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PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES FOR THE YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 31ST,… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1918

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 PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
KEPOET
OP   THE
COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES.
FOR THE YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 31st, 1917
WITH APPENDICES
THE GOVERNMENT OF
THE PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUNBIfl.
PRINTED BY
AUTHORITY   OP   THE   LEGISLATIVE   ASSEMBLY.
VICTORIA, B.C.:
Printed by William H. Cullin, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
1918.  To His Honour Sir Frank Stillman Barnard, K.C.M.G.,
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of British Columbia,
May it please Your Honour:
I beg to submit herewith a report reviewing the operations of the Provincial
Fisheries Department for the year ending December 31st, 1917, with Appendices.
WILLIAM SLOAN,
Commissioner of Fisheries.
Provincial Fisheries Department,
.   Commissioner of Fisheries' Office,
Victoria, British Columbia, April 10th, 1917.  TABLE OF CONTENTS.
FISHERIES COMMISSIONER'S REPORT FOR 1917.
. Page.
Standing with other Provinces   7
Species and Value of Fish marketed  7
The Salmon-catch of 1917  S
The Salmon-pack of the Fraser River   8
The Salmon-pack of the Northern and Vancouver Island Districts   10
Scientific Research   10
The Salmon Investigation of 1917   10
Dr. Gilbert's Salmon Investigations of 1916 and 1917  11
F. W. Weymouth's Crab Investigations of 1917  14
Dr. Stafford's Report on the Native Oyster of British Columbia   15
Reports from Spawning Beds of Province in 1917    15
Digest of the Report of the Dominion Fisheries Commission of 1917   16
Hatchery Egg Collections   IS
APPENDICES.
The Spawning-beds of the Frasee   20
The Spawning-beds of Rivebs Inlet   25
The Spawning-beds of Smith Inlet   29
The Spawning-beds of the Nass Rivee   30
Contbibdtion to the Life-history of the Sockete Salmon.    (Paper No. 4.)    By Dr. C. H.
Gilbert     33
CONTEIBUTION TO THE LiFE-HISTOBY OF THE PACIFIC  COAST EDIBLE C'EAB.      (Paper No.  3.)      By
F. W. Weymouth    81
The Native Oyster of British Columbia.    By Dr. Joseph Stafford   91
The Sockeye Run on the Frasee River.    By Dr. C. H. Gilbert   113 ■
The Salmon-fishery of the Frasee Rivee Disteict.    By John P. Babcock  116
Salmon-pack of 1917 in betail   124
Salmon-pack of Province 1902 to 1917, inclusive  125  FISHERIES COMMISSIONER'S REPORT FOR 1917.
Standing with other Provinces.
The value of the fishery products of Canada for the year ending March 31st, 1917, totalled
$39,208,378.    Of that amount British Columbia produced $14,637,346, or 37.33 per cent.
British Columbia, as in recent years, again leads the Provinces of the Dominion in the value
of her fishery products. Her output exceeded that of Nova Scotia by $4,544,444, and equalled
the total combined fishery products of all the other Provinces of the Dominion.
The following statement gives in their respective order of rank the fishery products of the
Provinces of the Dominion for the year ending March 31st, 1917:—
British  Columbia     $14,637,346
Nova Scotia     10,092,902
New  Brunswick     5,656,859
Quebec  2,991,624
Ontario     2,658,993
Manitoba  1,390,002
Prince Edward Island     1,344,179
Saskatchewan   231,946
Alberta    144,317
Yukon     60,210
Total     $39,208,378
The Species and Value of Fish maeketed in Beitish Columbia.
The total value of each species of fish taken in British Columbia for the year ending March
31st, 1917, is given in the following tabulation :—
Salmon  $10,543,505
Cod     554,463
Herring     1,009,383
Whiting  1,087
Shad    825
Octopus  2,012
Halibut     2,026,670
Flounders  14,896
Smelts   18,440
Trout     2,675
Oolachans     68,398
Soles     56,752
Sturgeon      13,190
Perch     9,250
Skate     6,288
Tomcod     664
Dogfish     1,911
Mixed  fish  17,310
Shrimps     4,3S0
Oysters   '  28,897
Clams  63,845
Crabs     32.002
Fur-seal skins     4,770
Salmon-roe     17,520'
Fish-oil   '  15,949
Whale-oil     250,722
. Bone-meal     12,319
Gill-bone     3,340
Fertilizer  85,885
Total     $14,637,346 Q 8 Report op the Commissioner op Fisheries. 1918
The total value for the year shows an increase over that of previous years of $99,026.
The salmon products for the fiscal year show a slight decrease in value when compared with
those of the previous year. Halibut shows an increase of $54,386 in value, notwithstanding that
.the catch was 7,182,000 lb. less. The value of the catch of herring was the same as in the
previous year, though the catch was some 37,000 lb. greater. The whaling season netted a catch
of 403 whales, as against 229 made in previous year. The value of the whale products shows
an increase of $119,561.
During the year ending March 31st, 1917. the number of men engaged in the fisheries
totalled 18,355, as against 17,820 in the previous year. The following statement gives the
number of persons engaged and the value of fish-packing establishments, vessels, boats, and
apparatus used in the fisheries of the Province:— „ Value
Steam fishing-vessels  (tonnage, 1,443)    :        32 $    635,424
Sailing and gasolene vessels         201 851,956
Boats   (sail)     3,379 262,698
Boats   (gasolene)      2,217 1.042,620
Carrying smacks        171 116,821
Gill-nets, seines, trap and smelt nets, etc   6,459 1,612,790
Halibut dories     ,        46 4,600
Trawls          35 1,750
Hand-lines      5,495 10,329
Crab-traps         440 4,400
Halibut gear  (skates)      3,000 47,500
Salmon-canneries           84 3,301,573
Salmon-traps    2 6,000
Freezers and ice-houses          21 1,616,500
Smoke and fish houses         41 147,940
Fishing piers and wharves         94 486,047
Whaling-stations     4 175,855
Oil-factories     1 43,500
Clam-canneries     1 3,000
Total   $10,371,303
Number of men employed on vessels      1,205
Number of men employed on boats    10,263
Number of men employed on carrying smacks  89
Number of persons  employed  in  fish-houses,  freezers,
canneries,  etc     6,79S
Total     18,355
The Salmon-catch of 1917.
The salmon-catch in the Province during the season of 1917 produced a pack of 1,557,485
cases. It exceeded by 203,5S4 cases the pack of any previous year, notwithstanding the serious
shortage in the run of sockeye salmon to the Fraser River. The increase in the total pack is
due to the increased canning of pinks and chums, commonly termed " fall salmon." Of the
total pack, the Fraser produced 402,538 cases; Vancouver Island, 353,334; the Skeena, 292,219;
the Nass, 119,495; Rivers Inlet, 95,302; and outlying districts, 294,597 cases. A statement,
supplied by the British Columbia Salmon Canners' Association, giving the pack in detail is
attached hereto, and will be found at the conclusion of the Appendix.
The catch of sockeye salmon in the Province produced a pack of only 339,484 cases, although
1917 was a year for a big run to the Fraser. Pink salmon gave a pack of 496,759, a large
increase over any former year. Chum salmon also shows a marked increase, with a pack of
476,273 cases.   The red and white spring-salmon catch produced a pack of 76,276 cases.
The Salmon-pack of the Feaser River.
The Fraser River produced a total pack of 402,538, as against 127,472 cases in 1916, 320,519
In 1915, 349,294 in 1914, and 782,429 cases in the previous "big year"  (1913).   There was a 8 Geo. 5 British Columbia. Q 9
pronounced gain over any former year in the pack of both pink and chums, the former totalling
134,442 and the latter 59,973. The pack of cohoes totalled but 25,896 cases, a marked decline
from that of each of the last three seasons. The catch of sockeye produced a pack of 148,164
cases. Though much greater than the pack in the two preceding years, it was 419,039 cases less
than in the previous big year (1913) and 50,019 cases less than in 1914, a lean year. The failure
of the sockeye to run to the Fraser as abundantly this season as in former big years was the
most serious feature of the 1917 season in both the Province and in the State of Washington.
The pack of sockeye caught in Provincial waters of the Fraser River District totalled but
148,164 cases, as against 736,661 cases in the previous big year (1913), 5S5,435 cases in 1909,
and 837,489 cases in 1905. The catch of sockeye in the State of Washington waters of the
Fraser River District this year produced a pack of 411,538 cases, as against 1,664,837 cases in
the previous big year (1013), 1,005,120 cases in 1909, and S47,122 in 1905. The total pack of
sockeye in the Provincial and State waters of the Fraser River District in 1917 was 1,841,7S6
cases less than 1913, the previous big year;  a decrease of 76 per cent.
The remarkable decline in the run of sockeye to the Fraser River District this year was
unquestionably due to the failure of the run of 1913 to reach the spawning area of the Upper
Fraser watershed that season. That it was not due to a failure of the fishermen to catch the
fish is demonstrated by the increased number of fishermen engaged and the increased amount of
gear employed on both sides of the International Line. In Provincial waters 2,606 gill-nets were
fished in the Gulf of Georgia and the channels of the Fraser and seven traps were employed in
Juan de Fuca Strait. In the State of Washington waters of the district licences were issued for
274 traps, 411 purse-seines, 112 drag-nets, and 394 gill-nets. That the decrease in the catch was
due to a small run is further shown by the small numbers of sockeye that reached the spawning
area this fall.
That the decrease in the run was due to the failure of the 1913 run to reach the spawning
area of the Upper Fraser watershed is shown by the following summary of the Department's
report on the spawning-grounds in 1913, taken from pages 37 and 3S of that year :—
" Summary of Conditions above the Fishing Limits and on the Spaivning-grounds.—From
the foregoing statement of conditions existing above the fishing limits and upon the spawning-
grounds of the Fraser River, I feel fully justified from my investigations in concluding that the
number of sockeye which passed above the fishing limits was as great this year as any preceding
big run of which we have a record, and I think even greater. The sockeye made their appearance in the canyon above Yale in June, and during the high waters of that month and July
large numbers passed through to Quesnel and Chilko Lakes. The greater proportion of the run
of sockeye in late July and in August and September were blockaded in the canyon by rock-
obstructions placed in the channel, incident to the construction of the Canadian Northern Pacific
Railroad, so that few were able to pass through during that time. No humpbacks succeeded in
passing through the canyon. The blasting of temporary passage-ways enabled a large proportion
of the sockeye run of October and November to pass through the canyon. Sockeye were seen
drifting down-stream, between Hell's Gate and Yale, in August; the movement was very pronounced in September, and continued until the middle of October. The streams which enter the
Fraser between Hell's Gate and Agassiz were filled with sockeye from the middle of August
until the end of October, while they had not been observed in those streams in previous years.
Very few sockeye spawned in any of these streams, and most of them died without spawning.
Great numbers of dead sockeye, which had* died without spawning, were found on the bars and
banks of the Fraser between Yale and Agassiz in September and October. The number which
reached Quesnel Lake was little more than an eighth of the number which entered that lake
in 1909. The run to Chilko Lake was equally small. The sockeye run to Seton Lake was
30,000, as against 1,000,000 in 1909. The August and September run of sockeye to Shuswap
and Adams Lakes was much less than in any former big year, and the October and November
run was also less. The sockeye-eggs collected there this year totalled but 9.000,000, as against
27,500,000 four years ago and 18,000,000 in 1905. The run to Lillooet Lake was less than any
recent year.    Finally, the run to Harrison Lake was slightly better than in 1909'.
" These facts, in my opinion, warrant the conclusion that the number of sockeye which
spawned in the Fraser River watershed this year was not sufficient to make the run four years
hence even approximate the runs of either 1905, 1909, or 1913." Q 10 Eeport of the Commissioner of Fisheries. 191S
The Salmon-pack in the Northern and Vancouver Island Districts.
The catch of salmon from the estuaries and streams of Vancouver Island, exclusive of the
traps on the southern shore of the island, shows a great increase, mainly in chums. The catch
produced a pack of 240,381 cases of chums, 49,156 pinks, 31,733 cohoes, 19,509 red and white
spring, and 9,639 sockeye.
The pack of the Skeena River totalled 292,219 eases, the record high pack for that river;
a gain over that of 1916 of 69,061 cases. Sockeye produced 65,760 cases, as against 60,293 cases
in 1916 and 116,538 cases in 1915. The pack of pinks shows a marked increase over any former
year and totalled 148,319 cases. Cohoes produced a pack of 38,465 cases, as against 47,409 in
1916 and 32,190 in 1915. The pack of spring was 16,285 cases, 4,648 cases less than in the
previous year.
The 1917 pack on Rivers Inlet totalled 95.302 cases, or 10,000 cases more than in 1916.
There was a gain of 16,259 cases in sockeye. Because the cannery at Naniu packed a portion
of the catch of sockeye made at Rivers Inlet which are not credited to that inlet, the catch
there the past three years has been greater than that shown in the return. The catch of fall
salmon—pinks and chums—is never large at Rivers Inlet.
The Nass River 1917 pack totalled 119,495 cases, a decline from 1916 of 7.S00 cases. The
pack of sockeye was 22,188, or 9,223 cases less than in 1916. The pack of pinks was 44,568,
as against 59,593 eases in 1916, a loss of 15,025. The pack of 24,938 cases of chums shows an
increase over that of 1916 of 13,738 cases.
The pack of sockeye on the Nass this year was the lowest made since 1907, when 23,411
cases were packed. The average for the decade on the Nass is 30,785 cases. Dr. Gilbert states
in his digest of this year's run : " We search in vain for anything in the past history of the
Nass that can explain the poor run in 1913 and again in 1917." At the time he wrote he did
not know of the fact that this season, for the first time, a salmon-trap was operated off the
shore of one of the small islands in nlmerican waters just north of the International Boundary-
line, which intercepted a run of sockeye passing along the northern line of Dixon Entrance.
The trap is stated to have caught over 10,000 cases of sockeye. The fish were of large size,
fine colour, very oily, and of a better quality than any of the Alaska fish of that vicinity.
They closely resembled the Nass River sockeye. Traps operated in the narrow channels behind
this and neighbouring islands catch no such quality of sockeye. The fish taken in this outer
trap apparently drift, up on the tide and then turn to circle out into the deeper channel leading
towards Portland Canal. It cannot now7 be stated that the fish taken by this trap were Nass
River sockeye, but, if they were, one explanation is offered of the decline in the sockeye-catch
in 1917. If they w7ere Nass River breed sockeye the run to that river may be seriously affected
hereafter, since it is stated that additional traps will be driven in that vicinity in 1918. If they
are, they may divide up the catch made there instead of increasing it. The situation is one of
concern. The Department has made arrangements for the collection of data that is expected
to demonstrate whether or not the fish taken in these traps are Nass River breed sockeye.
Scientific Research.
The Department continued, during the year, its investigations of the life-history of important
food-fish.    The following papers will be found in the Appendix of this report:—
"Contribution to the Life-history of the  Sockeye Salmon"   (No. 4), by Charles H.
Gilbert, Ph.D.
" The Sockeye Run on the Fraser River:   its present Condition aud its Future Prospect," by Charles H. Gilbert, Ph.D.
" Salmon-fishery of the Fraser River," by John Pease Babcock.
" Contribution to the Life-history of Pacific Crab"  (No. 3), by F. W. Weymouth.
" The Native Oyster of British Columbia," by Joseph Stafford, M.A., Ph.D.
The Salmon Investigation of 1917.
The Department continued its salmon investigations through the season. Data was collected,
as in past seasons, from the principal sections frequented by salmon. The data collected has
been reported upon by Dr. Gilbert. His papers cover both 1916 and 1917. Through circumstances that were unavoidable, Dr. Gilbert was unable to furnish a report in time for insertion
in the Department's report for 1916.    The report is issued herewith. 8 Geo. 5 British Columbia. Q 11
Contribution to the Life-history' of the Sockey7e Salmon.
Dr. Gilbert's fourth contribution to the life-history of the sockeye salmon, which is Issued
herewith, adds two additional years to the records of the runs to the main streams of British
Columbia. The present paper contains a graphic analysis of the runs of sockeye salmon to the
Fraser, Skeena, and Nass Rivers and Rivers Inlet and Smith Inlet in 1916 and 1917, throws
many side-lights on the lives of these fish, adds materially to the evidence of their remarkable
homing instinct, indicates the data necessary to follow the questions of sectional racial differences to a conclusion, deals with the significance of the run of grilse to the Fraser in 1916, and
adds force to the statement that the runs of salmon to the rivers of this Province have received
a close and discriminating study unequalled in any other State.
We now have comparative records covering the sockeye runs to the Fraser for seven
consecutive years, and records for six consecutive years for the other important sockeye-streams
of the Province, that are of great value.
The Homing Instinct of the Fraser Sockeye.—As a result of Dr. Gilbert's study of the runs
to the Fraser River, the conclusion seems inescapable that they consist of a number of sub-races,
each bound to its own spawning area within that basin. On the fishing-grounds at times during the season they run separately and their characteristics are easily determined. At other
times two may be found in company, but each may be distinguished. At still other times
a large number of strains appear hopelessly intermingled. If this be true, as he points out,
not only do sockeye return to their own river-basin at maturity, but they predominantly return
to the particular part of the river-basin in which they were reared as fingerlings, in which case
their homing instinct is far more rigid in its working than has heretofore been accepted. How
rigid cannot at this time be stated. Do the salmon which develop from eggs deposited in the
gravel of the Horsefly, a tributary of Quesnel Lake, return at maturity not only to the Quesnel,
but also to the Horsefly? Data contained in Dr. Gilbert's present paper bearing on this question
makes such a supposition appear by no means improbable. This problem has such an important
bearing on hatchery propagation, as well as the forecasting of future runs, that the Department
will press it to a conclusion.
For the purpose of throwing additional light on the theory of racial differentiation within
the Fraser basin, and defining the extent of the homing instinct, Dr. Gilbert has continued his
examination of the nuclear rings of the scales of numerous individuals taken on different dates
throughout the season upon both the fishing and spawning grounds. The most delicate test of
racial differences is found on the small centres or nuclear area of the scales of the salmon.
It is that part of the scale produced during the life of the fingerling salmon in fresh water.
There is there recorded such peculiarities of growth as accompany life in one particular body
of fresh water. A large variety of waters are offered in the Fraser basin which afford the
final goal of the sockeye, and which furnish the home of their progeny up to the time of their
seaward migration. There the young react to the physical and biological peculiarities of their
special lake. Peculiarities of growth and habit are recorded on their scales. These scales in
turn become the centres of the scales of the adults. They are an ever-present record of the
growth and habits of the young. If the rate of growth and the habits of the young in any
particular lake differ from those in other lakes, that difference is recorded on their scales.
Because growth in the sea is very similar to all schools there is little that is distinctive recorded
on the scales during that period of the life of the salmon, except seasonal growth. Having shown
by the study of the scales that the season run of adult sockeye to the Fraser is not a homogeneous
assembly, but consists of a number of distinct groups, Dr. Gilbert assumes that they are bound
for separate spawning-grounds. By an examination of the scales from distinct spawning areas
it is shown that there are racial characteristics of pure strain—different colonies of sockeye—
to be found. In all but two localities of the many examined in the spawning area they could
be readily distinguished. He presents in his present paper photographs of scales from four
different localities showing marked differences, each displaying characteristics peculiar to its
location. The most pronounced case is that of the sockeye that spawn in the Harrison River.
A comparison of the photographs of the scales of the Harrison River fish with those from other
spawning districts reproduced in Dr. Gilbert's paper shows clearly the striking way in which
they are marked. The centres are wholly dissimilar from those of other spawning-grounds.
There is no evidence of lake-growth, and there is no definite margin to the first year's growth. Q 12 Report of the Commissioner op Fisheries. 1918
It is the form of what is recognized as " the sea-type "—individuals which passed to sea before
the scales developed. This group is not numerously represented in any sockeye run. None of
this type were found in any other spawning district except two doubtful examples from Harrison
Lake. It is, Dr. Gilbert states, possible that the sea-type found in the Fraser are largely, if
not wholly, the product of this one district, and furnish a clear-cut case of the parent-stream
theory as applied to the tributaries of a river.
The Significance of Grilse in the 1916 Bun to the Fraser River.—In previous contributions
to this series, Dr. Gilbert has noted that in the run of sockeye to the Fraser, in the years
preceding the big year of each cycle, there is a large number of three-year old grilse, and during
the other years of the cycle these small males are fewer in number, as was the case in 1912.
In that year they constituted numerically 21 per cent, of the run. .Is these grilse are derived
from the eggs of the preceding big-year run, their relative numbers during the year of their
abundance may furnish an indication of the size of the run in the succeeding year, which is a
big year. Thus, if it were shown that there were less grilse in the run of 1916 than in the run
of 1912, it might occasion apprehension that the run in 1917 would fail to equal that of 1913.
The run of 1916 offered the first opportunity to apply the test. In 1912, w7ith a pack of over
325,000 cases, tests made demonstrated that 21.5 per cent, consisted of grilse. The run of 1916
produced a pack of less than 117,000 cases. It is clear, therefore, that if the grilse in 1916 had
been as numerous as they were shown to have been in 1912 they would have constituted approximately 40 per cent, of the run. Dr. Gilbert demonstrates that the facts were far otherwise.
In the first place, the grilse did not run throughout the season of 1916 as they did in 1912.
None were found in May, June, or the first half of July. The first were taken on July 17th.
On July 27th the catch of the Vancouver Island traps contained 11 per cent, of grilse. The
main run in 1916 occurred between July 23rd and August 16th. Probably three-quarters of the
sockeye-cateh was made between those dates. In that period 12 per cent, of the catch consisted
of grilse. The earlier part, about one-quarter of the run, contained no grilse. Allowing for
this, the number of grilse present during the season is reduced to close to 10 per cent, of the
entire run, or 11 per cent, less than in the run of 1912. As stated, had they been as numerous
as in the run of 1912, they should have constituted 40 per cent, of the 1916 run. It is apparent,
therefore, that the grilse in the 1916 run had suffered a reduction of 75 per cent. This was due,
unquestionably, to the blockade in 1913. Accepting this as indicating the number of four-year
fish in the 1917 run, they would be reduced by 75 per cent, below the run of 1913. As the pack
of 1913 amounted to 2,300,000 cases, an estimate for 1917, on the above basis of the per cent,
of grilse in 1912, would give a pack of 600,000 cases. The pack of 1917 totalled 535,152 cases.
It is therefore shown that during the years when the big run still existed the number of grilse
present in the run of the preceding year formed a fairly reliable index of the magnitude of the
run that could he anticipated. The value of such a demonstration to canners and fishermen
cannot be overestimated.
The Four- and the Five-year Sockeye in the Fraser.—As the result of his continued examination of the scales of the sockeye of the Fraser, Dr. Gilbert expresses the belief that intrinsic
factors decide largely, if not wholly, tbe age at which a fingerling sockeye will reach maturity,
and that in a given race the percentage maturing at different ages will remain relatively
constant from year to year. The belief is expressed that the spawning runs to the streams
in the upper section of the Fraser basin enjoy practical isolation, each from the other.
Isolation results in divergence. The run to the Chilcotin in 1916 and to Quesnel in 1917
contained only 'four-year-old fish, while the run to the lower—the Harrison Lake—section
was marked by a heavy preponderance of five-year fish. All the pronounced tributaries of
the Fraser that produce five-year-old fish are below the canyon and are not noticeably
affected by the quadrennial run. They have had, the records show, no greater number of
spawning fish in the big year than in the lean years. This demonstrates why there has been
no pronounced increase in the percentage of five-year fish in the run of the year following the
big run. They are bred predominantly in the lower section, which is unaffected by the big-year
run. This explains what could not be explained before—the small proportion of the five-year
group in the run to the Fraser in 1914. If the five-year fish came principally from the spawning
area below the canyon, as the evidence now shows, this was inevitable.
A very interesting feature of the present contribution deals with another characteristic
feature of the sockeye run to the Fraser in 1916.   The total catch that year was the poorest recorded. The run consisted in part of five-year fish from the brood-year 1911. The last named,
1911, was recorded in this Department's reports as the poorest year on the spawning-beds known
up to that time. The year 1911 delivered a very small number of four-year fish to the run of
1916, and, as anticipated, it furnished an equally small five-year contingent in 1916. On the
other hand, the season of 1912, from which as four-year-olds the greatest part of the run of
1916 was to be derived, was reported as unusually favourable, both as to numbers taken commercially, and also those observed on the upper spawning-grounds. The spawning area above
the canyon was well seeded with the exception of the Shuswap section, but below the canyon
the beds had less fish than had previously been reported. As the great majority of the off-year
sockeye issue from the area below the canyon, the fact that the run there in 1912 was poor
must.have full consideration, as indicating that there would be a limited number of four-year
fish in the 1916 run. Such was the fact. Ordinarily when one brood-year has been a partial
failure, and has failed to deliver its component of a given run in customary abundance, the other
component of that run, derived as it is from another brood-year, will be present in usual numbers
and will partially save the situation. In 1916 both the four- and the five-year groups were far
below their average, resulting in the poorest run on record.
The Skeena Rims.—It will be recalled, Dr. Gilbert states, that the 1916 catch of sockeye on
the Skeena River was the poorest for the preceding decade, with the single exception of 1913.
These two years—1916 and 1913—had to their credit respectively 60,293 and 52,927 cases. The
smallest previous years of the decade had a catch of 87,901 cases, and the largest year, 187,246
cases. The average for the ten years, excluding 1913 and 1916, was 124,222 cases. Comparisons
of this kind on the Skeena are not complicated, as they are on the Fraser, with the necessity of
making allowance for increases in both kinds and amount of fishing-gear. For several years
fishing conditions on the Skeena have been as nearly standardized as it is possible to make them.
Conditions there give the best possible opportunity to estimate the number of salmon that can
be safely spared from the Skeena run. If a tendency is shown for the packs to decrease, with
other conditions remaining unchanged, no doubt can exist that the river is -being overfished.
In that case further restriction is called for and should be applied at once.
Dr. Gilbert has previously called attention to the difficulty of explaining the success or
failure of a given year on the Skeena, on the basis of the amount packed four and five years
previously. The same difficulty was met with in 1916. While the four-year fish descended from
the apparently indifferent brood of 1912 with a pack of 92,498 cases, the five-year fish, which
always constitute the most important element in the Skeena run, sprang from the brood-year
1911, when a pack of over 130,000 cases seemed to indicate an extensive run, and which was
apparently confirmed in part by the reports from the spawning-grounds. Yet the 1911 contribution to the run of 1916 was only 36,554 cases. For comparison with this showing he cites the
brood-year 1909. The catch that year was only 87,90.1 cases, yet five years thereafter the five-
year fish of the 1909 brood contributed 97,623 cases to the pack of 1914.. It is evident, therefore,
that the amount of the pack on the Skeena River furnishes year by year an unsatisfactory
indication of the size of the run. The year 1909 furnished not only 97,623 cases of five-year
fish to the run of 1914, it had already given 26,463 cases of four-year fish to the catch of 1913.
The total commercial yield from the 1909 brood was over 124,000, indicating that the year was
one of high degree of success on the spawning-grounds. Commenting on a tabulation showing
the Skeena sockeye-packs of six years and the combined packs of the brood-years, Dr. Gilbert
points out that the three years having the largest pack also had the largest brood-years. If
further statistics of this kind are in general reliable—it is much too early yet to make sure that
they will be so—it may be possible to predict several years ahead with some degree of success.
Commenting on the run for 1918, Dr. Gilbert says: " The pack of 1918 will have 1913 and 1914
for its brood-years, and their combined packs amount to 183,000 cases." If this has any significance, we can expect the pack of 1918 to fall at some point between 50,000 and 75,000 cases
of sockeye. If, on the contrary, the pack turns out to be far larger than this, 100,000 cases or
more, we would be compelled to admit that this method promises nothing in the way of useful
forecast.
The Sockeye Runs to Rivers Inlet.—Turning to the runs of sockeye to Rivers Inlet, Dr.
Gilbert again shows that the Rivers Inlet race exhibits a striking uniformity in comparison
with the Fraser sockeye. No succession of recognizable forms appear here as in the Fraser.
They appear to be a completely homogeneous assemblage.    The reason is obviously to be found Q 14 Report of the Commissioner op Fisheries. 1918
in the simplicity of the Rivers Inlet basin. There is a simple short stream heading in a single
large lake which is little above sea-level, and which has numerous short tributary streams.
Here, evidently, the close similarity of external conditions, together with the close proximity of
the spawning-grounds, favours a large percentage of strays passing from one bed to another,
all of which tend to keep the race constant. For the present, Dr. Gilbert states, we have no
evidence of the existence of distinguishing characteristics of the salmon populations seeking the
different streams tributary to Owikeno Lake. But that fact does not prove that the Owikeno
salmon fail to return to their own streams at spawning-time, as he points out.
In dealing with the unsatisfactory runs of sockeye to Rivers Inlet, in both 1916 and in 1917,
Dr. Gilbert indicates the difficulty of adequately accounting for the light runs because of the
lack of detailed reports from the spawning area in both 1911 and 1912, and such reports, he
states, " give our best available basis for estimating future runs. It must be admitted that
the breeding-grounds of Owikeno Lake are in an unsatisfactory and more or less precarious
condition." Fishery Overseer Stone's reports for several years have called attention to log-jams
which obstruct passage in some of the largest and finest of the areas for natural propagation.
With unfavourable weather conditions, these jams might in any year effectively bar passage to
salmon. It is not known to what extent the hatchery contributes to the annual supply or to
what extent the run is dependent on natural spawning. No chances should be taken with the
streams on the assumption that the hatchery operations are adequate. The tributaries should
be promptly cleared of their obstruction, and where passages can he blasted over falls and large
areas of good spawning-grounds be made available, that should be done. " The care of the
spawning-beds is one of the most important and the most deplorably neglected branches of
salmon-culture. It cannot," he concludes, " be stated that the alarming decline in two successive
sockeye runs to Rivers Inlet is due to this cause, but the matter deserves immediate attention."
The Sockeye Runs to the Nass River.—In dealing with the runs of sockeye to the Nass River
in 1916 and 1917, Dr. Gilbert calls attention to the fact that there have been fewer and less
extensive fluctuations in the size of the runs in this river than in any other district in the
Province. The average for the decade is 30,785 cases. In 1916 the Nass was up to its recent
average with 31,411 cases, while the Fraser, Skeena, and Rivers Inlet agreed in having almost
unprecedently poor runs. Not one of these three sections put up half a pack, and with the
single exception of the year 1913 on the Skeena, the year 1916 was the worst in recent history.
The Nass alone was unaffected in 1916. In 1917, however, the catch of sockeye on the Nass
declined greatly, reaching only 22,188 cases. It was the worst year for the past decade. Dr.
Gilbert can find nothing in the records to explain this decline. At the time he wrote he was
ignorant of the catch of sockeye made, for the first time, by an American trap at the northern
entrance of Portland Canal, and mentioned elsewhere in this report. The catch made there
may explain the decline in the Nass catch.
One familiar with Dr. Gilbert's previous contributions to the Department's reports on the
life-history of the sockeye salmon cannot help, on reading his present paper, being impressed
by the thoroughness of his work and the great strides made in so complex a study. The present
contribution furnishes much data that is of economic importance. It demonstrates in a practical
way the value of such work in dealing with the questions of conservation and increase of our
food-fishes, and is worthy of the closest study of those concerned in such work.
The Crab Investigation.
F. W. Weymouth, Assistant Professor of Physiology of Stanford University, continued during
the year the investigation of the life of the Pacific edible crab and furnishes to the Appendix of
this report his third contribution to Its life-history. His previous paper contained certain general
features of the life-history of the edible crab bearing directly on its distribution and the methods
of fishing in the Province. The present adds materially to the account already given of the
industry, and deals with the field-work of the Department in 1916 and 1917, especially that
conducted at Boundary Bay; former studies having made it apparent that intensive work in
a single locality was most likely to yield fruitful returns. The data obtained in 1916 and 1917
is the most complete yet made. He presents facts bearing on cooking and marketing—notably
the so-called " light" and " black " crabs—that are of economic importance. There is new data
on the relation of width to weight and the loss of weight in cooking, on the appearance of the
larvie, and consideration given to the cause of seasonal variation of the latter.    In a later paper 8 Geo. 5 British Columbia. Q 15
Dr. Weymouth will submit consideration of certain questions of growth that have not gone far
enough to permit of inclusion in the report.
The Native Oyster of British Columbia.
Dr. Joseph Stafford, of McGill University, contributes to the Appendix of this report a
valuable contribution to the literature on " The Native Oyster of British Columbia," in which
he points out that " the only way to turn the natural supply of oysters to almost limitless value
as a natural asset is by artificial- cultivation. We need not only to conserve the original stock,
but to increase its productivity in order to keep pace with growing demands. The importance
of method in oyster-culture can hardly be overestimated." Dr. Stafford treats at length the
selection of location for growth, apparatus and construction work, purchase and raising seed,
operations of culture, planting, separating, case, harvesting, and shipping. The manual is complete in every detail and affords the oyster-grower a hand-book of great value.
Reports from Salmon Spawning Areas.
During the season the Department, as usual, conducted an investigation of the spawning
areas of the Fraser and Nass Rivers and Rivers and Smith Inlets. Detailed reports are attached
hereto.
Spawning-grounds of Fraser River.—The investigation of conditions in the Fraser River
watershed was^ again made by John P. Babcock, the Assistant to the Commissioner. His report
discloses that the number of salmon which reached the spawning-grounds was far less than in
any previous year in the cycle of big-year runs, and very little greater than in some lean years.
In comparing conditions this year with those existing in 1913, the opinion is expressed " that the
product of the spawning sockeye of this season will not produce a run in 1921 that is the equal
in numbers of the run of this year."
The number of salmon that reached and passed through the narrow canyon of the Fraser
above Yale was many times less than in 1913, and w7as little, if any, greater than in some lean
years. Very few fish reached the canyon in July. The run was greatest in August, and few
were in evidence later. The Indian fishery in that canyon caught 6,295 sockeye, 10,275 spring,
and 550 cohoes. The fish, all passed through the rapids at Hell's Gate. Indians fishing at the
canyon of the Fraser above the mouth of Bridge River caught 11,730 sockeye and 817 spring
salmon. Those fishing in the Chilcotin River caught 15,000 sockeye. Very few salmon passed
up the Thompson River, with the result that the spawning-beds of Shuswap and Adams Lakes
were poorly seeded. The number of sockeye that reached Quesnel is recorded at 26,246, as
against 550,000 in 1913 and over 4,000,000 in 1909. The run in the Chilcotin River was little
larger than in some recent lean years and very much less than in 1913. In 1909 several millions
of sockeye passed through stream to spawn in Chilko Lake. The hatchery at Seton Lake was
not operated because not to exceed 200 sockeye reached that section. The number of sockeye that
reached HarrisonnLillooet Lake was very much less than in any former season of which there is a
record. Summarizing the conditions, Mr. Babcock states: " Summary of the above shows that,
notwithstanding increased efforts and use of gear on the fishing - grounds, stimulated by the
highest prices yet paid for sockeye, the catch in the entire district, on both sides of the International Line, was 1,824,931 cases, or 76 per cent, less than in any preceding big year, and was
little greater than in some lean years. The number of sockeye that reached the spawning area
of the Fraser watershed, both above and below the canyon above Yale, was much less than in
1913, the year of the blockade, and little better than in some recent lean years. In comparing
conditions this year with those of 1913, I am of the opinion that the number of sockeye which
spawned in the Fraser watershed this year was much smaller, and was not sufficient to produce
a run four years hence (1921) that will equal in numbers those caught this year."
Review of Conditions on the Spawning-beds of the Fraser River in Former Big Tears.—So
much importance is attached to the conditions on the spawning-beds of the watershed of the
Fraser River in 1913, and again this year, that it is worth w7hile to review the conditions on
those beds in former years in the cycles when they were abundantly seeded. Notwithstanding
that the catch of sockeye in 1905 did not equal that of 1901, there is evidence to show that the
number of sockeye which spawned in the watershed in the former year wras greater than in the
latter. In 1901 very few of the sockeye which passed up the Quesnel River in millions were
able to enter the lake owing to the fact that a practical fish way had not been placed on the Q 16 Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
great dam at the head of the river. The vast number which passed up the Quesnel River in
1905 entered the lake through the fishway constructed by this Department in 1903, with the
result that spawning-beds of Quesnel Lake and its tributaries were abundantly seeded. The
number of sockeye which entered Quesnel Lake in 1909 was shown to have exceeded 4,000,000;
while in 1913, owing to the blockade in the Fraser Canyon, approximately only 550,000 sockeye
reached the spawning area of Quesnel Lake, and, as has already been stated, less than 28,000
sockeye reached the lake this year. The run to Chilko Lake in 1901, 1905, and 1909 was shown
to have been as abundant as the run to the Quesnel River; while the run in 1913 was small
and the Indians did not catch more fish than in 1912, which was a lean year. The run to this
section this season is shown to have been very much less than in 1913.
Seton and Anderson Lakes were abundantly seeded in 1901, 1905, and 1909 in addition to
natural propagation. In 1905 the hatchery at Seton Lake hatched 44,000,000 sockeye-eggs and
in 1909 30,000,000. The run in 1909 compared favourably, although it did not equal the run of
1905. In 1913 the run to Seton and Anderson Lakes was estimated at 30,000, as against 1,000,000
in 1909;  this season not to exceed 200 sockeye reached Seton Lake.
The spawning-beds of the many tributaries of Shuswap Lake were covered with vast
numbers in 1901 and again in 1905 and 1909. There was no early run to this section in 1913,
and the late run that season, which consisted of fish that had been assisted in passing the
blockade, did not compare favourably with former big years. Very few sockeye reached this
section this year. Since the spawning-beds of the Harrison-Lillooet Lakes section was not
affected by the blockade, and the run to that section has not been notably larger than in the
lean year, they are not included in this review.
The foregoing demonstrates clearly the effect of the blockade of 1913 upon the run of the
big year.    It destroyed it.
Rivers and Smith Inlets.—Fishery Overseer A. W. Stone again visited the spawning-beds of
Owikeno Lake, at the head of Rivers Inlet, and also the spawning-beds of the salmon that run
through Smith Inlet. He reports that the number of sockeye salmon that reached the spawning
area of Owikeno Lake this year compared favourably with those seen there in 1913, 1914, and
1915, and greatly exceeded the run of 1916. nlttention is called to the fact that following the
early spawning the water fall in the -district exceeded all previous records, and that the streams
were in consequence higher than the Indians had previously known. This is held to have resulted
in serious damage to the eggs already deposited and should be noted in estimating the run in the
fourth and fifth year following. Overseer Stone calls attention to the log-jams in a number of
tributary streams of Owikeno Lake that seriously interfere with the movements of spawning
salmon. Conditions on the Wash Wash River described by him are serious. The river is so
effectively blocked at its mouth that no salmon reach the extended beds of this stream. Other
tributaries demand attention.
The reports upon the spawning-beds of the sockeye that pass through Smith Inlet show that,
notwithstanding that the catch was smaller in the inlet than in 1916, the beds were much better
seeded this year than last. The numbers found on the beds this year did not, however, compare
favourably with those seen there in 1914 and 1915.
The Nass River.—Inspector of Fisheries C. P. Hickman again visited the accessible sockeye
spawning area of the Nass River watershed during the spawning period. His report states that
the number of sockeye that reached the Meziadin Lake section compared favourably with that
of previous years, though not as large as in 1916. The great fishway at the falls in the Meziadin
River was found to be in first-class condition.
J. McHugh, Engineer for the Dominion Fisheries Department, and a force of men went into
the Meziadin with Inspector Hickman for the purpose of strengthening the retaining-wall above
the left bank of the fishway. The work was satisfactorily accomplished. From reports and
photographs it is evident that there is no longer danger of the channel of the fishway being
filled with gravel.
The Dominion Fisheries Commission of 1917.
