Early Conservation Efforts

by Laurel | July 13th, 2009

July 13, 1867
The Artificial Culture of Fish in the Connecticut.

Some very interesting and instructive experiments in hatching the spawn of Connecticut river shad by artificial means, have been successfully made at Holyoke, In the past week, by Seth Green, the well known pisciculturist of Western New York. The spawn is placed in breeding boxes, and impregnated by squeezing upon It the milt from the male shad. The eggs, which are about the size of a mustard seed, after being treated in this manner swell to the size of a pea, show signs of life in thirty-six hours, and are, many of them, fully hatched in forty-eight. Fish produced in this way and protected in the breeding boxes, can be raised in infinitely greater numbers than If left to chance, and nature, as they are’ safe alien in embryo from the swarms of voracious fish which yearly devour millions of them. Mr. Green keeps the fishermen at Holyoke busy catching shad for his experiments, and will soon set loose in the Connecticut 100,000,000 of the inch long youngsters to take care of themselves. It is the intention, also, of the fish commissioners under whose directions these experiments have been made, to place in the river above Bellows Falls a large number of salmon hatched in the same manner. These fish will remain in the river after hatching one year before seeking the sea, but so much is not known of the habits of the shad and measures will be taken by the commissioners to secure the cooperation of the officers of the coast survey in the work of observing their habits and peculiarities. Corey Smith of South Hadley Falls has also been engaged In hatching the shad spawn, under the patronage of the state fishing commissioners, and has about a million hatched already. These will not be set free until 0ctober, when they will be large enough to evade all the ordinary snares and temptations to which the young of the finny tribe are subjected.
The committee on fisheries appointed by the Connecticut Legislature, returned to the Senate, on Thursday, a bill which in its main provisions prohibited all fishing in the river from Haddam Island down after the eighth of June in each year, and exempts salmon entirely from seine and hook for five years. The standing law which forbids fishing on Sunday will also be enforced. The fishermen of the lower Connecticut express themselves satisfied with these regulations, but they are not stringent enough to accomplish the desired end; and some means must be taken to protect the shad from the skillful snares at the river’s month, or all the fishways that Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire may build will he powerless to save them front extinction in the Connecticut river. With reasonable protection and the expenditure of a few thousand dollars in the menus of artificial propagation and the facilities for their annual migration, there is no reason, why both shad and salmon should not be more abundant, and cheaper even, than in the days before locks and dams, and when gill nets were unknown.

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