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FIFTH BIENNIAL REPORT
SHELL FISH DIVISION
FOR THE YEARS 1921 and 1922
T. J. APPLEYARD, PRINTER, TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA
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FLORIDA'S CAPITOL BUILDINGS
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U'ppr Right: Begun 1838, Finished 1842; Upper Left: Begun 1901, Finished 1902
Centre: Begun 1922, Finished 1923.
Centre Beu 1922 Finished 1923.
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
Department of Agriculture, State of Florida,
Shell Fish Division
To His Excellency,
Cary A. Hardee,
Governor of the State of Florida.
We have the honor to submit herewith the Biennial Re-
port of the Shell Fish Division, of the Department of Agri-
culture, for the years 1921 and 1922.
T. R. HODGES,
Shell Fish Commissioner.
W. A. McRAE,
Commissioner of Agriculture.
Summary of Report
This department has collected from the various sources
of revenue incorporated in the fish and shell fish laws for
the years 1921 and 1922 $66,737.03. Of this, $36,135.67 was
expended for deputy, patrol and inspection service and ex-
penses pertaining thereto.
PROPERTY AND CREDITS ACQUIRED
Cash in Treasury ...........................$ 9,877.58
Cash in Bank to be deposited in Treasury Jan-
uary 1st ................................. 4,954.61
Cash deposited in General Revenue Fund...... 2,495.24
Boats and other property acquired ............ 3,868.54
Replanting public oyster bars ................ 2,792.23
Total credits .........................$23,988.20
SHELL FISH FUND
Fish dealers' licenses .............. $17,525.00
Fish boat licenses ................. 15,869.75
Alien boat licenses .......... ...... 1,890.00
Alien fishing licenses .............. 9,5L0.00
Excess net tags ................... 90.00
Purse seines ..................... 350.00 $45,304.75
SHELL FISH INDUSTRY
Oyster dealers' licenses ............ $ 9,021.25
Oyster boat licenses ............... 115.75
Lease rents and fees............... 2,522.52
Two cent privilege tax............. 3,806.26
Sale of tags and measures .......... 63.25
Deposits on survey and lease........ 236.50 $15,765.53
Sponge boat licenses ........... 940.50
Balance on boat "Joker"..........$ 50.00
Confiscated mullet ................ 104.77
Rebate on bonds .................. 19.48
Sale of boat "Seafoam". .......... 4,000.00
Part payment on licenses........... 59.15
Sale of boat "Bernice". ............ 75.00
Sale of old Ford car ............... 200.00
Sale of old Dort car ............... 200.00
Saleof old table .................. 2.00
Rebate Sheriff's costs.............. 15.85 4,726.25
Total amount collected, 1921-
1922 .................... 66,737.03
Warrant No. 16,088 (1921) cancelled 36.00
Balance in Shell Fish Fund
from last report .......... 7,148.34
Office property ...................$ 190.36
Office salaries .................... 6,258.17
Postage ......................... 617.00
Office supplies and expenses........ 1,899.37
Telephone and telegrams ........... 335.28
Freight and express ............... 164.06
Deputy, Patrol and Inspection service 36,135.67
Boats and boat property........... 3,649.21
Refunds on leases and licenses...... 222.05
Replanting oyster bars ............ 2,792.23
Fees paid into State Treasury ...... 30.95
Legal expense .................... 525.06
Seized net expense ................ 487.51
Exhibit .............. ............ 28.97
Paid General Revenue Fund ....... 2,464.29
Pay sheets of former Shell Fish
Commissioner Williams, January 1,
1921, to April 14, 1921........... 8.243.61 $64,043.79
Balance in Shell Fish Fund........
Cash in bank December 31, 1922, not deposited
in Treasury ..................... ....... $4,954.61
TARPON, BETTER KNOWN AS THE "SILVER KING," FLORIDA'S SPORT FISH.
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A GOOD HAUL OF SPANISH MACKEREL.