During the past summer a Dominion Fisheries Commission sat in the Province to investigate
and report upon certain matters in connection with the salmon-fishery and canning industry in
the northern district of the Province. 8 Geo. 5 British Columbia. Q 17
The following specific questions were submitted by the Minister of Naval Service, who directs
the fishery service of the Federal Government:—
"(1.)  Whether the number of salmon-canneries allowed to be operated in District No. 2
(the north district),  British  Columbia,  should be restricted to the number  of
licences for such establishments as are now effective;  and, if so, for what length
of time?
"(2.)  Whether motor-boats should be allowed to be used in salmon-fishing operations in
said district?
"(3.) Whether the number of fishing-boats to be used in any area should be enlarged
or reduced (a) if motor-boats are allowed, and (&) if rowboats only be permitted;
and, if so, by how many in either case and in either direction?
" (4.)  Whether any of the boats authorized to be used in any area should be licensed to
fish in connection with specific canneries only;   and, if so, what proportion of
such boats?
"(5.)  Whether the export, in a fresh condition, of other varieties of salmon than sockeye
should be prohibited;  and, if so, to what extent?"
The Department is in receipt of an advanced copy of the comprehensive and valuable report
made by the Commission.    The report deals with " The General Standpoint of the Inquiry," brief
notes on the " Nature and Habits of Pacific Salmon," " The Supply of Salmon," " The Canning
Industry,"  " Fishery  Administration,"   " Position  of  the  Province  of  British  Columbia,"  and
answers the questions specifically referred to the Board.    The report contains many diagrams
to sustain its arguments, that are original,  readily  grasped,  and  valuable to  fishermen and
canners.    It is a very strong and able paper.
The Commissioners find that there are more canneries in the northern district than are
required to deal with the fluctuating supply of salmon. It is shown that the canneries on the
Skeena and Nass Rivers and Rivers Inlet in 1916 could have put up the entire pack in less than
nine days of twelve hours each, thus indicating overequipment. It is shown that thirty-three
canneries in the north have a fixed investment of $3,492,000, and that if borrowings of working
capital were taken into account the turnover appears less than the capital employed.
" The most general of all the determining conditions," the Commissioners state, " is that
which arises from the necessity of conserving the supply of salmon. If enough fish are to be
allowed to pass up the rivers to seed the spawning-beds, then only a certain number of fish can
be allowed to be caught. Restriction is now imposed in various ways and the public must insist
on fixing some limit to the catch. If equipment becomes too great, either because new canneries
are built or because the plants in existence are enlarged, it is not within the power of the canners
by any enterprise or industry to correspondingly increase the supply of material. One canner
may take business from another canner, but the industry as a whole must face diminished
efficiency with its rapid rise in costs."
" It is," in the judgment of the Commissioners, " a clear public duty, not merely to conserve
the supply of salmon at its present proportion, but to increase it until each year reaches the
economic maximum; and it appears to us equally clear that all the conditions surrounding the
industry should as far as possible be stabilized, and the inefficient use of capital and labour
obviated or prevented. The solution of this problem would not seem to be found in encouraging
or permitting the employment of more capital or more labour than can efficiently perform the
work. The public interest can be better served in other ways. The privilege enjoyed by those
who fish in tidal waters is not only fundamentally a public right, but the public stands related
to the industry as taxpayers and as consumers. If the cost of production becomes too great, all
hope of advantage to the public as consumers will disappear."
In recommending further limitations in the canning industry, the Commissioners state that
they do so upon " the condition that excessive profits, if any, shall go to the public, and that
exploitation, as a fact and as a motive, shall be eliminated from the industry."
The report is well worth the study of those interested in the salmon industry and the general
public as well.    It adds force to the arguments in support of the need of conservation of the
salmon-supply and the position taken by this Department on the questions at issue.
The Commissioners made the following replies to the questions submitted:—
"(1.)  That the number of cannery licences be not increased for a period, for five years.
2 Q 18
Report op the Commissioner op Fisheries.
1918
"(2.)  Recommended that, under existing conditions, the prohibition of motor-boats in
gill-net fishing in District No. 2 be continued for a period of five years.
"(3.)  Recommended that there be no increase in the number of boats allowed.    If
motor-boats  are  allowed,  we recommend  a  material  reduction  in  the present
boat-rating.
"(4.)  Recommended that only one form of salmon gill-net licence be issued, and that
competence as a fisherman be established as a qualificatioh for a licence.    For
two reasons, however, we recommend that the new system under this head be
not put into effect until the season of 1919.
"(5.)  While convinced that the situation in which the above question has been raised
has serious aspects, we are not prepared, under existing conditions, to recommend
that export be prohibited."
In each of the above finding, except the last one, the Commissioners sustain the position
taken by this Department in its correspondence with the Minister in Ottawa, protesting against
the adoption of the regulations issued in January, 1917.
The following statement of the salmon-eggs placed in the hatcheries of the Province is
furnished by Lieut.-Colonel F. H. Cunningham, Chief Inspector of Fisheries for the Dominion:—
Statement showing the Number of Salmon-eggs collected for the Hatcheries in the
Province fob the Yeae 1917.
Hatchery.
Sockeye.
Spring.
Cohoe.
Pinks.
Chums.
Skeena River  Watershed.
Babine  Lake   	
Skeena  River   ....
9,000,000
4,4-50,000
}
13,450,000 sockeyes.
Rivers Inlet Watershed.
14,784,-000
14,784,000 sockeyes.
Vancouver Island
Watershed.
Anderson   Lake    . .
Kennedy   Lake   . . .
Cowichan   Lake   . .
2,095,000
1,085,000
1,344,000
213,000
84,700
1,287,700
}
J
f 3,180,000 sockeyes.
1 1,344,000 springs.
\ 1,585,400 cohoes.
16,109,40-0 total.
Fraser River Watershed.
Pemberton   	
Harrison Lake and
subsid. hatcheries
New Westminster..
5,270,000
25,734,000
30,000
1,798,000
740,000
5,39,000
912,000
5,320,000
5,840,000
I
i
H
' 31,004,000 sockeyes.
1,828,000 springs.
2,191,000 cohoes.
'5,320,000 pinks.
5,840,000 chums.
46,183,000 total.
Totals	
62,418,000
3,172,000
3,776,400
'5,320,000
5,840,000
Total salmon-eggs collected, 80,526,400. 8 Geo. 5
British Columbia.
Q 19
The  Sockeye  Salmon-pack*  of the  Fbaser River District from  1900 to  1917,  inclusive.
Year.
Fraser River.
Puget Sound.
Totals.
1900	
229,800
228,704
458,504
1901 	
928,669
1,105,096
2,033,765
1902 	
293,477
339,556
633,033
1903 	
204,809
167,211
372,020
1904 	
72,688
123,419
196,107
1905 	
837,489
847,122
1,684,611
1906 	
183.007
182,241
365,248
1907 	
62,617
96,974
159,591
1908 	
74,574
155,218
229,792
1909 	
585,435
1,005,120
1,590,555
1910 	
150,432
234,437
384,869
1911 	
62,817
126,950
189.767
1912 	
123,879
183,896
307,775
736,661
1,664,827
2.401,488
1914 	
198,183
91,130
336.251
64,584
534,434
1915 	
155,714
1916 	
27,394
78,476
105,870
1917 	
148,164
411,538
559,732
' Given in cases—forty-eight 1-lb.  cans to case.
Sockey'e Egg-take at Fraser River Hatcheries from 1901 to 1917.
1901   15,741,000
1902   72,034,000
1903   13,464,000
1904   9,469,000
1905   97,656,000
1906   51,121,000
1907   53,952,000
190S   46,709,000
1909   98,000,000
1910   37,343,000
1911   22,937,000
1912   38,500,000
1913   86,000,000
1914   28,589,000
1915   68,476,000
1916   40,203,000
1917   31,004,000 Q 20 Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
APPENDICES.
THE FISH-GROUNDS AND THE SPhAWNING-BEDS OF THE FRASER RIVER.
Hon. H. C. Brewster,
Commissioner of Fisheries, Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit that during the season I thoroughly inspected the salmon
fishing and spawning grounds of the Fraser River. As is well known locally, this was a year
in which there should have been a big run of sockeye and pink salmon to the Fraser. It is also
known locally that the run of sockeye and pink salmon to the Fraser this season was the poorest
"big year" run ever recorded, and that it was little better than during some recent lean years.
The total catch of sockeye in Provincial waters of the Fraser River District produced a pack of
148,164 cases, as against 719,796 cases in the previous big year, 1913; a decrease of 571,632 cases.
Notwithstanding that 1917 was the year for the big run to the Fraser, the catch in the Provincial
waters of the district did not equal that of 1914, a lean year.
The catch of sockeye in the State of Washington waters, through which they pass to reach
the Fraser, produced a pack of 411,538 cases, as against 1,664,837 cases in the previous fourth
year, 1913; a decrease of 1,252,299 cases. The total decrease for the entire Fraser River District
therefore being 1,824,931 cases, or 76 per cent, less than that of the fourth preceding year.
This remarkable decline in the catch of sockeye was due to a small run, and not to a failure
fo catch the fish. This is demonstrated by the small number which reached the spawning-beds,
as well as by the fact that the number of fishermen and the amount of gear engaged on both
sides of the International Line was greater than in 1913. In the Provincial waters of the
Fraser River District 2,606 gill-nets were operated in the Gulf of Georgia and the channels of
the Fraser and seven traps in Juan de Fuca Strait. In the State of Washington waters of the
district licences were issued for 274 traps, 411 purse-seines, and 394 gill-nets.
The decrease in the run of sockeye to the Fraser this season is attributable to the blockade
in the channel of the river at Hell's Gate during the spawning migration of 1913, in consequence
of which the fish were unable to reach the spawning-grounds. During the construction of the
Canadian Northern Pacific Railway through the canyon of the Fraser such great quantities of
rock were thrown into the narrow channel of the river as to make it impassable, during certain
stages of water, to the salmon. My report for the year 1913 dealt extensively with conditions
in the canyon in the summer and fall of that year. The following summary from page 37 of
that report tells the story sufficiently for the purpose of this report.:—
" I feel fully justified from my investigations in concluding that the number of sockeye
which passed above the fishing limits was as great this year as any preceding big run of which
we have a record, and I think even greater. The sockeye made their appearance in the canyon
above Yale in June, and during the high waters of that month and July large numbers passed
through to Quesnel and Chilko Lakes. The great proportion of the run of sockeye in late July
and in August and September were blockaded in the canyon by rock-obstructions placed in the
channel, incident to the construction of the Canadian Northern Pacific Railroad, so that few
were able to pass through during that time. No humpbacks succeeded in passing through the
canyon. The blasting of temporary passage-ways enabled a large proportion of the sockeye run
of October and November to pass through the canyon. Sockeye were seen drifting down-stream,
between Hell's Gate and Yale, in iUigust; the movement was very pronounced in September,
and continued until the middle of October. The streams which enter the Fraser between Hell's
Gate and Agassiz were filled with sockeye from the middle of August until the end of October,
while they had not been observed in those streams in previous years. Very few sockeye spawned
in any of these streams, and most of them died without spawning. Great numbers of dead
sockeye, which had died without spawning, were found on the bars and banks of the Fraser
between Yale and Agassiz in September and October. The number which reached Quesnel Lake
was little more than one-eighth of the number which entered that lake in 1909. The run to
Chilko Lake was equally small.    The sockeye run to Seton Lake was 30,000, as against 1,000,000 8 Geo. 5 Fish-grounds and Spawning-beds of Fraser River. Q 21
in 1909. The August and September run of sockeye to Shuswap and Adams Lakes was much
less than in any former big year, and the October and November run was also less. The sockeye-
eggs collected there this year totalled but 9,000,000, as against 27,500,000 four years ago and
18,000,000 in 1905. The run to Lillooet Lake was less than in any recent year. Finally, the
run to Harrison Lake was slightly better than in 1909.
" These facts, in my opinion, warrant the conclusion that the number of sockeye which
spawned in the Fraser River watershed this year was not sufficient to make the run four years
hence even approximate the runs of either 1905, 1909, or 1913."
Fishing Season in Provincial Waters of Fbaser Distbict.
The first sockeye caught in the Fraser District this season were taken in the traps on the
south shore of Vancouver Island on July 14th. Catches continued for a month. The fish taken
up to July 21st consisted largely of sockeye that averaged little over 22% inches in length, and
were apparently different from the average school that runs to the Fraser. From July 23rd to
August 6th the sockeye averaged 24 inches in length. From the latter date until the end of the
run they averaged 25 inches in length. The catches fcom July 23rd until the end of the season
were of the typical Fraser run of sockeye.
The catches in the State of Washington waters and in the Gulf of Georgia and Fraser River
proper in the early part of the season exceeded the catches made at the same period in 1913,
and were the largest made during the season. The early catches were so much larger than at
the corresponding time in 1913 that some fishermen and canners inferred that the run this year
would equal that of former big years. However, the catches throughout August were small, did
not approach that of former big years, and, in fact, were little larger than in some lean years.
The price paid the fishermen at the opening of the season was 40 cents per sockeye, was soon
advanced to 50 cents, and later reached as high as 75 cents; very much higher prices than had
been paid in previous seasons.
There was no pronounced late run of sockeye to the Fraser this year, as was the base in
the fall of 1905, 1909, and 1913.
The run of pink salmon to the Fraser River this season was smaller than that of 1915, the
last preceding year of their run to that stream. The catch of pink in the traps on the south
shore of Vancouver Island and in the waters of the State of Washington was large, but the
catches in the Gulf of Georgia and in the Fraser River proper were small; indicating, I believe,
that the catches made by the traps in the straits and by the traps and purse-seines in the sound
consisted of fish that were not bred in or running to the Fraser. It is well known that pink
salmon propagate in all the streams tributary to Puget Sound.
The catches of pinks in the Gulf of Georgia and Fraser produced a pack of 134,442 cases,
a few thousand cases less than in 1915, the previous year of their run to the Fraser. The price
paid for pinks was many times greater than in 1915, and the efforts made to catch the fish were
far more extensive. It will be recalled that there was a big run of pinks in 1913 and that vast
numbers appeared in the canyon of the Fraser, at Hell's Gate, and were prevented from passing
through that canyon by the blockade which so fatally obstructed the run of sockeye. No pinks
passed through the canyon in 1913 and none were observed there in 1915.
Conditions on the Spawning-geounds.
I again personally inspected the principal spawning area of the Fraser River watershed, and'
was assisted by Inspector of Fisheries Hickman and Fishery Overseer Newcombe. As a result
of our observations I have to submit the opinion that the number of sockeye which reached all
sections of that vast watershed this season was very much less than in the former big year
(1913), and did not, in most sections, exceed those observed there in 1912, a lean year. In
comparing conditions this year with those existing in 1913, I am of the opinion that the product
of the spawning sockeye of this season will not produce a run in 1921 that will equal in number
the run of this year.
The number of salmon that reached and passed through the narrow canyon of the Fraser
above Yale this year was many times less than in 1913, and was little, if any, greater than in
some lean years. The average water conditions throughout the summer and fall were favourable
for the passage of salmon through the rapids in the canyon. There were short periods this year,
as in former seasons previous to the slide in 1913, during which the salmon had considerable Q 22 Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
difficulty in getting through the rapids at Hell's Gate, but all eventually passed through en route
to the spawning area above. They experienced no difficulty at the Scuzzy. During most of the
time the fish were running they passed through Hell's Gate by hugging the rock wall on the right
bank of the stream. Throughout the season few were able to pass the rapid on the left side of
the canyon. At no time this year did the fish have more difficulty in navigating this rapid than
those in the runs previous to the blockade of 1913. The channel of the river at this point has
been fully restored. Very few fish reached the canyon until the latter part of July. The run
was heaviest in August, and was very poor thereafter. The great numbers of sockeye noted in
this canyon in October and November of the years 1905, 1909, and 1913 were not in evidence this
year.    Only a small number were to be seen there in either of those months.
Chief Inspector of Fisheries for the Dominion, Lieut.-Colonel F. H. Cunningham, advises me
that Special Fishery Guardian Thomas E. Scott, who was stationed in the canyon throughout
the season, reported that the Indians in the vicinity of Hell's Gate caught and dried 6,295
sockeye, 10,275 spring, 550 cohoe, and 105 pink salmon during the summer and fall. After the
spring salmon began to run in August the Indians ceased catching sockeye. They prefer the
spring salmon for drying, and as they use a larger-mesh net to catch spring than that used to
take sockeye, the latter have no difficulty in passing through it and are not captured.
The Run through the Canyon above Bridge River.
I am also informed by the Chief Inspector of Fisheries that Special Guardian Wm. J. Smith,
who was stationed at the canyon of the Fraser above the mouth of Bridge River, north of the
town of Lillooet, reports that the Indians who fished there caught and dried 11,730 sockeye and
817 spring this year. The salmon which reach this canyon are en route to Quesnel and Chilko
Lakes and the smaller lake-fed streams to the north. They have much less difficulty in navigating these rapids than those at Hell's Gate. During high water they experience no difficulty, and
do not expose themselves to the Indians, and therefore few are taken. During medium stages
of water the Indians successfully fish for them with dip-nets and gaffs from both banks. At
times of low water the fish mainly travel along the rock wall on the left bank and few of them
get by the Indians. During low water the Indians have no difficulty in intercepting the greater
proportion of the fish which attempt to pass. In former big-year runs the catch of the Indians
fishing in this canyon averaged approximately 40,000 sockeye. In 1913 they caught 10,000; in
1914, a lean year, they caught close to 20,000 sockeye. Water conditions this year were much
more favourable to the method of fishing in vogue than those of 1913. It will be recalled that
the main run in that year passed through both Hell's Gate and Bridge River Canyons during
extreme high water in July.
No pink salmon were observed or captured at the Bridge River Canyon this year. None
were taken there in 1913 or 1915. Previous to 1913 pink salmon in vast numbers were observed
at this point every year of their run in the Fraser.
The Run on the Thompson River.
The number of sockeye and spring salmon that passed up the Thompson River this season
was so small that the Indians living in the vicinity did not at any time catch a sufficient number
to dry any. Repeated inspection of the river failed to disclose any salmon. Previous to 1913
vast numbers of sockeye passed up this the main tributary of the Fraser every year of the big
•run in order to reach the spawning area of Shuswap and Adams Lakes. In 1913 the early run
in the Thompson was very small, and the August and September run, though notable, did not
reach the proportions of any former big year.    There was no October or November run this year.
No pink salmon were observed in the Thompson or any of its tributaries this season.
Previous to the blockade in 1913 many millions of pink salmon passed up the Thompson every
other year and spawned on its gravel reaches or entered its tributaries. The bed of the Nicola,
the principal tributary of the Thompson, from its source to its mouth was literally paved with
pink salmon every other year. Pink salmon were unable to get through the rapids at Hell's
Gate in 1913. None have been noticed in the Nicola since 1911, or at any other point above the
canyon at Hell's Gate.
Quesnel Lake.
The first sockeye made their appearance at the entrance of Quesnel Lake on August 14th,
fourteen days later than in the former big year  (1913) and on the corresponding date in 1909. 8 Geo. 5
Fish-grounds and Spawning-beds of Fraser River.
Q 23
Very few reached the lake until the 23rd. Up to that date less than 400 entered the lake. The
run was heaviest between August 23rd and 29th. During that period over 11,000 passed through
the fishway. From August 31st to September 3rd the run was very light. There was a noticeable increase on September 4th, which continued up to the Sth. Close to 10,000 fish entered the
lake between those dates. The run ceased on the 12th. The number which passed through the
fishway into the lake, as all must do that enter it, this season totalled 26,246, as against 552,000
in 1913 and 4,000,000 in 1909.
All the salmon which enter Quesnel Lake pass through the wide fishway which the Provincial
Government constructed in the race of the great dam at the lake's outlet in 1903. Every year
since the fishway was constructed this Department has maintained a watchman at the dam
during the run of salmon in order to protect the fish and to record the size and duration of
the run. Fishery Overseer Newcombe was stationed there this season. He recorded daily the
number of sockeye which passed through the fishway. The following is his record for the
season:—
Record of the Approximate Number of Salmon which entered Quesnel Lake during
Season of 1911.
Date.
Number per Day.
Date.
Number per Day.
August  14   	
12
0
,      18   	
3
2   	
1.200
,      19   	
1
3   	
240
,      20   	
20
4   	
1,500
,      21   	
120
5  	
3,120
22   	
168
6   	
2,346
' 1,300
,      23   	
576
7	
24   	
2,184
8   	
840
,      25   	
,      26   	
3,792
24
9   ......
216
10  	
620
,      27  	
2.880
11  	
288
,      28   	
2,780
12   	
100
,      29  	
620
,      30   	
1,200
,      31  	
96
Total 	
Total  	
14,476
11,770
Total in August    14,476
Total in September    11,770
Total for season    26,246
During the run this season the water in the race was 4 feet higher than usual. The overflow
from the lake during the past season was the greatest recorded there since the dam was constructed in 1898. During the early summer flood the apron at the lower end of the raceway
of the dam was carried away. That did not, however, interfere with the salmon entering the
fishway. The entrance was constructed to meet just such a contingency. Throughout the
season, as usual, the fish had no difficulty in entering the fishway and passing through into
the lake. >
Chilcotin River and Chilko Lake.
The number of sockeye which entered the Chilcotin River, en route to Chilko Lake, this
season was little larger than in some recent lean years, and far less* than in 1913, when the
run was blocked at Hell's Gate. The first sockeye made their appearance in the Chilcotin on
August 9th, somewhat later, than usual. Few were taken by the Indians before August 20th.
Between that date and September 5th the Indians fishing at Fish Canyon, a few miles above
the junction of the Chilcotin and Fraser Rivers, caught and smoked approximately 10,000
sockeye. There was no run after the latter date. The Indians fishing near Hanceville did not
catch nearly as many as were taken at Fish Canyon. Those at Indian Bridge, on the Chilko
River proper, caught very few. The Indians' total catch from the Chilcotin and Chilko during
the season did not exceed 15,000, as against 25,000 in 1913.    I did not visit Chilko Lake this Q 24 Report op the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
year because the small numbers caught by the Indians at their three principal fishing-stations
indicated a small run, and because their chief advised me that the Indians at the outlet of the
lake had told him that there were very few sockeye there, and said that '■' they had not caught
enough to smoke any of them."
It is well known by those familiar with the watershed of the Fraser that up to 1913 vast
numbers of sockeye ran in the Chilko River every year of the big run. Chilko Lake, at the head
of that river, affords one of the best and most extensive spawning areas in that watershed.
I have been familiar with conditions there since 1903. The extent of the run of sockeye in the
big years previous to 1913 will be best understood by reference to my report for 1909. In the
latter year the beds of the river's channel for ten miles below the lake was entirely covered with
sockeye. I have never seen such vast numbers of salmon in any unobstructed stream as I saw
there in 1909. In point of numbers they equalled those seen in the Fraser for a mile below
Hell's Gate during the blockade of 1913. The catches made by the Indians in the Chilcotin
River, at almost every stage of water, may safely be taken as strongly indicative of the extent
of the run to that stream. The fact that the Indians this year did not take to exceed 15,000
sockeye, as against 25,000 in 1913, indicates that the run this year was very much less than in
that year, and little, if any, better than it was in 1912, a lean year.
Seton Lake.
Not to exceed 200 sockeye reached Seton Lake this year. Following the custom of former
years, weirs were placed at the outlet of the lake early in August for the purpose of retaining
the fish in order to collect their eggs for the hatchery. A few7 fish entered the weir the latter
part of September and a few others in October. At no time were there sufficient numbers to
justify taking their eggs for hatchery propagation. The fish spawned naturally. The hatchery
was not operated during the season.
There was no run of pink salmon to Seton Lake this fall. Up to 1913 pink salmon reached
there is vast numbers every second year. They run in the Fraser only in alternate years. In
consequence of the blockade on the Fraser in 1913 the run of pink salmon of that year did not
extend to any waters above, and the beds were therefore unseeded. No pinks reached Seton
Lake in 1915.
During the season of 1915 the Department collected some 6,000,000 of pink-salmon eggs from
the Mamquam river, near Squamish, at the head of Howe Sound, and shipped and hatched them
at the Seton Lake Hatchery. The young fish were liberated in the stream flowing from Seton
Lake. They were free-swimming and strong fish. They at once began, as was natural, their
migration to the sea. It was fully expected that such as escaped destruction in the sea, capture
on the fishery-grounds, and re-entered the Fraser would reach Seton Lake this year, but none
did so. And, as has already been stated, no pink salmon have been seen above the canyon of
the Fraser since 1911.
Shuswap and Adams Lakes.
Only a very small number of sockeye salmon reached Shuswap and Adams Lakes this year.
At no time this season were they nearly as numerous as in the fall of 1913. The first reached
there the last week in August. The greatest numbers were found in the streams in September.
As in 1913, very few appear to have reached Eagle or Salmon River. They were more numerous
in the Lower Adams River than in any other section, but the numbers seen there did not compare
favourably with the poor run of 1913.
The number which entered Adams Lake was so small as to give no promise of assistance to
the run of 1921.
Up to 1913 there had not been recorded a poor big-year run to either Adams or Shuswap
Lakes. In 1901, 1905, and 1909 every one of the many large tributaries of Shuswap Lake was
crowded with spawning sockeye from August until the end of October. It will be recalled that,
the early run of sockeye in 1913 was small, and that the fall run was large only in the Lower
Adams River. From observations made in 1913, and again this year, it appears that the run
to this section was more nearly exterminated by the blockade of 1913 than that to Quesnel or
Chilko Lakes. 8 Geo. 5 Spawning-beds op Rivers Inlet. Q
Harrison-Lillooet Lakes Section.
The number of sockeye that reached the Harrison-Lillooet Lakes section this year was very
much less than In any season of which there is a record. The hatchery on the Birkenhead River,
at the head of Lillooet Lake, collected but 5,270,000 sockeye-eggs, as against 25,000,000 in 1913
and 27,000,000 in 1909. The last two mentioned years were years of a. big run to the Fraser.
The collections this year were the smallest yet made at the hatchery. In 1914, 15,220,000
sockeye-eggs were taken; in 1915, 25,000,000; and in 1916, 25,750,000. It will be recalled that'
the Lillooet-Harrison Lakes contribute to the Fraser through Harrison River, some sixty-five
miles below the canyon at Hell's Gate, and consequently the small run this year to this district
was not affected by the blockade of 1913, and cannot therefore be attributed to the effect of
that obstruction.
As a result of my study of conditions in the Fraser watershed since 1901, I am of the opinion'
that the runs of the lean years have mainly consisted of sockeye hatched in the Harrison-Lillooet
Lakes section. The number of fish propagated in that section does not appear to have been
larger in the years of a big run to the Fraser than in the lean years. The run of the big year,
up to this year, I am of the opinion, have been largely the result of the seeding of the spawning
area above the Fraser Canyon, above Yale.
The run of sockejje this year to Harrison Lake and its tributaries wras apparently the
smallest ever recorded there. The number that sought Cultus Lake, and the subsidiary egg-
collecting station of the Harrison Lake Hatchery, was in the main satisfactory. A total of
25,734,000 sockeye, 5,3'A) pink, and 5,840,000 chum eggs were collected for the hatchery, as will
be noted from the statement furnished by Lieut.-Colonel Cunningham, Dominion Chief Inspector
of Fisheries, which appears on page 18.
Summary of Conditions on Fishing and Spawning Grounds of the Fraser.
A summary of the above shows that, notwithstanding increased effort and use of gear on
the fishing-grounds, stimulated by the highest price yet paid for sockeye, the catch in the entire
district, on both sides of the International Line, was only 1,824,931 cases, or 76 per cent, less
than in the preceding big year, and was little greater than in some lean years. The number of
sockeye that reached the spawning area of the Fraser watershed, both above and below the
canyon above Yale, was very much less than that in 1913, the year of the blockade, and little
better than in some recent lean years.
A comparison of conditions existing this year with those of 1913 leads me to express the
opinion that the number of sockeye which spawned in the Fraser watershed this year was much
smaller, and was not sufficient to produce a run four years hence that will equal in numbers
those caught this year.
I have, etc.,
John Pease Babcock,
Assistant to the Commissioner.
Victoria, B.C., December Slst, 1917.
THE SPhYWNING-BEDS OF RIVERS INLET.
Hon. H. C. Brewster,
Commissioner of Fisheries, Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—The investigation of the Rivers Inlet watershed was undertaken on the completion of
the inspection of the spawning-grounds at Smith Inlet, and I have the honour to submit herewith
my report upon the conditions of these grounds.
The Owikeno Lake ten or twelve days prior to my visit experienced one of the worst rainstorms, and rose higher than has been known for many years, even by the Indians. The result
may have caused considerable harm to the spawning-grounds, especially in the early-running
streams, and should be carefully noted when making the inspection four or five years hence.
The lake had receded to the normal on the occasion of my visit, and I was able to form an
accurate opinion of the conditions of this watershed. Q 26 Report of the Commissioner op Fisheries. 1918
Leaving Rivers Inlet Cannery on October 13th, I proceeded to the head of the lake direct,
as it is at this point the sockeye salmon commence to make early use of the spawning-beds, and
on arrival I found that the few sockeye seen were all spawned out.
The Indian River was absolutely bare of any sign of the fish from the entrance right up to
the falls. The conditions of the river-bank showed plainly the effects of the recent heavy rain
and had left its mark 20 feet above the original level of the river. In conversation later with
■one of the hatcherymen, who had visited this point during the latter part of September, I was
informed the rivers—the Cheo, Indian, and Washwash—were well stocked with sockeye salmon
and could be seen in thousands spawning on the beds. It is to be feared, therefore, the freshet
must have had serious effects upon the spawning salmon, unless the deposit of spawn had been
safely completed before the full effects from this danger was felt. No log-jams obstructed the
river, which was absolutely clear, and provided an ideal spawning-ground for the salmon. I was
unfortunately unable to obtain either .specimen eggs or scales from this river.
The Cheo had received very rough treatment from the exceptional weather; huge trees had
been thrown across the river, evidently uprooted by the freshet pouring over the banks, and on
arriving at the bend about three miles and a half from the mouth I noticed the log-jam, which
had been accumulating in size during the past five years, completely blocked the passage of any
salmon passing through to the upper reaches. This, however, causes little inconvenience at
present, as most of the spawning-grounds are situated below the obstruction. It will be necessary to have this removed, in the event of the falls receiving attention from the Department,
to erect a fish-ladder or provide a passage through the falls to enable the salmon to reach the
fine spawning-grounds above; otherwise the small area of spawning-ground lying between the
log-jam and the falls will hardly repay the outlay involved in removing this obstruction. No
sign of sockeye salmon were noted on my way up the rapids. The small streams emptying into
the river, however, contained a few spawned-out sockeye from which specimen scales were
obtained. It is to be feared serious consequences will have attended the result of the freshet
here unless the salmon had already succeeded in seeding the beds.
The spectacle presented by a view of the Washwash was anything hut favourable. The
log-jam obstructing the mouth, to which I had drawn attention in previous reports, recommending
its removal, or in time would completely block the passage to the salmon, I found had effected
its purpose. No salmon are able to pass through. The large number of salmon reported on the
beds during the latter part of September is encouraging, as it proves the sockeye were able to
reach the upper portion of the stream and deposit the spawn before the full effects of the freshet
was felt. An examination of the river here bore conclusive evidence of the ravages of the rainstorm. New channels had been formed, and gravel-bars thrown up which will bear little fruit
even if the sockeye spawned on them, as they remain dry except at rare intervals. Very few
sockeye salmon were encountered and all appeared to be spawned out, with the result that only
specimen scales were obtained. The bears evidently found great difficulty in supplying their
wants and had recourse to digging the dead salmon up from the beach. I was able to witness
them at this operation, coming unexpectedly on two big fellows as we dropped quietly down the
river in the canoe.
Returning from the head of the lake, I paid a visit to Sunday Creek, which was only with
extreme difficulty recognized. The effects of the wash-out completely obliterated the original
creek. A new channel having been formed on the left, composed principally of rocks and pebbles,
will provide very poor spawning-ground to the large number of sockeye seen swimming around
at the mouth.
Along the beach at this point a small stretch of good spawning-beds enabled the salmon to
make up for the indifferent grounds inside, and the favourable number seen, as compared with
last year, should result in large numbers of sockeye seeking this tributary from this season's
spawning.   The sockeye were exceptionally fine fish.
The fine spawning-beds at the Narrows were plentifully supplied with salmon, and should
produce their full quota of eggs. Sockeye were observed breaking water frequently, and where
the beds could be seen in the shallow water large numbers were in evidence.
The freshet did not appear to have affected the Sheemahant River to any great extent;
beyond log-jams which had formed at the entrance and at various points on the way up, no
obstructions were observed to interfere with the passage of the salmon. 8 Geo. 5 Spawning-beds op Rivers Inlet. Q 27
Large numbers were spawning on the riffles right up to the falls, eighteen miles distant,
and came well up to the average of the 1913, 1914, and 1915 runs. Exceptionally -fine specimens
hooked out of the river at random testified to the fine average in size the salmon run is to this
point this year. Cohoe salmon were in evidence at the falls, and making desperate efforts to
surmount them, but of no avail. The marked improvement in the run over last year is shown
up in glaring fashion. No difficulty was experienced in obtaining both salmon scales and spawn,
which was added to the collection I am making from all the streams.
Arriving at Jeneesee Creek on October 24th, I found conditions distinctly favourable; the
sockeye salmon were very much in evidence, and reminded me of the big runs here in 1913
and 1914.
A few boxes of eggs had been filled by the hatchery officials, but the salmon were not yet
in a sufficiently ripe state for spawning. Captain Hames, Superintendent of the Dominion
Hatchery, whom I met at this camp, seemed well satisfied that a large number of eggs would
eventually be collected from this creek, and his prophecy was later borne out, so I am given to
understand. A big run of sockeye entered later, and permitted the hatchery-men to obtain all
the eggs required from this stream. The sockeye compared in size with the 1913 run, bearing
a very much lower average in comparison with the runs here in 1914, 1915, and 1916.
The obstructions in the creek above the fence require cleaning out if the salmon are to
receive full advantage from the spawning-beds available here; at present the log-jams are
scattered all over the creek right up to the falls, one mile and a half distant, and gives little
opportunity for the salmon to deposit their oval after the requirements of the hatchery have
been filled.
The Nookins, an early-running salmon-stream branching off from the Machmell, had already
received its supply of sockeye salmon, having arrived three weeks prior to my visit. The Indians
were able to inform me, however, that the beds were fully stocked, and came well up to the
average of the runs seen here in 1913, 1914, and 1915. There were few sockeye spawning on
the beds as we proceeded up the river, but ample evidence that the run had been an exceptionally
big one was shown by the number of dead bodies lying in the lower reaches. An examination
made of a number of these fish, which were hooked out of the river, revealed no sign of belonging
to a later run; they were all in an advanced stage of spawning; this fact did not preclude me
from making a collection of eggs or from obtaining specimen scales of the fish. The salmon were
able to make full use of these grounds without hindrance from log-jams or other obstacles. One
jam which could with advantage be cleared lies about two miles from the entrance. The size of
the sockeye did not appear to show up in comparison with the past three years.
The Machmell River, to which attention was given next, afforded little opportunity to
view the spawning-grounds satisfactorily, owing to the thick muddy condition of the water.
An exceptionally big river, and resembling the Sheemahant in size, it evidently offers little
attraction to the sockeye, who prefer the Nookins, a tributary, and to which reference has
already been made. Few salmon were observed as we proceeded up the river to the canyon.
On one occasion only has it been possible with any degree of certainty to obtain a favourable
survey of the spawning-grounds; this was in 1914, when the low state of the river permitted
me to examine them thoroughly. In that year a favourable impression was formed; large
numbers of sockeye were in evidence.
The reputation of the Asklum River was well maintained, and although a little late in
making the inspection here, the number of sockeye salmon spawning on the beds in the upper
reaches came well up to the average of the runs of 1913, 1914, and 1915. They were in an
advanced stage of spawning, and large numbers were observed lying dead. It was again noted
here that the sockeye did not approach in size the runs of the past three years. There are one
or two log-jams obstructing the course of this river, but do not interfere with the passage of
the salmon up-stream; these could be removed with advantage. The recent freshet had forced
a new channel, through which many of the sockeye passed on their way to the main river above;
others were observed spawning in the channel itself. A collection of both scales and eggs were
obtained from this stream.
Arriving at Quap River, I was impressed with the favourable conditions here. It was an
inspiring, sight to watch the thousands of sockeye crowding the river to the hatchery fence, and
it was evident no difficulty would be experienced in obtaining all the eggs necessary to fill the
hatchery, providing, of course, no unforeseen event happened to upset calculations.    The experi- Q 28 Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
ence of 1915 may well have been repeated had the recent freshet occurred a little later; when
in that year the river rose during a rain-storm, and not only partly destroyed the hatchery fence,
but rose above it, and allowed thousands of salmon waiting there to reach the spawning-beds
above; this year fortunately the salmon were not ready to enter the river and consequently
missed their opportunity, much to the relief of the hatchery officials. The obstructions all along
the river are still very much in evidence, no attempt having been made so far to have them
removed; this, however, does not seem to have affected the run here, as the very high average
maintained year by year proves. It is no doubt due to the care taken by the hatchery to restock
the river each year. In size the salmon were below the average. I am informed, in the interval
of writing, that another big run of sockeye had entered this river; therefore no doubt need be
entertained that the high average of the 1913, 1914, and 1915 runs will be repeated this year.
Crossing to the Dalley River, another early-running salmon-stream, and exceptionally well
adapted for the propagation of spawn, I wras pleased to see a great improvement over last year
in the number of salmon spawning on the beds. Large numbers thickly covered the riffles and
bars all the way to the falls, while dead bodies lying in the lower portion of the river testified
to a big run having entered some time prior to my visit; and this was confirmed later by
Indians, and also by one of the hatcherymen, all of whom remarked upon the large number
of sockeye seen on the beds during the latter part of September and the first week in October.
No log-jams or other obstructions interfere with the passage of the salmon up-stream. Owing
to the clear state of the water the elusive salmon countered every effort to hook it, and only
after three hours' hard work was my patience rewarded. The run compares very favourably
with those of 1913 and 1914.
The hatchery creek was full of spawning sockeye, the limited beds showing to great
advantage; large numbers were observed spawning on the gravel-bars at the entrance. The
favourable report of this creek given in 1913 may be compared as an illustration of the conditions here this year, not only in numbers, but in size; exceptionally large fish predominating.
No eggs were taken from this point by the hatchery owing to the fence which had been erected
having been washed out by the freshet.
The gravel-bar stretching along the upper end of the Owikeno River, near the entrance to
the lake, was well stocked with sockeye salmon and should provide its full quota of eggs.
Spring salmon were, as usual, breaking water all the way down the Owikeno River, and an
exceptionally fine run should result from the ova deposited by this species of salmon.
In summing up, I am able to report that, with the exception of the head rivers—viz., the
Indian, Cheo, and Washwash—upon which I was unable to form any personal opinion as to the
run, but from reports received were well stocked with salmon, the spawning-beds of Rivers Inlet
received their quota of salmon and compared favourably with the runs here in 1913, 1914, and
1915. Providing climatic conditions did not affect the rivers while the earlier run of salmon
were spawning, there is no reason to doubt that the enormous number of sockeye salmon seen
on the greater portion of the beds will provide a big run from this season's spawning.
No blame can be attached to the weather for the poor catch obtained by the canneries during
the fishing season, as it remained fine for the greater portion of the time. It is probable that
the strike of fishermen, which lasted during the first ten days of the run, accounted to a great
extent for the failure to put up a larger pack, and also the small size of the salmon, which
repeatedly escaped through the nets.
In conclusion, I wish to express my thanks for the courtesy extended by G. C. Johnston,
manager of Rivers Inlet Cannery; Captain Hamer, Superintendent of the Dominion Hatchery;
and the men at the various spawning camps, to whom I am indebted for a very successful trip.
I have, etc.,
Arthur W. Stone,
Fisheries Overseer.
Rivers Inlet, B.C., November 5th, 1917. 8 Geo. 5 Spawning-beds of Smith Inlet. Q 29
THE SPAWNING-BEDS OF SMITH INLET.
Hon. H. C. Brewster,
Commissioner of Fisheries, Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit my report upon the result of my inspection of both the
watersheds at Smith Inlet and Rivers Inlet respectively for the season 1917.
