Commissioner knows of no fish-
ing device more successful from the standpoint of the
fishermen or one that can be used with less destruction
to the fish than pound nets.

Stake Nets-There has never been any stake nets
operated in Florida so far as the Commissioner knows,
but in the latter part of 1918 a party, after applying to
the War Department and procuring permission from
them to erect stakes in the St. Johns River for the pur-
pose of hanging nets thereon, applied to the Fish Commis-
sioner to know if there was any provision of law to pre-
vent the same. With this application was sent a blue
print showing where each net was proposed to be placed.
About the same time a protest came in from the fisher-
men of that section of the river, in which practically all

the fishermen joined, stating that such net would destroy
the fish. The Commissioner, in person, interviewed all
parties concerned and gathered all the information he
could get. It seemed that the protestants claimed that
such nets had been injurious in other states, but no proof
was submitted other than the mere statement. The nets
were found to be of not less than five inches mesh, which
is the minimum size required for shad fishing, and these
proposed stake nets were for the taking of shad. It was
also found that the nets were not longer than the law
provides, nor were the ends of the nets placed closer to-
gether than the law allowed. No net ran further from the
shore than to the edge of the channel and the channel and
the shore opposite to any one net was always left open.
For this reason the Commissioner could not see that it
was a stop net, nor could he see wherein it was forbidden
by any of the Laws of the State. He submitted the ques-
tion however to the Acting State's Attorney for that
county and received a written opinion that such fishing
was not prohibited by our law. The same opinion was
later given by the Attorney General. It seems that these
gill nets are to be hung upon stakes in the river and in
which it is expected that fish in passing up the river will
become entangled and caught as in a common gill net. It
remains to be seen whether they will prove successful.

Hook and Line Fishing-Snapper and grouper are
taken for commercial purposes solely by hook and line.
King mackerel are also taken exclusively by the same
method. At Key West quite a variety of food fish are
taken with hook and line for commercial purposes. On
the Indian River and other inshore waters of the east
coast trout fishing with hook and line for commercial
purposes is daily conducted. Hook and line fishing for
commercial purposes is to some extent resorted to
throughout the State and is the most fascinating of all
piscatorial occupations.

Blue Crab.

A Catch of Amber Jack.

Fifteen Tarpon, which Weighed a Ton.

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