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JURISDICTION OF SHELL FISH DEPARTMENT
The Shell Fish Department of the State of Florida has
under its jurisdiction the enforcement of laws for the pro-
tection of the salt water fishing industry, which comprises
the salt water scale fish, oysters, clams, shrimp, crayfish,
crabs and sponge.
Florida has thirty-two coast counties, ten of which are
on the East Coast and twenty-two on the West. Including
the bays and salt rivers, in which this industry is carried
on by a vast population, the State has approximately three
thousand miles of territory to be policed. This Department
has maintained a constant patrol over the entire territory
and has enforced the laws for the protection of the indus-
try. More efficient work can be accomplished during the
next two years, for the Department had to be thoroughly
reorganized under the present administration and, of
course, this consumed time and money.
Aside from the actual money value of the fishing indus-
try, which amounted to approximately twenty-eight mil-
lion dollars during the period covered by this report, the
potential value cannot be estimated, for it is a well known
fact that fishing is one of the greatest attractions for the
tourists that Florida has and the proper protection of the
industry will materially increase its commercial value from
year to year.
ENFORCEMENT OF LAWS
The enforcement of conservation laws, as a general rule,
is a difficult matter-first, on account of the vast territory
to be policed, and secondly, on account of lack of appre-
ciation of the importance of such enforcement by the pub-
lic generally. Conservation laws are enacted for the bene-
fit of the people, as the primary object of their enactment
is to encourage, protect and build up some public resource
in order that the people of a State may enjoy more fully
the fruits of the particular industry conserved.
The territory in Florida to be patrolled in the enforce-
ment of the fish, oyster and sponge laws covers a vast terri-
tory, and the water lines of some of our counties is as ex-
tensive as some of our sister States. Patrolmen can travel
an entire day within the confines of one county.
To begin with, the Commissioner and patrolmen were
beset with many obstacles, but nearly if not all of them
have been overcome, and they now have the co-operation
of a great majority of those engaged in the industry.
The closed season on the mullet, during the spawning
time, has been closely observed during the past two sea-
sons and the illegal net is fast disappearing.
The laws have been violated, of course, and arrests have
followed, with convictions and the burning of illegal nets.
Much more efficient results have been secured during the
past season than last, as the patrol service has become
During the period covered by this report the Shell Fish
Commissioner has been almost constantly following up the
patrolmen by land and water and directing personally
the carrying out of the provisions of the law.
SHAD, ONE OF THE SALT WATER FISH OF FL ORIDA FOR WHICH A HATCHERY IS NEEDED.
SPANISH MACKEREL, A MIGRATORY SALT WATER FISH WHICH BRINGS TO THE STATE A LARGE
PATROL BOAT SERVICE
The Department operates ten gasoline boats in the coast
patrol service, including the large patrol boat One Forty-
Four, on which the Shell Fish Commissioner has an office.
The Commissioner is on the coast practically all the time
and it is necessary to have some place in which to transact
business and handle the large amount of correspondence
that requires his personal direction. No office force is
carried on this boat, but he does his own typewriting and
other clerical work.
Patrol boat One Forty-Four acts as a supply boat, fur-
nishing gasoline, food and supplies to the smaller patrol
boats, and when in company with smaller boats, the depu-
ties and patrolmen are subsisted on board.
The crew of the large patrol boat are used for various
purposes. The engineer is an experienced mechanic and
repairs and overhauls the machinery of the other boats
in the service, which saves thousands of dollars in repair
bills to the State. The Commissioner acts as captain of
the vessel, which saves at least two hundred dollars a
month. Two sailors and a cook constitute the balance of
the crew, and they are used on other boats when needed.
The average cost of gasoline, oil and other fuel for all
ten boats, including One Forty-Four, has averaged seven
dollars and fifty-one cents per day. This will be consid-
erably less now as steam power has been installed in the
large patrol boat.
STURGEON, ANOTHER VALUABLE SALT WATER FISH FOR WHICH A HATCHERY IS BADLY NEEDED.