To obtain an accurate observation on the conditions of the spawning-grounds year by year,
both at Smith and Rivers Inlet, at different stages of the spawning season, I considered it
advisable to vary the time of the inspection, and this year proceeded to Smith Inlet first.
It is not unusual to experience bad weather conditions at this time of the year, and this
trip was no exception to the rule; high winds and sea prevailed, nearly frustrating our efforts
to reach Smith Inlet by launch.
Arriving there on September 27th, I engaged Indians and canoe and left for the spawning-
grounds at Long Lake.
The Docee River (the overflow to the lake) was pouring down in great volume, and great
difficulty was experienced in negotiating the rapids; to reach the lake it was necessary to pack
our outfit over the trail. The spring salmon were seen in large numbers both in the river and
all along the shores at the mouth of the lake, and was well up to the average of former years.
A terrific downpour of rain, lasting sixty hours, made travelling very uncomfortable, and on
arriving at Quay Creek I found that the freshet caused by the torrential downpour had swollen
the creek to such an extent that satisfactory observations of the spawning-grounds was precluded,
so decided to visit this place on my return from the head of the lake.
The Delabah River was in " freshet" at the time of our arrival, and, as there appeared to
be no abatement in the weather, camp was made and the interval employed in drying out.
The weather improving next day made possible an examination of the spawning-beds here.
I was glad to see an improvement in the number of salmon over last year; the river was well
stocked right up to the falls and compared favourably with the run here in 1915. It will
be remembered that the year 1915 was an exceptional one in the number of sockeye salmon
spawning on these beds, vast hordes being seen both in the river and distributed along the
gravel beach at the mouth. Outside I noticed the sockeye salmon in large numbers spawning
along the gravel shores of the lake, and these in number compared favourably with the run
of 1915.
Acting upon instructions from the Department to obtain samples of the sockeye spawn,
together with scales of the fish, from each of the streams inspected, a collection was made here.
The spawning-grounds of the Geluch River were not seen under such favourable conditions
as in the case last year owing to the high stage of the water, the recent heavy rain having
caused the lower portion of the river to rise over the banks. Proceeding up the rapids and
inspecting each of the small mountain streams emptying into the river, large numbers of sockeye'
were noted spawning, and this was in evidence all the way to the falls, three miles and a half
distant; although better than the run of 1916, the number of sockeye salmon did not reach by
any means the high standard of 1914 and 1915, and in making a comparison of the run a decrease
of 50 per cent, is noticeable. The river contained no log-jams and enabled the salmon to make
full use of the beds right up to the falls. The bears had created great slaughter amongst the
salmon, as the dead bodies lying on the rocks and in the bush testified.
Specimens of the sockeye spawn and scales were obtained from this river. The fine gravel-
bars at the mouth of the Geluch River and opening out into the lake were well stocked with
both sockeye and cohoe salmon.
Returning from the head of the lake, I again paid a visit to Quay Creek, and this time was
able to obtain a more favourable opinion of the spawning-grounds here, as the creek had fallen
considerably. The sockeye were in evidence, a marked improvement being shown over last year,
the run comparing favourably with that of 1915. Cohoe salmon were noticed breaking water
all the way down the lake, indicating a fair run of this species of salmon from this season's
spawning.
In size the sockeye salmon did not compare with those of the past three years, and reminded
me of the small size of the 1913 run at Rivers Inlet.   Owing to the fact that my instructions Q 30 Report op the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
for that year did not include an inspection of this watershed, I was unable to make a comparison
of the 1913 run, either in regard to numbers or size. I am, however, indebted to G. F. Harris,
manager of the Wallace Fisheries at Smith Inlet, for the following information, viz.: In 1913
he paid a visit to the spawning-grounds at Long Lake and found the beds full of sockeye salmon,
but they were small in size. It is obvious, therefore, that the marked falling-off is not accidental,
but a gradual decrease in the runs each year to the spawning-grounds.
The poor showing made by the canneries located at this point would lead one to the opinion
there was an exceptionally poor run of sockeye salmon this year, but I think such was not the
case. The large number of boats fishing gill-nets on the inlet appear to have split up the schools
of salmon and prevented the fishermen obtaining their full toll of fish, and the salmon on reaching the seining-grounds, instead of again schooling up and allowing the seine-nets to make big
hauls, passed through to the upper lagoon and on to the lake. In former years it was usual for
the gill-net fishermen to obtain rich hauls owing to the few boats fishing, the salmon not being
disturbed to such an extent as is the case this year, and on arriving at the seining-grounds
schooled up and allowed the seiners likewise to obtain big catches. It will be seen, therefore,
although poor consolation both to the gill-net and seine-net fishermen, the large increase in the
number of gill-net fishermen fishing on the inlet helped rather than acted as a detriment to the
sockeye salmon reaching the spawning-grounds.
It is fortunate restrictions were placed upon the gill-net fishermen fishing in the upper lagoon
this season, otherwise I am afraid conditions on the spawning-grounds would have been serious;
one has only to compare in proportion the spawning area of Rivers Inlet with that of Smith Inlet
to realize how necessary it is to conserve the run to the latter point to obtain the maximum
results year by year.
In summing up the results of my inspection of the spawning-grounds, I am of opinion there
was a general falling-off in the number of sockeye salmon reaching the beds this year; although
better than last year, the run in no way approaches the vast numbers seen on the beds in 1914
and 1915; and I can see no hope of any improvement unless artificial means are employed to
counteract the enormous wastage occasioned by climatic conditions affecting the rivers at the
time when the salmon are spawning, as was the case this year. The small area of good spawning-
grounds available do not warrant the increased demands of the canneries operating at this point.
In conclusion, I desire to extend my thanks to G. F. Harris, of the Wallace:Fisheries, for
the kind hospitality received at his hands.
I have, etc.,
Arthur W. Stone,
Fisheries Overseer.
Rivers Inlet, B.C., November 5th, 1917.
THE SPAWNING-BEDS OF THE NASS RIVER.
Hon. H. C. Brewster,
Commissioner of Fisheries, Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—In obedience to the instructions of the Department, I have made an inspection of the
spawning-grounds of various species of salmon in the Meziadin watershed of the Nass River,
and beg to submit the following report:—
In company with J. McHugh, Engineer for the Dominion Fisheries Department, who was
going in to the fishway at the Meziadin Falls to make some necessary repairs to the crib-work,
we left New Westminster on September 10th, and arrived at Prince Rupert on the 12th. On
our arrival at Prince Rupert we found that there was a very poor boat service to Stewart, and
J. T. Williams, Inspector of Dominion Fisheries, kindly placed the fishery-patrol cruiser " Thos.
Crosby " at our disposal to take us to Stewart.    We met J. M. Collison at Prince Rupert, who 8 Geo. 5 Spawning-beds op Nass River. Q 31
is Dominion Fishery Overseer on the Nass River and who had arranged to go in with our party,
and left Prince Rupert on September 13th. We called in at the Nass on our way up,- and
obtained two Indian packers and helpers for the trip. We arrived at Stewart on the 14th,
and obtained another man, ordered our provisions and outfit, and left Stewart for Meziadin
on the 15th. We reached the American Creek Road-house that evening and started out next
morning with pack-horses. Owing to small bridges being out we were not able to pack as far
with horses as on previous occasions. In crossing the Bear River Glacier the trail in places
was completely obliterated owing to the ice having receded, and it was necessary to get down
on to the glacier, which made the travelling at times dangerous. From the glacier down the
Beaver River we found the trail overgrown and small bridges out. The large bridge over
Surprise River was washed out, and we had to ford this river, which was very high, and
succeeded in getting a good wetting. .
On reaching the head of Meziadin Lake we found that the canoe had been taken away,
which necessitated building a raft to carry six persons and outfit down the lake. We also had
to make another raft below the first rapids in the Meziadin River. These difficulties which we
encountered on the way in made the trip to the fishway longer than we anticipated; however,
we arrived at the Meziadin Falls in the afternoon of September 20th.
On our arrival at the falls we inspected the fishway, and Mr. McHugh outlined the work
that was necessary to brace up the crib-work, so that there would be no chance of the timbers
giving way and depositing the gravel into the fishway. While the bulging in the crib-work was
not much worse than when I reported on it in 1916, Mr. McHugh considered it was absolutely
necessary to shore it up. We worked on the crib incessantly from the time of our arrival and
had the work completed on September 24th.
The nature of the work done was: Upright braces were hewn out and made to fit on the
face of the crib-work; they were then braced and held into place with jack-pine timbers, toed
into the solid rock on the far side of the fishway, extending right across and above the fishway
to the crib-work. Twelve supports were placed across in this manner, and great credit is due
to Engineer McHugh for the substantial manner in which the work was done. I have enclosed
photographs showing the fishway after the repairs were completed.
On the journey down the lake with the raft we kept close to the easterly shore for a distance.
At several places we saw spawning sockeye salmon in the shallow reaches of the lake at its head,
and salmon were to be seen leaping in the lake the whole distance down. There appeared to be
quite a number of spring salmon in the large pool below the first rapids in the Meziadin River,
but they were nearly finished spawning, as several dead springs were noticeable along the
shore-line.
On our arrival at the fishway, salmon, both sockeye and cohoe, were passing up freely and
continually. Salmon were to be seen below the fall from one side to the other and were leaping
on the far side. There were very few salmon to be seen below the lower or smaller fall. The
condition of the water this season was very favourable for the ascent of the salmon at the lower
falls, there being plenty of water running over the fall for its whole width. I made an inspection on the far side of the Meziadin River across from the fishway and below both falls. There
were quite a number of salmon to be seen below the large fall and very few below the lower
fall. Cohoe salmon seemed to be more plentiful at the fishway and below the falls than I had
noticed on any previous trip of inspection. Very few salmon were to be seen passing up the
main Nass River above the junction of the Nass and Meziadin Rivers, although from a point
of observation about one mile and a half up the Nass I saw four salmon pass up. The conditions
for observing salmon in the Nass River above Meziadin are very difficult, as the water is deep,
and not too swift that the salmon have to make their ascent close to the rocks. I inspected the
Nass for about two miles and a half above the Meziadin, but saw no further signs of salmon.
We left the fishway on the return journey on September 25th, the weather having turned
bad; it rained in torrents, and continued to do so, with the exception of one day, until we
arrived back in Stewart. On the return trip up Meziadin Lake some salmon were seen leaping
in different places. Owing to the heavy downpour of rain we were chilled through, and were
glad to make camp at the head of the lake and get dried out. We left the head of the lake on
the morning of the 26th, arriving at Stewart in the evening of September 28th. Q 32 Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
In summing up the conditions of the spawning-grounds of the Meziadin watershed of the
Nass River, I beg to submit that there was a fair run of salmon, comparing favourably with
previous seasons, but not as large as the run of 1916.
The fishway, outside of the repairs reported above, was in good condition, no signs of any
check or cracks in the cement-work, and the wing-dam in the river above the fishway still in
place. The freshet had washed considerable of the dump away below the large fall, and conditions are nearly the same at this place as they were before the fishway was built.
On reaching Stewart J. T. Williams sent in the patrol cruiser " Thos. Crosby " for our return
journey to Prince Rupert. We left Stewart on September 30th, and I arrived at New Westminster
on October 2nd.
I have, etc.,
C. P. Hickman,
Inspector of Fisheries.
New Westminster, November 23rd, 1917. 8 Geo. 5 Life-history of Sockeye Salmon. Q 33
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LIFE-HISTORY OF THE SOCKEYE SALMON.
(No. 4.)
By Charles H. Gilbert, Ph.D., Professor of Zoology, Stanford University.
I. THE FRASER RIVER RUN OF 1916.
(1.)  General Characteristics and the Age-groups.
The run of sockeye salmon to the Fraser River in the summer of 1916 was the poorest
known. The catch amounted to 32,146 oases on the Fraser River (including the traps along the
southern shore of Vancouver Island) and 84,637 cases on Puget Sound; a total of 116,783 cases.
Thus the catch was about 50,000 cases less than in 1915, which was the worst of the previous
small years. Not only was the commercial catch the poorest on record, but the spawning-beds
reported on by J. P. Babcock yielded in all districts the same story of depletion. Above the
canyon the run was everywhere noted as perhaps the poorest ever recorded. While, below the
canyon, less eggs were secured by the hatcheries than in any recent season. The total run, then,
was undeniably the poorest ever experienced.
Omitting from consideration the three-year grilse, which have little commercial value, the
run consisted in part of four-year fish derived from the brood-year 1912, and in part of five-year
fish from the brood-year 1911. The last named, 1911, was recorded In this series of reports as
the poorest year on the spawning-beds which had been known up to that time. We have seen
in a previous report that if; delivered a very small number of four-year fish to the run of 1915,
and were quite prepared to find an equally small five-year contingent in the run of 1916. But the
season of 1912, from which as four-year-olds the greater part of the run of 1916 was to be derived,
was reported as unusually favourable, both as to the number taken commercially and also as to
those which escaped to the spawning-grounds. The latter were reported by Mr. Babcock as well
seeded for an off-year, especially the Chilcotin, the Quesnel, and the Seton-Anderson Lakes sections,
all of which are above the canyon. There was no run, however, in the Shuswap-Adams District;
and the region below the canyon, Harrison Lake, Morris Creek, and Cultus Lake, had the smallest
run that they had ever experienced. Indications from the spawning-grounds were therefore
conflicting. The district above the canyon, for an off-year, was well provided with spawners,
while below the canyon the numbers showed a marked falling-off. When we recall that the
great majority of the off-year sockeyes are furnished by the lakes and streams below the canyon,
the fact of an unusually poor run in this region in 1912 must be given full consideration. No
great surprise should be occasioned if 1912 should furnish 1916 with a very limited number of
four-year fish. This is, in fact, what occurred. Ordinarily, when one brood-year has been a
partial failure and fails to deliver its component of a given run in customary abundance, the
other component of the run, derived as it is from another brood-year, will be present in usual
numbers and will partially save the situation. But in 1916 both the four- and the five-year
groups were far below their usual proportions, and the result was the poorest run on record.
In previous reports we have called attention to the fact that where runs fluctuate in size
from year to year, the good years most frequently will be characterized hy an unusually large
proportion of the particular year-group which prevails on that watershed, and the poor years
by a deficiency in the prevailing type. Thus in the Fraser River basin, where the great majority
of sockeyes mature at four years of age, we find the big years of the cycles characterized by
almost 100 per cent, of four-year fish, while the poorer of the small years, like 1911 and 1915,
may have the four-year fish but little more numerous than the five-year group. The reasons for
this are not far to seek. When two age-groups are present in a run, as in the Fraser River,
where we have the four- and the five-year classes, which are derived from two consecutive and
wholly independent brood-years, the probabilities are small that the two groups will vary strongly
in the same direction at the same time. If one group is phenomenally small in any given year,
the other group most probably w7ill be stationary, or a little larger than usual, or even a little
smaller. They may vary in the same direction and to the same extent, but in the great majority
of cases they would not do so. If one group is sparsely represented in any year, ordinarily the
other group will be present in about normal proportions, and by comparison will appear greatly Q 34
Report of the Commissioner op Fisheries.
1918
in excess. Furthermore, fluctuations in the subordinate group will have comparatively little
effect on the volume of the run. In the Fraser River run the five-year group is the subordinate
one. In average years they comprise only 10 or 15 per cent, of the run. Obviously, very small
runs could not be caused exclusively by a comparative failure of the five-year group. If the
latter should fail completely on the Fraser River the run would not be diminished more than
one-fifth.
A complete failure never occurs, and it is clear that extensive fluctuations of the subordinate
class in any given year would have little effect on the volume of the run. It is also clear that
such fluctuations would have comparatively little effect on the proportions of four-year fish
present in the run. If five-year fish in the Fraser were reduced in any year to half their normal
number, that would increase the proportion of four-year fish from 85 to 92% per cent. It is
therefore clear that fluctuations of large extent in the volume of the run or in the proportions
of the year-groups are occasioned by corresponding fluctuations in the prevailing group, xlccorcl-
ing to this, a large run in the Fraser practically always would be signalized by an extraordinary
preponderance of the four-year group, and, conversely, a very small run would be marked by
a decided deficiency in this group. Illustrations of this are found in the records from 1911 to
1915. Arranging the catches of these years in the order of their size, and accompanying each
with the percentage of four-year fish characteristic of each year, we have the following:—
Tabic I.
Year.
No. of Cases packed.
Percentage of
Pour-year Fish.
1913
1914
1912
1911
1915
2,402,389
555,557
325,451
190,586
155,714
Per Cent.
994-
85
90
54
61
While the correspondence shown above between size of run and the percentage of four-year
fish present is not an exact one, the general agreement is clearly brought out. On this showing
it might seem possible at the beginning of a run to predict what its proportions would be from
the percentage of four-year fish present. But there are two reasons why such a prediction is
unreliable. One reason is that the relative numbers of four-year fish are not constant throughout the season. If samples are taken at regular intervals during the fishing season, rapid
changes may occur in the percentages of four- and five-year fishes. These are especially marked
during the early stages of the Fraser run, in May and June and the early part of July. In the
latter part of July, when the main run begins, a definite ratio is established, which persists
without change until near the close of the season, and thus characterizes about three-fourths
the fish of the year. An unusually complete series of records were obtained during 1916 by
Mr. J. P. Babcock, Assistant to the Commissioner. These were made at intervals of about one
week, and give us, therefore, a fairly complete account of the changes which occurred during
the continuance of the 1916 run. The following table gives the percentages of four- and five-
year fish on the different dates for which we have record:—
Table II.
io
ci
CC
L-
<£
a
l-C
C-l
7-1
T-i
rH
Cl
ctt
CO
rH
<M
t>l
d
a
o
a
©
>_
>>
>1
!>,
ti
eh
eh
B
3
3
3
3
3
rn
t-i
r-5
1-5
rs
i-s
i-a
r->
T-5
m
<
<
<
Per cent, four-year fish
88
88
80
24
23
39
89
92
77
76
76
76
90
Per cent, five-year fish
12
12
20
76
77
61
11
8
23
24
24
24
10
In such a case as this, obviously it would be impossible to form any judgment of the
constituents of the main run prior to its onset the latter part of July, or to base any predictions
founded on the complexion of its initial stages. 8 Geo. 5 Life-history of Sockeye Salmon. Q 35
There is another reason why predictions of this character would be unsafe in the Fraser
River, even if we could know in advance the proportions of the age-groups during the main
portion of the run. We have said that under ordinary circumstances it would be highly
improbable that in any year two age-groups should oscillate violently in the same direction—
that a very poor four-year group would encounter at maturity an equally poor five-year group.
If, however, this should occur, the result would be a phenomenally small run, in which, nevertheless, the proportions of the age-groups would remain unchanged and normal. Under ordinary
circumstances this would seldom occur. No such case is found in the years cited in Table I.,
from 1911 to 1915. If the run is being maintained at a given level, and is subject from year
to year only to such oscillations above and below the normal as are caused by inequality of
natural conditions, the proportions of the age-groups usually "constitute a fairly reliable index
of the size of the run. But with a river undergoing depletion the conditions are quite different.
In the latter case it need occasion no surprise if both four-year and five-year groups in a given
year should spring from greatly reduced brood-years and be equally deficient. Such was obviously
the case in 1916. Despite the fact that the run was the poorest known, the proportion of four-
year fish during the height of the run was 76 per cent., only slightly below the normal. Both
age-groups were greatly reduced and almost equally so.
(2.)  The Three-year Grilse.
As we have previously pointed out in this series of reports, the year preceding the big year
of each cycle is always conspicuous for the large numbers of three-year grilse present in the run.
During the other years of the cycle these small males, with paler flesh and poor oil, are few in
number and are often difficult to detect. But in the last year of the cycle they may be present
in extraordinary abundance—as in 1912, when they constituted numerically about 20 per cent,
of the entire run. As these are derived from the eggs of the preceding big year, their relative
number during the year of their abundance may give some indication of the size of the succeeding big year. Thus, if less of them occurred in 1916 than in 1912, that might well occasion
apprehensions that 1917 would fail to equal 1913.
This problem was of unusual importance in 1916, for the rock-slides in the canyon of the
Fraser River in 1913 had blocked the way to the up-river spawning-grounds, and had caused
the death without spawning of enormous numbers of sockeyes. The facts were clearly stated
by Mr. Babcock in his report for 1913, and adequate warnings given of an impending failure of
the big run. But many of the operators refused to concede the seriousness of the situation, and
contended that the relatively small number of fish which reached the up-river spawning-grounds
in 1913 were adequate to produce a big run. They called attention to the waste which inevitably
results when hordes of spawning fish overpopulate the spawning-beds, and the late-comers dig
over the gravels already fully seeded, with the consequent exposure and loss of myriads of eggs.
Undoubtedly, spawning-beds may be overpopulated in this way and serious loss result. In such
cases some reduction in the number of spawners may increase rather than diminish the size
of the new brood. The question is always what amount of reduction in a given case can be
regarded as beneficial, and when the safety factor shall have been exceeded, with damage to the
run. It was the contention of this Department in 1913 that the spawners had been reduced far
below the numbers which would be necessary to maintain a run of great magnitude, and that
a signal disaster had occurred.
The run of 1916 offered the first opportunity to apply an independent test to these conflicting
theories. In 1912, with a pack of over 325,000 cases, tests made at intervals through the summer
indicated the presence of grilse constituting on the average 21.5 per cent, of the run. As the
run of 1916 amounted to less than 117,000 cases,* it is clear that if the grilse had been as
numerous as in 1912 they would have constituted numerically approximately 40 per cent, of the
run. The facts were far otherwise. In the first place, the grilse did not run throughout the
season, as they did in 1912. None were found among the sockeyes examined during May, June,
and the first half of July, captured in the traps on the southern shore of Vancouver Island.
On July 17th the first were seen, when two grilse were found in a total of 150 sockeyes examined.
On July 27th the grilse from these traps amounted to 11 per cent, of the total.
At Bellingham tests were maile on June 16th and 20th and no grilse were found.    No further
* In  this paper I have adopted for the Puget Sound pack of sockeyes the figures given by the Pacific
Fisherman in January,  1917. Q 36
Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
Bellingham records are available until July 23rd. On that day 2,440 sockeyes were inspected,
and among them were found forty-nine grilse, or 2 per cent. Tests were made at Bellingham
each day from July 23rd to the 27th, and from August Sth to the 16th. The results are given
below:—
Date,  1916.
Number of Sock
Number of
Percentage  of
eyes examined.
Grilse included.
Grilse.
July  23   	
2,440
49
2.0
„    24   	
3.280
124
3.8
,,    25   	
3.964
319
8.0
„    "56   	
1.856
141
7.6
„    27   	
3.661
408
11.0
Aug.     8 	
3.950
513
13.0
9  	
2.410
256
10.6
„    10   	
2.508
295
11.7
„     13  	
1,559
179
11.5
„     15  	
791
1,102
107
150
13.5
,.     16  	
13.6
These dates cover the period of the main run of that year. Probably three-fourths of the
sockeyes of the year entered the Fraser during this period in which the grilse approximated
12 per cent. But the early part of the run, amounting to about one-fourth of the whole, was
entirely without grilse. Making allowance for this, the number of grilse present during the
season is reduced to about 10 per cent, of the entire run. They should have constituted 40
per cent., as we have shown on a previous page, if they had been as numerous as in 1912.
Apparently, these three-year fish had suffered a reduction of 75 per cent, because of the blockade
in 1913. In so far as they could be accepted as indication of the number of four-year fish to be
expected in 1917, these also should be reduced about 75 per cent, below the run of 1913. The
pack of 1913 amounted to about 2,400,000 cases. The estimate we were compelled to make for
1917 on the basis of the 1916 grilse was for a pack of 600,000 cases. It amounted to 535,152
cases. It seems, then, that during the times when the big runs still existed the number of
grilse present during the preceding year formed a fairly reliable index of the magnitude of the
anticipated run.
(3.) Changes during the Run, and their Probable Significance.
Our earlier reports on the Fraser River were based on tests which were made mainly or
wholly during the latter part of July and the early part of August, when the run was at its
maximum. During those days a striking uniformity prevails. For a period of two or three
weeks, day after day, there is practically no variation in the relative sizes of the age-groups,
the proportions of the sexes, the average size of the individuals, and the size and other characteristics of the nuclear areas of the scales. But when we extend our examination to the earlier
stages of the run this is by no means the case. Changes of great magnitude may occur suddenly
from one week to another, changes which include more than one factor and in which several
characteristics are correlated. Suddenly, the average size of individuals may change in both
males and females, the relative sizes of the age-groups may shift extensively, and the characteristics of the nuclear area (which records the growth of the fingerling in fresh water before
seeking the sea) may present a sudden transformation. While examining such a series, the
impression is strong of a succession of strains or sub-races, at one period of the run appearing
pure or relatively so, and later on, perhaps, inextricably mingled with one or more other strains.
A striking example of such changes during the progress of the run is given in Table II. The
percentage of four-year fish was 88, both on May 26th and June 2nd. Six days later, on June
8th, it had dropped slightly to 80 per cent., as though a new strain were approaching, characterized by a lower percentage of four-year fish. A week later, June 15th, this new form had
fully declared itself, and the percentage of four-year fish had dropped to 24. For another week
it remained unchanged, registering 23 per cent, on June 22nd. On June 28th it had increased
to 39 per cent., marking another transition period, for two weeks later and for another week
beyond that the percentage of four-year fish remained about 90. The next ten days marked the
beginning of the main run, when the percentage dropped to 76, and remained constant at that
point until the run was practically over.   We have, then, as regards this character, a period of 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 37
two weeks or more marked by uniformity, followed by a short transition period which leads up
or down to a new level. When this is reached it remains constant for a further period of longer
or shorter duration, and passes by transitions into still another. The uniform periods may mark
the presence of pure strains, or they may present composite photographs of two or more strains
intimately mixed in definite proportions. Sometimes one condition obtains, sometimes the other.
The tabulation of other characters often throws side-lights on this question. To one who watches
pass before his eyes this procession of types possessing a certain uniformity, who detects, as is
often possible, the advance skirmishers of the next invasion when they make their first appearance during a transition period, who watches the new type becoming the dominant one and the
old form soon represented by only a few stragglers—to such an observer the conviction seems
inescapable that the run consists of a number of sub-races, each bound to its own spawning
area within the Fraser basin. At times they run separately and their characteristics are easily
determined and scheduled. At other parts of the run two may be in company, and it may be
possible to distinguish them. At other times a larger number of strains may be hopelessly intermingled. If this theory be true, not only do sockeye salmon return to their own river-basin at
maturity, they predominantly return to the particular part of the river-basin in which they were
reared as fingerlings, in which case their homing instinct is far more rigid in its workings than
heretofore has* been accepted. How rigid, cannot at present be stated. No limits can be set.
Do the salmon, for instance, which have developed from eggs deposited in the gravels of the
Horsefly, a tributary of the Quesnel, return at maturity not only to the Quesnel, but also to the
Horsefly? Facts are known bearing on this question, which make such a supposition appear by
no means improbable.
In Table II., which precedes, we have given the changes in the relative proportions of the
four- and five-year classes in a succession of dates throughout the run. It is of interest to
consider in connection with these the accompanying changes in the size of the fish. The following tables give the distribution of separate classes of individuals on the basis of length, as these
were observed during the season:—
Table III.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Four-year Males, from the Southern Shore of Vancouver
Island, 1916, distributed by Lengths and Dates of Capture.
to
ci
ri
fl
<->
^
Inches.
16
IS
18%            1
19               1 5
19%           1 7
20               3       13
20%           1      13
21               1       18
21%           3 5
22               2 6
22%     1
23
23%     2
24          1 2
24%    	
25      	
25%   	
26      	
26%   	
27      	
27%   	
28       	
Totals . 15
Percentage of f o u r -      88       88
year fish
25
80
15
24
00
■A
--•
H
<M
CU
c
>>
*>!
t>)
fl
fl
i-:
r-5
1-1
hS
4
5
11
4
5
9
16       45
23      39
5
10
31
22
29
13
7
3
1
121
89
2
1
5
11
14
20
22
8
7
1
1
92
4
11
19
7
10
6
3
3
1
~72~
77
1
8
13
20
11
11
6
71
76
4
5
10
15
10
12
1
61
76
9
12
16
12
8
4
2
66
76
40
90 Q 38
Report op the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
Table IV.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Four-year Females, from the Southern Shore of Vancouver
Island, 1916, distributed by Lengths and Dates of Capture.
Inches.
16       	
18	
18%   	
19      	
19%   	
20      	
20%   	
21       	
21%   	
22       	
22%   	
23       	
23%   ..*	
24       	
24%   	
25       	
25%   	
26      	
2*6%   	
27      	
Totals  	
Percentage of four
year fish
10
11
14
4
3
2
1
1
55
1
1
7
15
13
46
28
2
2
12
17
31
19
10
5
1
3
3
11
9
16
19
11
4
1
1
4
7
15
20
16
9
2
4
3
20
17
27
12
10
2
17
80
15
24
16   j   38
23
39
120
89
99       79
74
92      77
76
97
76
1
3
12
18
32
11
11
3
1
92
76
2
4
4
13
6
4
1
35
90
Table  V.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Five-year Males, from the Southern Shore  of  Vancouver
Island, distributed by Lengths and Dates of Capture.
Inches.
60
I****
19       	
22       	
22%   	
23       	
23%   	
24       	
24%   	
25       	
25%   	
26      	
26%   	
27      	
27%   	
28      	
28%   	
29      	
29%   	
30      	
Totals
2
1
4
1
5
4
12
6
4
39
1
5
8
17
4
13
5
4
2
59
8
6
15
12
17
8
6
1
1
16
21
18
27
27 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 39
Table VI.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Five-year Females, from the Southern Shore of Vancouver
Island, distributed by Lengths and Dates of Capture.
Inches.
6
CO
rH
>.
6j
ti)
3
Is
**,
<
19      	
22      	
22%   	
23      	
23%   	
24      	
24%   	
25      	
25%   	
26      	
26%   	
27      	
27%   	
28       	
28%   	
29      	
29%   	
Totals
1
1
3
5
17
4
14
6
2
1
13
8
9
3
11
1
5
2
19
14
10
4
1
11
54
48
56
12
11
23      28
22
23
From the above tables it appears that as the season advances a certain increase in length
is observed in each of the four classes. This increase is of the greatest extent and is most
sharply marked in the four-year fish of both sexes. In connection with the four-year tables, we
have given the percentage of four-year fish in the run for each of the dates given. The two
classes of data reinforce each other and emphasize the division of the run into the periods so
sharply marked by the groups of four-year percentages. These periods are May 26th to June
Sth, June 15th to June 28th, July 11th to July 17th, and July 27th to August 10th, the last date
of each period (except the last named) partaking more or less of the nature of a transition to
the next.
The size of the individuals when captured along the coast of Vancouver Island must closely
represent their final size. No further growth in length or weight would seem possible in view
of the fact that they have already ceased to feed when taken in the Vancouver Island traps.
A few miles to the westward, at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, they are freely
feeding, for the stomachs of all individuals examined on Swiftsure Banks are gorged with minute
crustaceans. But on leaving the open ocean and beginning their definite migration past the
shores and through the channels leading to the mouth of the Fraser, they wholly cease to feed.
Partially digested and unrecognizable remains are occasionally detected in the stomachs of
freshly running fish in the outer part of this range, but nothing further. Not only the incred-
able amount of energy expended in reaching their spawning-grounds, but also the additional
materials for the growth and maturing of the reproductive glands, must be furnished by reserves
stored up for this purpose. The use of any portion of these reserves for further growth would
seem under the circumstances impossible. On this basis we must face the probability that the
earlier-running four-year fish, to whatever part of the river-basin they may be bound, will reach
their spawning areas characterized by a smaller average size than are those of equal age which
run later. If our theory concerning the parent-tributary theory is correct, if the strains we seem
to recognize in the run are bound each to its own spawning district, an examination of these
districts should discover fish of different average size and of wide disparity in the relative
numbers of four- and of five-year fish. Some should have as high as 90 per cent, of four-year
fish, others as low as 23 per cent.
We add below similar tables giving weight-distribution of the separate classes for all the
dates investigated.    These reinforce the conclusions of the previous tables, and show that total Q 40
Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
size increases largely throughout the season. How much of this difference in weight would
persist on the spawning-beds it is impossible to foretell. In all cases great reduction in weight
occurs as the season advances, for reasons already indicated.
Table VII.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Four-year Males, from the Southern Shore of Vancouver
Island, 1916, distributed by Weights and Dates of Capture.
Pounds.
60
«**4
60
2 	
2% 	
3 	
3%	
4 	
4% 	
5 	
5%	
6 	
6% 	
7 	
7%	
8 	
8%	
9 	
9% 	
Totals
15
7
24
23
12
6
1
73
1
3
7
10
4
25
15
16
13
24
23
29
22
8
2
11
16
27
19
10
6
1
6
12
22
11
8
3
4
o
17
16
12
1
5
7
11
17
13
6
1
121
92
72       71
61
17
20
13
7
2
1
4
7
8
12
7
66      40
Table VIII.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Four-year'Females, from the Southern Shore of Vancouver
Island, 1916, distributed by Weights and Dates of Capture.
2	
2%	
3 	
3%	
4 	
4%	
5 	
5%	
6 	
6%	
7 	
7%	
Totals
3
23
18
55
16
i
2
i
3
3
3
3
2
1
5
Q
3
2
15
16
26
37
34
10
2
3
4
23
36
21
10
2
1
1
4
14
18
18
16
4
1
1
7
18
20
17
8
1
1
1
1
2
14
26
28
18
3
120
99      79      74
97
4
6
17
35
23
4
3
92
1
5
10
8
7
3
1
35 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 41
Table IX.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Five-year Males, from the Southern Shore of Vancouver
Island, 1916, distributed by Weights and Dates of Capture.
Pounds.
4 	
4% 	
5 	
5%	
6 	
6%	
7 	
7%	
8 	
8%	
9 	
9%	
10 	
10% 	
11 	
Totals
6
19
13
8
7
4
39      59
16
21
18
27      27
Table X.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Five-year Females, from the Southern Shore of Vancouver
Island, 19.16, distributed by Weights and Dates of Capture.
Pounds.
3 	
3%	
4 	
4%	
5 	
5%	
6 	
6%	
7 	
7%	
8 	
8%	
9 	
9%	
10 	
10%	
11 	
11%	
Totals
11
4
11
16
11
6
4
1
54
11
15
11
1
48
12
11
4
3
10
7
2
1
23
28
22
23
The most delicate test of racial difference is found in the scales—in that small central or
nuclear area of the scales which is produced during the life of the fingerling in fresh water, and
records such peculiarities of growth as accompany life in one particular body of water rather
than in any other. Of such bodies of water in the Fraser watershed a wide variety is offered
By the numerous lakes which form the final goal of all the ascending sockeyes and furnish the
home of their progeny up to the period of their seaward migration. During their period of
residence the young salmon react to the physical and biological peculiarities of their special Q 42
Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
lake, and in most cases, certainly, form a colony which can be readily distinguished from other
colonies in the same basin. They exhibit peculiarities of growth and habit which are recorded
on their scales, and these in turn become the centres of the scales of the adults, with all the
markings unchanged and the early history still to be read. Life in the sea offers less that is
distinctive to any given colony. No barriers exist there with which we are familiar. So far as
known to us, each school moves freely about among the feeding-grounds, and is not during the
remainder of its life exposed to any special set of conditions. Growth in the sea is very similar
on the part of all the colonies, and for this reason the extra-nuclear areas of the scales, recording
life in the sea, contain comparatively little that is distinctive. In seeking the finest test of
racial difference, we turn first to the nuclear region of the scale. The most obvious character
deals with the size of this area and the number of nuclear rings. In general, the number of
rings is a measure of the size of the fingerling scale, and this in turn is in general proportionate
to the size of the fingerling. If the fingerlings reared in a given lake averaged smaller than
those from an adjoining lake the average number of rings on their scales would be less, and if
at maturity each colony should return to its own lake to spawn the nuclear rings of the two
colonies would show distinctive averages. With the hope of throwing light on the theory of
racial differentiation within the river-basin, we have examined the nuclear rings of the scales for
numerous individuals on different dates throughout the season. If the tabulations showed close
similarity for all the dates we should have to conclude that no differentiation into races had
occurred, or that such as did exist were running equally and inextricably commingled throughout. As the tables already presented show striking lack of uniformity in other respects, it will
occasion no surprise to find the following tables of nuclear rings reinforcing our contention for
local races in the various tributaries, running at times separately, at other times forming a
mixture the elements of which cannot be disentangled. i
Table XI.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Four-year Males and Females, from the Southern Shore of
Vancouver Island, 1916, distributed by Number of Nuclear Rings.
No. of Rings.
to
c-i
CO
o
(M
1-1
■H
rH
Ol
CO
CO
H
ft
ri
fl
fl
CU
fl
fl
o
fl
>j
>>
t*»
>■»
th
60
fl
fl
fl
%
<
■5q
era
l~S
r-S
1-8
r-2
1-3
Ha
i->
1-3
60
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
1
3
12
27
35
17
17
12
1
8
5
10
5
1
2
1
o
2
1
2
3
7
1
2
2
1
1
4
8
5
10
7
4
8
6
o
13
16
8
9
6
4
11
1
10
16
18
15
1
1
6
4
12
6
12
25
15
3
5
7
7
10
13
19
3
6
6
i
13
8
13
16
2
9
12
2
2
6
10
8
4
3
l
1
15
13
9
i
4
8
1
l
2
17
11
3
4
4
27
18
6
2
2
5
4
31
10
4
2
3
3
24
12
7
1
4
1
20
8
3
1
3
22
6
12
2
3
1
3
1
2
2
1
i
1
1
1
3
1
3
4
3
3
2
1
1
2 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 43
Table XII.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Five-year Males and Females, from the Southern Shore of
Vancouver Island, 1916, distributed by Number of Nuclear Rings.
io
ci
CO
d
l-C
eo
rH
Cl
No. of Rings.
ri
a
ea
a
a
3
eo
a
<D
a
3
>.
rN
3
t£
60
eh
r-i
r~i
1-3
ha
I-)
1-5
r-i
■"'
1-3
rr,
<
<
5   	
1
1
2
6   	
i
4
4
7 	
i
8
11
13
2
1
8   	
14
22
10
5
2
i
5
9  	
2
4
19
26
30
5
1
6
l
4
2
10   	
1
2
20
18
32
4
2
3
7
4
1
11  	
1
1
1
9
14
16
3
5
3
7
4
12   	
1
4
9
2
11
3
1
5
2
6
3
i
13   	
2
1
2
6
3
2
1
5
1
14   	
i
1
i
1
1
4
1
2
1
5
6
15   	
1
2
1
2
3
1
16   	
2
i
4
i
i
17   	
i
1
2
1
l
18   	
l
i
1
1
19   	
l
2
2
1
2
20   	
l
1
2
i
Comparing Table XL with Tables III. and IV., which deal with the same fish classified by
length, it is clear that the comparatively small early-running four-year fish, which formed a
very large percentage of those which appeared in May and early June, were also marked by small
nuclear regions and a very low number of nuclear rings. Compare the numbers of rings shown in
the first three columns of Table XL with those of July 11th and 17th. It is obvious that a different
lot of fish have in the meantime come in, characterized by much larger nuclei, with rings ranging
well upwards from fourteen, while on the first days the rings were below fourteen in number.
On July 11th and 17th a distinct bimodal curve is shown, caused by the presence of two types
on these days, one of these having nuclear rings from five to twelve or thirteen, the other from
twelve or thirteen on to twenty-four. On the next date, July 27th, the type with larger nuclear
areas to the scales had dropped away and was represented by a few stragglers only, and on
July 30th it had practically disappeared. The number of Individuals shown in this table is not
sufficiently high to give perfect curves, and are markedly insufficient during the latter part of
the season, during the heaviest part of the run. To make available further data, I subjoin a
series of tables based on observations made at Bellingham, Wash., and at Steveston, at the mouth
of the Fraser. In general, these show that the characteristics of the run appearing on different
dates off the southern shore of Vancouver Island were also observable on similar dates among the
channels and at the mouth of the river. The Bellingham records begin June 16th, and contain no
trace of the very small race of sockeyes taken May 26th, June 2nd, and June Sth by the Vancouver Island traps. There is also a lack of any record between July 11th and 17th, at the
period when the number of nuclear rings in the Vancouver Island fish showed a distinct bimodal
arrangement. An unmistakable trace of this arrangement persists, however, in the Bellingham
record of July 23rd  (Table XVII.) and the Steveston record of July 18th  (Table XIX.). Q 44
Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
Table XIII.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Four-year Males, Bellingham, Wash., 1916, distributed by
Lengths and Dates of Capture.
