The Federal Fisheries Service, 1871–1940: Its Origins, Organization, and Accomplishments

Cart, Theodore Whaley (2004) The Federal Fisheries Service, 1871–1940: Its Origins, Organization, and Accomplishments. Marine Fisheries Review, 66(4), pp. 1-46.

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The U.S. Fish Commission was initiated in 1871 with Spencer Fullerton Baird as the first U.S. Fish Commissioner as an independent entity. In 1903 it became a part of the new U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor and was renamed the Bureau of Fisheries, a name it retained when the Departments of Commerce and Labor were separated in 1912. The Bureau remained in the Commerce Department until 1941 when it was merged with the Biological Survey and placed in the Department of Interior as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was a scientific agency with well conceived programs of action, and it provided knowledge, advice, and example to state governments and individuals with fisheries interests and needs. Its efforts were supported by timely international agreements which constituted the precedent for Federal interest in fishery matters. The Fisheries Service earned stature as an advisor through heavy emphasis on basic biological research. The lack of such knowledge was marked and universal in the 1870’s, but toward the end of that decade, strong steps had been taken to address those needs under Baird’s leadership. USFC research activities were conducted cooperatively with other prominent scientists in the United States and abroad. Biological stations were established, and the world’s first and most productive deepsea research vessel, the Albatross, was constructed, and its 40-year career gave a strong stimulus to the science of oceanography. Together, the agency’s scientists and facilities made important additions to the sum of human knowledge, derived principles of conservation which were the vital bases for effective regulatory legislation, conducted extensive fish cultural work, collected and disseminated fisheries statistics, and began important research in methods of fish harvesting, preservation, transportation, and marketing.

Item Type: Article
Title: The Federal Fisheries Service, 1871–1940: Its Origins, Organization, and Accomplishments
Personal Creator/Author:
Cart, Theodore Whaley
Refereed: Yes
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Fisheries Review
Volume: 66
Number: 4
Page Range: pp. 1-46
Date: 2004
ISSN: 0090-1830
Issuing Agency: United States National Marine Fisheries Service
Subjects: Education
Item ID: 9718
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2012 17:48
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2012 17:48

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