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POMPANO, CONSIDERED TO BE ARISTOCRAT OF ALL SALT WATER FISH.
SALT WATER FISHING
The salt waters of every coast county in Florida produce
fish for commercial purposes besides non-edible fish from
which oil and fertilizer are manufactured extensively and
the hides of some species are being tanned for leather.
The laws for the protection of food fish prohibit their
use for fertilizer and very few, if any, are caught with the
class of fish that are used by the factories.
In order to determine the approximate number of
pounds of fish shipped commercially from Florida, this
Department took a census which developed the fact that
the salt water scale fish shipments during the past two
years aggregated one hundred and sixteen million nine
hundred and fifteen thousand pounds.
The bulk of these fish were mullet, which the laws pro-
tect during their spawning season, and they are rapidly
increasing in numbers and size from year to year. No
estimate has been made on the roe produced by the mullet,
but the sale of roe alone, exclusive of the fish, may be safely
estimated at a quarter of a million dollars.
White shad, which is a salt water fish, running into the
fresh water rivers to spawn annually, are protected during
the spawning season. They are of considerable commercial
value, both for the fish and roe, and the various streams
of the State could be easily stocked from a hatchery, which
this Department expects to establish when sufficient funds
The sea trout and mullet could be more effectively pro-
tected if a sizing law was enacted, thereby saving the small
fish until they become of marketable size. Small fish are
practically worthless to the dealer and are generally sold
at a loss. The protection of the small fish one year simply
means a larger yield the next and more than double their
RED FISH, FOUND IN ALL SALT WATERS OF THE STATE AND APPRECIATED BY THE SPORTSMEN.
SEA TROUT, A GOOD MONEY PRODUCER. VERY MUCH IN DEMAND IN NORTHERN MARKETS.
MULLET, THE MONEY FISH OF FLORIDA.
SHEEPSHEAD, A BOTTOM FISH OF CONSIDERABLE VALUE.
Under the term "shell fish" is included oysters and
clams, which are grown both naturally and artificially
along the entire coast of Florida from Escambia County
on the west to Nassau County on the east.
One hundred and ninety thousand barrels of oysters and
clams were shipped and canned during the past two years
from the public and planted beds. Two thousand and
ninety-two acres of water bottoms have been leased and
extensive planting has been carried on by the lessees.
This Department has planted eight thousand three hun-
dred and eighty-six barrels of seed oysters on the natural
bars during the period covered by this report. These seed
oysters were taken from the bars that did not receive suffi-
cient feeding matter to enable them to mature and grow
fat, and transplanted on bars that received sufficient fresh
water, containing the necessary food. Planted in April,
they had grown and fattened sufficiently to be tonged and
marketed the following October.
Certain bars were planted and closed to the public in
order to enable them to recover from overworking. The
culling law has been rigidly enforced and the supply of
marketable stock is gradually increasing.
The oyster may be determined as an edible mollusc,
one of the Lamellibranchiate Mollusca. It belongs to the
genus Ostrea, family Ostraeidte, the members of which
are distinguished by the possession of an inequivalve shell,
the one half or valve being larger than the other. The
shell may be free, or attached to fixed objects, or may be
simply imbedded in the mud. The fry or fertilized ova
of the oyster are termed "spat" and enormous members of
ova are produced by each individual oyster during the
spawning season. Oysters will spawn in the Florida waters
during every month in the year, but the spawning season is
generally considered to be the best from March until Sep-
tember in Southern waters.
A normal oyster is supposed to spawn ten million eggs
or "spat." The "spat" being discharged, each embryo is
found to consist of a little body inclosed within a minute
but perfectly formed shell, and possessing vibratile fila-
ments or cilia, by which the young oyster at first swims
freely about until it comes in contact with some kind of
clean cultch, such as shell, posts or any object in the water
that is not covered by mud or slime.