Inches.
20% 	
21 	
21% 	
22 	
22% 	
23 	
23% 	
24 	
24% 	
25 	
25% 	
26 	
26% 	
27 	
27% 	
28 	
June 16.      June 20.
July  23.      July 26.
Aug.  8.       Aug.   13.
Aug.  16.
1
1
13
11
28
21
19
11
7
1
1
3
6
11
18
22
20
7
4
1
8
10
16
20
8
3
2
2
4
14
15
11
5
2
1
3
4
5
9
15
Table XIV.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Four-year Females, Bellingham,  Wash., 1916, distributed
by Lengths and Dates of Capture.
Inches.
June 16.
June 20.
July 23.
July  26.
Aug.   S.
Aug.  13.     Aug.   16.
20%
21
21%
22
22%
23
23%
24
24%
25
25%
26
26%
5
13
27
21
34
19
10
2
4
1
2
27
30
23
12
4
2
1
4
5
5
16
27
14
6
4
11
11
8
15
8
11
1
2
8
10
16
18
9
3
Table XV.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Five-year Males, Bellingham,  Wash., 1916, distributed by
Lengths and Dates of Capture.
Inches.
June 16.
June 20.
July
July  26.
Aug.
Aug.  13.
Aug.  16.
23%
24
24%
25
25%
26
26%
27
27%
28
28%
29
29%
1
2
3
3
12
12
17
8
9
4 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 45
Table XVI.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Five-year Females, Bellingham,  Wash.,
by Lengths and Dates of Capture.
1916,  distributed
Inches.
June 16.
June 20;.
July 23.
July  26.
Aug.  8.
Aug.   13.
Aug.  16.
23%   	
3
2
7
5
12
8
2
1
2
1
3
4
10
13
12
13
7
2
2
i
3
3
6
2
2
2
1
i
3
5
9
3
o
O
4
i
6
5
5
7
1
3
5
2
4
3
1
24       	
24%   	
1
25       	
2
25%   	
2
26       	
2
26%   	
2
27      	
1
27%   	
28       	
Table XVII.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Four-year Males and Females, Bellingham, Wash.,
distributed by Number of Nuclear Rings.
1916,
No.   of  Rings.
June 16
June 20.
July 23
July 26.       Aug.  8.
Aug.   13.
Aug.  16
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
10
10
5
5
2
3
2
2
10
4
2
4
6
5
9
9
10
5
6
2
2
6
3
4
4
4
4
15
13
8
14
16
9
11
6
8
7
4
2
3
i
1
Table XVIII.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Five-year Males and Females,
distributed by Number of Nuclear Rings.
Bellingham, Wash., 1916,
No.   of  Rings.
June 16.
June 20.
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
2
1
10
13
18
12
4
i
l
l
l
l
l
July
July 26.
Aug.   13.     Aug.   16. Table XIX.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Four-year Males and Females, Steveston, 1916, distributed
by the Number of the Nuclear Rings.
No. of Rings.
July 18.
July 26.
Aug.  12.
6   	
1
1
2
5
5
5
2
6
7
5
9
8
12
9
7
7
3
4
i
4
4
1
2
2
2
3
2
3
1
i
l
l
8   	
2
9   	
3
10   	
2
11   	
3
12   	
4
13   	
5     '
14   	
3
15   	
4
16   	
4
17   	
2
18   	
2
19   	
2
20   	
1
21   	
29
2
23   	
(4.)  Eraser River Sockeyes on their Spawning-beds.
As has been seen in the previous pages, a close examination of the run in the channels of
the sound and the gulf and at the mouth of the river presents clear evidence that it is not a
homogeneous assemblage, but consists of a number of distinct groups which may enter these
waters singly or more frequently are so intermingled as to obscure their characteristics. If these
groups are bound for separate spawning-grounds, as we have assumed, the ultimate test of the
theory would toe an examination of the populations of distinct spawning areas. Here, according
to our theory, we should find relatively pure strains, with the racial characteristics unobscured
by admixture with others.
Such an examination of important spawning districts was made by the Department in 1916.
Under the direction of Mr. Babcock, C. P. Hickman and W. A. Newcombe obtained scales and
measurements from spawning sockeyes in the Chilcotin River above the canyon, and from the
Lower Fraser at Morris Creek, the Harrison Hatchery, Pitt Lake, Cultus Lake, Silver Creek,
and the Pemberton Hatchery.
The use of scales from the spawning-grounds presents serious difficulties. As the spawning-
time approaches, the margins of the scales suffer disintegration, are gradually broken down
and absorbed. This occurs with the concealed portions of the scales as well as in the exposed
portions, and cannot in any degree be attributed to mere mechanical wear and tear. In fact,
as the spawning-time draws near, the scales become more thoroughly protected from mechanical
abrasion than ever before. Especially in the males, the integument becomes greatly thickened
and the scales are so deeply embedded as almost to disappear from sight. Nevertheless, disintegration of the scales occurs more extensively in the males than in the females. If it is
claimed this is due to the more strenuous exertions of the males on the spawning-beds, we must
reply that the process begins long before the spawning-grounds are approached, even while the
salmon are still in salt water. The Vancouver Island scales give no trouble in this regard.
Those from Bellingham present little difficulty until the latter part of the season. But those
from Steveston, at the mouth of the Fraser, as has been noted in previous reports, are sometimes of little use for the determination of age, so extensively have the margins been eroded.
Fortunately for our purpose, the destructive process does not at the first attack the scale equally
at all portions of the margin; the lateral margins suffer first, while still the posterior edge
remains for a time intact; and as long as any radius of the posterior field is complete to the
margin the age can be determined.
From the foregoing it is clear that the gradual disintegration of the scales as spawning-time
approaches is not at all the result of mechanical abrasion, but is one of that extensive series
of nutritional and growth changes that accompany the advancing season.    These changes are 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 47
especially extensive in the males, which produce the greatly elongated jaws provided with large
teeth, and the great dorsal hump, in addition to the growth and maturation of the sex products.
At the time of entering the river these changes are hardly perceptible, except at the very close of
the season. The entire development is carried through while the fish is fasting. Demands are
made for materials, and existing structures are drawn upon. Other hard parts suffer besides
the scales. The otoliths or ear-bones, which exhibit a laminated structure and have also been
used in age-determination, come to appear as though partially dissolved in acid. They become
useless for age-determination early in the season, at a time while still the scales can be utilized
for this purpose.
The destructive changes which are already well marked at the mouth of the river have gone
far on reaching the spawning-grounds. Often less than half the scale remains, with no indication of the amount that has been removed. Age-determination on the spawning-grounds depends
on tabulation of lengths of the fish, taken in connection with the occasional individuals with
scales sufficiently well preserved. While this method is satisfactory for general purposes, it does
not enable us to "assign definite proportions of four- and of five-year fish as is most desirable
for comparison with certain phases of the run as observed outside the river. We have been
compelled in the following tables to include four- and five-year fish in the same group, without
distinction.
Table XX.—Fraser River Male Sockeyes examined on their Spawning-beds, 1916, distributed by
Lengths and by Locality.
Inches.
Morris
Creek.
Harrison
Hatchery.
Pitt
Lake.
Cultus
Lake.
Silver
Creek.
Pemberton Chilcotin.
Hatchery.
21
21%
22
22%
23
23%
24
24%
25
25%
26
26%
27
27%
28
28%
29
29%
30
30%
31
4
6
6
11
11
6
5
4
1
2
2
1
1
2
4
5
5
6
9
10
12
8
7
6
3
1
2
11
10
13
14
12
9
4
2 Q 48
Report of the Commissioner op Fisheries.
1918
Table XXI.—Fraser River Female Sockeyes examined on their Spawning-beds, 1916, distributed
by Lengths and by Locality.
Inches.
Morris
Creek.
Harrison
Hatchery.
Pitt
Lake.
Cultus
Lake.
Silver
Creek.
Pemberton
Hatchery.
Chilcotin.
19
19%
20
20%
21
21%
22
22%
23
23%
24
24%
25
25%
26
26%
27
27%
28
28%
29
1
1
2
3
4
7
11
12
7
7
9
i
1
1
2
4
8
7
8
10
11
8
6
7
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
4
6
30
55
84
57
40
6
3
6
11
26
30
28
6
2
1
2
1
17
24
44
37
22
2
3
2
Table XXII.—Fraser River Sockeyes examined on their Spawning-beds, 1916,  distributed  by
Number of Nuclear Rings and by Locality.
No. of Rings.
95
(U
M
X
CD
ri
kJ
CJ
fl
>
U
m
as
sS
CJ      r-.
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
1
12
8
10
24
21
14
12
11
2
10
14
28
21
18
12
5
3
1
1
3
18
29
24
25
15
10
6
7
4
24
53
74
66
46
26
1
13
1
3
2
1
2
4
10
11
20
12
10
9
2
1
19
20
27
19
20
12
4
9
2
1
2
6
31
40
40
21
17
9
6
2
2
22
13
Fortunately for our purpose of investigating racial differentiation, the portion of the scale
which remains uninjured invariably contains the nuclear region, and usually contains also the
whole of the first year's record in the sea. We are enabled to tabulate the number of nuclear
rings from each locality and present them in Table XXII. Taking length-distribution in connection with nuclear range, no doubt can possibly exist concerning the distinctness of the different
colonies. Morris Creek and Harrison Hatchery are the only localities which are not readily
distinguished.    In both of these the fish examined were largely five years old (our approximate Life-history of Sockeye Salmon. Q 49
estimate being 80 per cent, of five-year fish) and the. nuclear rings were numerous. Pitt Lake
also contained a large proportion of five-year fish. The average size, however, is distinctly less
than in Morris Creek, in both males and females, and the average number of nuclear rings is
also somewhat less. In Cultus Lake the size was very much less than in Morris Creek or Pitt
Lake, and they were practically all four-year fish. The number of nuclear rings averaged
slightly less than in Pitt Lake, but they were not greatly different in this regard. From Silver
Creek we have but six individuals reported, three males and three females. All are five-year
fish, with very large nuclear regions, but our material is too scanty for characterization of the
race.
The fish of Birkenhead Creek, examined at the Pemberton Hatchery, ally themselves
definitely with the up-river colonies. Although they pass through Harrison Lake on their way
to the Birkenhead, they are remarkably distinct from any of the late-running sockeyes of Morris
Creek and the other districts drawn upon by the Harrison Hatchery. The fish are small in
comparison, and were largely four years old, both in 1916 and 1917. Our best estimate, based
on the samples presented, is that about 75 per cent, of the Pemberton fish are four years old.
But the greatest difference lies in the small size of the nuclear region of the scale and the low
number of nuclear rings. This is shown both in 1916 and 1917, the data for which are included
separately in Table XXII.
For the up-river spawning districts we have only the Chilcotin River. The run has been
reduced to such narrow limits in Fraser and Stuart Lakes, in Seton Lake, and in the Thompson
River and Shuswap Lake that it was impracticable to procure material for examination. None
was obtained from the Quesnel in 1916.
The Chilcotin fish are of small size; apparently all were four years old that were examined
in 1916, and the nuclear areas of the scales are small, with a low number of nuclear rings.
These range from five to fourteen in number, with the mode at eight. The yearling migrants
from the Chilcotin in 1915 had a slightly larger number of rings, ranging from seven to fifteen
(one specimen seventeen) rings. The similarity is close, the difference being no more than was
to be expected between one year and another. Favourable and unfavourable seasons doubtless
alternate in the lakes and are marked by larger and by smaller fingerlings. For this reason,
in comparing the products of different streams, the precaution should be observed that all the
material be gathered during the same year. The fingerling output of two lakes may differ
strongly in any given year, but in different years each may oscillate above and below the mean
of that lake. It might obscure the issue to compare the maximum size fingerling from the poorer
lake with the minimum size from the other. It is not even known whether two lakes in the
same district oscillate together. This could be ascertained by collecting migrating fingerlings
for a series of years from a number of lakes in the same district.
In the Chilcotin, in 1916, a large number of three-year-old male grilse, practically all of
which pass through the meshes of the gill-nets in the lower river, were running with the others.
The number of nuclear rings on the scales of the grilse are tabulated in the last column of
Table XXII. Comparing these with the nuclear rings in the preceding column, it is seen they
average distinctly higher than the nuclear rings of the four-year fish. In other words, the male
yearlings which attained maturity one year earlier than their fellows averaged larger than the
others. Had the male yearling migrants of 1914 been arranged according to size, those which
were to develop into grilse would have been found in the upper half of the series. From the
industrial standpoint it is undesirable that any salmon should mature at three years of age.
The size is small, averaging about 2 lb. in the round, the colour is pale, and the oil very deficient.
By one year's further growth at sea their value would increase several hundred per cent. If
size of the fingerlings at time of the downward migration should be one of the principal causes
which produces early maturing, this fact should be kept in mind in connection with our feeding
experiments.
Photographs are presented of scales from spawning sockeyes taken at four different
localities. Figs. 1 and 2, from the Birkenhead River, show not only the small nuclear region,
provided with slender irregular rings, but the very small first year's growth in the sea, both
being characteristic of the Birkenhead fish. In these respects there is a strong resemblance
with scales of Rivers Inlet sockeyes, which also have a small fresh-water growth, a very small
first year's growth in the sea, and a compensatingly larger growth the second year in the sea.
This latter feature also exists in the Birkenhead sockeyes, and results in pushing the third
4 Q 50 Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
winter-band well out towards the margin of the scale. The small second-year growth, while
more frequently associated with a diminutive nuclear region, is not necessarily so. The habit
of so growing, however it may have originated, becomes an inherited trait—a racial mark.
This is well illustrated in Fig. 3, from Cultus Lake. The nuclear region here again is small,
but the second year's growth is very large, as is usually the case in the Cultus Lake sockeye.
Fig. 4 shows an average Morris Creek scale, with strong, large, regular nuclear region,
sharply distinguished from the growth in the sea. The second year's growth is large. Fig. 5,
from Pitt Lake, shows a nuclear region of less than average size, but is otherwise characteristic.
The .discussions of the 1916 run thus far have concerned themselves only with the class
which spend one entire year in the lake after hatching and descend to the sea as fingerlings in
the second spring. In addition to this class we have in this watershed two other classes, one
of which spends an additional year in fresh water and migrates seaward in its third spring;
the other descends as soon as it is free-swimming, and lives practically its entire life in the
sea. The latter we have called for this reason the " sea-type." Neither the sea-type nor the
two-year-in-the-lake type figure largely in the Fraser run. If both classes were eliminated the
annual pack would not greatly suffer. But* one feature in connection with their distribution is
of interest for our discussion of tributary races. Neither the one class nor the other is evenly
distributed in the run throughout the season. No individuals of the sea-type in 1916 appeared
on the fishing-grounds during May or June, nor did they appear until the latter part of July,
when the main run sets in. On July 17th, out of 210 specimens, two were of sea-type. After
this date they occurred on every date of which we have record, and increased steadily until the
crest of the run was reached on August 6th, w7hen in 250 specimens examined we found fourteen
of this group. The percentages for the different dates follow: July 17th, 0.9 per cent.; July
27th, 4.8 per cent.; July 30th, 4.7 per cent.; August 6th, 5.6 per cent.; August 10th, 2.7 per cent.;
August 27th, 1.5 per. cent. In 1917 the first specimen of this class was noted at Esquimalt on
July 31st. On August 2nd a second was seen. Further individuals appeared as follows : August
6th, 3; August 10th, 6; August 14th, 1; August 20th, 4; August 28th, 1. A similar distribution
has been noted in other years, so no doubt can exist that this class on the Fraser belongs
exclusively to the late summer migrants.
Examination of spawning fish in the tributaries heretofore given has failed to discover
the presence of fish of sea-type. But we present three photographs, Figs. 6, 7, and 8, to
illustrate the very peculiar characteristics of the sockeyes which comprise the group spawning
at Harrison Rapids. A comparison with the photographs of scales from other spawning districts
shows clearly the striking way in which the scales of the Harrison Rapids fish are marked.
The centres of the scales are wholly dissimilar from those of other spawning-grounds. The
nuclear region dc.es not consist of a sharply defined area marked by the fine lines produced
during growth in fresh water, and passing abruptly into the widely spaced lines indicative of
sea-growth. On the contrary, the lines gradually widen from the centre outwards and pass by
insensible degrees into the growth of the second year. Not only is there no evident lake-growth,
there is commonly lacking a definite margin to the first year's growth, a definite winter-band
of crowded rings. This is the form we have come to recognize as the sea-type, and as the
Individuals pass to sea as soon as they are free-swimming and before scales have developed,
the scales contain no record of their brief life in fresh water. The photographs presented should
be compared with those of sea-type given in our report for 1914, Figs. 1 to 5.
It is a noteworthy fact that this group, which is not numerously represented in any sockeye
run, should comprise the great majority, if not indeed all, of the individuals resorting to a single
spawning area of the Fraser. We found none of this type in the Chilcotin, the Birkenhead,
Cultus Lake, Pitt Lake, or Morris Creek. There were only two doubtful examples from the
Harrison Hatchery. It is entirely possible that the sea-type individuals found in the Fraser
River run are largely, if not wholly, the product of one spawning district. Practically all of
them may result from eggs deposited in the Harrison River below the lake, and may owe their
habit of passing to sea as fry to the fact that no lake is there available as a residence. If this
be true it will explain the early seaward migration of the fry, while the prevalence of sea-type
adults on the Harrison River spawning-grounds will furnish a clear-cut case of the parent-stream
theory as applied to the tributaries of a river. After migrating from Harrison Rapids as fry,
those which survive not only turn into the Harrison when they come to spawn, but they return
to the very gravel-beds in which as eggs their parents deposited them. 8 Geo. 5 Life-history of Sockeye Salmon. Q 51
In his report for the year 1903, Mr. Babcock writes (page 24) : " A considerable number
of the late run of salmon spawn in this river [i.e., Harrison River] at the end of the season,
but the majority of the late run of sockeye which enter the Harrison pass into Morris Creek
and Morris Lake. . . ." The consistently late-running habit of sockeyes of sea-type in the
Fraser is then in entire accord with the theory that they are bound largely for Harrison River.
The two-year-in-lake type is more abundantly encountered in the run, but, as in the case of
the sea-type, they appear unequally in different portions of it. During the first two dates in June
there were two cases in a total of 174, or slightly more than 1 per cent. On succeeding dates
in June it rose to 15 per cent., then during July dropped to °/10 of 1 per cent, and then increased
to the end of the season. The percentages for different dates follow: June 2nd and 8th, 1.2
per cent.; June 15th, 10 per cent.; June 22nd, 11 per cent.; June 28th, 15 per cent.; July 11th,
1.5 per cent.; July 17th, 0.5 per cent.; July 27th, 1.7 per cent.; July 30th, 2.5 per cent.; August
6th, 1.6 per cent.;  August 10th, 8.5 per cent.;  August 27th, 10 per cent.
Here again, if our theory is correct, we should find the spawning areas differing widely
in percentages of two-year-in-lake salmon. The limited material at hand gives the following
results : Morris Creek, none; Pitt Lake, none ; Cultus Lake, 2.5 per cent.; Harrison Hatchery,
1.5 per cent.; Chilcotin, 6 per cent.; Pemberton Hatchery, 10 per cent. If the Pemberton fish
were entering the river not greatly mixed with other strains, we might be able to identify them
by their early-running habit, the small number of nuclear rings in the scales, the average size,
and the high percentage of two-year-in-lake fish. The only early-ruuning fish which fill these
specifications are those which entered the river the latter half of June. Their nuclear rings
agreed with the Pemberton fish, they agreed in size, and they had a high percentage (10 to 15
per cent.) of the two-year-in-lake type. The only feature of the two which apparently fails to
agree is the small proportion of four-year fish in the June run of these dates and the much
larger percentage of four-year-olds in the Birkenhead.
II. THE FRASER RIVER SOCKEYE RUN OF 1917.
(1.)  General Characteristics and Age-groups.
The big runs coming to the Fraser River every fourth year have been characterized previous
to 1917 by the overwhelming proportion of four-year fish of which they have been composed. In
1913 there were also present an occasional male maturing as grilse in its third year and rarely
males and females maturing in their fifth year; but these groups were present in such small
proportions that it was difficult to detect any individuals belonging to them. A thousand fish
examined at random in 1913 would probably contain none but the four-year group. Prolonged
search, day after day, by selecting for examination the largest fish present, often failed to
discover any that were five years old. The reason for this has been frequently stated. The
five-year fish were present in normal numbers, but were concealed toy the vast hordes of four-
year-olds, the progeny of the last big run.
If this theory rests on a sound basis, any serious diminution in the size of the run in a big
year would cause to emerge the five-year fish. This is what happened in 1917. The run was
deprived to a large extent of the progeny of up-river spawners. Four years before, on their
ascent of the river, these had been arrested at the canyon and died in the lower river without laying their eggs. Comparatively few of them escaped to the up-river beds early in the
season, or later when artificial channels permitted them at favourable times to avoid the rock-
obstructions in the canyon. But the numbers thus escaping were wholly inadequate to seed
the vast spawning-grounds of the upper river, to which alone we have owed the predominance
of the big years. The up-river contingent in the run of 1917 was for this reason comparatively
small and the proportions of the big year were lost.
It was not surprising, therefore, to find five-year fish present and easily recognizable in the
run. True they were not as numerous proportionately as they are customarily in an off-year.
But this can be accounted for in part by the fact that the run, in spite of its great reduction
in size, was nevertheless large compared with recent off-years. While the spawners reaching
the upper river in 1913 had been totally inadequate to produce a big year, they had materially
contributed to a run which was about four times as large as that of 1915 or of 1916.
Another reason why the five-year fish were numerically deficient in 1917 is to be found in
the unfavourable brood-year (1912).    It is to be recalled that in 1912, exceptional in this respect Q 52 Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
for an off-year, a good run developed in certain sections of the upper river, while below the
canyon, in the Harrison-Lillooet Lake District and its dependencies, the supply of spawning fish
was the poorest which had ever been experienced. It may be urged that the unusual abundance
above the canyon should have offset the scarcity below, and a good general average should have
been maintained. But we have had no previous experience in computations of this description.
We do not know the relative success of up-river and down-river spawners, nor the number of
the former that may be required to compensate for a given deficiency in the latter. Certainly,
the main results of the 1912 hatching, as exhibited in the run of four-year fish in 1916, were
distinctly disappointing.
For this reason alone we should be unwarranted in expecting any considerable supply of
five-year fish in 1917. But in still another respect 1912 was to be considered unfavourable as
a brood-year for five-year fish. In previous discussions of the relative sizes of the age-groups
in the Fraser River run we have been constrained to assume the existence of two factors as
relatively constant, whereas we have recognized that either or both of them might fail in this
regard. One of these factors is concerned with the percentage of any given school of fingerlings
which, for unknown reasons, will mature at five years rather than at four or at three. We have
assumed that this percentage, if it could be ascertained year after year, would be found to vary
but little. We have no experimental basis for this assumption. It is readily conceivable that
the percentages which mature at three, at four, and at five years may vary widely in different
broods, under the stress of fluctuating external conditions to us unknown, which may exert a
determining influence from year to year, accelerating the age of coming to maturity in some
years and retarding it in others. The alternative view, and the one we have adopted heretofore
for the purposes of this discussion, contends that the percentages in question are intrinsically
determined in the egg, and are relatively independent of external surroundings, which vary from
season to season.
The reason for making this assumption is that if it be true we shall be able to explain
within reasonable limits the varying proportions of the age-groups in different runs. If it
be true, for example, that 10 per cent, of the fingerlings of the Fraser River will mature at
five years of age, and that this percentage will hold year after year in successive broods, then
we shall have a basis for estimating in any year the numbers of five-year fish to be expected.
If the spawning-grounds five years previously had been well seeded, and the sticcess of the
spawning and the subsequent life in lake and sea had been demonstrated the previous year when
the four-year fish had come to maturity, we should have grounds for anticipating a large five-year
contingent in the run of the year, r-ind if, on the other hand, in any given year the percentage
of five-year fish should prove far below the normal, we could with confidence seek to correlate
this occurrence with a deficiency in the brood-year, five years before. But if our assumption of
relative uniformity in the percentage maturing at five years be not justified, we have no basis
whatever for predictions and shall meet no success in explaining the distribution of age-groups,
varying widely as they do from year to year. In one case we may make faithful efforts to explain
the varying phenomena in the runs of successive years; in the other case these phenomena would
be the result of variable forces we are unable to calculate. Any measure of success which is
obtained in explaining these phenomena would seem to declare in favour of the only assumption
on which success could be possible. On this basis we feel justified in expressing our belief that
intrinsic factors decide largely, if not wholly, the age at which a fingerling will mature, and
that in a given race the percentages maturing at different ages will remain relatively constant
from year to year.
The other important factor which is involved in this discussion, and has hitherto been
treated as constant, is the distribution of five-year fish among the different tributaries of the
river-basin. In the absence of all information on this subject, we have assumed hitherto that
in any given year we should find throughout all the tributaries and on all the spawning-beds of
the Fraser essentially the same percentages of four- and of five-year salmon. If the average
observed at the mouth of the river were 80 per cent, of one and 20 per cent, of the other, we have
assumed that approximately 20 per cent, of five-year fish would be found wherever a test could
be made, whether in the Chilcotin, the Quesnel, the Thompson, in Cultus Lake, or Harrison Lake,
or in the Birkenhead River. There seemed no a priori reason to entertain any contrary
assumption. 8 Geo. 5 Life-history of Sockeye Salmon. Q 53
But the case is now different since we have obtained evidence of a large degree of independence in the runs to the different tributaries. Stragglers undoubtedly exist and return to a
locality in which they w7ere not spawned. But it is now claimed in the case of these tributaries,
as with the independent streams which empty separately in the ocean, that the stragglers are
few in number, so few that they exert little or no disturbing influence on the perpetuation of
the racial characteristics. It is believed by us that the spawning runs in these streams and
tributaries enjoy practical isolation, each from every other, the barriers being wholly formed
of fixed habit. Isolation eventually results in divergence, as we have shown in previous pages
of this report, based on an examination of the salmon frequenting the different spawning areas
of the Fraser River. Among the differences characteristic of these tributary races in 1916 was
the prevailing size and age of the spawning fish in different localities. The Chilcotin in 1916
(and the Quesnel in 1917) contained four-year fish only, Cultus Lake contained practically all
four-year fish, and the Birkenhead River a very large proportion of four-year fish. Other localities were marked by equally heavy preponderance of five-year fish. Such were Morris Creek,
Silver Creek, Harrison Hatchery Creek, and Pitt Lake. If these differences are permanent they
will produce a decided effect on the distribution of the age-groups in successive years. The
predominatingly five-year streams, as above outlined, are all below the canyon. The streams
below the canyon are not noticeably affected by the quadrennial big run; they have no larger
bodies of spawning fish in the big years than in the off-years. If they alone, or in greatest
measure, are responsible for the five-year fish of the Fraser runs, it becomes clear why no
pronounced increase in the percentage of five-year fish occurs in the fifth year of each cycle;
i.e., the year after the big run.
According to our previous theory of equal distribution of five-year fish throughout the basin,
an increase of these was confidently expected in 1914, when there were due the five-year fish of
the same brood that made the 1913 run so notable. A very large proportion of five-year sockeyes
was expected in 1914; but they failed to appear in more than the usual numbers for an off-year.
In our report for 1914 we called attention to that fact, which then appeared seriously at variance
with the expectations our studies had raised. If three years after the big year invariably an
enormous increase is observed in the three-year grilse, why—we were compelled to ask—should
there not be vast schools of five-year fish on the fifth year of each cycle? We were then unable
to suggest any explanation beyond one which we were compelled to admit was a priori improbable, that the enormous numbers of fry produced in a big year could in some way influence
the individuals in such manner as to hasten their maturity and largely eliminate the five-year
element. We are not now compelled to resort to such an hypothesis, for it now seems probable
that the five-year fish are produced principally from a section of the river which experiences
no increase during a big year. On the other hand, the grilse are produced by streams both above
and below the canyon. The spawning runs of the Chilcotin and the Quesnel were richly supplied
with them in 1916. In fact, we may anticipate a larger proportion of grilse from those streams
which mature their progeny principally at four years than from the predominatingly five-year
streams. There is a well-defined tendency among all the salmon for the males on the average
to mature somewhat earlier than the females. If in a given stream the body of the females
mature at four years, certain males (grilse) will anticipate them one year and mature at three;
but if the females of a certain race mature at four and five years, but principally at five, the
precocious tendency of the males will find expression in maturing at four in heavier proportion
than at five, whereas few will mature at three.
The above discussion of the five-year group in the Fraser River throws additional light on
its small proportions in 1917. For the five-year fish of that year were derived from the brood
of 1912, and it was during the season of 1912, as we have shown, that the run to that part of
the Fraser basin below the canyon was the poorest ever known. If the five-year fish come
principally from below the canyon the result was inevitable.
The following table gives the percentages of four- and of five-year fish, as these were
observed on a succession of dates throughout the season, at Esquimalt (traps along southern
shore of Vancouver Island) and at Bellingham, Wash. Close correspondence exists between the
records of the two localities and certain definite tendencies are obvious. The season opened with
only five-year fish running.    From June 1st to June 10th only this class appeared.    Our earliest Q 54
Report of the Commissioner op Fisheries.
1918
record at Esquimalt, June 16th, indicates one-third of the run composed of four-year fish, and
the remainder of the June records, some Bellingham, some Esquimalt, agree in the increase in
four-year percentages, through 46, 57, 61, and 78 on dates from the 18th to the 28th. It will
be seen that during June probably more than half the fish running were five years old, a
remarkable condition when we recall that in previous big years of the cycle it seemed almost
impossible at any period of the run to find any five-year individuals.
Early in July, and continuing throughout the month, the five-year component of the run was
reduced to the smallest dimensions. On some days none were observed, and on no day during
this period, which included the main run of the year, did the proportion rise above 1 or 2 per
cent. Only at the last end, when the run was practically over, the five-year fish again appeared
in larger numbers—a condition equally noticed at Esquimalt and at Bellingham. Prom August
10th to the 28th the percentage varied from 6 to 11, but the total number running at this time
was small. This w7as also true during June, when percentages of five year fish were high. We
shall be on fairly safe ground if we adopt 5 per cent, as the proportion of five-year fish for the
entire season for comparison with previous years, though 2 per cent, would be a fair average
for the main run, which includes the latter part of July and the first third of August. It has
usually been during the main run that in previous years the majority of our observations have
been made, and from the conditions then existing our proportions' of the age-groups have been
determined.
Table XXIII.—Percentages of Four- and Five-year Fraser Sockeyes, 1917, observed on a
Succession of Dates at Esquimalt and at Bellingham.
Esquimalt.
Bellingham.
Date                          Pel' Ccnt-,
uate*                      Pour-year.
Per Cent,
Five-year.
Date.
Per Cent.,
Four-year.
Per  Cent.
Five-year.
June 16   	
34
61
78
96
95
95
9S
99
99
100
98
99
100
98
94
89
94
90
SS
97
66
39
22
4
5
5
2
1
1
2
1
2
6
11
6
10
12
3
June    4   	
June  IS   	
June 20    1.	
Julv     6   	
July   13   	
43
57
97
98
9S
99
99
94
91
71
100
100
June 28   	
July     4   	
July   12   	
July   14   	
July   16   	
July   21   	
July   23   	
Julv   26  	
July   28   	
July   31   	
Aug.     2   	
Aug.   10  	
Aug.   14   	
Aug.   18  	
Aug.   20  	
Aug.   2S  	
Aug.   31  	
100
100
57
43
3
2
July   20    .•
Julv   22   	
2
1
July   28  	
Aug.   10  	
Aug.   23  	
Sept     4   	
1
6
9
29
'
The ranges in sizes for the four-year fish are given in the following two tables for a series
of dates from July 6th to August 23rd. Unfortunately, early dates were not available for this
purpose either in connection with our data from Esquimalt or from Bellingham. We have no
reliable length records of the June schools, when five-year fish were in the majority, or were
gradually being replaced by the younger brood. In 1916 these early-running four-year-olds were
very small in size and were characterized by small nuclear regions, marked with but few rings.
In the 1917 material we have been unable to segregate this run from the rest. There will be
noted, however, from the subjoined tables a tendency on the part of both males and females to
increase in size as the season advances. 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 55
Table XXIV.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Four-year Males, from Bellingham, Wash., 1917, arranged
by Lengths and Dates of Capture.
Inches.
July I
July 13.
21
21%
22
22%
23
23%
24
24%
25
25%
26
26%
27
27%
5
4
14
22
15
9
2
1
3
5
13
13
14
10
4
2
1
July 20.
July 22
July 28.
3
1
10
29
23
24
25
11
4
4
3
4
11
3
7
4
2
2
10
11
8
14
9
8
2
Aug. 10
Aug.
2
1
1
4
1
3
6
3
8
3
12
10
i
3
2
Table XXV. Fraser River Sockeyes, Four-year Females, from Bellingham, Wash., 1917, arranged
by Lengths and Dates of Capture.
Incites.
July 6.
July 13.
July 20.
July 22.
July 28.
Aug. 10
Aug. 23.
21       	
1
's
10
18
13
7
1
2
6
19
17
25
21
7
i
7
*    28
29
27
14
4
2
2
7
13
6
24
3
4
4
3
20
23
27
10
1
2
3
3
3
2
21%   	
22      	
22%                         	
4
23      	
2
93%
24        	
7
17
24%             	
11
25       	
8
26      	
The number of nuclear rings in both male and female four-year fish is given for twenty-one
different dates in Table XXVI. If this be compared with Table XXII. of the present report, in
which are given tbe number of nuclear rings separately for a number of spawning districts, the
composite character of the run as it enters from the sea is at once evident. Its range in numbers
for separate days is obviously greater than in the sub-races which inhabit the tributaries. The
seven tributaries listed in Table XXII. from fairly adequate numbers of specimens show the
following range in number of rings from their lowest to their highest: 13, 10, 10, 10, 9, 12, 10.
A similar selection of dates from Table XXVL, including only those representing a fairly
adequate number of individuals, exhibit the following ranges: 14, 15, 17, 15, 16, 15, 16, 15, 14,
14, 18, 23. From this showing it seems evident that in the run for 1917 the fish bound for two
or more tributaries were entering the river together.
Striking differences are observed on comparing Table XXVL with Table XL, the present
report, which gives similar data for the season of 1916. July 11th, 1916, shows the nuclear
rings distributed in a clearly marked bimodal curve, representing a form with fewer rings,
ranging from five to twelve (corresponding with the Pemberton or Birkenhead River range of
the same year), the form having the more numerous rings ranging from thirteen to twenty-four.
The corresponding date in 1917, July 12th, entirely lacked the first of these classes, and shows
the nuclear rings ranging from thirteen to twenty-five, thus agreeing exactly with the second
group present at the same time in 1916. The spawning district for this second group is not
indicated clearly in Table XXII. None of the districts there represented has a range of nuclear
rings from thirteen to twenty-four. Silver Creek may prove to belong there, the six specimens
of which we have record ranging from fourteen to eighteen, but the number of specimens available is far too limited to determine that matter. Q 56
Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
Table XXVI.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Four-year Males and Females, from the Southern Shore
of Vancouver Island, 1917, distributed by Number of Nuclear Rings.
No.   of Rings.
CD
ID
a
IS
id
Cl
en
fl
re;
00
Cl
o
a
r|C
CM
>,
r^
rt*
3
Cl
j-J
3
1-3
Ol
Ol
CO
Cl
CD
C-l
CO
Cl
>)
Crj
CO
1-3
Ol
60
<
CO
6f
<
d
60
•1
HT
to
3
I")
CO
60
3
o
Cl
60
<
CO
Ol
60
■"h
CO
60
***<
6   	
1
1
4
4
11
16
19
19
11
12
13
2
5
4
i
2
6
5
13
17
10
19
9
6
3
1
1
4
1
i
2
1
3
8
6
17
18
13
13
7
4
2
1
1
1
3
2
3
4
5
7
5
11
7
7
5
4
2
1
2
4
8
9
1
8
3
1
2
3
3
2
i
3
7
5
3
2
3
6
1
2
3
5
2
1
1
2
8
11
12
14
11
7
3
3
4
3
3
1
i
1
1
2
1
2
1
5
3
5
5
4
3
i
i
i
7   	
1
9
18
23
20
19
14
11
2
4
8
4
23
18
10
15
8
9
3
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
3
2
9
12
4
4
4
6
2
1
1
1
1
1
6
13
14
15
15
18
10
8
8
1
1
1
1
1
8   	
5
2
6
4
2
9
2
8
1
4
7
6
1
i
4
4
1
3
3
3
2
i
2
2
4
5
3
2
1
1
1
1
3
6
6
2
5
3
1
1
1
1
2
1
3
6
11
6
15
3
7
3
2
5
1
2
1
*2
5
10
7
8
3
3
9  	
10 	
11  	
12   	
13   	
14  	
2
2
I
4
1
6
7
4
3
1
5
1
7
3
3
15   	
16   	
17   	
3
1
3
3
3
2
1
18   	
4    . .
2
19   	
1
1
2
1
i
l
2
2
1
1
1
20	
1
21  	
1
1
22	
23 	
1
2
24  	
2
25  	
26	
27  	
29  	
31  	
In the run of 1917, as in that of the previous year, different types could be recognized,
whether the observer were located at the traps on Vancouver Island, at Bellingham, or at the
mouth of the Eraser. The early-running fish were demonstrably different from those running
a little later, and at the close of the season in the latter part of August, there is a mixture of
several very distinct forms bound up-river in company. An exhaustive examination of the population of the different spawning-grounds, with tabulations of all the characters by which these
races are distinguishable, would doubtless furnish a key to the recognition of the various races
as they appear singly at the mouth of the river, or more frequently two or more mingled together.
Five photographs of sockeye-scales are given, to illustrate some of the forms which are
encountered in the run. Striking as some of these are when viewed singly, they become much
more so when the characteristics are found repeated in hundreds of individuals running at the
same time, while those running at another period agree in having quite different distinguishing
marks. It is impossible at the present to state with certainty the destination of any of the
races detected at the mouth of the river or in the sound, but obvious resemblances are manifest
between the types we here illustrate and certain of the spawning-groups whose scale-photographs
we have already given.
Fig. 9 represents a scale with moderate or small nuclear region (from the centre to the line
marked 1) and with a very small second year (lines 1 to 2). The latter is a striking feature
and is subject to comparatively little variation within the limits of a group or race. The
difference becomes obvious on comparing Fig. 9 with Figs. 10, 11, and 12, in all of which the
second year's growth is large, as is predominatingly the case in Fraser River sockeyes. Fig. 9
may with advantage be compared with the race running to the Birkenhead River, represented
in Figs. 1 and 2. That race is also marked by a small second year's growth, but the nuclear
region is usually smaller than in Fig. 9, and is marked by more slender, irregular rings, which
are never firmly drawn and parallel.
Fig. 10 represents the scale of a late-running fish with rather small nuclear region and
distinctly large second year's growth.    It stands perhaps nearest the Cultus Lake form, repre- 8 Geo. 5 Life-history of Sockeye Salmon. Q 57
sented in Fig. 3, but the differences are obvious and it would be rash to make the identification.
In Fig. 3, the latest year's growth in the sea—the marginal band of coarse rings outside Fig. 3—
is comparatively small and seems to indicate that this form ceases to feed in the midsummer or
earlier. The late-running fish have made more growth during their longer summer on the
feeding-grounds, and frequently, as in Fig. 10, have largely completed the growth of the year
and have experienced the beginnings of the winter-check before starting on their spawning
migration. This winter-check is evident in Fig. 10 at the extreme outer margin of the scale,
where several fine rings are crowded closely together to form the beginnings of the winter-band.
