The small coal-burning steamer Phalarope under the command
of Capt. R. N. Veeder, was used for collecting trips to fish traps,
or for dredging or taking plankton samples around Woods Hole.
The Sockeye Salmon Fisheries Convention is signed to address conflicts
between U.S. and Canadian fishermen in Puget Sound and the Strait of
Georgia, where they compete for sockeye salmon bound for the Fraser
River in B.C. Despite the Convention, questions remain unresolved,
including the role of the Commission in regulation of the fishery, the
division of catch between the fishermen of the two countries, and the
agencies responsible for investigations. Bureau studies of the fishery
would begin in 1931.
Although law enforcement work has long been a part of many U.S. Fish
Commission and Bureau activities, an official Division of Law
Enforcement, is not set up until this year.
On May 21st, the Preservation of Fishery Resources Act (Mitchell Act)
is passed to provide for the conservation of the fishery resources of
the Columbia River.
A new Act (H.R. 7405) is approved, authorizing construction of more
than 25 Bureau fish culture stations, three new laboratories, and two
fish distribution railroad cars over the next 5 years.
Victor Loosanoff with starfish catch
Victor Loosanoff is hired by Paul Galtsoff (now lab director)
to go to Milford and work with the oyster industry. Loosanoff
would eventually become, along with Galtsoff, a world-class expert
on oyster culture.
Rachel Carson is hired by the Bureau's Chesapeake Bay Investigations
Division as a biologist.
Biologist William C. Herrington begins his studies of
haddock in the Gulf of
Maine, incorporating both fishery dependent and independent
information. This work is the foundation for the longtime series of
information on haddock response to fishing effort in this highly
Bigelow Building WHOI 1931
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is
established with H.B. Bigelow as its first director.
The Bureau's Montlake Laboratory opens on May 22nd in Seattle. Present
at the Open House are Henry O'Malley of the Bureau: Miller Freeman,
editor of the Pacific Fisherman; and U.S. Senator Wesley Jones, author
of the Jones Act; as well as local Bureau staff members and
International Fisheries Commission (commonly known as the Halibut
Commission) staff. A 1931 reponse by O'Malley states:
... Personnel and equipment of the Stanford field station were
transferred to the new Fisheries Biological Laboratory in Seattle,
along with all of the Bureau's Pacific biological investigations
dealing with Pacific coast fishery problems, except shellfish and the
cooperative work on Calfornia trout...
The Halibut Commission moves to the Montlake facility in July.
A study of the biology of Puget Sound runs of sockeye salmon begins
under the direct supervision of Montlake Laboratory director Joseph
A small, short-term Rogue River steel head trout tagging operation is
started in the winter of 1930-31 and completed in 1931.
An extensive herring tagging program begins in southeastern Alaska
using the new metal "belly" tag which can be recovered by a magnetic
detection system on the conveyer belts at processing plants. Ed
Dahlgren's ideas led to the development of this tag, and he also
devised and developed the electronic and magnetic systems for
recovering the tagged herring or the tags as they passed through the
More than 4,100 flounder are tagged and released during an
investigation into their migratory patterns near the Woods Hole
The Bureau's long-sought experimental station for fish disease research
is set up at Leetown, West Virginia.
A cooperative project between the Bureau, Cornell University, and the
State of New York results in an experimental laboratory for fish
nutrition research at Cortland, NY
The Bureau's Beaufort Laboratory is seriously damaged by a hurricane on
September 16th- later the Public Works Administration provides funds to
hire workers and restore buildings and equipment.
Lauren Davidson is appointed Montlake Laboratory director and focuses
on statistical analysis of fisheries research. He hires a statistical
analyst, and, at about the same time, the Halibut Commission begins to
apply Baranof's theory of fishing to the regulatory problems of the
The Alaska Territorial Civil Works Administrator is authorized to
furnish the Bureau with 198 unskilled laborers to improve salmon
spawning streams in southeast Alaska.
Temporary field facilities for pink salmon survival studies are built
on Sashin Creek near the Little Port Walter Field Station in
southeastern Alaska. They include the weir cabin, built in Seattle,
barged to Alaska, and still in use in 1995.
The Columbia River Investigations program begins at the Montlake
Laboratory and is closely associated with the water use development
program for the Columbia River basin. An early and major part of the
program is a comprehensive survey of all accessible salmon streams in
the Columbia system.
Bureau coho salmon researchers in Puget Sound, Wash., study the
relationship between the release time of young salmon from the
hatcheries and the ultimate number of returns of adults.
On March 10th, Public Law 732 is enacted to provide for the mitigation
of losses to fish and wildlife caused by Federal government
The Bureau begins large-scale tagging experiments on white shrimp, and
Peterson disc tags are used to determine growth rates and alongshore
movements. Later, scientists would use biological stains and numbered
internal plastic tags to mark the shrimp.
Initiative 77 is passed by the Washington State Legislature to
eliminate all fixed fishing gear (i.e. traps and set nets) from state
waters and divide the Puget Sound fishing area into an inner area for
gill nets and an outer area for all remaining legal gear
Rachel Carson is recruited by Elmer Higgins, head of the Bureau's
Division of Scientific Inquiry, to write scripts for some Bureau radio
broadcasts on marine life. She would serve with the Bureau until
The Sockeye Salmon Fisheries Convention between the U.S. and Canada
is ratified by the U.S. Senate; ratification documents are
exchanged between the countries in 1937.
Frederick F. Fish, stationed at the Bureau's Leetown, W.V., hatchery,
reports that an epidemic of blue sac is causing heavy losses among the
brook and brown trout fry.
By Congressional mandate, the Bureau establishes the South Pacific
Investigations Program at Stanford University to study the decline in
the California sardine fishery. This program is the foundation of the
California Cooperative Sardine Research Program which would later
become the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations
California Current Resources Laboratory (CCRL), one of the
forerunners of today's Southwest Fisheries Science Center, is
established at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., with O. E.
Sette as Director
The U.S. Congress appropriates funds for a Fishery Market
News Service in the Bureau of Fisheries
A U.S. Canada treaty sets up the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries
Commission to manage those regional fisheries and coordinate extensive
salmonid research programs. W. F Thompson is Director of
1938 Hurricane at Fisheries Lab
A hurricane and its accompanying storm wave demolishes many
of the Woods Hole lab facilities, but equipment and boats are
An expansion of the Alaska fishery research program at the Seattle
Montlake Laboratory begins with a large, comprehensive two-part
program of study on the salmon runs in the Bristol Bay area of the
Bering Sea. A field station and experimental area are established on
Brooks River. One part studies the freshwater life history of the
Bristol Bay sockeye salmon and the environmental factors affecting their
survival. The other part studies the ocean life history of salmon and
is done in close cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard using the cutter
Redwing. The studies end in 1941 with the outbreak of WWII and
Japan's invasion of the Aleutian Islands.
Congress authorizes $25,000 to establish a fishery laboratory at
Little Port Walter, Alaska.
The Bureau of Fisheries is transferred to the U.S. Department
of the Interior.
The Bureau's monthly publication Fishery Market News begins in January
as "a review of conditions and trends of the commercial fisheries."
Harlan Holmes, an expert on fish passage, becomes Biologist-in-charge
of the new Hydraulic Engineering Section at the Montlake Laboratory.
The section is to review all Federal power permit applications and
develop, design, and restore needed fish-passage structures and de-
vices including fish screens on the Columbia River.
The first trial marking of sardines results in a 10% recovery of 964
metal tagged sardines recovered by magnets.