The young oyster grows very rapidly in the waters of
this State for the first twelve months, attaining a length
of three or more inches from hinge to bill. Of course this
rapid growth is more marked at certain locations along
the cast, according to the feeding matter contained in the
waters. Ordinarily an oyster will attain its growth to a
marketable size of from three to five inches within two
years, the second year's growth being considerable less
than the first year. If undisturbed, oysters will grow to a
length of from six to twelve inches long.
Oysters have practically the same food value as meat
and are even more easily digested and therefore an im-
portant part of the invalids' diet. In buying beef, mut-
ton, poultry or fish, there is always considerable waste in
the form of bones, inedible portions, feathers, etc. In a
cut of steak, for instance, the waste often runs as high as
30 to 60 per cent: In the oyster there are no bones or
feathers and no inedible portions. It is all meat and par-
ticularly rich in those elements which go to repair over-
worked brains and nervous systems.
It is estimated that a quart of oysters contains on an
average about the' same quantity of actual nutritive sub-
stance as a quart of milk, or three-fourths of a pound of
beef, or two pounds of fresh codfish, or a pound of bread.
The nutritive substance of oysters contains considerable
protein and energy-yielding ingredients.
Prof. Frederick P. Gorham, Associate Professor of Bi-
ology of Brown University, and sanitary expert of the
Rhode Island Shell Fish Commission, says: "There is no
reason today why we should not give the oyster prominent
place in our dietary as a cheap, delicious, nutritious, health-
ful and pure food product.'
It is a well known fact that every food product has ad-
vanced in price, while the oyster or clam market has not
changed. It cannot be "cornered" by the rich, and the
rich and poor alike may enjoy them.
OYSTER FLEET AT APALACHICOLA ON "OYSTER OPENING DAY."
OYSTER TONGING AND CULLING
FLEET OF TYPICAL OYSTER BOATS IN HARBOR.
A FULL GROWN OYSTER (ELEVEN INCHES LONG) FROM INDIAN PASS.
A TRIO OF REPRESENTATIVE OYSTERS FROM FRANKLIN COUNTY.
The sponge grounds are located along the West Coast of
Florida from Franklin County south and around on the
East Coast as far up as Dade County. They are taken in-
side the jurisdiction of the State by hook and beyond by
divers. They are of the finest quality and are of quick
growth in Florida waters.
The United States Bureau of Fisheries has carried on
extensive artificial propagation in Florida waters and dem-
onstrated the fact that a sponge of commercial size can be
grown in thirty-five months from a small cutting. A
sponge is really a marine plant and grows rapidly from a
small piece cut from the green sponge.
Those versed in sponge culture state that the sale of a
cargo of small size sponge, five inches in diameter, bringing
sixty-five cents a bunch, would sell for four dollars a bunch
if allowed to remain in the waters and grow for another
Nine million two hundred and six thousand sponges were
marketed in Florida during the biennial period. The pro-
tection afforded the sponge industry by this Department
prevents the taking or gathering of sponge of less than five
inches in diameter. The increase in sales last year over
that of the previous year amounted to $139,747.00. This
goes to show what conservation will accomplish for any
COMPARISON OF SPONGE BUSINESS FOR YEAR
1922 OVER 1921
Kinds of Sponge. Bunches. Sold For.
Large wool ................... 86,861 $477,223.00
Small wool. .................. 85,048 42,428.00
Yellow wool .................. 62,452 42,840.00
Grass wool ................... 35,064 18,955.00
Wire wool ..................107,482 8,645.00
Total sales ..........................$590,091.00
Large wool ................... 121,288 $593,747.00
Small wool ................... 90,958 55,894.00
Yellow wool ............... 109,548.00 48,552.00
Grass wool ................... 34,543 25,932.00
W ire wool ................... 94,586 5,713.00
Increase past year ............... .$139,747.00
The bulk of the sponge marketed in the State is sold at
Tarpon Springs, which is considered the largest sponge
market in the world, at which point a mammoth exchange
building is located. There is also an exchange at Key
The Tarpon sponge exchange building is constructed of
brick with a large cement court in the center in which the
various kinds of sponge are piled on sale days. Individual
rooms with iron gratings are built along this court in which
the sponge from various ships are stored until sold.