It is almost as well marked at this time as the third winter-band seen at Fig. 3. It becomes
increasingly evident that the so-called winter-band usually is formed in the fall. After it is
once formed no increase in the length of the fish appears to take place during the winter
months, and in the older individuals usually none until late spring or early summer. The five-
year fish running in June have their scales still margined with the winter-band of rings, the
new growth of the year not having begun.
Fig. 11, characterized by a large nuclear region, with firmly marked numerous parallel
rings, is one of the prevailing types. The second year's growth is also large. If any single form
were selected to represent the Fraser River run, it should be the one here figured. It prevails
during the last half of July and the early part of August, and furnishes the greater part of the
main run which occurs at the time mentioned. Considerable variation is shown in the size of
the nuclear region and the number of nuclear rings. It is possible that more than one spawning
district of the lower river produces fish with closely similar markings on the scales. Only a
thorough inspection of the spawning districts can settle this question, but Fig. 11 may be compared with Fig. 4, representing the Morris Creek race. In this also the nuclear region is large,
the nuclear rings strong and parallel, with an abrupt transition between them and the sea-growth
beyond.    The similarity is thus striking.
Fig. 12 represents the early June run of five-year fish, with small nuclear region and with
large, vigorous, sharply marked annual growths in the sea. The winter-bands on the scales are
narrow and stand out clearly. A strong resemblance can be noticed between this and the Pitt
Lake form, represented in Fig. 5. But further investigation would be needed to declare their
identity. The range in the number of nuclear rings in the Pitt Lake race is given in Table XXII.
as eight to seventeen. The form with small nucleus, which was the only race present in the
run during the greater part of June, 1916 (see Table XL), had a similar range of nuclear rings,
five to fifteen.
Fig. 13 is a form represented by scattering individuals in July and August. The nuclear
region is of enormous size, but seems to have so distinctly the marks of fresh-water growth, and
passes by such insensible gradations into the usual large-nucleated form shown in Fig. 11 that
we have been inclined to consider It the extreme of that series. None have thus far been
observed on any spawning-grounds.
III. THE RIVERS INLET SOCKEYE RUN OF 1916.
(1.) The Age-groups.
In his report for 1916, Mr. Babcock calls attention to the fact that the catch at Rivers Inlet
was very poor throughout the season, and that this was accompanied by a reduction on the
spawning-grounds to not above 25 per cent, of a normal spawning. The pack was only 44,936
cases, much the poorest for the last decade. The reason for the falling-off is not obvious. The
five-year fish, which constituted the greater part of the catch, were spawned in 1911, when the
pack of the season amounted to 88,763 cases. The four-year fish were derived from 1912, when
one of the largest packs was made (112,884 cases) ever known on Rivers Inlet. The average
proportions of the two-year groups throughout the season of 1916 were about normal. As shown
in Table XXVII., the five-year group was most heavily represented at the beginning of the
season, 93 per cent, of the fish belonging to that group on June 27th. On subsequent dates the
relative numbers of five-year fish steadily diminished, until near the close of the season, August
4th, the two groups were present in almost equal numbers, the percentage of five-year fish having
diminished to 53. The regularity with which this process continued is most interesting and
surprising. The falling-off in five-year fish was evident even when observations were separated
by an interval of only two or three days. The only interruption in the process occurred during
the week following July 21st.   On July 25th the percentage of five-year fish had risen from 69 Q 58
Report op the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
to 78, a point it must have reached on its downward course about July 12th. But two days
thereafter, on July 27th, the percentage had again fallen to 68, about where it had been a week
earlier. The regularity of this process throughout the season, coupled with the fact, to be stated
later in detail, that the phenomenon was exactly repeated during the season of 1917, gives the
impression that we are here dealing with a fundamental tendency, that the older fish, other
things being equal, will first seek the spawning-grounds. It is therefore the more surprising
that during the season of 1915 the exact reverse of this procedure was observed. The records
of that year also covered the greater part of the fishing season, beginning with July 5th and
continuing until August 2nd. The changes in the relative abundance of the two groups were of
much less extent than in 1916, the five-year class varying only from 79 to 92. But the tendency
toward a regular progression is perfectly marked and is in the contrary direction. The season
opened with the smaller relative numbers of five-year fish, while successive dates registered an
increase.    The percentages run 79, S4, 84, 88, 92.
It is evident from the above that the run of 1915, which was exceptionally heavy, contained
an average higher percentage of five-year fish than did the year 1916. The average during 1915
was 87 per cent; during 1916, 76 per cent. Our experience with the Rivers Inlet runs since
1912 has led us to expect the heaviest percentages of five-year fish during the seasons of greatest
abundance. This is shown in Table XXII. on page 41 of our report for 1915. But although this
expectation is frequently justified and holds to some degree in the present instance as between
1915 and 1916, It fails on a wider comparison of 1916 with previous years. Seventy-six per cent,
of five-year fish is only slightly below what obtained in 1912 (79 per cent.), which was one of
the most successful ever experienced on Rivers Inlet, and is well above the five-year percentage
in 1914, when the pack was double that in 1916 and the spawning-grounds were fully populated.
Evidently in 1916 the normal proportions of the two age-groups persisted in the face of the
poorest run ever known, because both groups were equally diminished. Whether this signifies
an equilibrium for the river at a lower level than has heretofore existed can only be determined
by future experience.
Table XXVII.—Percentages of Five-year Rivers Inlet Sockeyes occiwring at
in the 1916 Run.
erent Dates
Percentage
of Five-year
Fish.
Number of
Specimens
examined.
June 27
June 29
July 4
July 11
July 13
July 18
July 21
July 25
July 27
Aug. 2
Aug. 4
93
92
90
84
76
72
69
78
68
60
53
125
100
50
50
50
54
100
50
50
50
50
Average five-year fish for the season, 76 per cent.
(2.)  Distribution of the Sexes.
During every season in which we have made observations at Rivers Inlet, the four-year
males have exceeded in number the four-year females and the five-year females have shown a
like preponderance over the five-year males. With the sole exception of 1912, the proportions
have been very similar in successive years. The average of four-year males for 1916 is 74 per
cent, and the females 26 per cent., an exact duplicate of the percentages reported for male and
female four-year fish in 1913. This close correspondence is the more surprising when we consider
the wide changes which occur in these percentages during the progress of the fishing season, and
the fact that the earlier records were based on few observations. The percentages may vary as
widely during the season as do those of the age-groups, already discussed, but during the height
of the season the average is attained.    It is doubtless this average during the height of the 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 59
season which the earlier records obtained. It is interesting to note in Tables XXVII. and
XXVIII. that the average both of age-group distribution and in the relative numbers of four-
year males and females occurred on the same day, July 13th.
Table XXVIII. presents the varying numbers of males and females of both age-groups on
a series of dates throughout the season. Here also we find an orderly succession of events.
In both four- and five-year groups there is a well-marked tendency for the males to precede the
females. As this tendency was observed also in 1915 (see Table XXX., page 45, report for 1915)
and was equally evident in 1917, as will later appear, it may be accepted as well established for
Rivers Inlet. For Smith Inlet we have but two observations during the season, but in 1915 a
decided increase in the percentage of females was noted on the later of the two dates. On the
Skeena River, in 1915, results were inconclusive with respect of the four-year fish, but the five-
year females showed a steady increase during the course of the run. Their percentage of the
five-year group on July Srd was 47; on July 10th, 50; on July 21st and 22nd, 64 and 62. The
tendency for males to run early in disproportionate numbers, therefore, is not confined to the
Rivers Inlet race, but appears to be generally distributed.
Table XXVIII.—Percentages of Males and Femdles in Rivers Inlet Sockeyes occurring on
Different Dates, Season of 1916.
l-C
05
ri
od
rH
I-
rri
H
Cl
<M
CN
■*ft
Dates.
a
CJ
a
b
tH,
r%
>,
>>
ri
>;
60
fcb
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
fl
r-3
r-3
ro
1-3
1-3
1-3
r-3
1-5
<
Four-year males	
100
100
100
88
75
71
45
64
69
45
61
Four-year females   	
12
25
29
55
36
31
55
39
Five-year males   	
67
61
47
38
31
36
36
41
35
23
23
Five-year  females   	
33
39
53
62
69
64
64
59
65
77
77
Average percentages—
Four-year males    :  74
Four-year females     26
Five-year  males     40
Five-year  females     60
Average total males throughout season    52
Average total females throughout season   48
(3.)  Lengths and Weights.
The remarkable uniformity in the size attained by the Rivers Inlet race year after year
may again be commented on. The 1912 records are less reliable than those made later, being
based on a small amount of material, and are not included in Table XXIX., which gives below
the average lengths for the last four years of each age-group and for the males and females
separately. During this period of four years the extreme difference in the averages of any one
group does not exceed 3/10 inch. When observers note that the fish are running large in any
given year it can only mean an unusual percentage of five-year fish, and when they are running
small, with a larger number than usual to the case, it can only mean the four-year group is
present in larger numbers than is normal for this stream.
Table XXIX.—Average Length in Inches of Rivers Inlet Sockeyes for Four Successive Years.
1913.
1914.
1915.
1916.
Four-year males  .
Four-year females
Five-year males   .
Five-year females
22.9
23.0
25.9
25.2
23.0
22.8
25.9
25.2
22.9
22.8
26.0
25.1
22.9
22.8
25.8
25.0 Q 60 Report of the Commissioner op Fisheries. 1918
(4.)  Uniformity of Type.
In comparison with the Fraser River sockeyes, the Rivers Inlet race exhibits a striking
uniformity of type throughout the run. The very small nuclear region, marked with only a few
rather weak and often irregular rings, the very small second year's growth, the compensatingly
wide third-year area on the scales—all of these characteristics are well marked. No succession
of recognizable forms appear here as in the Fraser. The impression gained is of a completely
homogeneous assemblage. The reason for this difference between the two streams is obviously
to be found in the simplicity of the Rivers Inlet basin compared with the Fraser. In the former
there is a single short stream heading in a single lake, which is but little above the level of the
tides. The salmon spawn partly in the gravels of the beaches, but most abundantly in the lower
courses of the numerous short tributary streams. Here, evidently, the close similarity of external
conditions, together with the close proximity of the spawning-grounds which unquestionably
favours a larger percentage of strays passing from one bed to another—all these characteristics
of the Owikeno basin tend to keep the race constant, to prevent its being sharply divided into
sub-races in accordance with the special tributaries which they frequent. But although the fish
proceeding to the different tributaries of tile Owikeno are so similar that we are unable to
separate them, or any of them, as they appear in the run, we have hitherto thought ourselves
to be not without indication that they do nevertheless segregate themselves in the lake, and each
group passes to its parent tributary to spawn. The only alternative view to this would be that
the fish form a common school in the lake and pass indifferently to one or the other tributary.
Were this the case, the average in one stream would agree in all respects with the averages
from other streams. If no selection were made on any basis for the different tributaries there
would be no basis for any differences to appear. Each would be drawing its population from
the common reservoir.
It is clear, therefore, if we can observe any differences between the populations, however
small these differences may be, if only they appear constantly year after year, we shall be
compelled to concede that they represent selected communities, and not chance portions of a
general mass. In our report for 1914 (page 57) we comment on a certain difference in the
sizes of the eggs produced by the fish frequenting the various tributaries of Owikeno Lake, and
call attention to the significance of this fact if it can be determined beyond question. It could
only mean that incipient races were established also in the Owikeno basin as the result of such
degree of physiological isolation as might exist between the various streams. The evidence
before us has been obtained during the seasons of 1914, 1915, 1916, and 1917 by Fishery Overseer
Arthur W. Stone, whose co-operation in securing data for scientific purposes has been unremitting
and most fruitful of results. The collections of the first two seasons seemed favourable to the
theory of a constant difference in the average sizes of eggs in the various tributaries. The
material was of necessity very imperfect for this purpose. The eggs were in vials, preserved
in formalin, a -single vial for each locality, and the eggs of each vial from a single female.
Individual variation among salmon in the size of the eggs they produce is well known to occur.
There was obvious danger in the present instance that individual variation in the size of eggs
would be mistaken for stream character. This danger could be avoided only by comparing
similar series for a succession of years. The results for 1914 and 1915 were favourable.
Arranging the vials in the order of size of eggs, beginning with the smallest, the six stations
represented in 1914 followed one another in this order: Cheo, Washwash, Indian River, Asklum,
Jeneesee, Quap. Concerning the extremes of the series there could be no question, hut in certain
instances one might be entitled to doubt which of two adjacent stations should be placed first.
Ten streams were represented in the collection of 1915. The vials were again arranged in order
of apparent size of eggs without consulting the stream labels. When finally in an ascending
series, the list read as follows: Hatchery Creek, Cheo, Nookins, Sheemahant, Washivash, Indian
River, Sunday Creek, Quap, Jeneesee, Asklum. The italicized names are also in the 1914 list.
The first three were also the first three in 1914 and follow each other in identical order; the
last three had that general position also in 1914, but the individual order is reversed. On the
whole, the correspondences seemed as close as could be expected, much closer than chance would
likely furnish.    But the 1916 list almost exactly reversed 1915 throughout.    Placing the vials 8 Geo. 5 Life-history of Sockeye Salmon. Q 61
again in order of size, beginning with the smallest eggs, we have the following astonishing
series : Asklum, Quap, Jeneesee, Washwash, Indian River, Nookins, Hatchery Creek. In 1917
the series read: Jeneesee, Sunday Creek, Nookins, Hatchery Creek, Sheemahant, Quap, Asklum.
It becomes evident, then, that no results can be reached along this line of inquiry. Individual
variations in any one of the tributaries seem to be as great as the alleged differences between the
streams. The fact that Quap and Asklum presented the largest eggs of the series in three of
the four years might lead to a more thorough examination in their case, eliminating the possibility of individual variation by taking mixed masses of eggs derived from many females. For
the present we have no evidence of the existence of distinguishing characteristics of the salmon
populations seeking the different streams tributary to Owikeno Lake. But that fact does not
prove that the Owikeno salmon fail to return to their own streams at spawning-time. It means
simply that in this instance we have as yet no proof that they do so. Minute racial differences
may actually exist, so minute that we have failed to detect them. Or it may be that no differences have yet developed, although the breeding colonies are wholly separate and have been so
for long periods of time. Then, again, even though the spawners return in the main to their
native stream at maturity, there may be always, in tributaries of a single lake, a sufficient
proportion of strays from other tributaries to interbreed and keep the stock true.
(5.) To what Extent do Individuals stray to other Streams?
We have frequently mentioned the probability that some percentage of any race will stray
away and enter strange rivers, but this statement is not based on any direct evidence concerning
the Pacific salmon. In fact, our experience with strongly marked races of sockeyes, in which
foreign interlopers would be sure of detection, has convinced us that such a mixture of races is
of infrequent occurrence. In the Fraser River, where the sockeyes running together exhibit such
diversity of type, some strays might enter without being recognized as aliens. But the Rivers
Inlet race is so homogeneous and so strongly marked that invaders from other Provinces, with
the possible exception of Smith Inlet, would certainly be detected. Yet during the examination
of many thousands of specimens of the Rivers Inlet race, extending now over a period of six
years, we have never had occasion to question the race of any individual until in 1916. At the
beginning of this season, on June 27th, June 29th, and July 4th, a few individuals appeared
with important characters wholly unlike those of the Rivers Inlet race. None of them appeared
on any other dates than those mentioned. There were twenty-four specimens in all, and these
exhibit the same combination of characters with astonishnigly little variation. Three of them
are four-year males, thirteen are five-year males, and eight five-year females. The photographs
of scales of two of these possible interlopers are given below (Figs. 14 and 15) for comparison
with the Rivers Inlet stock (see report for 1913, Figs. 1, 2, 3, and 4). The differences consist
principally in the large size of the nuclear region in these aberrant specimens, and even more
strikingly in the uniformly large size of the second year's growth. In Rivers Inlet fish the small
nuclear area averages five to seven rings, the vast majority falling between four and nine, with
very few either above or below these figures. But the individuals in question range exclusively
between thirteen and eighteen, numbers which lie outside any observed range of variation in
Rivers Inlet stock. And inasmuch as this character is constantly coupled with the very extensive
growth during the first year in the sea—Rivers Inlet fish being noted for the small amount of
this growth—it seemed a not unwarranted conclusion that we were here dealing with stragglers
from some other district. Smith Inlet is excluded from the list of possibilities, as are Bella
Coola and Kimsquit, for all three have still different characters. They cannot have come from
any of the smaller sockeye-creeks known to me, such as Namu Creek, or the numerous small
streams opening into the passages between the islands. There is a strong resemblance with
certain of the Fraser River forms. Compare, for instance, Figs. 14 and 15 with Fig. 10 of
this report, which happens, however, to be a four-year fish. It might seem not impossible that
these individuals entering Rivers Inlet the last of June had strayed from a school of Fraser
River sockeyes which were approaching the northern end of Vancouver Island. This school
w7ould later enter the channels lying east of the Island and would traverse these channels on
their way to the mouth of the Fraser, which they approach from the north. That such a school
exists and passes  annually  through  Johnstone  Strait  and  Seymour  Narrows has now  been Q 62
Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
demonstrated (report for 1915, pages 31, 33, and 37). The large proportion of five-year fish
among these few " strays," three out of twenty-four, or 87 per cent, is no bar to this theory
of their origin. For while the average percentage of the five-year fish in the Fraser River run
of 1916 was much less than this, it will be seen from Table II., this report, that during the
latter part of Juue the five-year fish were far more abundant than at other periods of the run.
On June 15th they represented 76 per cent.; on June 22nd, 77 per cent.; and on June 28th, 61
per cent, of the total. A certain degree of probability, therefore, might be made to attach to the
theory that these are Fraser River sockeyes. One fact, however, stands strongly opposed to this
theory. The small group of individuals are in size well below those running in the Fraser at
any time during the season. The thirteen five-year Rivers Inlet males of peculiar type ranged
from 22% to 26 inches, the eight five-year females from 22 to 25 inches, and the three four-year
males from 21 to 22% inches.    The detailed distribution is given in the following table:—
21.
21%.
22.
22%.
23.
23%.
24.
24%.
25.
25%.
26.
Four-year
males   ....
1
1
1
Five-year
males   ....
1
i
4
i
i
2
2
i
Five-year
females   . .
i
1
1
3
l
1
Turning for comparison to Tables III., V., and VI. of this report, we find that five-year
Fraser River males on June 28th were ranging from 24 to 29 inches, with the mode at 26% ;
and five-year females on the same date ranged from 23% to 27 inches, with the mode at 25. At
no time during the season were the Fraser River lengths at all comparable with those shown
by the above group, and in view of this fact it becomes impossible to accept such theory of their
origin. The problem must be left unsettled for the present. It is not impossible that these may
be a highly exceptional group of the Rivers Inlet stock, beginning with extraordinarily vigorous
growth as fingerlings, wholly opposed in this respect to the traditional habit of the race. It
may be that the racial habit of forming a small growth during the first year in the sea stands
related with small growth as fingerlings. If that is the case, any individuals which were exceptional in one respect might become exceptional also in the other. Some support is found
for this theory in the fact that a few Rivers Inlet individuals which occurred also in the early
part of the run belonged to the two-years-in-lake type; and these also, after two full years in
fresh water, with the larger growth that accompanied this habit, formed on reaching the sea
a large vigorous growth during their first year in salt water. We are finally of the opinion
that our aberrant specimens are exceptional individuals of the Rivers Inlet race, with unknown
cause for their special history. If this be true, we have yet to encounter any strays from one
stream to another.
(6.)  Yearling Migrants in Rtvers Inlet.
Investigation of the yearling migrants in 1914 and 1915, as Shown in previous reports of this
series, apparently discovered an unexpected phenomenon in the order in which these young fish
were passing out of the lake and down the river to the sea. Heretofore it had been believed
the average size of the migrants remained constant throughout the season, this being based on
observations by Chamberlain on the Naha River in Alaska. On that basis it would seem probable
that only the largest sizes passed out at the beginning of the season, the others increasing in
stature as they remained behind to feed in the lake. As these in turn reached the average size
of the first migrants they successively started on their downward movement.
But our experience on Rivers Inlet in 1914 and 1915 seemed to indicate that the average size
of yearling migrants does not remain constant, but experiences a material reduction as the season
advances. On this basis we should conclude as in the former case that the larger sizes pass out
first, but those remaining behind, while growing rapidly at this season as evidenced by the widely
spaced rings of the new season's growth at the margins of their scales, are never quite able to
overtake in size the earlier migrants. It seemed desirable to verify this history during a third
season, examining the yearlings from day to day throughout the migrating period. With this in
view, Fisheries Overseer A. W. Stone spent the month of May and the first half of June on the 8 Geo. 5
Life-history7 of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 63
Owikeno River, and by means of a fyke-net obtained daily samples of the little salmon passing
down-stream. A total of 1,650 of these yyere preserved and have been measured separately and
tabulated by days and by sex. The results are given in the following tables, which completely
verify the findings of the two previous years. The tendency to reduction in size is well marked
throughout in each sex, and becomes strongly pronounced near the close of the season. The
smaller sizes remaining in the lake then push forward, and in Owikeno Lake pretty thoroughly
exhaust the yearling supply by the time the migrating season closes. Only a few remain over in
this lake until their third spring, and these, as we can determine by the rings on their scales,
were on the average the smallest of the yearlings at the time they failed to accompany their
fellows of the preceding year. This two-year-in-lake class is very poorly represented in Lake
Owikeno. Some lake should be chosen for investigation in which this class represents an
important component of the run. On such a lake a close examination of the migrating habits
of yearlings and two-year-olds would be most instructive.
Table XXX.—Male Yearling Sockeyes, Rivers Inlet, 1916.
Days of Migration.
Lengths in Millimetres on Successive
Mm.
May.
18.
19.
20.      21
23.
24.
25.
27.
28.
29.    30, 31.
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
SO
5
12
3
4
1
2
1
1
6
6
6
7
11
12
8
3
2
3
1 Q 64
Report of the Commissioner op Fisheries.
1918
Table XXX.—Male Yearling Sockeyes, Rivers Inlet, 1916.   Lengths in Millimetres on Successive
Days of Migration—Concluded.
Mm.
June.
1.     2.     3.     4.     5.     6.     7.     8.    10.    11.    12.    13.    14.    15.    16.     17.
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63'
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
11
20
11
11
20
15
17
1
6
1
1
3
1
2
1
4
10
9
9
6
1
6
3
o
2
5
2
15
15
22
14
11
TO
S
3
2
2
1
2
6
5
11
6
4
5
3
3
2
1
3
5
6
5
5
11
5
1
2
1
1
1
1
1
4
9
7
4
19
8
12
3
2
3
1
3
6
9
7
13
12
9
11
3
1
1 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 65
Table XXXI.-
—Female Yearling Sockeyes, Rivers Inlet, 1916.    Lengths in Millimetres on
Successive Days of Migration.
May.
Mm.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
27.
28.
29.
30, 31.
40  	
41  	
42   	
43  	
44  	
45	
46  	
47  	
i
48  	
49  	
50  	
51  	
52  	
1
53  	
1
1
54  	
55  	
i
1
56  	
i
i
1
2
2
2
*
57  	
2
1
1
i
4
4
58  	
1
59  	
1
1
2
1
5
2
l
1
1
5
60  	
2
2
1
6
3
3
1
5
61  	
2
i
3
1
4
1
1
5
2
62  	
4
2
6
4
6
5
6
4
4
63  	
. .    1    ..
4
3
4
3
6
5
3
4
3
5
64  	
3
2
2
6
2
7
0
2
5
2
65   -
2
2
6
1
5
5
5
11
2
66  	
1
3
2
2
2
1
1
8
1
67  	
1
1
9
3
9
1
5
4
1
3
68  	
5
2
1
1
4
5
1
69  	
1
3
1
3
70  	
1
2
1
2
3
1
1
2
71  	
i
1
2
i
1
1
72  	
i
2
1
1
73  	
1
2
2
1
l
1
74  	
1
i
1
l
1
76  	
1
77   	
2
78  	
1
1
i
79  	
1
80  	
..   ..
m
5
. Q 66
Report op the Commissioner op Fisheries.
1918
Table XXXI.—Female Yearling Sockeyes, Rivers Inlet, 1916.   Lengths in Millimetres on
Successive Days of Migration—Concluded.
Mm.
June.
1.      2.      3.      4.      5.      6.      7.
10.    11.    12.    13.    14.    15.    16.     17
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
3
6
10
13
6
14
12
7
8
2
1
2
1
1
3
5
9
5
11
4
2
1
3
1
9
5
'10
17
4
8
4
6
2
1
A satisfactory indication of the extent to which average size of migrants in the Owikeno
River decreases during the season is obtained by comparing the average size of the males during
the first three days of migration, the 18th, 19th, and 20th of May, with their average size on the
last three days, the 15th, 16th, and 17th of June. On May 18th to 20th they averaged 64.7 mm.;
on June 15th to 17th they averaged 54.4 mm. There was an average loss of 10.3 mm., or 16 per
cent, of the original size. A fair average size for the season can be estimated midway between
the opening and closing of the run and give's us 59.6. The average for both sexes was 58.6 in
1914 and 59.7 in 1915.    Very few parasites attacked the yearlings in 1916.
It remains to consider the relative numbers of males and females. As we have daily records
throughout the season, these data become of unusual value. During May the number of females
equalled or slightly exceeded the number of males on only five out of thirteen days, the proportion for the month standing 60 per cent, males and 40 per cent, females. During June the
females equalled or exceeded the males on only five out of sixteen days, the proportion for the
month standing 52 per cent, males and 48 per cent, females. Proceeding on the assumption that
the total run in May equalled that in June, we have for the season 56 per cent, males and 44
per cent, females.   The figures for 1915 were 55 per cent, males and 45 per cent, females. 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 67
IV. THE RIVERS INLET SOCKEYE RUN OF 1917.
(1.)  General Characteristics and Age-groups.
The run for 1917 was thoroughly disappointing, being only a little better than the previous
year, which was the poorest for many seasons. The pack for 1917 was 61,195 cases, slightly
less than the records for 1908 and 1913, in each of which years less than 65,000 cases were put
up. The fish which formed the run of 1917 were derived in part (67 per cent, of the run) from
1912 and in part (33 per cent.) from 1913. In 1912 the pack amounted to over 112,000 cases,
and would seem to indicate a large run. The visit to the spawning-grounds in 1912 was undertaken at too early a date, so we have no indications for that year of the numbers of fish that
escaped the fishermen. We give below a table showing the constitution of each run since 1912,
with the brood-years from which they were derived.
Table XXXII.—Percentages of Four- and Five-year Rivers Inlet Sockeyes in Runs from 1912
to 1917, with the Broods from which they icere derived.
Run of the Year.
Percentage,
Four and Five
Years old.
Brood-year from which
derived.
1912 (112,884 cases)     j
1913 (61,745 cases)     j
1914 (89,890 cases)     j
1915 (130,350 cases)     |
1916 (44,936 cases)    j
1917 (61,195 cases)     j
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
79%
21%
20%
80%
65%
35%
87%
13%
76%
24%
67%
33%
1907 (87,874 cases).
1908 (64,652 cases).
J
]
I-   1909  (89,027 cases).
J
1910  (126,921 cases).
1911  (88,763 cases).
1912 (112,884 cases).
1913 (61,745 cases).
The difficulty of accounting adequately for poor runs in Rivers Inlet by our experience of
the two previous seasons from which the run was derived is well exemplified by the above table,
especially by the last two years. With its unusually large catch, 1912 contributed to both of
these years, yet we find them both comparative failures. But neither in 1911 nor in 1912 did
we have any detailed reports from the spawning-beds, and these after all give our best available
basis for estimating future runs. It must be admitted that the breeding-grounds of Owikeno
Lake are in an unsatisfactory and more or less precarious condition. Fishery Overseer Stone
has for several years called attention to the log-jams which obstruct passage in some of the
largest and finest of the grounds for natural propagation. With unfavourable weather conditions
these jams might in any year effectually bar passage to salmon. We do not know to what extent
the hatchery fish contribute to the annual supply and to what extent the run is dependent on
natural spawning. Certainly, no chances should be taken with the stream on the assumption
that the hatchery operations are adequate to maintain the run unaided. The tributaries should
be promptly cleared of their obstructions, and where passages can be blasted over falls and
large areas of good spawning-grounds be made available, that should be done. The care of the
spawning-beds is one of the most important and the most deplorably neglected branch of salmon-
culture. It cannot be stated that the alarming decline in two successive sockeye runs to Rivers
Inlet is due to this cause.    But the matter deserves immediate attention.
It was ascertained in 1916 that the run to Rivers Inlet is not of uniform composition
throughout.    The relative numbers of the components of the  run   change  materially  as  the Q 68
Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
season progresses. An entirely similar series marked the run of 1917. On the opening of
the season the fish were averaging large in size and proved to be almost exclusively in their
fifth year. Only 6 per cent, were in their fourth year. But in the course of the season there
was a constant change in this respect, the five-year fish becoming less and less numerous
relatively to the younger class. Observations were usually made at intervals of three to five
days. Each succeeding date shows a lessening in numbers of five-year fish until July 24th and
28th, when an irregularity occurs. But at the close of the fishing season, from the last of July
into August, instead of a preponderance of five-year fish, we have the reverse condition; the
percentage has dropped from 94 to 44. The average for the season is 67 per cent., the five-year
fish being less abundant than in 1910. The very reverse of this would have been expected if
high reproductive efficiency had been credited to the big year 1.912. As this year furnished the
four-year fish for 1916 and the five-year fish for 1917, we would have been justified in predicting
that both of these year-classes would be unusually large, producing an extensive four-year group
in 1916 and a still larger five-year group in 1917. Both of these results would have co-operated
in emphasizing the preponderance of five-year fish in 1917. As nothing of this sort occurred in
either year, we are fairly justified in assuming that the size of the catch in 1912 gives no reliable
indication of the success on the spawning-grounds of that year.
Table XXXIIL, giving percentages of five-year fish throughout the season, affords an interesting comparison with Table XXVII., which gives the same data for 1916. The run began in both
years with the same percentage of the five-year group (93 and 94 per cent.), and in both cases
this percentage declined steadily throughout. But in 1917 the descent was more rapid and abrupt
than in the previous year, a lower level is attained at the close (44 instead of 53 per cent.), and
a lower average maintained.
Table XXXIII.—Percentages of Five-year Rivers Inlet Sockeyes occurring at Different Dates
in the 1917 Run.
Dates.
Percentages of
Five-year F7ish.
Number
of  Specimens
examined.
July 4
July 10
July 13
July 16
July 21
July 24
July 28
July 31
Aug.   3
04
88
82
70
59
73
41
46
44
50
50
50
50
50
50
50
50
50
Average five-year fish for the season of 1917, 67 per cent.
(2.)  The Sexes.
Another progressive change which occurred in the constitution of the run was in the relative
numbers of males and females in each year-group found in a succession of dates. Here, again,
the procedure exactly parallels the occurrences of the previous year. The males in both groups
were in larger relative numbers at the beginning than they were later on in the run. The four-
year males constituted at first 100 per cent, of the group, but gradually diminished, until at the
close of the season they fell as low as 52 per cent. The five-year males on July 10th formed
59 per cent, of the five-year group, but by August 3rd they had diminished to 19 per cent. The
averages for the season are given at the bottom of Table XXXIV., which follows. It will be
noted that the total males for the season averaged 53 per cent, of the run, while during two
seasons for which we have record the migrating yearlings had 55 and 56 per cent, males. 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 69
Table XXXIV.—Percentages of Mates and Females in Rivers Inlet Sockeyes occurring on Different
Dates, Season of 1917.
Four-year males
Four-year females
Five-year males  .
Five-year  females
100
47
53
100
59
41
CD
«
CO
rH
Ol
Ol
CM
h
1>.
>>
>.
3
3
3
3
1-3
1-3
1-3
1-3
89
11
54
46
73
71
74
58
27
29
26
42
51
51
36
42
49
49
64
58
48
23
77
56
44
19
81
Average percentages—
Four-year males      75
Four-year females      25
Five-year males      42
Five-year  females      58
Average total males throughout season   53 per cent.
Average total females throughout season    47 per cent.
The results are so close to expectation that we can now consider it demonstrated that the
preponderance of males over females in four-year fish and the reverse condition in five-yeai
fish in Rivers Inlet are both due to the tendency of males somewhat to anticipate the females
in age of maturing. Where the average age of maturing is four and the females principally
mature at that age, the precocious tendency of the males will find expression in the liberal
production of three-year grilse, which are almost uniformly males. But where, as in Rivers
Inlet, the prevailing age for maturing is five, the precocious tendency of the males does not
seem to extend far enough to bring any considerable number to maturity at three, but causes
a much larger proportion of them to mature at four than in the case of the female.
(3.)  Lengths and Weights.
We have had such uniform experience with the size attained by Rivers Inlet sockeyes year
after year that we have come to consider it in that respect one of the most perfectly standardized
races. Males and females of each of the age-groups have given averages for each year since 1912
with a total range of variation of not more than -/,„ or 8/10 inch, differences which seem well
within the limits of error inherent in our method. It is the more astonishing to find all the
averages for size in 1917 far below what has hitherto been observed. _In five years previous
to 1917 the averages of five-year males have ranged only from 25.8 to 26 inches; but in 1917
they drop down to 25 inches. Five-year females for those same years were standardized at
25.1 or 25.2 inches (24.6 in 1912 was evidently unreliable, as based on too limited material) ;
but in 1917 the length declined to 24.4 inches. Similarly, four-year males which had in previous
years ranged from 22.9 to 23.2 averaged only 22.5, and four-year females which previously were
found between 22.8 and 23 inches were only 22.3. The measurements in 1917 were made by the
same skilled observer, Fishery Overseer A. W. Stone, who has made the previous records on
which we rely. There can be no possible reason for doubting the accuracy of the records of
1917. Furthermore, the decrease in the lengths stands in perfect agreement with the records
for weight. In 1914 and 1915 five-year males averaged 7.3 lb. and five-year females 6.8 and
6.6 lb. In 1917 the males averaged 6.6 and the females 6.2. Four-year males dropped from 5.4
or 5.3 lb. down to 5, and four-year females from 5.2 or 5.1 down to 4.9. If this general decrease
in 1917 is occasioned by unfavourable conditions in the sea, we do well to note that the 1916
fish showed no trace of being exposed to them. All classes of the 1916 Rivers Inlet run were
fully up to the average size. The unfavourable conditions must have manifested themselves
after the 1916 run had left the feeding-grounds. Similar effects are found in the 1917 runs
to the Skeena and the Nass. A discussion of the subject appears in later pages which contain
the report on the Nass River run for 1917. 1
Q 70
Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
Table XXXV.—Average Length in Inches of Rivers Inlet Sockeyes for Six Successive Years.
1012.
1913.
1014.
1015.
1016.
1017.
Four-year males  .
Four-year females
Five-year males   .
Five-year females
23.2
22.8
25.8
24.6
22.9
23.0
25.9
25.2
23.0
22.8
25.9
25.2
22.9
22.8
26.0
25.1
22.9
22.8
25.8
25.0
22.5
22.3
25.0
24.4
Table XXXVI.—Average Weight in Pounds of Rivers Inlet Sockeyes for Four Successive Years.
1014. 1915.        1916.        1917
Four-year males .
Four-year  females
Five-year males   .
Five-year females
5.4
5.2
7.3
6.8
5.3
5.1
7.3
6.6
5.5
5.0
7.6
6.7
5.0
4.9
6.6
6.2
V. SKEENA RIVER  SOCKEYE RUNS OF 1916 AND 1917.
(1.)  General Characteristics and the Age-groups.
The Skeena River sockeye-pack for 1916 was the poorest for the preceding decade, with the
single exception of 1913. These two years, 1916 and 1913, had to their credit respectively 60,927
and 52,927 cases. The smallest previous year of the decade had a catch of 87,901 cases; the
largest year, 1S7,246 cases; and the average for the ten years, excluding 1913 and 1916, was
124,222 cases. Comparisons of this kind on the Skeena are not complicated, as they are on the
Fraser River, with the necessity for making allowances for increases in both kinds and amounts
of fishing-gear. For several years fishing conditions on the Skeena have been as nearly standardized as it is possible to make them. With fishing restricted to gill-nets of prescribed length and
size of mesh, and the number of these nets rigidly determined, we are given the best possible
opportunity to estimate the numbers of salmon that can safely be spared from the Skeena run.
If a tendency is shown for the packs to decrease, with the other conditions remaining unchanged,
no doubt can exist that we are overfishing the river. In that case further restriction is called
for and should be applied at once.
We have previously called attention to the difficulty in the case of the Skeena River of
explaining the success or failure of a given year on the basis of the amounts packed four and
five years previously. "We meet the same difficulty with regard to the year 1916. While the
four-year fish descended from the apparently indifferent brood of 1912, with a pack of 92,498
cases, the five-year fish, which always constitute the most important element in the Skeena
run, sprang from the brood-year 1911, when a pack of over 130,000 cases seemed to indicate an
extensive run, which was apparently confirmed in part by the reports from the spawning-grounds.
Yet the 1911 contribution to the run of 1916 was only 36,554 cases. For comparison with this show- •
ing we may cite the brood-year 1909. The total catch of Skeena River sockeyes for that year was
only 87,901 cases, yet five years thereafter the five-year fish of the 1909 brood alone contributed
97,623 cases to the pack of 1914. It is evident that the amount of the pack on the Skeena River
furnishes year by year unsatisfactory indications of the size of the runs. 1909 furnished not
only 97,623 cases of five-year fish to the run of 1914; it had previously given 26,463 cases of
four-year-olds to the run of 1913. The total commercial yield from the 1909 brood was over
124,000 cases, indicating that the year was one of high degree of success on the spawning-
grounds. We have not now available any description of the weather conditions in 1909. If
these were distinctly unfavourable for gill-netting in the exposed reaches off the mouth of the
river, there may have been a larger percentage of escape than usual up the river.
The following table gives the percentages of four- and five-year sockeyes in each Skeena
River run since 1912, with the brood-year for each class and the number of cases packed each
year:— 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 71
Table XXXVII.—Percentages of Four- and Five-year Skeena River Sockeyes that spent One
Year in Lake, in Rims of Successive Years.
Run of the Year.
Percentage,
Pour and Five
Years old.
Brood-year from which
derived.
1912 (92,498 cases)   	
1913 (52,927 cases)   	
1914 (130,166 cases)    X
1915 (116,553 cases)   	
1916 (60,923 cases)    I
1917 (65,760 cases)    i
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
43%
57%
50%
50%
75%
25%
64%
36%
60%
40%
62%
38%
1
1907  (108,413 cases).
)-   1908  (139,846 cases)
J
1909  (87,901 cases).
1910  (187,246 cases).
J
I   1911 (131,066 cases).
J
1-   1912 (92,498 cases).
1913 (52,927 cases).
In connection with this table it is of interest to add together the packs of the two brood-
years which contributed to each run, and then arrange the runs in the order of their size,
beginning with the smallest. In presenting this table below, we have stated the amount of each
pack in even thousands of cases. It is evident that if we can show any correlation between the
size of catch of a given year and the catches of the two combined brood-years, that should show
in the statement below. Arranging the years in the order of their pack should also bring the
corresponding brood-years in the order of their catch, beginning with the smallest.
Table XXXVIII.—Skeena River Sockeye Packs compared with Combined  Packs of the Two
Brood-years.
Year.
nlmount of Pack.
Combined Packs of
Brood-years.