The sponge buyers place sealed bids for each lot of
sponge sold and the highest bidder secures the sponge,
provided the exchange does not withdraw it from sale ac-
count of bids being too low. Of course some sponge is
sold independent of the exchange.
The large wool sponge are graded in bunches containing
about twelve sponge, while the small wool contains about
twenty-one to the bunch. Yellow sponge runs about eight,
while grass and wire run at seven and six to the bunch. Of
course the wool sponge is the most valuable, while yellow
sponge is of less value.
SPONGE EXCHANGE TARPON SPRINGS., FLA., WITH SPONGE ON DOCK.
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IPONGH FLEET IN HARBOR AT TARPON SPRINGS, FLA.
SPONGE DIVING BOAT WITH CREW OF DIVERS.
SPONGE DIVING BOAT ON WAYS, SHOWING FULL CONSTRUCTION.
PLACING DIVING HELMET ON DIVER WITH AIR HOSE
DIVER GOING BELOW TO GATHER SPONGE.
SPONGE DIVER IN SUIT WITH SPONGE NET.
SPONGE HOOKING SLOOP UNDER WAY.
HOOKS WITH WHICH SPONGE ARE TAKEN.
GLASS-BOTTOM DIVING BUCKET, USED BY SPONGE HOOKER TO SEE SPONGE.
SPONGE HOOKER, USING DIVING BUCKET AND SPONGE HOOK.
Sheepswool sponge 35 months old, grown on spindles, in Cape
Florida Channel from a cutting about the size shown. Weight,
dry and thoroughly cleaned, 1 1-3 ounces. Nine-thenths natural
Sheepswool sponge not over 48 months old, grown on a cement
disk at Anclote Key from a cutting about the size shown.
Weight, dry and thoroughly cleaned, 21/2 ounces. Nine-tents
,irll|., 3, .. ,
CEMENT DISKS WITH CUTTINGS MOUNTED. SHOWS CUTTINGS SECURED BY WIRE.
SPONGES GROWING ON CEMENT TRIANGLES USED IN
EXPERIMENTAL PLANTS OF CUTTINGS.
RAW AND CANNED SHRIMP
Shrimp are found along the entire coast line of Florida
but in greater quantities in Franklin and Nassau counties,
where very extensive shipments of raw shrimp are made by
freight and express to northern markets.
Shrimp canneries are operated at Apalachicola and Fer-
nandina, and a survey of the industry during the past two
years indicates that approximately nineteen million five
hundred and fifty-two thousand pounds were shipped and
canned during that period.
Certain areas are closed during the spawning season and
to net fishing in order that the shrimp may propagate.
CRAYFISH AND CRABS
Crayfish or "Florida Lobster" inhabit the rocky coast
of Florida from Sarasota County south on the West
Coast to Broward County on the East Coast, and are
caught in great numbers and shipped to northern as well
as local markets.
They are protected by a closed season during the spawn-
ing period and it has only been necessary for this Depart-
ment to make a few arrests and seizures to discontinue
violations of the law for their protection.
Stone and blue crabs are found over the entire coast of
Florida and are gathered for local market only and not for
shipment. The stone crab has a limited protection by local
laws, but should be protected by a general law.
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FLEET OF SHRIMP BOATS AT FERNANDINA, FLA.
SHRIMP BOAT, SHOWING NET WITH WHICH SHRIMP ARE TAKEN.
STONE CRAB, A DELICATE CRUSTACEAN, FOUND ALONG THE SAND REEFS OF FLORIDA.
BLUE CRAB, WHICH AFFORDS A DELICIOUS FOOD. FOUND GENERALLY IN ALL SALT WATERS OF
CRAY FISH, (FLORIDA LOBSTER).