1913   	
1916   	
1917   	
52,000
60,000
65,000
92,000
116,000
130,000
227,000     {   199|
223,000      j   j*9^-
145,000     j   191|*
248,000     {   190£
318,000     j   Ig^-
275,000     {   1909-
1912   	
1915   	
1914   	
With the exception of 1917, a close correspondence is seen in this table between the size of
catch each year and the combined catches of the two brood-years. It is significant that the three
years having the largest packs of sockeyes also had the largest brood-year packs. If further
statistics of this kind are in general reliable—it is much too early yet to make sure that they
will be so—it may be possible to predict several years ahead with some degree of success. The
pack of 1918 will have 1913 and 1914 for its brood-years, and their combined packs amount to
183,000 cases. If this has any significance, we can expect the pack of 1918 to fall at some point
between 50,000 and 75,000 cases. If, on the contrary, it shall turn out to be far larger than this,
100,000 cases or more, we would be compelled to admit that this method promises nothing in the
way of useful forecast. The year 1917 exhibits a marked discrepancy. On the basis of its
ancestral strength we should have anticipated a much smaller take of salmon than occurred. Q 72
Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
We have included in this discussion, as in our previous reports on the Skeena River, only
that group of salmon which as fingerlings migrated to the ocean after having lived one entire
year in the lake. The group that proceeds to sea one year earlier as fry has been omitted
because neither here nor elsewhere is it represented by a large enough number of individuals
to give it any commercial significance. But the group that spends two full,years in the lake
before undertaking its voyage to the sea is sometimes of great importance. Its importance in
the Skeena varies from year to year. Thus, in 1914, 7 per cent, of the run belonged to this
group, and in 1915 over 15 per cent, had spent two years in the lake. In 1916 the average
number amounted to 27 per cent., and in 1917 to 14 per cent., and in each case a portion of the
group had remained three years in the sea and were maturing at the age of five, while the others
had spent an additional year in the ocean and were in their sixth year when captured. In the
majority of streams in w7hich the two-years-in-lake group is abundantly represented the five-year
members greatly outnumber the six-year individuals. But in the Skeena River in 1916 the
reverse was the case throughout the season until the August run was on, when a sudden increase
occurred in the five-year fish (two-years-in-lake type), while the other three groups continued to
run in their previous proportions. The change occurred suddenly and did not form part of that
general and regular shifting during the progress of the run that changed materially the proportions of four- and five-year fish, of males and females. The sudden accession of five-year fish
of the two-years-in-lake type in the Skeena run in August was more probably due to the late-
running fish belonging to some other tributary in which this group of sockeyes more largely
predominate. The following table gives the percentage of fish in each of the four groups as
these were found on different dates through the season:—
Table XXXIX.—Percentages of Different Age-groups, Skeena River Sockeyes, found to constitute
the Run on a Succession of Dates, Season of 1916.
Dates, 1916.
Oxe Year in Lake.
Two Years  in7 Lake.
Four Years old.     Five Years  old.      Five Years  old.
Sis Years old.
June 21
June 30
July 11
July 18
July 22
July 27
July 31
Aug. 4
20-
30
38
34
36
39
47
30
32
39
38
42
47
43
40
24
22
11
7
5
6
37
26
20
17
16
9
13
7
9
Table XL.—Percentages of Different Age-groups, Skeena River Sockeyes, found to constitute the
Run on a Succession of Dates, Season of 1917.
Dates, 1917.
One Year in Lake.
Two Years  in Lake.
Pour Years old.     Five Years  old.     Five Years  old
Six Y7ears old.
June 26   	
July 3	
July 7 and 10
Julv 13 and 19
July  24   	
Aug. 3	
37
41
69
70
78
46
41
45
25
20
12
32
12
9
4
9
8
14
10
5
2
1
2
Certain distinct tendencies are evident in these tables, exhibiting consistent movements
throughout the season, until the August run comes in, which proves an exception to all that
has happened previously. Considering, for example, the relative numbers in the two primary
groups, which we segregate in the following tables:— 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q
Table XLI.—Relative Numbers in One-year-in-lake and Two-years-in-lake Groups, Skeena River
Sockeyes, 1916, on a Succession of Dates.
One Year  in  Lake.
Two Y7ears in Lake.
June 21
June 30
July 11
July 18
July 22
July 27
July 31
Aug. 4
52
69
76
76
83
82
87
54
48
31
24.
24
17
18
13
Table XLII.—Relative Numbers in One-year-in-lake and Two-years-in-lake Groups, Skeena River
Sockeyes, 1917, on a Succession of Dates.
Dates.
One Year  in  Lake.
Two Years in Lake.
June 26   	
July  3   	
July 7 and 10  .
July 13 and 19
July 24   	
Aug. 3   	
78
86
94
90
90
78
22
14
6
10
10
22
From the above tables it appears that fish which had spent two years in fresh water before
seeking the sea, and which were one year older, though scarcely larger, than those members of
the one-year-in-lake group which had spent an equal period of time on the sea-feeding grounds,
show a decided tendency to enter the river earlier in the season than do those of the other group.
The regularity with which this change proceeds throughout the run recalls a similar series of
percentages which express the fact that the five-year fish show a tendency to precede the four-
year fish, and the males to precede the females.
In each of the above cases the reason for the observed precedence appears to be the same,
and is concerned with the existence of some influence which hastens maturity. In the case of
those individuals which have spent two years in the lake, we have the additional year of life,
which has added little or nothing to their stature and which exercises only a subordinate influence
on their maturing. But the influence, although subordinate, is unmistakable. For although as a
group it takes them a year longer to mature, so that they enter the stream at spawning-time five
and six years old instead of four and five, nevertheless the additional year of life modifies the
percentages of five and six, so that ordinarily a much larger percentage of this group matures at
five than matures at four in the other group. The pull of the extra year of life is felt slightly
in the direction of hastening maturity. It is this same influence, we take it, which brings them
into the river earlier in the season.
In the case of the males preceding the females, we have again an unmistakable influence
leading to early maturing. It is known in all the species of salmon that certain males, called
grilse, will mature one year younger than any of the females ordinarily will mature. We have
also called attention to the fact, in the Rivers Inlet race and elsewhere, that heavy percentages
of four-year fish may be males and equally heavy percentages of five-year fish may be females.
All these facts are expressions of the one tendency toward early maturing on the part of the
males.
One further segregation of the age-groups remains to be made for comparison on a succession
of dates. Those that had spent three years on the sea-feeding grounds should be compared with
all those which had spent four years at sea, whatever their early history, to ascertain whether
there had occurred during the season any progressive change in the relative abundance of the
two groups.    The percentages follow :— Q 74
Report op the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
Table XLIII.—Percentages of Skeena River Sockeyes on Different Dates during Season of 1916,
having Equal Number of Years on the Sea-feeding Grounds.
Dates.
Three  Years  in
Sea,  Pour  and Five
Years   old.
Four Years in
Sea,  Five and  Six
Y7ears  old.
June 21
June 30
July 11
July 18
July 22
July 27
July 31
Aug.  4
58
59
55
58
56
56
47
33
Table XLIV.—Percentages of Skeena River Sockeyes on Different Dates during the Season of
1917, having Equal Number of Years on the Sea-feeding Grounds.
Dates.
Three  Years  in
Sea, Four and  Five
Years   old.
Four Y7ears in
Sea, Five and Six
Years  old.
June 26  	
July  3   	
July 7 and 10  . .
July 13 and 19  .'
July 24   	
Aug. 3    >
51
50
27
21
14
40
The remarkable uniformity in the series of percentages in 1916 stands in sharp contrast
with the progressive changes which are seen in the 1917 record, and which occur in all the
other categories which we have examined. We consider the 1917 condition the typical one, in
which the older fish will tend to run heaviest early in the season. But both in 1916 and 1917
the orderliness of the season is wholly interrupted and broken in upon where the August run
appears. It seems the latter must be a thing apart, a body of fish bound for some spawning-
grounds probably less distant from the sea than is the case with the earlier-run.
(2.)  Relative Numbers of Males and Females.
We have no records of relative numbers of males and females of the two-years-in-lake group
prior to 1916. It was unexpected to find in both 1916 and 1917 a preponderance of males both
in the five- and in the six-year fish of this group. They seem to comport themselves in precisely
the same way as the four-year fish of the one-year-in-lake group. The reason for this is not at
all apparent, and the fact needs verification over a term of years in the Skeena, and with the
same group of sockeyes in other river-basins. In the one-year-in-lake group it is very noticeable
that the four-year fish vary widely from year to year in the proportions of the sexes, while the
five-year fish are remarkably constant, the proportion of males varying only 6 per cent in six
years.
Table XLV.—Relative Numbers of Males and Females in Different Year-groups, Skeena River
Sockeyes, in a Series of Years.
One Year
in Lake.
Two Year
s in Lake.
Years.
Four Y
3ars old.
Five Years old.
Five Y
;ars old.
Six Years old.
Males.
Females.
Males.
Females.
Males.
Females.
Males.
Females.
1912	
54
46
42
58
1913	
69
31
47
53
1914	
60
40
47
53
1915	
55
45
45
55
1916	
70
30
43
57
56
44
54
46
1917	
65
35
48
52
65
35
58
42 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 75
(3.) Lengths and Weights.
In our report for 1914 (page 67) we have called attention to the obviously smaller size In
1913 of all the classes of fish, the smaller measurements being supported by the smaller average
weights taken during the same season. In no other year previous to 1917 have we found a
similar falling-off in the size of all groups, thus indicating the existence of some generally
unfavourable condition. Minor variations occur in one or the other group in various years,
such as the large size of the males compared with the females in 1912, and the unusually
small size of the four-year males in 1916. But in both instances cited the measurements of the
remaining groups are normal. In 1917, however, a combination appears which almost exactly
repeats that of 1913. The averages, of the five-year fish of both sexes are identical. The four-
year males differ by only %,„ inch, and the four-year females by "/„ inch. Each of the 1917
averages is lower than that of any other year except 1913.
Table XLVI.—Average Lengths of Skeena River Sockeyes,- One Year in Lake, for Six
Successive Years.
1912.
1913.
1914.
1915.
1916.
1917.
24.6
23.5
26.4
25.2
23.5
22.9
25.5
24.7
24.2
,23.4
26.2
25.1
24.2
23.5
25.9
25.0
23.9
23.6
26.2
25.0
23.6
23.2
25.5
24.7
Table XLVII.—Average Lengths of Skeena River Sockeyes, Two Years in Lake, for Two
Successive Years.
191 -0.
1917.
Five-year males   .
Five-year  females
Six-year males   . .
Six-year  females
23.9
23.8
25.4
25.0
That this signifies some generally unfavourable condition in the ocean becomes almost a
certainty when we recall that the 1917 evidence on the Skeena is exactly comparable with that
previously noted in this report for Rivers Inlet. As is there shown, the sizes of each group of
Rivers Inlet sockeyes in 1917 was far below the average size, and there, as on the Skeena, the
catch of the previous year was up to the normal as regards the average size of its individuals.
As is shown by the following table, the average weight for each group of Skeena River sockeyes
in 1917 was below that of the same group in 1916. The weights of the two-years-in-lake groups
are less reliable than the others because of the smaller number of individuals represented.
Table XLVI.II.—Average Weights, Skeena River Sockeyes, for Four Successive Years.
1915.
1916.
1917.
One Year in lake—
Four-year males .
Four-year females
Five-year males  .
Five-year  females
Two Years in lake—
Five-year males  .
Five-year  females
Six-year males   . .
Six-year females .
5.9
5.3
7.2
6.3
5.7
5.2
6.8
6.2
5.9
5.2
6.6
6.0
5.4
5.1
5.3
5.0
7.1
6.3
6.4
6.0
5.8
5.4
5.5
5.2
7.08
5.9
6.3
5.8 Q. 76 Report of the Commissioner op Fisheries. 1918
VI. THE SOCKEYE RUNS IN THE NASS RIVER, 1916 AND 1917.
The Nass River has experienced fewer and less extensive fluctuations in the size of its
salmon runs than has any other district in British Columbia. The lowest pack of sockeyes
since 1907 has been 23,574 cases, in 1913, and the highest 39,349 cases, in 1915. The average
for the decade is 30,785 cases. In 1916 the Nass was fully up to its recent average, with 31,411
cases of sockeyes; while the Fraser, the Skeena, and Rivers Inlet agreed in having almost
unprecedentedly poor runs. Not one of these three rivers put up half" a pack, and with the
single exception of the year 1913 on the Skeena, the year 1916 was the worst in the recent
history of the industry. But the Nass was unaffected. While there is reason to fear that the
other principal streams of the Province are beginning to experience the effects of overfishing,
the lower levels of the fluctuations in the runs becoming lower and the higher levels less high,
there seems to be no indication so far that the Nass River has suffered.
In 1917, it is true, the catch of sockeyes for the Nass declined greatly, comprising only
22,188 cases. It was thus the worst year for the past decade, the pack standing even a little
below the year 1913, which is otherwise unrivalled in this respect. We search in vain for
anything in the past history of the Nass that can explain these years. The river is predominantly a five-year stream. While sockeyes are mature in the Nass run at all ages from two to
seven, two classes mature at five, one of them after spending one year in fresh water and four
years at sea, the other after two years in fresh water and three years in the sea. Each of these
two classes is larger than any other of the numerous groups in the Nass, and the two together
constituted at different times during the season of 1917 from 61 to 96 per cent, of the run, with
an average for the entire run of 82 per cent. In so far, then, as the principal brood-year on
the Nass is concerned, we must turn to the fifth year preceding. But the brood-year for 1917
(1912) stands third in order of productiveness for the river, with a pack of 36,037 cases; and
the brood-year for 1913 (1908), with a pack of 27,584 cases, was the best the river had known
up to that date. We are compelled, then, to assume either that the size of the pack gives no
reliable indication of the number of fish that reach the spawning-grounds, or that some adverse
influences subsequent to spawning hindered the productiveness of the basin during those two
years. Such adverse influences might operate during the one or two years residence in the
lake or during the three or four years life in the ocean. They might consist of adverse physical
conditions, of unusually prevalent disease, of superabundant enemies, or of scarcity of food.
As an example, in 1915 we found some 10 per cent, of the migrating yearlings in Rivers Inlet
infested toy a parasite copepod (Salmincola falculata), "which seemed absurdly large for the
fingerling to carry about and nourish." Sometimes two or even three of these parasites attacked
the same individual, and some of these were obviously stunted in consequence. What proportion
of the fingerlings may have succumbed to these attacks we have no means of knowing. The
mortality might he very great. In pond-culture of trout it is considered essential to remove
these parasites once or twice in the year in order to save the brood, yet the trout may weigh a
pound or more and the fingerlings only as many ounces. The interesting fact in this connection
is that the parasites are much more abundant and destructive in some years than they are in
others. While very numerous in Owikeno Lake, Rivers Inlet, in 1915, they were much less so
in 1914, and there was an almost complete absence of them in 1916. This is one of many factors
which may materially diminish the productiveness of a brood-year, even when the spawning-
grounds are well supplied and a large hatch of fry results.
It is clear, then, that we may occasionally have a year of unusual destructiveness to fry
during their year or two of sojourn in their native lake. But such effects as these are likely
to be local in their influence. The parasite we have mentioned was present in no unusual
abundance in 1915 in the Smith Inlet Lake, although this is not far distant from Lake Owikeno.
If Rivers Inlet should have a poor run in 1919, we might with some degree of propriety recall
the ravages of the parasite in Lake Owikeno in the winter of 1914-15. But if Smith Inlet should
also have a poor season in 1919, we must look elsewhere for a cause. And if practically all the
sockeye streams on a stretch of coast agree in having greatly reduced runs in a given year, without regard to the size of the runs in their preceding brood-years, we shall do well to look for
some effective agency which has operated generally during their life in the ocean, when all are
equally exposed to it. 8 Geo. 5 Life-history op Sockeye Salmon. Q 77
The two conspicuously poor years in the recent history of the Nass, 1913 and 1917, are of
this nature. On the Fraser, 1913 was the big year of the cycle and cannot be cited in this
connection. But on the Skeena, to find as small a pack as in 1913, we must go back to the
exceptionally poor year 1903; on Rivers Inlet there is no year so poor since 1897, and on the
Nass none so poor since 1907. As for 1917, the other poor year we have cited for the Nass, we
must again eliminate the Fraser from the discussion. For 1917 was to have been the big year
of the cycle on the Fraser, and the causes which prevented were wholly local in their operation
and could have no bearing on a general failure in other districts. But in Rivers Inlet the pack
was slightly poorer even than in 1913; on the Skeena it was but little better than 1913; and on
the Nass, as we have already seen, it was even worse than 1913.
We might consider these perhaps as mere coincidences, without significance, were another
factor not involved. The records for 1913 and 1917 indicate unmistakably that the spawning
fish of those years were below normal size in all the rivers mentioned, except perhaps Rivers
Inlet in 1913. In our report for the year 1914 we call attention to the smaller size of individuals
in every group for 1913 (pages 67, 73), both on the Fraser, the Skeena, and the Nass, and discuss
the possible significance of this fact. As we there state (page 73) : "If those [i.e., the recordsj
for Rivers Inlet had coincided with these [the Fraser, Skeena, and Nass], we should have had
no hesitation in assigning as a cause some widespread oceanic conditions unfavourable to the
sockeyes of the 1913 run. And, indeed, this seems now the most probable hypothesis." And
now the same phenomenon has been repeated in 1917. We have extremely poor packs of sockeyes
in all the large rivers of the Province, and we have these poor runs consisting everywhere of
undersized fish. Clearly certain " widespread oceanic conditions unfavourable to the sockeyes "
must be involved.
What these unfavourable conditions are we may not be able to determine, except perhaps
in part. They cannot have operated over any considerable part of the life of the 1917 fish, for
the 1916 runs were unaffected as regards the size of the individual fish, although the magnitude
of the runs themselves was greatly reduced on the Skeena and on Rivers Inlet. But whatever
causes dwarfed the 1917 individuals must have operated after the 1916 fish had ceased feeding
and had schooled up for their spawning run. The last of these, however, left their feeding-
grounds late in the summer, when most of them had begun the formation of what we call the
" winter-check " at the margins of their scales; this check being an area marked by very fine
crowded ridges which indicate the slowing-down of growth, preparatory to its almost complete
cessation during the winter months. But as the late summer migrants of 1916 were still of normal
size, we are forced to conclude that as yet the 1917 brood had suffered no reverse. Up to the period
of cessation of growth in the late summer of 1.916 we must figure the 1917 brood as flourishing
in the customary fashion for sockeyes. There remains to be considered only the growth-period
in the spring. After the winter's rest this sets in suddenly and with great vigour. The scales
show no rings of intermediate spacing between the narrowly crowded " winter-band " and the
widely separated " summer-rings." If the winter's period of quiescence slowly and gradually
gave place to renewed vigour, the intermediate condition would be plainly marked on the scales.
We must imagine, then, a sudden accession of growth-vigour whenever the conditions in the
spring become favourable. There is variation in this respect among the various individuals,
and, in addition to that, the age-groups react differently. Three-year fish start their new growth
before those a year older, and a little later the four-year flsh show rings of new growth at the
margins of their scales at a time when the five-year fish have the margins of their scales still
formed by the winter-band of fine rings. Observations in early-running sockeyes have demonstrated that, even among four-year fish, growth ordinarily does not begin until some time in
May. The exact date differs doubtless with the seasons. A cold, backward spring may well
cause it to be considerably retarded. Some seasons are several weeks or a month behind the
average. Reduced temperatures in the surface waters where the sockeyes feed may well react
on them directly, or indirectly through their food, and their growth be thus so far retarded that
they are unable to make up the deficiency in the few weeks of feeding left to them. Inquiry into
the climatal conditions in the spring of 1913 and 1917 may throw light on the above hypothesis.
It is not apparent what connection a backward spring could have with a greatly reduced run
throughout the area affected. The reduction in the size of the individual fish might reduce the
pack 10 to 15 per cent., even should the number of individuals be as great as in normal years.
Contributing to that loss we have the decreased size of the fish, and also the increased percentage Q 78
Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
of waste in butchering the smaller sizes. But 10 or 15 per cent, reduction will not account for
packs which may be only half or a third their normal size. Further observations are necessary
to determine whether a greatly reduced pack always accompanies a year of undersized fish, or
whether the two conditions occur independently.
The following table, comparing the average lengths and weights for 1916 and 1917 of all the
different classes of sockeyes running in the Nass, shows conclusively the smaller size of all
groups in 1917. The records thus tabulated in this report are based on observations made by
the Fishery Overseers stationed in this fishing district. They are fairly accurate, but show
obvious discrepancies when subjected to close scrutiny. A portion of these possibly may be
attributed to careless observation, but the majority are due to the small amounts of material
handled in certain classes. In the table below, the bulk of the run is represented in the two
columns of fish five years old. All of the other types, except during certain years the four-year
fish, are represented by relatively few individuals, and their averages are the less trustworthy.
Table XLIX.—Nass River Sockeyes, Average Lengths and Weights of Different Classes,
Runs of .1916 and 1917.
Average Sizes op Individuals that spent
One Year  in  Lake.
Two  Years in Lake.
Four Years old.
Five Years old.
Five Years old.
Six Years old.
1
Males.
Females.
Males.      Females. 1    Males.    1 Females.
Males.
Females.
1916 (inches)           24.5
1917 (inches)    1     23.4
1916 (pounds)             6.0
1917 (pounds)            5.3
23.3
23.2
5.3
5.3
26.4
25.5
7.2
6.8
25.0
24.7
6.3
6.2
26.5
25.3
7.2
6.3
25.7
24.7
6.2
5.8
27.9
26.5
8.1
7.3
25.8
25.5
6.4
6.4
Average Sizes of Individuals that spent
Three Y7ears in Lake.
I'1
No Year in Lake.     (Sea-type.)
Six Years  Old.
Seven Years old.
Two  Years  old.
Three Years old.
Four Years old.
Males.
Females.
Males.
Females.
Males.**]  Females.
Males. I Females.
Males.
Females.
1916 (inches)
1917 (inches)
1916(pounds)
1917(pounds)
26.4
25.8
7.3
6.8
26.5
25.4
6.6
6.1
26.0
7.6
22.5
5.0
23.4
's'.i
26.1
24.8
7.1
6.0
24.2
23.8
6.0
5.7
We do not in this table segregate the August-running fish for separate treatment, as was
done in the report for 191.5. It was found during that year that the run was sharply divided in
an early and a late period, the August fish being distinctly larger, comprised almost exclusively
of five-year fish of the two-years-in-lake type, and with distinctively marked nuclear areas on
their scales. Apparently, in 1915, one of the sub-races of the Nass ran late and was practically
unmixed with others. An occasional opportunity of this kind has presented itself in the Fraser
run of a given year, an opportunity which may not be repeated a second year on account of
mingling of types. It is a matter of favourable chance when a " pure culture " can be dealt
with in any part of a sockeye run, when this is examined in the lower course of any of the
larger river-basins.
It was not surprising, therefore, to find in 1916 and 1917 no such sharp separation of
the August fish on the Nass as occurred in 1915. The same age-group largely predominated in
August of the three years, but no decided increase in size of individuals was apparent and the
types of scale nuclear areas present indicated a complete mixture of the two types, which were 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of Sockeye Salmon.
Q 79
well distinguished but did not run separately. As regards sizes, a slight increase was noticeable
as the season advanced, and a few of the smaller sizes, ranging from 23 to 25 inches, disappeared
in the last of July or the first of August. These sizes were not very numerously represented at
any stage of the run, so their loss did not greatly change the averages. The average of five-year
males that had as fingerlings spent two years in fresh water, for the entire season of 1917 was
25.3 inches; for the August portion of the run was 25.5; for the June and July portion of the
run, 25.2. Confining our attention to the dominant type, which in 1915 had exhibited the greatest
increase in the August portion of the run—consisting of five-year fish, two years in the lake—we
make the following comparison of the June-July and the August portions of the run for 1916
and 1917:—
June-July.
August.
Males.
Females.
Males.
Females.
1916 (inches)   	
1917 (inches)   	
26.4
25.2
25.7
24.7
26.7
25.5
25.8
24 9
The records obtained of the run of 1916 includes eleven dates, covering the period from
June 20th to August 18th. In 1917 a similar series embraces seventeen distinct records, extending from June 26th to August 23rd. These are fairly evenly spaced and are usually three or
four days apart They give us the most complete account we have had heretofore of any sockeye
run, and show clearly what internal changes occur in the run among the various groups and
classes of which it is composed. In the following tables are given separately for 1916 and 1917
the varying proportions in which the age-groups were represented in a succession of dates
throughout the runs. Comparison of the two tables will show that, although the exact proportions differed in the two years, the general movements followed each other closely. Both
four- and five-year fish of the one-year-in-lake group ran in small numbers at the beginning and
at the close of the run, and culminated about the middle or latter part of July. The predominant
group—five-year-old, two years in lake—had much the largest percentages in the early and later
portions of the rim and less during the middle of July. The six-year class, two years in lake,
ran from the early part of July into August, but was most abundant in the later portion of the
run. This tendency was still more definitely marked in the six-year type that had lived three
years in the lake. These do not appear until August, and increase during the last days of the
run. The remaining class, the sea-type, which spend no time in fresh water after they are
hatched and become free-swimming, have the reverse habit to those just described which spend
three full years in fresh water. The Nass River sockeyes of sea-type enter at the beginning of
the run, few of them appearing after the middle of July. In these cases we must discriminate
between events of universal occurrence in all the rivers and those of local occurrence due to the
special conditions existing in a given river. Whether a group of sockeyes enters a river in
the earlier or the later portion of the run seems to depend on two factors. One of these is
the innate tendency for a given group to mature earlier than some other group. This will
be universally expressed, and will determine in general the order in which the majority of a
group will enter the river, unless the second factor is operative. The latter has to do with the
special part of the river-basin toward which any group is mainly directing its course. If it is
equally distributed throughout the spawning areas, this factor would be in abeyance. But such
is not always the case. In the Fraser River there are reasons for believing the individuals of
sea-type spawn principally in the lower course of the stream. That may be the reason they
always enter the stream in the last part of the run, a procedure the exact opposite of that which
occurs on the Nass. Q 80
Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
Table L.—Percentages in each Class of Nass River Sockeyes running at Different Dates in 1916.
1016.
One Year in
Lake.
Four
Years.
Five
Years.
Two Years in
Lake.
Five
Years.
Six
Years.
Three Years in
Lake.
Six
Years.
Seven
Years.
Sea-type.
Three
Years.
Four
Years.
June 20
June 22
June 28
July 11
July 13
July 15
July 25
July 27
Aug. 1
Aug. 10
Aug. 18
2
16
74
2
96
6
4
88
2
8
33
55
2
12
34
42
12
18
29
39
10
19
25
46
10
12
19
53
16
14
9
61
14
2
2
2
75
11    10
3
82
9
6
Table LI.—Percentages in each Class of Nass River Sockeyes running at Different Dates in 1917.
1917.
One Year in
Lake.
Four
Years.
Five
Years.
Two Years in
Lake.
Five
lrears.
Six
Years.
Three Years in
Lake.
Six
Years.
Seven
Years.
Sea-type.
Three
Years.
Four
Years.
June 26
June 27
June 30
July 2
July 5
July 9
July 13
Julv 19
July 20
July 25
July 27
July 30
Aug. 2
Aug. 6
Aug. 9
Aug. 22
Aug. 23
14
82
4
8
82
2
15
72
4
18
74
26
66
16
42
52
26
22
62
31
28
40
16
20
41
24
21
57
8
20
50
8
12
72
8
81
8
90
2
2
80
2
SO
71
4
2
8
16
23
Specimens examined August 24th, 1917, are not listed, as the peripheral portions of the scales
had suffered too much for successful age-determination in many cases. There was included one
undoubted seven-year specimen which had spent three years in the lake and four at sea—the
third of this class to be discovered in the Nass.    If was a male 28 inches long, weighing 8 lb.
The Nass is noted for the large number of different age-groups and other classes which it
contains. Eight of these are now reported, an additional one being recorded in the 1917 run,
comprising three-year-olds of sea-type, seven individuals of which ran in the earliest portion of
the run, none later than July 5th. All of these were males, while the majority of the four-year
fish of the same type were females. The only known group of sockeyes unrepresented from the
Nass are the three-year male grilse. Fig. 1. Fraser River sockeye from the Birkenhead River.    Female, '23 inches long, in fourth
year.    Taken September 26th, 1916. Pig. 2. Fraser River sockeye from the Birkenhead River.    Female,
long, in fourth year.    Taken September 26th, 1916.
23  inches Fig.  3. Fraser River sockeye from Cultus Lake.     Female. 2*!V2  inches long, in
fourth year.     Taken November 9th, 1916. Fig.  4.  Fraser   River   sockeye   from   Morris   Creek.     Female,   23%   inches   long,   in
fourth year.    Taken October 17th, 1916. -
Fig.  5.  Fraser River sockeye from Pitt Lake.     Female, 24 inches long, in fifth year.
September 25th, 1916.
Taken Oj r
M   OJ
> a
—    HJ
« 2
60 * ' '■''    .
Fig.  S.  Fraser River sockeye taken at Harrison Rapids.
September 30th, 1916.    Male, 26% inches long. Fig. 9.  Fraser River sockeye, Bellingham, July 22nd, 1917.    Female, 23 inches long, in fifth year. -
:
Fig.  10.  Fraser River sockeye, Bellingham, Wash., August 23rd, 1917.    Male, 25 inches
long, in fourth year. Fig. 11. Fraser Eiver  sockeye,  Bellingham,  Wash.,  August  10th,   ini".    Female,  24^
inches long, in fourth year. Fig.  12. F
raser liiyp,,
incke
'<•■ Belling,,
&ni, Wash.,
■j-   .
fifth
year.
June isth. 19
191
"■    Female, 23
inches lo
ng, In Fig.  13. Fraser River sockeye, Bellingham. Wash., July 13th. 1917.    Female, 22% inches long, in
fourth year. Fig.  14. Rivers Iiilet sockeye of very unusual type, originally considered a straggler  from
some other stream.    Male, 23% inches long, in flt'th year.    Taken June 27th, 1916. Fig.  lo.  Rivers Inlet sockeye of very unusual  type,  originally   considered a straggler  from
some other stream.     Female, 24 inches long, in fifth year.    Taken June 27th, 1916. 8 Geo. 5 Life-history of the Pacific Coast Edible Crab. Q 81
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LIFE-HISTORY OF THE PACIFIC COAST
EDIBLE CRAB.
(Cancer magister.)
(No. 3.)
By F. W. Weymouth, Assistant Pbofessob of Physiology, Stanford "University.
iNTEOnUCTION.
In previous papers in these reports (1914, 1915) certain general features of the life-history
of the edible crab, especially those bearing directly on its distribution and affecting the manner
of fishing, were briefly discussed and a description given of the crab-fishery of British Columbia,
its methods, and the conditions at the more important points. The present paper has little to
add to the account already given of the industry in the Province, the field-work of 1916 and
1917 having been confined to Crescent, where, as stated in the report for 1914, a crab-fishery of
considerable importance is maintained, the grounds lying in Boundary Bay, only a short distance
north of the International Boundary. This restriction of the field-work was found advisable, as
it had been learned that the differences between different localities (and, I may add, between
successive seasons) were so great that the data from them could be combined only with extreme
care. Since it was apparent that intensive work in a single locality was most likely to yield
fruitful returns, and since Crescent presented several features of advantage, chief among which
was the opportunity of obtaining material offered by the fishery there (to the proprietor of
which, H. M. Frazer, I wish again to acknowledge my indebtedness for many and continued
courtesies), the time available, July 21st to 27th, 1916, and June 19th to September 4th, 1917,
was spent here. The effectiveness of this work has been much extended by collections made
under the writer's directions by Charles V. Sayer, of New Westminster, during the fall and
winter of 1917-18. The data thus obtained, which is the most complete that has yet been
available, bears on a number of points in the life-history of the crab, but consideration of
certain of these questions has not gone far enough to permit of their inclusion in the present
report. Some facts bearing on problems of cooking and marketing, notably those of " light"
and "black" crabs, will be presented; new data on the relation of width to weight and the
loss of weight in cooking is given; the dates of appearance of the larvre and a consideration
of the cause of seasonal variation in this is taken up.
Cooking Methods ; " Light " and " Black " Crabs.
In connection with the cooking and preparing for market of the crab, certain problems were
called to my attention which I shall here present briefly, with such data as an incidental study
has brought to light.
The crabs are usually shipped from the fishing-grounds alive and cooked by the wholesaler
in the city where they are to be sold. The method of cooking is commonly as follows: The
crabs, as received, are dumped into a large tank of boiling salted water and allowed to boil
for twenty to thirty minutes and then removed and cooled in running cold water. If destined
to be retailed through local markets, and this includes most of the crabs handled in Vancouver,,
they are cleaned, usually by scrubbing in the cooling-tank, and set to drain until called for by
or shipped to the retailer.
The retailer, from his experience with the ultimate consumer, is guided in his choice of crabs-,
chiefly by three factors. " Cripples," particularly those in which the large pincers or chelipeds
are missing, are rejected because of the smaller amount of meat present and because of the
appearance, the pincers being the most attractive part when served as cracked crab. Those
discoloured or disfigured by many barnacles are refused on the ground of unattractive appearance.    In the third place, the crabs are " hefted " and the " light " crabs, those in which the weight appears disproportion ally small for the size, are rejected. As these rejections mean a
loss to the wholesaler or fisherman, and if the crabs rejected spoil or are thrown away, a food
loss to the community, it is worth while to consider if these rejections are just, and, if just,
in how far the conditions causing them may be avoidable. I will consider them in the above
order.
The crabs in which legs are missing represent a decreased amount of meat, and will
naturally be refused by any prudent buyer as long as the crabs are sold at a fixed price " a
piece " or with only a rough classification into large, medium, and small. The remedy for this
is the introduction of the rational practice of selling by weight, which has been gaining ground
of late years in- the handling of other foodstuffs. If the purchaser paid for the weight received,
the " cripples," which unavoidably result from the packing and shipping of the crabs, could be
disposed of almost as readily as the perfect crabs.
Crabs with an encrustation of barnacles or other marine growths are not by this fact
injured for food, and if properly cleaned can be rendered more attractive. The use of a brush
with steel-wire bristles instead of the ordinary " corn " or fibre brush, for instance, will often
clean what would otherwise be unattractive crabs. The presence of many barnacles is, however,
an evidence of a long period since the last moult and may thus incidentally indicate a condition
not so favourable for food, as will be pointed out shortly, and therefore it would probably be
best for the fisherman to return to the water the extremely " dirty " crabs, as they are called,
that they may have an opportunity to moult and improve both in appearance and food value.
A related question is that of " black " crabs. Often after cooking the back or carapace of
the crab, instead of being uniformly red, will show areas which are black, or at least dark, and
which so injure the appearance of the crab as greatly to interfere with its sale. Worms were
assigned as the cause of this discoloration by one old fisherman, who, as proof, held up the
crab-shell to the light and pointed out minute " worm-holes " in these regions. Very fine holes,
or more often thin places which resemble holes, are, indeed, often present, but are not due to
worms. If the surface of the shell is closely examined it will be seen to be thickly studded
with small, round, boss-like projections, and corresponding to each on the inner surface will
be found a tiny pit. When the shell is much worn it is, of course, the projections which suffer
first, and the shell in consequence becomes thin in these places, and if the wear goes far enough
to reach the pits, actual holes will be produced, quite without the agency of " worms." Certain
regions near the centre of the shell, particularly that known as the gastric area, are above the
general level of the remaining surface and hence most exposed to wear, and it is these which
are most often black. That the discoloration is due to the injury to the shell in these regions
is shown by the fact that all injuries, breaks, holes, and the like, develop black areas about them.
When due to mere superficial injury the food value of the crab is not affected, and there is no
reason, other than the aesthetic, for their rejection. There is no way in which the blackening
can be avoided, though, if slight, it may be removed, at least partially, in cleaning.
There remains the more serious problem of " light" crabs. In this it is necessary to
distinguish carefully between those crabs which show a weight disproportionally small while
living and those in which the same condition obtains after cooking, for while an individual may
be " light" both before and after cooking, this is not always the case. In an attempt to
determine this point a series of seventy-six crabs were carefully weighed and measured while
living, labelled to permit their identification, and after cooking again weighed and measured.
Under ordinary conditions the crabs are allowed to drain overnight, but this was not possible,
and the weights were taken after draining about thirty minutes. For this reason the loss might
be expected to be less than the true figure. Seven showed a slight gain, the remaining sixty-nine,
losses up to 14 per cent., the average of the whole being a loss of 4.27 per cent. A careful study
of the records failed to show any correlation between the condition of the live crab and the
amount of loss in weight, the light crabs losing about equally with the heavy ones.
Having indicated the degree of the loss and the fact that this seems to be independent of
whether the crab was above or below average weight when alive, let us consider the possible
causes of light weight in the cooked crab. If, for instance, a leg is lost and there is much
bleeding either before or during cooking, the weight will be correspondingly small.    Such cases 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of the Pacific Coast Edible Cp.hVB.
Q 83
are, however, readily recognized and apparently not of great importance, and I shall confine my
attention to those cases where the light weight is due to some unusual condition of the tissues
of the crab before cooking. The cooking will, of course, coagulate those parts of the blood and
tissues which are coagulable, but the mere surplus water will in large part be lost in draining.
Now, those crabs which have recently moulted and in which hardening is incomplete are,
as I have pointed out elsewhere,* light in weight and inferior for food. A full consideration
of the problem involves the entire question of moulting, but the more pertinent facts may be
presented here. In moulting, the weight of the emerging crab, that is, the weight of the hard
crab less the weight of the cast shell, may be doubled within an hour. This is not, of course,
true growth in the sense that new tissues are built up, but is due to water which is taken up
through the alimentary canal and finds its way into the blood.t Since the volume of the blood
before moulting may be 5 per cent, of the body-weight,:!: this will have risen to 50 per cent, or
in some cases more after moulting. A relatively small amount of this blood is coagulated by
boiling, and consequently as much as half of the original weight of the crab may be lost as water.
In fact, such freshly moulted crabs are spoken of as " empty " because on opening the cooked
specimen little is seen in the shell beyond the stomach and the internal hard parts. Another
factor is the liver, which is unusually large at this time, and since it is not eaten the food
value is still further reduced. Such crabs should never be brought to the market. If taken
they mean a total loss to the fishery, but if returned to the water they are again valuable as
food in the course of a month, or at the most two months. In fact, it is hardly necessary to
emphasize this point, as the experienced fishermen will not bring in such worthless crabs. Times
of great scarcity sometimes tempt the less scrupulous, however, and for these and others who
do not of themselves regulate the matter there should be a law fixing a legal degree of hardness
or establishing a closed season at the time such crabs are most common.
But even after the careful dealer has excluded the easily recognized " soft" crabs there will
be found among the crabs which are completely hard some specimens that are conspicuously
" light." Two crabs of the same size from the same " cooking" will serve as an example. Both
measured 17.8 cm., and by reference to the graph given in Fig. 1, page S6, it will be seen that the
average live weight at this size should be 1 lb. 12 oz. (28 oz.) and the cooked weight 26.25 oz. One
of the crabs, No. 5099, selected by the dealer as a moderately heavy one, proved to weigh 25.5 oz.,
or slightly under the average; it was hard but not excessively old. The other, No. 5064, picked
as a "light" crab, weighed 23 oz., or about 3.5 oz. (12.4 per cent.) less than the average, a
difference completely supporting the dealer's judgment. The meat was carefully removed from
these two crabs and weighed;   the complete comparison is as follows:—
No.
Width.
Total
Weight.
Meat
Weight.
Crab
edible.
Waste.
Crab
waste.
5099   	
5064   	
Cm.
17,8
17.8
Oz.
25.5
23.0
Oz.
11.5
9.0
Per Cent.
45.5
39.1
Oz.
14
14
Per Cent.
55.0
60.9
It will be seen that, both absolutely and relatively, the amount of meat is greater in the
" heavy " crab, the weight of the shell and other waste being the same in the two cases. Some
claim in addition that the quality and flavour of the meat in the " heavy " crab is superior.
The preference of purchaser*? for " heavy " crabs needs no further justification.
But this is merely giving figures for facts long recognized by those handling cooked crabs;
what are the causes of these differences? The "light" crab (No. 5004) in the case just given
was not " soft" ; in fact, it was the harder and older of the two as shown by the growth of
barnacles and the greater weight of the shell, which when dried and weighed on more delicate
scales was found to exceed that of No. 5099 by 6 per cent.   We are not, therefore, dealing with
* Report of the Commissioner for 1914, page 125.
t Cuenot, Arch, de Biol., XIII., page 245, 1893.
t Paul and Sharpe, Journal of Physiology, L., page 183, 1916. Q 84 Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
a recently moulted crab, but, on the other hand, with one again approaching the moulting season,
and there is every reason to believe that its " lightness " is connected with changes in the tissues
due to the impending moult. As already stated, the liver is large at this time and thus serves
to swell the waste. Another and more important factor is present, for the muscles of the legs
are seen to be shrunken so as no longer to fill the shell. The advantage of this to the moulting
crab is obvious, as the leg when withdrawn from the old shell has to pass through a space
at the base much smaller than the leg at its thickest part, a process much facilitated by the
shrinkage of the tissues. Whether this loss furnishes some of the material stored in the liver,
and by what mechanism the changes are brought about, the data at hand cannot answer. From
these considerations it seems clear that crabs about to moult furnish a large part of the " light"
crabs, and that it would be wise to return such crabs to the water. Unfortunately they are not
easily recognized; it is possible that if a properly timed closed season were established, these,
as well as the freshly moulted ones, could be in large measure protected.
An unusual and unexpected result of cooking is a loss in the size of the shell, which is firm
and compact enough to give pro/mise of more permanency in this regard. The loss was small,
amounting to only 0.44 per cent, in width, but quite constant. This had been suspected by one
of the men engaged in cooking from the fact that the number of crabs of a certain size—as, for
instance, 7 inches—in a " cooking " often failed to tally after the crabs were boiled.
It may not be out of place while speaking of the food value of the crab to point out that
the coagulated blood which is found after cooking collected on the inner surface of the shell,
and which is often known as " crab butter," is a highly palatable and nutritious part of the
crab and should not be thrown away with the shell.
The Relation of Size to Weight.
In a previous report* a brief summary of the relation of size to weight was given. A more
extended consideration based on a larger number of specimens is here presented. The material
is entirely from Crescent, as the crabs from different localities appear to vary enough in shape
to make inadvisable the combining of data, though it is probable that the relations here established will hold within reasonable limits for the species along the entire coast.
The data is presented in the form of a table (Table 1) and a graph (Fig. 1) based upon it.
The width as given is the extreme dimension, including the lateral "points" or "horns," measured
with calipers and not over the curve of the back; it does not correspond to the commercial size
in which the " points " are not included, so that an average adult male will be about 9.5 mm.
(% inch) less when measured in this manner.t The crabs were weighed while living and after
the obvious excess moisture had drained off; the weights are recorded in pounds and ounces.
The material from 2.5 cm. to 5 cm. represents 229 specimens of both sexes which up to this size
show no appreciable differences in weight. The number of specimens for each mm. in width
are here great enough to give reliable averages. From 5 to 7 cm, there are twenty-five males
averaged in 2-min. groups. From 7 to 15 cm. there are also twenty-five specimens which are
averaged in 3-mm. groups. This portion of the data is less satisfactory because of the smaller
number of specimens. From 15 to 20 cm. there were 487 males selected to exclude those lacking
pincers or other legs. These are averaged in 3-mm. groups, and here again the numbers are great
enough to give reliable averages. The entire material, therefore, includes 766 specimens taken
in 1916 and 1917.
* Report of the Commissioner for 1915, page 162.
t See table, page 162, Report of the Commissioner for 1915. 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of the Pacific Coast Edible Crab.
Q 85
Table 1.—Average Weights in Ounces of Male Crabs from 25 to 200 Mm.
No. of
.
No. of
Width.
Specimens.
Weight.
Width.
Specimens.
Weight.
Mm.
Oz.
Mm.
Oz.
26	
1
0.2
74	
3
2.0
29	
1
1
0.2
0.4
80	
101	
1
1
25
32	
4.7
33	
3
0.23
0.27
107	
116	
1
1
80
34	
5.0
35	
1
0.3
119	
1
7.0
36 '
2
0.25
122
o
8.25
37	
5
0.34
134	
1
10.5
38	
6
0.33
137	
■    1
12.0
39	
13
9
0.32
0.37
140	
143	
2
1
16 0
40	
15.0
41	
9
0.38
146	
3
15.0
42	
12
0.39
149	
6
16.7
43	
7
6
6
0.41
0.5
0.5
152	
155. .
16
28
32
17.9
44	
18 75
45	
158	
19.7
46	
7
0.49
161	
34
20.3
47	
2
0.55
164	
23
2:1.7
48	
4
0.575
167	
48
23.15
49	
4
1
4
0.55
0.6
0.675
170	
173	
32
41
40
23.4
50	
25.3
52	
176	
27.1
54	
O
O
6
0.73
0.S8
179 i.
39
46
27.8
56	
182	
29.3
5S	
O
o
0.97
185	
28
31.0
60	
3
1.07
188	
39
32.3
62	
3
1.2
191	
16
34.1
64	
1
1.1
194	
20
35.8
66	
1
1.6
197	
4
36.2
68	
1
1.8
199	
1
40.0
The record here presented stops with 20 cm. and 2% lb. This is about the maximum
for Crescent; some are taken which exceed this in size, but I have not had an opportunity
of measuring such. I have seen specimens at Prince Rupert which measured over 9 inches
and weighed 3% lb.;  dealers claim 4 lb. as a maximum.
Fig. 1, page 86, represents in the form of a graph the averages given in Table 1. Each dot
represents such a value and is placed at the intersection of the lines corresponding to the width
and weight. For instance, twenty-eight crabs 18.4, 18.5, or 18.6 cm. wide averaged 31 oz., and in
the graph a dot will be found at the intersection of 18.5 cm. and 31 oz. The general trend of the
values is shown by the heavy line. It will be noted that at either end where the material is
ample this line passes through or very close to all the average values, and that the only part
where deviations occur is where the number of specimens is small.
As has been pointed out by several workers,* the lengths and weights of a series of animals
of different sizes follow the geometrical relations holding for any similarly shaped bodies, provided that in growth the proportions of the various dimensions—length, breadth, and thickness—
do not vary; that is, if they remain strictly similar bodies. The geometrical relation is that
while any of the linear dimensions, as the width, of two different-sized animals stand in direct
proportion, their weights are in proportion to the cubes of their widths. For example, a crab
5 cm. wide is % the width of one measuring 15 cm., but it falls far short of % of the weight;
it actually weighs 0.6 oz., while the larger crab weighs 16.75 oz., or 27.9 times as much. If the
widths are cubed this relation is very closely represented: 53= 125, 153*= 3,375, 3,375 -*-125 ■***■**= 27.
The points representing the weights calculated from the assumption that they are proportional
to the cubes of the width and starting with the observed weight of crabs 5 cm. wide are plotted
* For example, Pulton, T. W., The Rate of Growth   of   Fishes,   Twenty-second   Annual   Report   of   the
Fishery Board for Scotland,  page 142,  1904. Q 86
Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
on the graph as circles. It will be seen that they agree strikingly with the observed weights.
This is in contrast with Fulton's figures where the calculated weight quite uniformly fell short
of the observed weight in fishes.
As no data of this sort is available for the edible crab of the North Sea, the nearest relative
of the species under discussion, I cannot say how they compare.
For those sizes between 16 and 19 cm. the approximate weight of the cooked crab is indicated
by a dotted line below and parallel to that representing the live weight. The data on which this
is based has already been given; the 4.27-per-cent. loss amounts to about an ounce, but for
reasons already given this is probably too small.
•
1—
>
2
i
//
//'
;
v'
■
/■
.
s
to
-
•
-I
z
_
•
<2
LU
o
<
■
>CM    1           2          3          4          5          6          7          8           9         IO        11         12        13        14.        15        16        17         IS        19       2
,       1        i       1       .        1       .        1       .        1        ,        I       .        I        ,        1       ,        ,        ,        t                ,       .        t       .        ,                1
o
J
Fig. 1.  Graph based on 766 specimens showing the weight in pounds and ounces of any male
crab between 2.5 cm. and 20 cm.    Solid line, live weight;   dotted line, approximate cooked weight.
LabVhE.
As stated in the report for 1915,* larvae of the edible crab in the last or megalops stage
were obtained at Sidney, Vancouver Island, July 22nd, 1914, and at Crescent July 5th, 1915.
In 1916 they were first observed at Crescent on July 29th, and in 1917 on July 22nd. In the
latter year there was an opportunity of following them through the season, and some were seen
as late as August 30th, though they were most abundant about the end of July. This would
indicate that hatching must extend over a correspondingly long period. Possibly some of the
dates for previous years do not represent their first appearance, since they are too small to
be conspicuous and are likely to pass unobserved unless a close watch is kept. Leaving aside
possible slight inaccuracies in these dates, the great seasonal variation in the time of their
appearance, amounting to nearly a month, is striking and of some importance in the life-history,
as it would materially affect the time remaining for growth in the particular season.
» Page 161. 8 Geo. 5 Life-history op the Pacific Coast Edible Crab. Q 87
Seasonal Variation and Tempebattjbe.
Attention having been called to the seasonal variation, it was noted that the size of the
crab in its second summer—the data on this and other questions of growth will be presented in
a subsequent report—varied widely from year to year. The widths in three successive years
as determined for the latter part of July are: 1915, 63 mm.; 1916, 58 mm.; 1917, 39 mm. It
will be noticed that in 1915 the megalops appeared the earliest and the two-year-old crabs were
the largest. To check the above observations they were compared with reliable data from an
independent observer. I)r. Stafford has recorded in these reports* the dates at which oyster-
spawning was first noted on several successive years: 1913, May 21st; 1914, May 7th; 1915,
(April 23rd) (erroneously stated to be May 10th in the 1916 report; in previous report May 10th
is given as date for larvae, spawning was about two weeks earlier in other years) ; 1916, May
22nd; 1917, (May 20th to 25th) (Dr. Stafford's date not available for this year; locally said to
be about same as previous year, possibly later). Here 1915 again appears as the most favourable
year and 1917 as very backward.
To account for this agreement in seasonal variation in the crab and the oyster we must
postulate a seasonal variation in the conditions surrounding both. Of these conditions the food-
supply and the temperature will perhaps first suggest themselves. Since the food-supply is
entirely different in the two forms, it is difficult to see how they would always agree in their
fluctuations, and attention is strongly directed toward the temperature. This is supported from
the physiological side by the known influence of temperature on all life processes, of which may
be cited muscular activity, rapidity of digestion, and general metabolism. This influence must,
of necessity, be more marked in forms like the ones under consideration where the animal takes
its temperature from the surrounding water than in warm-blooded forms where the internal
organs are maintained at a practically uniform temperature. Processes such as the ripening of
eggs or growth require the building-up of extra tissue, and hence will not go on when, because
of the reduction of temperature, metabolism is at its lowest ebb; metabolism must be active
enough to give a surplus over and above the energy and repair of waste necessary to maintain
life before growth can take place or masses of eggs be formed and thrown off.
In regard to growth, it is known from experiments that fish will grow more rapidly in an
aquarium furnished with slightly warmed water than when supplied with water at the sea
temperature.f In the case of the larvae of some invertebrates it has been shown that growth
not merely responds to temperature, but that it follows quite closely the laws governing the
action of temperature on a simple chemical reaction, a rise of 10° C. increasing the rate of
growth between two and three times.+
Unfortunately few systematic records of water-temperature on this coast are available for
comparison with the seasonal variations under consideration. In their absence air-temperature
records must be used, and when it is borne in mind that on this coast the water is not merely
influenced by the air-temperature, but in turn affects the air-temperatures near the coast because
of the prevailing.winds blowing from the ocean, it will be seen that they may fairly represent
at least the comparative condition under which the marine animal lives from year to year.
Seattle and Sitka have been chosen as representative of that part of the North Pacific Coast
with which we are now concerned. The dates of spawning and of the appearance of larvae
would probably be influenced by the " earliness " of the season, and in the question of growth
this would also be important, because it would determine the length of time available for
growing. Two criteria have been chosen as measures of the earliness of the season. First,
the mean temperatures of March and April have been selected as representative of the spring.
* Report of the Commissioner for 1915, page 157 ; for 1916, page 103.
t F'ulton, T. W., The Rate of Growth of Fishes, Twenty-second Annual Report of the Fishery Board for
Scotland, page 142, 1914.
t Peter,  Karl, Archiv.  f.  Ent.-Mech.  d.  Organ.  21>, page 130, 190'6. Q 88
Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
They are as follows:—
1912.
1913.
1914.
1915.
1916.
1917.
Seattle, March
„ April
Sitka, March
„ April
44.3
48.0
39.6
41.8
41.9
41.0
37.8
40.1
47.6
51.4
39.6
44.6
50.0
52.6
44.6
44.1
44.4
49.0
33.8
43.4
41.0
46.8
33.4
41.9
It will be seen that 1913 and 1917 are cold and 1915 relatively warm. Secondly, the mean
monthly temperatures for the entire year were plotted, and from this was determined the approximate date in the spring at which a certain temperature was reached. For this a temperature
of 48° Fahr. (about 9° C.) was chosen, since we have good reason to believe that a critical
temperature for the inception of growth lies between 40° and 50° Fahr.* The dates are as
follows:—
1912.
1913.
1914.
1915.
1916.
1917.
Sitka   	
April 15
May     6
April 12
May   23
March 21
May     18
March    5
April    28
April    9
May   26
April 23
May    23
Again it will be noticed that this temperature was reached earliest in 1915 and late in both
localities in 1913 and 1917, so that by either method we find in 1915 an early spring to account
for the early appearance of the larval forms and in 1913 and 1917 late seasons to explain the
late arrival of the young.
In -discussing the facts just given relating to seasonal variation with Dr. C. H. Gilbert, he
called my attention to a similar seasonal fluctuation in the size of the sockeye salmon. Through
his courtesy I have had access to some of the data on this point which appears in his paper in
the current report, and for this and much helpful advice and criticism I wish to acknowledge
my sincere appreciation. In commenting on the small size of the Skeena packs in 1917 and
1913, he notes the small size of the fish, which may, he estimates, contribute as much as 10 to
15 per cent, of the shortage. Since growth was normal up to the preceding fall, when growth
comes to a standstill, he concludes that the cause of the reduced size must have been operating
in the springs of the years in question. He says: " Inquiry into the climatal conditions in the
springs of 1913 and 1917 may throw light on the above hypothesis." In the present note the
unfavourable climatal conditions at the time when growth should begin are shown for both 1913
and 1917, and his hypothesis receives striking support in the shape of proof of the presence of
a factor tending to retard growth in the respective springs.
The average lengths of four- and five-year-old male and female sockeyes in the Skeena River
runs in successive years as given in his paper were combined to give a single mean length for
each year; these are as follows: 1912, 24.92 inches; 1913, 24.15 inches; 1914, 24.72 inches;
1915^ 24.65 inches;  1916, 24.67 inches;   1917, 24.25 inches.
Not only is the size of the salmon available, but in the pack we have a measure also of the
numbers of individuals present. The packs of the Nass, Skeena, and Rivers Inlet as given in
these reports show that 1915 (and for the Skeena, 1914) was a favourable year and that 1913,
1916, and 1917 were poor. In Fig. 2, where all of the data just given is assembled in graphic
form, this is shown by the lines 9, 10, and 11. A comparison of these with the temperature
records (lines 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8) shows a correspondence that cannot be ignored. The reason
for this is not clear. The influence on the individual growth as shown by the size has an
adequate explanation in the cold spring, but this can account for a fraction only of the difference
in the packs. It is hard to see how the numbers could be influenced unless it were cold enough
to cause the death of many fish, and for this we have no evidence.
* Compare Merriam, Life and Crop Zones of the United States, Bull. No. 10. U.S. Dept. of Agri., 1898,
page 54.    Here 43°  Fahr. is taken as a critical temperature for land organisms. 8 Geo. 5
Life-history of the Pacific Coast Edible Crab.
Q 89
Fig. 2.    Graph comparing Seasonal Variations in the Crab, Ovster, and  Salmon with the Temperature Conditions.
Explanation of the lines :—
1912
1913- 1914
1915
1916 1917
■Mar-ell*!
April
May
30
1
July
Di>gr.eeS
P.
50
<•©     E=
Salmon
packl
caaea
L«lg*Ul
inch-aa
WUftt.
140.000
120,000
JOO.OOO
80.000
60.000
40.000
0
2*5
24
60
1      1. Dates  at  which   48°   Fahr.   was
reached at Seattle.
. 2 2. Dates of oyster spawning, Crescent.
• 3 3. Dates at which 48° Fahr. was
reached at Sitka.
4     4. Dates    of    appearance    of    crab
megalops, Crescent.
5.  Mean   temperature   for   April   at
Seattle.
I. 7.  Mean   temperature   for   April   at
•"^"7 Sitka.
-S      6.  Mean  temperature  for  March  at
Seattle.
"'8     8. Mean  temperature  for  March  at
Sitka.
9 9.  Sockeye-pack,   Skeena  River.
10 10.  Sockeye-pack, Rivers Inlet.
12    12. Length of sockeyes, Skeena River.
13    13. Width  of  crabs  in  second  year,
Crescent.
1912
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917 Q 90 Report of the Commissioner op Fisheries. 1918
Temperature is, of course, only one factor in a complex problem, and it would be the height
of folly to expect that it alone would determine the run of any year. This is clearly shown in the
case of the Fraser, where the effect of the big brood-year completely overshadows any influence
of temperature or any other single factor. But if it can be clearly shown, as I feel the present
cases show, that temperature is an important factor, the substitution for one unknown of a
known and measurable influence places us that much nearer the solution of our problem.
We have here evidence from three widely different types of animals—the crab, the oyster,
and the salmon—obtained by three independent observers, and in the case of the salmon covering
many years and a great variety of localities, all agreeing with each other and with the temperature records in a manner that cannot be the result of chance. We can hardly escape the
conclusion that temperature is an important factor in the life-history of marine animals, and as
such deserves careful attention and study. I should like to add a plea for the collection of data
on the water-temperature, which, though so clearly important for its bearing on the lives of
valuable food-fishes, is almost wholly lacking for the entire coast. The only exceptions, as far
as I know, are the Biological Stations at Departure Bay and at La Jolla, California. 8 Geo. 5 Native Oyster of British Columbia. Q 91
THE NATIVE OYSTER OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
(OSTREA LURID A, CARPENTER.)
Br Joseph Stafford, M.A., Ph.D., Montreal.
Methods of Culture.
The oyster is one of our natural resources, and as such has been brought into existence by
natural causes and perpetuated under natural conditions. It has likewise been limited by
natural forces to circumscribed areas and restricted numbers, and its struggle for existence has
settled down into a reciprocal give and take between itself and the other members of its limited
world. rAgainst these it is fitted by nature to defend itself, since the mortality brought about
by adverse climatic, physical, chemical, or biological elements is offset by successful defence
and fertility of reproduction.
When such a natural product is discovered and appeals to the wants of civilized man there
is converged upon it a strain so sudden and vast as to surpass all innocent and unprepared
defence. Man, by his calculating and inventive genius, both by wholesale mechanical seizure
from the natural areas and by effective transport inland far beyond the original distribution,
imposes a demand upon the natural product which is not only additional to the original demand,
but is overwhelmingly greater in amount. The oyster-fishery, like every other fishery that has
been exploited by man, is forced soon to respond by such decided falling-off in numbers as to
rouse fears of depletion and final extinction. To permit it to readjust itself naturally would
require restriction of the fishery almost to the point of prohibition, in which case, as a natural
resource, it would cease to be of any economic value.
The only way to turn the natural supply of oysters to almost limitless value as a national
asset is by artificial cultivation. That is what has been done in agriculture, forestry, and the
like, where the natural production became too meagre for human requirements. We need not
only to conserve the original stock, but to increase its productivity in order to keep pace with
growing demands. This offers scope for man's intellectual and constructive activities in furnishing practical and productive methods of culture.
The importance of method in oyster-culture can hardly be overestimated. Everybody has
had sufficient contact with some employment or mode of livelihood to recognize the advantages
of methodical over methodless procedure. From the most commonplace elementary duty of the
individual to the most complexly elaborated and correlated operations of great organizations
there should be that relation between proposed action and desired result which is indicated by
the terms " method " and " system." The managers of every business or profession draw on
their accumulated stock of personal experience and acquired knowledge in forecasting a plan of
action, and even assistants and employees are selected or rejected according to their ability
or inability to work towards a required end. Since this is true for long-established and well-
tested occupations of the masses, it must be acknowledged as all the more urgent in a pursuit
(such as oyster-culture) where the accumulation of information is in the hands of relatively few
people, the operations at times exposed to unusually great difficulties, and the results not
immediately or distinctly exhibited.
Methods are estimated by results, and in consequence are spoken of as good or bad. But
a complete method of oyster-culture is not a simple thing; it is composed of many separate acts
of which each may be regarded as a method in itself and its advantages weighed. It may
happen that the end-result depends especially upon the result of a single action. Such a critical
analysis is not often thought out, but more commonly people rush ahead and sum up the whole
as a sort of get-rich-quick business or as a failure. Much depends upon the application of the
method. A good method in poor hands may be no more productive than a poor method in good
hands. Vet a rigid following to the letter of a blind rule is not advocated for all places alike,
but rather the intelligent adaptation of a good general method to the special conditions of the
locality.
Methods of oyster-culture have originated in different countries and at different times.
There is nothing remarkable about an independent origin in countries far distant and having
no communication with each other.    The accidental observation of oysters on anchors, ropes, or hulls of ships, on buoys, piles, or lower timbers of wharves, or on other structures, is sufficient
to suggest the putting-out of solid bodies for the purpose of catching spat and originating experiments that develop into a system. In olden times such a method was passed on from father to
son from generation to generation, and in later times by historical transmission.
Italy has had a method of oyster-culture since about 100 b.c. According to Pliny, the
artificial propagation of oysters was first carried out in the salt water of Lake Avernus by
Sergius Orata, a Roman knight, who soon made a fortune thereby. On one occasion, becoming
involved in a lawsuit for trespass, his counsel, Lucius Crassus, declared that if expelled from
the lake his client would grow oysters on the roof of his house—no doubt a gross exaggeration
for the time, but a remark that would cause little surprise at the present day.
England as a home for native oysters in great quantity and superior quality was frequently
referred to by early Roman authors; it has been even hinted that it was the oyster that attracted
Caesar to the coasts of Britain.
France, Holland, and Belgium have, since the middle of last century, developed the most
painstaking methods of modern times, and some other countries of western Europe have likewise
carried on culture of the common European species  (Ostrea edulis).
Japan for some two hundred years has attained to considerable success with a different
species (O. cucullata).
The United States bega«n the cultivation of the common oyster of the Atlantic Coast of
America (0. virginiana) independently of European countries and a few years before the modern
methods were instituted in France. The oyster-fishery is now the most important fishery of the
United States and greater than that of all other countries combined. Seed-oysters are shipped
to the Pacific Coast and planted in suitable bays of California, Oregon, and Washington. The
common oyster of the Pacific Coast of America (0. lurida) has also been cultivated in more
recent time.
Canada possesses natural beds of the same two species as the United States, and of late
years has made some progress in their cultivation. Intensive culture is all the more necessary
here because of the more northerly position, the restricted areas, and the sparse seeding of the
natural beds. The high attainment of the industry .in the United States should spur Canada
to great efforts in developing this fortunate natural possession. The coasts of Eastern New
Brunswick, of Prince Edward Island, and of Eastern Nova Scotia have many warm shallow-
water bays adapted to the requirements of the eastern species, so well known to the fresh-oyster
trade, and seed from these regions as well as from Eastern States grows rapidly to marketable
size in British Columbia waters. The eastern oyster is already cultivated at Crescent in
Boundary Bay, at Ladysmith in Oyster Harbour, at Horseshoe Bay near by, and at Esquimalt.
The western oyster is cultivated at Crescent and at Ladysmith.
In the early days people were content to gain a ready and comfortable livelihood, and culture
was pursued on a small scale and generally in a half-hearted spirit. Progress was slow.
A feeling of satisfaction with existing conditions, the self-assurance that accompanies little
experience, and the assumption of special knowledge, set views, and unimproved machinery
were some of the retarding causes.
With the progress of time, the growth of population, increased demand, the development
of a commercial spirit, desire for wealth, competition, investment, formation of companies, etc.,
oyster-culture, like other means of production, came to be applied more earnestly. Calculation,
adaptation, improvements, additions, inventions, were made and information sought from other
districts and other countries. Along with a general advance in education, the improvement of
implements, machinery, and transport did much to overcome prejudices. A deeper insight and
a broader comprehension were gained, and men began to awaken to the possibilities of future
developments and to cultivate a spirit of enterprise in great undertakings.
The fisherman, culturist, and capitalist have done much in the carrying-out of methods when
once instituted, but the direction of the most important advances has always been indicated by
the trained investigator. The routine work of mechanical operations can be applied by the
masses, but the grasping of complex problems and the methods for their analysis can be handled
only by men accustomed to research and that have the leisure to think. It requires the marshalling of all related sources of knowledge as well as the power of their application. Methods must
conform to the mode of development, the structure and manner of life of the oyster, must take
account of the physical conditions of the environment, must be applicable from local resources, 8 Geo. 5 Native Oyster op British Columbia. Q 93
and must be kept abreast with the advance in knowledge and the improvement of machinery.
New methods or new adaptations may be tested by inexpensive experiments on a small scale;
experiments giving the best results can be applied on a large scale.
Selection of Locality.
Before going to expense in preparation for oyster-culture it is well to make sure of a few
primary essentials with regard to locality, site, accessibility, market, transport, and the like.
It must be understood, of course, that it is rarely possible to obtain everything that is desirable
in a single location. But some things can be done without, even though inconvenient, while
others cannot be dispensed with at all. A good deal depends upon the kind of culture it is
proposed to carry on and whether such work is or has been conducted in the district before.
If there are or ever have been natural oyster-beds or scattered oysters in the region, one
may feel sure that the physical requirements are at least somewhere near the mark. If there
are no oysters but other bivalves that usually accompany oysters, the conditions may still be
sufficiently suitable for some phases of culture. In any case it is best to examine with regard
to the four primary essentials referred to in the section on environment (1915)—viz., sea-
water (salinity), heat (temperature), bottom (substratum), and food (nourishment)—in order
to decide whether or not oysters are likely to be able to live at the place under consideration.
In this connection it must also be remembered that planted oysters can often live where reproduction would be impossible, and if the complete process or all the processes of culture are to
be pursued it is necessary to be still more careful about the selection of a locality. The extent
of the variation in salinity and in temperature, the amount of fluctuation in rise and fall of
"tides, the depth of water, currents, fresh water, flats, beaches, and exposure are some of the
main things.
One of the first questions to arise is whether the business can be made remunerative. To
judge this requires a consideration both of the probable productiveness and expense of working.
The first must take into account the possibility of securing sufficient area to be worked and
the chance of extension in order to keep pace with a growing trade. The second deals with
such things as manner of working the beds, whether at low tide on exposed flats or at other
times by means of tongs or dredge; accessibility of the beds; proximity of a continuous market;
means of transport by train, railway, or boat; possibility of hiring help; sites for house, wharf,
and other necessities convenient to both beds and shipping-station; means of living and provisioning and of procuring utensils and construction materials. The best locations are those possessing
more than one kind of regular communication with large cities, so that competition will keep
down rates and orders may he filled often and promptly and without delay in transit. On the
other hand, on account of the manner in which the oyster procures its food, oyster-beds should
be kept out of the way of drainage and sewage from large centres of population and from wastes
from manufactories, mills, and the like.
Government Permission.
It needs scarcely to be mentioned that the sanction of Government is required to right of
usage of a bay or portion of a bay or other body of navigable water for special purposes. Such
right refers only to the purpose for which granted and should not interfere with the rights of
others in legitimate navigation, fishing, etc.; neither should others interfere with the rights of
the culturist or damage or remove any of his property. It must be understood that property
on or under sea-water or exposed at low tides can be personal and private in the same sense as
property on land, and as such is subject to protection according to law.
Apparatus and Construction-work.
Even the simplest kind of culture on a small scale requires some apparatus and construction-
work. It is surprising how little suffices at some places. It may be well to not procure or
construct much at the start until it is found by practical carrying-out of the processes what
will be most convenient and efficient for the locality. A strong, somewhat shallow motor-boat
with some deck-space, a float, a wharf or landing, a house, are most likely to be needed. Instead
of several large scows some companies make use of a larger number of much smaller " batteaux "
that can be left anchored on different beds ready for loading, and because of their narrowness
and pointed fore end are not so likely to drag anchor in a storm or be swamped and may be towed with greater speed. Depending on the manner of working the beds, additional boats,
scows, floats, buildings, and dredges, tongs, rakes, forks, hand-barrows, wire shovels and pails,
sorting-knives, etc., will be required, and sacks or boxes for shipping.
Operations op Culture.
The operations bearing most directly upon the cultivation of oysters may be primarily separated
into two groups—the first dealing with the simple process of planting and growing-up of seed
oysters obtained from dealers who make a business of supplying seed, the second dealing with
the more difficult special processes of raising one's own seed. The culturist who wants to reap
the greatest benefit from his knowledge and labour should do both.
Raising Oysters from Purchased Seed.
In order to keep this set of operations more distinctly separate from others, we may select
the planting and growing in British Columbia of seed-oysters obtained from Prince Edward
Island or Connecticut or other Province or State in the East. This is what culturists generally
set out to do, because the work is more easily and surely performed and results are sooner visible
in the production of grown oysters ready for market.
Buying Seed-oysters.—Seed, as referred to in oyster-culture, does not have the same meaning
as in grain-culture. Seed-oysters are not a definite stage in the life of oysters as grains of
wheat are in the life of wheat-plants. Such oysters may be any stage between the youngest
spat and the grown oyster. They correspond, therefore, more closely with young fruit-trees
obtained from a nursery and are not all of the same age, size, or appearance. They are already
oysters (not eggs or seeds) and only deserve the name of seed in the sense that they are the"
starting-point of cultivation by many culturists.
The value of seed depends primarily upon the number of living oysters it contains as
compared with useless matter like dead shells, stones, sponges, etc. It may even carry over
enemies, parasites, or other undesirable animals. If it is in the rough state as scraped from
the beds where it was produced it will contain a greater proportion of rubbish than if it has
been more or less culled. The larger the oysters the more valuable they are counted, because
the more capable of withstanding change of conditions and attacks of enemies and the sooner
they grow into marketable sizes. On the other hand, the smaller they are the greater the number
in a bushel and the greater the gain if they succeed in growing to maturity. Another consideration is the locality from which obtained and the climate to which accustomed.
The price may vary from about 10 cents to more than $1 a bushel. What is called " spat"
by the oystermen, young seed set in the summer of one year and offered for sale (as seed) in
the spring of the following year, requires 8,000 to 10,000 to fill a sack of three bushels. " Two-
year-olds," belonging to the same set but sold a year later, go about 5,000 to a sack.
Transport.—This may be by boat or by train or part of the way by each, and transfer may
be required by wagons. Handling should be reduced to the minimum and performed with care.
The seed should not be kept out of the water longer than necessary. It should be shipped while
the weather is cool. It should not be left exposed on a wharf or side-tracked in a car. It should
be kept cool and moist with ice, but not frozen, and there should be no sudden or extreme
change. If possible, the car should be ventilated, the inflowing air passing over ice, and the
sacks, made of loose, open material, packed so as to allow the air to pass among them.
From Bridgeport, Conn., to Crescent, B.C., a car-load, all the way by rail, consisted of:—
175 sacks at $3.50 a sack    $   612 50
Freight, 31,800 lb        571 50
Ice  12 00
Total      $1,196 00
It will be seen that for such a distance the transport costs about as much as the seed itself—
another reason why it is of advantage to buy clean seed. The time required was seventeen days
and the oysters were received in very good condition—only a few having dried badly by having
the thin edge of the shell broken through contact, weight, or rough handling, so that they were
unable to retain their juices.
Having been informed beforehand of the time of arrival, everything was ready to get the
seed into the sea-water without delay. 8 Geo. 5 Native Oyster of British Columbia. Q 95
Planting.—The sacks were slid down a trough-like incline of planks reaching from the car
to a scow, on to which the seed was emptied and the loose sacks were dipped into the sea-water
and spread over the oysters to protect them from the sun. The scow was then towed by motor-
boat at "high water to the planting-ground, already staked out at low tide, and the seed scattered
by men with shovels (Fig. 1) as the scow was slowly moved back and forth over the bed.
The ground selected is on what has been called the " eastern bed " in the last report, situated
south and east of the channel of the Serpentine River where it makes a semicircular curve to
pass between eastern and western beds on its way to join with the channel of the Nicomekl
River. The area that can be used is upwards of half a mile broad and covered with 8 or 10
feet of water at high spring tide, but exposed for about five hours at the corresponding low tide.
The space required for a car-load of seed is a surprisingly small patch, so that there is room for
a good deal of selection even within the limits of the eastern bed. There are parts higher and
first exposed, somewhat sandy and without eel-grass, and parts that are lower or on which the
water lies longer, inclined to be muddy and to some extent covered with eel-grass. The car-load
referred to was put down on such a place as the last, where one sinks a little in walking, but
it is firm underneath and can hardly be said to ever dry off.
The specific gravity of the water above this bed rarely falls below 1.016 and is generally
between this and 1.020. The fresh water of the Serpentine spreads out over the bed at high
and falling tide, but when the flats begin to be exposed it comes to be confined to the channel.
At rising tide, when the water of the channel begins to overflow, mixed fresh and sea water is
brought back over the bed. The fresh water of the Nicomekl is carried off without affecting the
bed at falling tide, but some of it may be brought back at rising tide. Ordinarily the water
from both rivers is not sufficient to lower the salinity to a greater degree than that mentioned.
At times fresh water from the Fraser River is turned by tide and wind into the bay and lowers
the S.G. to 1.012, 1.010, and even LOOS. This happened in July of 1913 and 1916, but not in
1914 and 1915.
The temperature of the high-tide water above the bed seldom reaches 15° C. before the
first, second, or third week of May. Shallow layers left in hollows on the flats for several hours
during low water, river-water coming down a warm valley or channel-water draining off flats,
and the shallow edges of tidal water on beaches may attain to this temperature a week or two
earlier. A degree of 20° C. in the high-tide water over the bed is touched very rarely—about
once in a summer, although 19° C. is attained several times. The great mass of the tidal water
is held at 16 to 18° C, but thin layers left stranded and exposed to the sun for hours during
falling and rising tide may reach 25°, even 29° C. for an interval.
Separating.—After the seed has grown for a year it will be found to be largely composed
of bunches of about half a dozen oysters with the hinge ends grown together and stuck in the
mud, while the opening ends of the shells point upwards and diverge from one another. It is
quite plain that the oysters in a bunch were originally held together by the same piece of cultch.
although they may have grown to each other more securely since, and that the upward divergent
extension was due especially to an effort on the part of the growing oysters to separate as much
as possible and get to free water and food. If left in this state they will continue to grow long
and narrow or some of them will die. It is part of the work.of the culturist to break these
bunches apart into their separate oysters and to distribute the oysters over the beds thinly
(Fig. 2), so that each has room to grow in breadth and thickness as well as in length without
interfering in feeding, respiration, and excretion. Where the oysters are too thickly planted
some of them should be carried to spots where there are few or none. This can be done during
the long low-water periods of spring tides.
Growing.—The seed grows to good-sized oysters in two or three years from the time of
planting, depending upon the size started with and the rate of growth—the latter again being
largely due to locality (temperature, salinity, food, etc.), but also to individuality and attention.
They do not all grow at the same rate—even oysters lying side by side in equal conditions differ
in size and shape. They have their differences of constitution and appetite as well as in other
respects. Some weaken or die from hereditary causes, some happen accidents, while others
are partly starved or smothered. The death-rate is usually low for the first year, but increases
rapidly with the second and third years. There is an advantage in using them as fast as they
grow to sufficient size. i Q 96 Report of the Commissioner op Fisheries. 1918
Harvesting.—In gathering the oysters for market, if there is much variation in size the
larger may be picked by hand, leaving the rest for further growth. They are carried in wire
pails and loaded on to a near-by scow. If the greater number are marketable a speedier way
is to rake all the oysters (Fig. 3) into little heaps, then rake the heaps on to hand-barrows,
each of which is carried by two men and emptied on to the scow. As oysters are not cultivated
in deep water in this country, there is no need of using tongs or dredges, except perhaps rarely
as a means of procuring oysters at high tide when the collected stock has run out.
Sorting.—This can be performed as the oysters are picked, or may be done on the scow
during the period of high water, when the undersized and small oysters may be thrown back
on to the bed at once. But it is generally more satisfactory to tow the loaded scow (Fig. 4)
to the wharf, where sorting and trimming can be carried on irrespective of tide and weather.
The large oysters have the undersized and small ones pried off by a strong oyster-knife, the
barnacles chopped off by a heavy butcher or carving knife, or they may be otherwise cleaned and
washed. They are then shovelled into a large float beside the wharf or scow, where the tidewater can flow over them and keep them fresh for market. The undersized and small oysters
are taken back and replanted either together or, better, in assorted sizes on some portion of the
bed for further growth.
Shipping.—The oysters may be shipped to markets in sacks or in boxes. The latter are
preferable; they are more easily handled, the oysters do not jam so badly and get their edges
broken, and they look tastier. The boxes are made of thin, dry lumber (not too closely nailed
together) of a size to hold 25 dozen packed oysters. The name of the company or the trade-name
of the oyster may be printed on the ends of the boxes and the address to which consigned may
be conveniently written by coarse blue pencil on the top or side. The best shipping arrangements
should be made to protect from the sun and to hasten delivery—whether by w7agon, auto-truck,
railway-car, motor-boat, or steamboat.
Marketing.—Orders come from fish and meat markets, fish and meat retail stores, restaurants,
and hotels. When once introduced the business is likely to hold from year to year and even
advertise itself and grow. At first some advertising, canvassing, correspondence, or sending of
samples may be necessary.
Raising Oysters feom Collected Seed.
Another way of starting with seed-oysters is to collect seed from natural oyster-beds and
transfer it to one's own beds. To the eulturist in British Columbia the great natural oyster-beds
or reefs of the Atlantic Coast are too far distant to be practicable, and the only thing for him
to do is to buy from a seed-collector there, as has been already considered.
With regard to the native oyster in British Columbia, there are no great natural beds and
any small and thinly seeded beds that do exist would soon be exhausted if there were any drain
made on them. Moreover, it would take a great deal of work for the small amount of seed that
could be collected. Their value lies in being there, little as they are, as an indication of suitable
environment and a starter for cultural operations.
To transplant the native oyster to other parts of a bay or to other bays for further growth
it is necessary to pick or rake them and transfer by boat or otherwise in a similar way to what
has been described for the eastern oyster, except that for small quantities and short distances
some of the precautions are not necessary. There is no business in the supply of seed-oysters
on the Pacific Coast and it is not possible to buy them in car-loads. The eulturist has to gather
them himself or hire it done, a few.sacks at a time.
Raising One's Own Seed.
In procuring his own seed there are open to the eulturist the same methods as are made use
of by the seed-producer who provides seed for sale—viz., the collecting of natural seed from
favourable natural beds and the raising of seed by cultural methods. Since, as has just been
stated, the natural beds of the Atlantic oyster are too far away to be practicable and the natural
stock of the native oyster is too limited to furnish a continual supply, the only alternative is to
buy seed of the former and to raise seed of the latter. In order to keep the operations separate
we may now select the method of raising seed of the native British Columbian oyster in home
waters. 8 Geo. 5 Native Oyster op British Columbia. Q 97
1. In an Oyster-bay.—If the eulturist is operating in a bay more or less naturally seeded with
native oysters the beginning is already made for him. The oysters there have been perpetuated
in successive generations for unknown time, and an examination will show that the existing
individuals can be classified into several generations. From the largest and oldest adults it is
an easy matter to select sizes descending to those smaller and younger ones which the oystermen
might call " seed," and continue to the still smaller and younger stages which they would call
" spat." If close inspection is made there may be found specimens so small as to be almost
invisible to the unaided eye—the spat of the zoologist.
Spat on Natural Marine Objects.—It is not only possible to find spat on adult and seed
oysters, but to find them on other shells, such as clams, cockles, mussels, whelks, even on gravel,
stones, rocks, and other natural bodies.
Natural Cultch.—Since all such hard bodies offer anchoring-points that are seized upon by
larvae to save themselves from sinking into the mud or from drifting away by currents, they long
ago came to be known to fishermen as "cultch" (clutch). Empty shells of dead animals are
just as good or even better for the purpose than the shells of living molluscs; in fact, the greater
part of naturally occurring cultch is composed of the empty shells of oysters that have lived on
the surface and of clams that have burrowed into the bottom but whose shells have come to be
washed bare after death.
Artificially Supplied Cultch.—Of the spat that becomes fixed to natural cultch comparatively
few grow up to maturity, so that the natural accumulation of cultch is slow. The deficiency may
be made good by the eulturist who can gather oyster, clam, or other shells wherever they are to
be procured and scatter them on his bed among the living oysters. The spat collected by either
the naturally occurring or the artificially supplied cultch can be used as seed for transplantation.
2. In an Oysterless Bay.—If there are no native oysters in the bay and the eulturist has good
reason to believe that they could live and propagate there, he has to begin by procuring native
oysters from some other bay (preferably of the same region) and planting them out on his own
beds. Any stage of spat or seed or grown oyster will do, but the younger they are the longer
it will take them to grow to maturity and become breeding oysters. The present object is not
to grow planted seed to oysters for the market, but to grow it to breeding oysters with a view
to developing a stock.    For this purpose the full-grown oysters are best, since they will be ready
. to spawn in the first season and will produce the greatest amount of spawn. Such oysters are
what practical oystermen call " spawners." They are also seed-oysters in the sense that they
are the starting elements of production in a fresh area. If there are young oysters and spat
mixed with them it will not be objectionable, since these will grow up to increase the spawn as
well as to increase the cultch. This last is a very important point. Next after having oysters in
a bay the eulturist must see to it that there is cultch.
Where there is no cultch there can be no naturally occurring or artificially propagated oysters
because there can be no naturally deposited spat from which oysters can grow up. In every bay
or in some part of every bay there is almost sure to be something in the form of cultch even if it
is only an isolated stone or clam-shell. But it takes a long time for nature to build up an oyster-
bed from such a start. This is one reason why our oyster-bays are so thinly seeded with oysters.
Another reason is that so few eggs are successful in developing to the spatting stage. Before
spat can be deposited there must be these two conditions present at the same time and place—viz.,
the presence of the young of the oyster at the spatting stage and the presence of cultch on which
to set. The greater the number of the young the greater is the chance for each piece of cultch to
receive one or more spat; the greater the number of pieces of cultch the greater is the chance
for each of the young to find one of them. These two conditions operate together—each a
correlative and a necessity for the other. A stone or a clam-shell may catch a spat which may
grow and sooner or later become adult and give origin to numerous young. Several of these may
be deposited on the original piece of cultch or on the parent shell, and by their number as well
as by their growth increase the surface of the cultch, or by breaking apart increase the number
of pieces of cultch. In such a way a bed may be originated and extended. Under the best
conditions it is a slow process, for each generation requires time to develop to maturity before
it can take part in the process of reproduction. Moreover, the increase is not so fast nor so sure
as the mathematical calculation might lead to suppose, for the spat and oysters are subject to
many and powerful agents of destruction which keep reducing their numbers. Q 98 Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
It is in the power of the eulturist to do much to increase both the number of the young and
the amount of the cultch and in so doing to assist and hasten natural processes. Of the two,
he can do by far the 'most in the supply of cultch. In a natural oyster-bay the scarcity of oysters
is evidently not so much due to want of young as to lack of cultch. The very presence of oysters
shows that there has been a succession of generations each of which must have produced great
numbers of young. The natural capacity for increase of young is greater than for increase of
cultch. The natural increase of young is annual, that of cultch requires several years to become
effective and may be destroyed in the meantime. New cultch overlies old, often without increasing its surface, and old cultch in the form of shells is continually wasting away.
Whether a bay contains a few thinly dispersed, naturally occurring oysters, or whether it
has had a few oysters native to the coast artificially deposited in it, the operations of the eulturist
are the same. Increase in the number of oysters can only be brought about by increase in the
number of spat, and spat must have cultch. The cultch formed by the shells of the living oysters
is not enough. The cultch added by the natural accumulation of shells of clams, cockles, mussels,
etc., is too slow. The eulturist is losing time by waiting. This is one reason why it is advisable
to begin growing transplanted eastern oysters. Their shells are an important contribution to
the stock of cultch. Besides, they soon grow to marketable size and help to pay expenses as
well as make a start in procuring a market.
An oyster-bay and an oysterless bay may be considered as extremes between which there
may fall bays that according to size and structure would need to be managed in one way or the
other. Extensions from the sides of oyster-beds, provided they are furnished with cultch, will
become automatically seeded with oysters. Similarly, an artificially prepared new bed within
reasonable distance from a prosperous old bed will also become seeded, provided tidal currents
flow from the seeded to the unseeded bed. A bay may be so large and the tidal movements so
modified by islands or reefs that one part of it is as effectively separated from another as if it
were iu reality in a separate bay. In such a case a new bed will have to be planted not only
with cultch, but also with living oysters  (spawners).
Eggs, Embryos, and LabvhE not practicable as Seed.
In the foregoing pages has been considered the method of raising spat for seed. This is the
method, it might be said the historic method, of the culturists. Long before the complete life-.
history of the oyster came to be known, long before even isolated stages of the developing oyster
were known, it was already known that young oysters could at times be obtained by putting out
solid objects for their reception. The youngest stages of these young oysters were not seen and
the culturists knew nothing about them. It was only after the cultch had been in the water
some time that the spat could be seen and their further growth followed into recognizable
oysters. Since all the stages in the life-history of the oyster have come to be known, the question
arises, " Why not begin with a younger stage than the spat—why not, in fact, begin with the
egg as is done in breeding poultry, fishes, and lobsters?"
This is not practicable. As has been seen from the experiments of last year's report, it is
not a difficult matter to procure eggs of the eastern oyster and sperm for their fertilization and
to develop the young from the egg through the embryo to the larva. But it becomes very difficult
or impossible to develop it to late larval stages such as immediately precede the youngest spat.
In fact, I do not believe it has ever been accomplished. There are statements in the literature,
it is true, that would indicate it had been done, but it is not hard to show that they were mistakes
dating from a time when the full development was not known.
For the western oyster it is not difficult to get eggs, embryos, or young larvae from the
mother-oyster and they may be kept for several days, but the same difficulty arises as with the
eastern oyster. The later stages of the larvae of either oyster, right up to the spatting stage, can
be readily captured in the sea-water about its natural beds by means of a plankton-net, and may
be kept in beakers of sea-water for several days, but they will die rather than become fixed and
metamorphosed into spat. Artificial methods have not yet been able to imitate in a small way,
not to say improve on, natural methods at this period. The reason is not hard to find; it is
due to the difficulty of keeping larvae confined in small vessels of water so as not to be lost and
at the same time supplying them with suitable food, keep the water aerated, and effect the
removal of their excreta without introducing undesirable animals and plants that may multiply
in overwhelming numbers to the disadvantage or destruction of the oyster larvae.    It is not hard 8 Geo. 5 Native Oyster of British Columbia. Q, 99
to believe that it will yet be possible to overcome these difficulties and to cultivate food in suitable
kind, quantity, and purity, either in the same vessels with the oyster larvae or in separate vessels
from which the larvae may be fed. A clear perception of the requirements is an important step
towards the achievement. It would seem, however, that there is little to be gained in extracting
larvae from the water to be kept and attended for a brief period and then returned to the sea.
All the eggs, embryos, or larvae that culturists could collect from oysters or from the sea, even
if they could be kept alive for a time and again turned out into the water, would be an almost
negligible number compared with what are naturally poured into the sea without the help of man.
Seed or Eastern Oyster not originated in the West.
While the eastern oyster in all sizes from the youngest "seed" ("spat") up is capable of
living, growing, and spawning in western waters, and while fertilization, segmentation, and
development may proceed for an interval, there is no seed produced and the stock of the eastern
oyster cannot be replenished by breeding on the planted beds, but has to be kept up by repeated
shipments of seed from the East.
Work on Oysters.
The work of the eulturist has to deal first with the oyster and second with the environment.
The work on the oyster is not confined to the adult, but includes the developing stages as well.
This is where all former work in culture has failed to produce the best results. Men worked
with only the marketable oyster in their minds and did not consider how the marketable oyster
comes to be such. They did not stop to think whether more can be accomplished by providing
for the eggs and young stages than for the adults. The best method must take account of all
stages of development and begin to provide for the egg and the larva as well as for the spat and
the adult. To do this we need to know these stages of the developing oyster and to know where
•and when they are likely to occur and what conditions of environment they require. It was
for this purpose that I made the special investigations and wrote the four preceding reports
on Embryology, Anatomy and Physiology, Environment, and Cultural Experiments.
Egg.—The egg, as the first stage, is especially to be guarded. It is bad policy to permit
wholesale loss of eggs and afterwards become oversolicitous for the few survivors that have
passed into succeeding stages. Medium- or average-sized western oysters spawn about 1,000,000
eggs at one time. Where there are many spawning oysters on a bed there must be countless
numbers of eggs spawned. Vet in a state of nature there is little, if any, increase in the number
of oysters to be seen from year to year. The number of eggs that develop successfully into
adults agrees pretty well with the number of deaths of adults." There is a tremendous loss from
what may be called the accidents of life. Nature seeks compensation through numbers. Artificial
propagation should profit from the lesson and seek to increase the number of eggs spawned.
To this end it will not do to keep selling off all the adult and well-grown oysters. A good proportion should be held for breeding purposes. The number of eggs produced increases rapidly
with the increasing size of the oyster. The largest and oldest oysters are by far the best egg-
producers.
At this point it may be mentioned that there is a notable difference in the number of eggs
spawned by our two species of oysters and in the manner of treating their eggs. Whereas the
eggs of-the western species are to be counted by hundreds of thousands, those of the eastern
oyster are to be enumerated in millions. But the western oyster makes up for what it
lacks in numbers by a greater parental care. While the 16,000,000 or more minute eggs of our
large Atlantic oyster ooze out or are squirted out of the parent into the sea-water and sink to
the bottom about or in the neighbourhood of the spawners, the 1,000,000 or so of the comparatively large eggs of our small Pacific oyster are retained for upwards of two weeks in the mantle
of the parent, where they escape many of the exigencies of life to which the corresponding stages
of the eastern oyster are subjected. The reproductive elements of the Atlantic oyster, when
discharged from the parent, are minute helpless eggs, entirely at the mercy of their environment;
but from the Pacific mother-oyster issue larvae provided with locomotory swimming organs,
protective shells, sense-organs, etc. In the former there is all the more need for the spawners
to be left or placed in suitable locations as regards substratum. If the eggs settle on to soft mud
or shifting sand, at least a large proportion of them is likely to be lost. Hard bottom of rock,
gravel, or clay is best for this purpose.    Another requirement is the absence of strong currents Q 100 Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
that would wash the eggs away from the good bottom. Both of these conditions are also
conducive to successful fertilization where, as in the .Itlantic species, the eggs may be extruded
from the parent before being fertilized. In the Pacific oyster the eggs are fertilized after leaving
the oviduct but while lying in the suprabranchial, intralamellar, and infrabranchial cavities by
means of sperms from other oysters brought by the respiratory currents. In the Atlantic species,
while some eggs no doubt meet with sperm in the same way, it is likely that, on account of the
rapid passage to the outside, most of them first come in contact with sperm after complete
extrusion. To facilitate this chance not only is the character of the substratum of consequence,
but the presence of somewhat quiet water and the number and proximity of male spawners. If
the breeding oysters are thinly scattered there may be an advantage in collecting them more in
clusters to assist in fertilization. Muddy water should be avoided, for eggs may be crushed
or smothered by even a thin layer of deposit.
A cause of more rapid destruction of eggs exists in exposure. Where they lie below low-tide
mark in a continuous mass of water they are tolerably safe. But where they are supported on
grounds that are left bare by the falling tide they may be exposed to a scorching sun or a
shower of rain or a cold atmosphere. As the great masses of oysters occur naturally or are
cultivated on grounds just above or below the low-tide line, steps should be taken to guard
against overexposure. The spawners should be placed in the best positions from the standpoint
of the egg. Below low-water line, in the more quiet places of channels and sloughs, in the sheets
of water retained in the hollows of flats, where the water is held back by eel-grass, in coves
and lagoons may be mentioned. Even parts of exposed flats may be made safe for this purpose
by being inclosed in shallow dykes that retain a few inches of water during the period of low
tide. Of course, such places must be selected as are not overflown with river-water, following
the receding salt water.
Larvcc.—Since successful eggs develop into larva? it may be judged that areas selected for
eggs must also have reference to the needs of larva?. In general this will be the case, but it'
must also be remembered that eggs are quiescent while larva? are active swimmers. Although
they do not swim great distances, they serve to keep suspended for periods in water that by tidal
or other currents may be carried and distributed far from the grounds on which the spawners
and eggs were deposited. From the standpoint of the eulturist this is the great drawback of
the larval stage. He may have succeeded in obtaining and guarding a large deposit of eggs only
to have the succeeding larvae carried off and scattered over other more unsuitable grounds or
lost in deep water. Every falling tide carries suspended larvae seaward to be deposited and
settled in all kinds of places. Every rising tide carries larva; to higher levels of flats and beaches
to be exposed at the next low tide or to suffer from the effects of fresh water. The ceaseless
effects of tides keeps reducing the number of larva? in the region of the original spawners.
There is no practical way of herding the original stock. They are too small to be confined by
anything of the nature of wire netting. Materials such as used for plankton-nets are too perishable. Netting of even large mesh offers such resistance to flowing water as to be immediately
rent. Floating timber and seaweeds clog and increase the pressure. The only thing to be done
appears to be to prepare for a heavy loss of larva? by preserving vast numbers of eggs. The
more eggs there are preserved the more larva? there will be lost, but also the more there will be
saved. The whole stock of larvae does not rise in swimming movement at one time. Some are
lying on the bottom, some are swimming at different levels between the bottom and top, some
are rising and some falling at every moment. This much may be observed from the experiments
with larva? in glass beakers and from the plankton collections taken at high and low water and
at rising and falling tides. I have sometimes thought that the larva? can distinguish falling from
rising tide and that they govern themselves accordingly. Larva? taken from a western oyster
fresh from the flats and placed in a beaker of fresh sea-water seem to rise in greater numbers
at the time of rising tide and to settle in greater numbers at the time of falling tide for several
days after being removed from the sea to the beaker. Plankton during rising and falling tides
often appear to verify this thought, but the collections must be taken where sediment does not
interfere. There is no question but the larva? have it in their power to drop to the bottom, to
avoid being drifted out by falling tide and to arise when they feel the fresh, cool water of the
rising tide, but whether they have sufficient intelligence or instinct to do so it is difficult to decide.
Of this much, however, we can be sure, that the larva? are most plentiful near the centres of
their origin and become fewer and more scattered in proportion to the distance from these centres. 8 Geo. 5 Native Oyster of British Columbia. Q 101
This gives us a clue as to where to plant spawners in order to obtain a stock of larvae—even
though somewhat of a floating population. They may be put in lagoons and coves where there
is a greater distance to be drifted out to sea or more obstructions to distribution by the tides, in
sloughs and pools where there is sufficient water at low tide to keep them from drying out, on
low parts of flats where they will be protected by w7ater held back by matted eel-grass, or at
low-tide mark where at least some of them will survive the free larval period. Where there is
no natural area or where this is too small it may be possible to construct an artificial one,
such as a pond or a dyked-in area. As a preparation for the close of the larval period there
must be an abundance of cultch either naturally occurring or artificially supplied.
Spat.—As soon as the larva? are grown to full size and have become fixed to cultch there is
no more chance of drifting to destruction, and the care of the eulturist is for the most part
turned in new directions and along surer lines. The full-grown larvae have either been saved
by successful fixation or they have gone lost. It is the attached spat we have now to deal with.
The expert is soon able to form a pretty safe judgment as to the value of the " catch," but the
rank and file will .need to wait a few weeks before the result is plainly exposed. During this
time the minute spat are growing larger and becoming more visible, and the observant oysterman
can form conclusions as to the number and closeness of the " set" on his cultch and whether to
leave it undisturbed or to remove it to safer places.
The disadvantages to which the spat are most liable are sediment, drying, frost, and crowding. It must be remembered that spat are unable to creep out of any deposit of sand, mud, or
weeds, and from their small size and tender structure are easily covered and crushed or
smothered. There is sure to be warm weather succeeding the set and before winter, and those
uncovered by the tide are at first just as liable to he dried up and killed by the hot sun or
dried out by a warm atmosphere as are the larva?. A little later in place of heat there is the
question of frost. Frost and ice are destructive—the first from the formation of crystals in
the soft parts of the spat, rending the tissues, the latter from weight or grinding movements.
Cultch with its set of spat that is already in safe places needs no immediate attention, but that
in less favourable places should be looked after at the first opportunity. At this period the
eulturist can employ his time to more advantage in rescuing unfortunately placed spat than in
any other way. He cannot have another like opportunity for a year—and a year's growth of
the thousands of spat he may save is an important item, not to mention the addition to his
future breeding stock. After overcoming all the risks to this point it is too bad to allow spat to
be destroyed in masses for want of attention at this time. Unfavourably disposed cultch that is
sufficiently well dotted with spat should be transferred to better places below low-tide level, in
sloughs, in dykes, etc. During the cold part of the autumn, winter, and spring the spat do not
grow much, but they thicken their shells and become better protected against accidents. By
the time the warm weather of the succeeding spring and summer sets in many of them may be
crowding one another for space and food, but they are still too small to separate from the cultch
and the latter is still too hard and strong to permit of breaking in pieces in order to relieve the
pressure of growth of the spat. The crowding individuals will begin to curve and diverge from
orie another and to bend away from the cultch, so that with the rapid growth of the summer
there will be left only a comparatively small surface of attachment to the original cultch. The
eulturist can decide when it will be best and when he can best spare the time to break apart
the growing bunches and spread them over more ground. He can also judge by the growth
whether they are in good locations as regards food-supply or if they had better be removed to
richer feeding-grounds. Generally speaking, the localities having a blackish mud bottom and in
or near beds of eel-grass can supply a greater amount of food than those on harder and lighter-
coloured grounds. The black mud is itself especially due to plant and animal decay and is an
indication of the abundance of organic matter that can either serve for food or can support food-
supplying organisms. Spat that have already grown somewhat can hardly sink into the mud
by their own weight, and, besides, their rapid growth will help to keep their edges above the
surface.
Adult.—Since the spat passes insensibly into the adult without any change of habits, much
of the preceding treatment is applicable to the adult also. There comes a time when it is
necessary to break apart the bunches of oysters that have grown up from the more or less
thickly clustered spat on single pieces of cultch. If left as they are the oysters of a bunch
have to grow up side by side and will become long and slifh and perhaps somewhat warped for Q 102 Report of tbce Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
lack of spaFce. The food that comes their way has to be divided up among the individuals of
a bunch and the chances are against every oyster getting its full share, with the result that
growth is unequal and some may be starved. The larger and faster-growing individuals may
even grow over the smaller ones in such a way as to hold their valves closed so they cannot
feed. When a bunch is lying in sand or mud some of the under oysters may be buried and
suffocated. There will be much variation in size, shape, appearance, and condition of the oysters,
so they will present an uneven sample. As soon as the eulturist finds this state of things arising
he should go over the bed and break the bunches apart, distributing the oysters so as to allow
each proper space and a fair chance for food. At the same time he should thin out the more
thickly clustered spots and transplant part to thinly planted patches, to the edges of the bed,
or to other areas.
In transplanting at this stage the oysters are of a sufficient size to lie on some mud bottoms
without being lost. When-Jying flat an oyster will rarely sink. As is well known, mud bottoms
occasion rapid growth. Even a moderate amount of decaying weeds will either furnish food
direct or will supply microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, that may either serve as food for
the oyster or its developing young or for still other organisms that in their turn come to the
oyster. Where weeds are so plentiful as to form matted, rotting masses over the oysters the
latter will be killed; but where living weeds straighten up in the rising tide and permit fresh
sea-water to come in contact with the oysters they are an advantage in many ways, protecting
the oysters both at high and low tide, absorbing carbon dioxide, and liberating oxygen, and giving
attachment to hosts of diatoms that form the chief food of the oyster. Where weeds fall over
and cover oysters during low tide, it is true, they tend to smother the oysters, but it is only for
an interval when the oysters, if left uncovered, would have to close their shells and remain in
a state of defence, while the weeds hold back some water, keeping the oysters moist and protecting against sun and dry air. Eel-grass is liable to be cut off by the sharp edges of the oysters
and may be carried away by the tide or partly left to decay on the grounds. I have known a
bed of eel-grass on which oysters had been planted to be stripped in one year, leaving the oysters
exposed at low tide, silting up and not doing well, while beyond the oysters the eel-grass still
remained.
Oysters are likely to be better for removal to new places, unless the latter are altogether
unfavourable. Like people, they enjoy a change. In fact, the mere handling of them on the
same bed does them good. If sunk somewhat in the soft bottom, or lying on the flat side, or on
edge, or with the broad end sticking in the mud, a change to a fresh position will be welcome.
The best position is lying flat with the deep (left) valve underneath, but, of course, it cannot
be expected to place every oyster separately. Any change of position, change of bed, change of
water, or change of food is likely to benefit them. They must not, however, be put where they
will be overwhelmed with drift or sediment, or where too much exposed to sun, air, frost, fresh
water, or water of too little salinity.
In collecting for the market large oysters may be picked out at low tide, leaving small ones
for further growth. Or they may be all raked in heaps and carried by hand-barrows to a scow,
on which men may work at sorting during high tide. Or the scow may be towed to wharf
and the sorting take place with more comfort. In any case not only should the small free oysters
be saved and replanted, but the small oysters and spat attached to the shells of the marketable
oysters should be chipped off and returned to the water. They should not be kept long out of
the water. Oysters procured by tongs or dredges can be treated in a similar manner. Unless
the bed is purposely cleaned off for replanting there should be left scattered old oysters to serve
as spawners. All empty shells and half-shells or shells of other molluscs should be left on the
bed or, better, taken ashore and cleansed in sun and air to be used as cultch.
Work on Environment.
Our first knowledge of the proper environment of the oyster is obtained by observation
of the best natural oyster areas compared with non-oyster-producing areas (report for 1915).
Verifications and additions to this knowledge are made by experimenting with oysters in different
localities or under different conditions to find what kind of a location or what condition is most
successful (report for 1916). The knowledge may then be applied in converting poor areas
and oysterless grounds into good oyster-producing areas. This is not always possible, but, unless
the locality is altogether unfavourable, a good deal may be accomplished.   It is more likely to 8 Geo. 5 Native Oyster of British Columbia. Q 103
be successful on a coast or in a district where there are already some oysters or where oysters
formerly existed than in places where oysters never have occurred. In the first case the
temperature, salinity, depth of water, and nature of the bottom are more likely to be favourable,
whereas in the last case the physical conditions may be quite incapable of adaptation. Old
oyster-grounds may frequently be extended at the sides or similar grounds may be selected and
improved in other parts of the bay or in other bays. It is a clear gain if unoccupied areas can
be adapted and rendered productive.
Having selected a plot, the surface should be levelled in order to prevent oysters from being
rolled into hollows by the tides and being covered with drift. Soft spots may be mixed with
sand or gravel to give a uniformity of surface and keep tidal currents from cutting it into
channels or hollows. A substratum of deep, soft mud may have the surface similarly stiffened
to prevent oysters from sinking into it. At places where eel-grass grows too abundantly and
too long it may be cut and sent adrift with the tide. A mowing-machine has been invented that
can be attached to the front of a scow and have the cutting part lowered to suit the depth of the
water. The knife is driven by a small engine on the scow and the latter is propelled or pulled
along a rope that may be changed in position to cut successive swaths.
At some places various kinds of animals prey upon oysters with considerable destruction
and need to be combated by the eulturist. One of the most destructive is the starfish, which
sometimes migrates in great numbers on to the oyster-beds. A starfish creeps over an oyster,
fastens its numerous sucker-feet—some on one valve and some on the other—and exerts such a
constant pull that in time the oyster tires and allows its shell to gape, when the starfish presses
an arm between the valves and eventually brings its mouth with its everted stomach in contact
with the soft flesh of the oyster. Small loose oysters may be swallowed whole and small
attached ones may be covered and sucked to death. At no place on our coast have I found starfish in great abundance on oyster-beds, but I have been told they are more plentiful now than
a few years ago on the Prince Edward Island beds. Starfish cannot withstand any great
admixture of fresh water or a great degree of warmth, so that shallow water and exposed flats
are unfavourable to their presence. They may be picked up at low tide and carried ashore.
On deeper beds they may be taken on tangles or by a dredge and similarly treated.
Whelks, drills, or borers also do damage, but never to an alarming degree along our coast.
They belong to the head-bearing molluscs with protrusible proboscis and rasping tongue by
means of which they drill round holes through oyster or other shells and suck the soft flesh.
At places they may occur in bunches on a water-soaked log, a seaweed, or the body of a dead flsh,
and may be scooped up and taken ashore. Where they are plentiful, as on parts of the coast
of the United States, a sort of dredge is used having a slanting sieve through which the whelks
can fall into a collecting-chamber while loose oysters and most other larger animals pass over
the sieve and are left behind.
Many other animals w7ork small damage, but small and constant losses amount to considerable in the aggregate. Sea-anemones, brittle-stars, worms, crabs, fish, birds, and seals can all
do some injury to smaller or larger oysters, while eggs and larva? may fall prey to great numbers
of other animals that live by sweeping great quantities of the minutest organisms into their
mouths. These animals are too small, too much hid, or too scattered to be effectively attacked
by man without also doing injury to oysters. The only thing that can be done is to count on
them and to raise such quantities of oysters that there will be plenty left after the toll is taken.
At low tide the best parts of natural oyster-grounds or planted beds or prospected areas may
be staked out so that the tops of the stakes can be seen above high water, when scows loaded
with oysters, shells, gravel, working implements, etc., may be left anchored or removed as
required and planting, dredging, or other work done. Exposure of beds at low tide facilitates
satisfactory observation of the distribution of the oysters, their condition as regards substratum,
sediment, drift, undermining, healthfulness, growth, fattening, and many other things. The
eulturist will find plenty to occupy his time, attention, grasp of conditions, invention, and
application of methods.
Construction-work such as depositing of gravel to prevent erosion and cutting of channels,
the building of dykes to retain water and prevent exposure of oysters or their young to air,
sun, and frost during the periods of low tide, the collecting of shells from unused areas and the
depositing of them on the oyster-beds to improve the surface and increase the amount of cultch—
these are some of the things to be attended to.   The many possibilities in physical conditions and Q 104 Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
outlay of the plant make it difficult to foresee all that may be required, but the intelligent and
practical eulturist will soon recognize from results what his particular case requires.
Work on Cultch.
The importance of cultch can hardly be overestimated. Without cultch oyster-culture consists
of little more than holding quantities of oysters over in a more or less safe and convenient place
awaiting a good market price. They may be bought when the demand is low and oysters cheap;
they'may be transplanted when work is slack and least expensive; and they may be sold when
they will net a profit. During the time of holding there may be some growth, but there will
also he some loss. Extension of the time of storing and contribution of better attention may
result in greater growth and more profit. A fresh stock has to be bought, shipped, handled, and
cared for in the same manner. While both seller and buyer may make some gain, there is no
increase in numbers of oysters and little increase in the amount of food-supply to the country.
Any gain there is arises from speculation rather than from production. To increase the production other and better methods of handling oysters must be used, and of these the employment of
cultch easily occupies first place.
In places where oysters live and reproduce naturally, and in places where oysters can be
transplanted and live and reproduce, the natural rocks, stones, gravel, shells, and other hard
objects may serve as natural cultch. But these are generally too much scattered, or are too
few, or are in wrong places to serve the eulturist. Rocks and stones are too permanent and the
oysters that become fixed to them are either too difficult to separate or are not of sufficient
numbers and size to be worth while collecting. These oysters, however, serve a good purpose
in supplying eggs and keeping up the succession of generations. Patches of gravel and of shells
are often too few or are in poor locations. Where practicable, stones and shells may be removed
to better places. Heaps of stones were used in the ancient methods of Italy; but shells are
lighter to handle and are easier from which to remove the oysters. The aggregation of oysters
in the brush of fallen trees, the logs of wharves, the stakes, posts, or spars that mark out
channels, the bottoms of boats, etc., is sufficient to suggest the putting-out of lumber for the
collection of oysters. But lumber is expensive and not durable, and becomes covered with
seaweeds, hydroids, barnacles, and other marine plants and animals. Many other materials
have been experimented with, such as earthenware, scrap-tin, leather, canvas, netting, etc.;
but even if these were satisfactory they are too expensive (excepting the small quantities
discarded from their proper use). Old netting that is tarred has shown itself better than the
untarred. Tarred brush, bark, shingles, etc., have been used. In Italy bundles of faggots
(fascines) have been much employed; in Japan untrimmed stems of bamboo; in France,
Belgium, and Holland split drain-pipes. These can be built up crossways so as to allow the
sea-water (with the oyster larva?) to perforate the piles and present an extensive and suitable
surface. The rounded surfaces are placed upwards so as to shed the sediment while the hollow,
under surfaces are kept clean and fresh. The practice of dipping in cement to give an artificial
coating of a suitable smoothness or roughness has also made headway. This facilitates the
chlpping-off of the spat oysters when they are being thinned out. In the United States many
tests have been made of the foregoing and other methods, but all forms of artificial cultch have
gained little favour.
Shells are the most natural and best cultch. In places along beaches and on flats the bottom
is white with them. Shell-heaps are to be found along shores where Indians formerly camped.
Certain canneries throw out great heaps of shells as waste. In some places such shells have
been used in making roads. Shucking-houses are sometimes glad to get rid of them. These
are opportunities for the oyster-eulturlst. Where they occur such shells can be procured more
conveniently and cheaper than any other form of cultch. Besides, in ease and cleanliness of
handling, in extent and suitableness of surface, and in their gradual decay and the readiness
with which the attached oysters become naturally or artificially separated, they can hardly be
surpassed. The shells of oysters, clams, scallops, mussels, cockles, whelks, abalones, or other
molluscs are all good, but those of oysters are best and most likely to be procurable in greatest
abundance.
Old natural beds on the east coast often cover many acres of bottom, consisting of shells
infiltrated with sediment several feet in depth. In Prince Edward Island great quantities of
these shells used to be dredged up in winter through holes cut in the ice, by means of huge frameworks supporting a beam and dredge worked by horses; and the shells with their contained
sediment and disintegrated shell-matter were drawn away and left to soften and rot in heaps
on the land, to be afterwards used as a fertilizer. This was rich in lime, but did not come up
to expectations in enriching the soil and increasing the crops. Besides, the method of procuring
it injured the beds by destroying their continuity, cutting great trenches through them and
permitting the edges to fall in. Living oysters from the surface were taken among the rest or
were buried by collapse of the banks, and mud was stirred up to settle upon and cover others.
The harder shells could have been much more profitably used as cultch, but the farmers who took
away the so-called " mussel-mud " were not generally oyster-fishers, and there was no inclination
to work either for the good of the oysters or for the oyster-fishermen. It is only in recent years
that claims can be obtained to private use of portions of oyster areas, so that a man may reap
the benefits of his own improvements.
In the West there are no such beds, but what are called oyster-beds are no more than
disconnected single layers of more or less separate and free oysters scattered over limited
portions of beaches or flats. On account of the small size, thinness, and softness of the shells
they do not last many years as cultch before they are completely broken up or crumbled away.
But they are very efficient while they do last, for the spat collected by them is soon liberated
by decay of the cultch, obviating much of the necessity of going over them to break apart the
bunches. Cultch collected from this source does not accumulate very fast. A greater mass can
be more easily obtained by raking up clam and cockle-shells where they keep working out of
the mud, sand, or gravel bottom.
On account of the large size, thickness, and hardness of the eastern oyster-shell, it is a good
thing to bring eastern oysters to the West and plant them out to grow for a year or two before
sending to market. There will not be so many living oysters at the end of the period as at the
beginning, but the growth may more than make up for the loss, and at the same time the shells
of those that die will add to the cultch on the beds.
Eastern oysters marketed in the West are all sold complete—in the shell, the shell going
with the meat and being carried off the beds and indeed away from the premises. In a similar
manner they are retailed in the shell and become distributed in small quantities. They are
generally served on the half-shell, but if any are shelled to be used otherwise the shells are
thrown out, are carried away in the garbage, or form such small quantities as to be not worth
the trouble of the eulturist to have hunted up and returned. Western-oyster shells are easier
to procure in this way on account of their being more often shelled in quantity at definite places.
When bought back by the eulturist they make excellent cultch. They are clean, so that all the
surface is available for spat; they are not so large as to have vast numbers of spat fixed to
one piece;  they soften and break up easily, freeing the spat from undue crowding.
In collecting oysters for market, sorting, breaking apart bunches, thinning out, transplanting,
and such operations, there occur numerous empty shells and separate valves of oysters, as well
as some of other molluscs, and if all these are taken care of they soon accumulate to great heaps.
Depending on the manner of working the beds, these may be wholly or in part left on the beds
or aggregated at the wharf. Those collected at the wharf could be returned to the beds
irregularly, at the convenience of the eulturist, or could be kept in store for a more definite
occasion. The oysterman who engages in the industry solely for the profit from handling more
or less grown foreign oysters will perhaps regard these heaps as so much dead loss—indicating
the hardships of his business. I have known of masses of such shells having been wasted to
no better purpose than filling in a gully. This is still worse than in making a road-bed or in
burning to lime. The shells left on the beds or returned to the beds not only improve the
surface, but their decay adds to the available calcium carbonate required for the shells of
growing oysters. The eulturist who is engaged in the industry to satisfy both mental and
bodily needs of employment, and at the same time to make the best'use of every advantage that
occurs, will preserve all shells for use as cultch, and in doing so will accomplish the before-
mentioned purposes as well. To this end it becomes necessary to decide whether it is better to
leave the shells on the beds or to take them ashore to be returned at a suitable later occasion.
In natural oyster districts oysters have been present for untold ages, and yet at most places
the surface shells available as cultch continue to be limited in quantity. The natural accumulation of cultch is a slow process. It depends upon the capacity for production by the species and
the capacity for destruction by the environment.    Shells that have been buried under succeeding Q 106 Report op the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
layers, as in the great oyster-banks of eastern waters, or that have been covered with accumulated
earth, as in Indian shell-heaps, have been longest preserved, because removed to the greatest
extent from the action of the elements. The solvent action of water and the corrosive action
of air, and the alternations between wet and dry and heat and cold, are chiefly instrumental
in the decay of shells. On western beds the destruction soon balances up the production. The
eulturist cannot hope to maintain a stock except by continually collecting and preserving shells.
They are less prone to decay on the land than on flats, but there is another and a better reason
for retaining them on the land—viz., that it improves their effectiveness.
Oyster-culturists who have given attention to this point cannot have failed to observe that
cultch which has been kept out of the water and cleansed is more successful than that which
has remained in the water from year to year. My own observations of the several hundreds of
tons of shells planted at Crescent during the four summers I was there w7ere perfectly convincing.
The scores of experiments I set partly for this purpose and partly for other purposes verified over
and over the correctness of the conclusion. Day after day for long periods I have put out
prepared shells in closed wire cases and examined the catch of spat and compared with the
catch on old shells lying about the same places. When the former caught few to many spat
the latter caught none to only an occasional one.
The reasons for this difference are not hard to find. It is self-evident that it is not due
to the larva?, for they are equally plentiful about all the shells. It is only necessary to compare
the surfaces of the fresh and of the old cultch or to note the changes that come over fresh cultch
as it stays in the water from day to day. The good cultch consisted of shells selected from the
surface of heaps of shells that had been exposed for months to the air, sun, and rains, and had
become quite clean and white. The old shells with which they were compared had lain in the
water for indefinite periods and were discoloured, slimy, and dirty. The changes that come over
freshly deposited clean shells are largely dependent upon the locality, the temperature and
salinity of the water, and the amount of sediment in suspension. It is generally possible to note
a difference in a single tide or a single day, but in two or three days the difference becomes
marked. A fine dust-like deposit may be first observed; then a somewhat slimy surface which
soon shows specks-and patches of organic matter that are fixed to the surface and do not wash
off by moving the shell through the water; these accumulate a greater deposit and increase in
size and number until a great part or the whole of the shell is covered and dirty. If instead
of shells strips of glass are used the surface can be examined with a microscope and the nature
of the deposits recognized. The organic matters are minute, separate, or colonial plants or
animals or exudations from them causing the slimy surface and the retention of silt.
When single valves of shells are dropped into the water separately they fall with the
convex surface downwards and concavity upwards. A good portion of the under side rests
on or becomes pressed into the substratum and the concavity soon comes to be partly filled
with sediment. The only portions left exposed are the upper and lower margins and edges
of the shell, which are themselves subject to the organic deposits already referred to. This is
why so many shells are found with spat clustered round the margins. The at first complete and
suitable surfaces of the shells are liable to be soon reduced to narrow rims of a less suitable
surface. At some places this can happen in a few days; at others it may take as many weeks.
This is why prepared cultch, if put down at the proper time, is more efficient than old cultch.
Shells that fall without interference light on the convex surface, only part of which touches,
and all the rest of both surfaces are at first free and suitable to catch spat. Spat that becomes
attached in the centre of the concave surface may be afterwards covered with sediment and
smothered or starved. When shells are shovelled from a scow into the water at high tide they
may, in falling through the water, interfere with one another or be affected by a current, so
that some of them will light with the hollow side downwards. If they fall on hard bottom the
greater part of the under surface is likely to be still accessible to larva? and offers very satisfactory conditions. The worst chance is that depositing sediment may rise round the edges,
cutting off communication with the outside. The upper side is also favourable because of its
rounded surface allowing the sediment to slip off. But both surfaces are exposed to organic
growths. Some of the densest clusters of spat are to be found on the insides of cockle-shells
where the valves have been retained intact and so closely fitting that one at first winders how'
the spat got inside, which becomes plain when it is remembered that it is not the spat but the
minute larva that searches out the place for fixation. 8 Geo. 5 Native Oyster of British Columbia. '      Q 107
From the preceding considerations it follows that the work on cultch should consist of
collecting shells from all possible sources (even to buying them), spreading them out on hard
ground (or lumber platform), and shovelling them over once in a while to let the dried mud fall
out of them and expose all surfaces until they are clean, dry, and white. In this condition they
can be held in readiness for the proper time to plant. The planting itself is best carried out,
like the planting of seed-oysters, by being scattered at high tide from a scow as it is being towed
back and forward over the bed.
The Time to plant Cultch.
The importance of cultch has been already insisted on. But this presupposes a proper
handling of the cultch. To be successful, it must be good cultch, it must be put down in a
suitable place, it must be spread in an approved manner, and, above all, it must be planted
at a well-judged time.
The more or less accidental observations that originally suggested the possibility of oyster-
culture could have no reference to such special points. Oysters large enough or plentiful enough
to attract the attention of men engaged in other pursuits were already too old to furnish a clue
as to their origin. An unused boat, an anchor, a fallen tree, or some such object with spat
attached may have first served to limit the time to within a few months. It might even have
been observed that spat did not come into existence in the winter, but in the warm season of
the year.
To follow the subject more closely required progress in the knowledge of the developing
young, the small size of which rendered this impossible before the microscope came into use.
The egg was first observed in 1690. Isolated scraps of information were added by a long list of
noted zoologists, but especially by Brach (1690), Leeuenhoek (1695), Baster (1759), Home
(1826), Davaine (1852), Lacaze-Duthiers (1854), Coste (1861), De la Blanchere (1866), Gwyn-
Jeffreys (1869), Saunders (1873), Salensky (1S83), Mobius (1877), Bouchon-Brandeley (1882),
Horst (1883, 1884), Hubrecht (1883), Huxley (1883), Hoek (1884), all working on the European
oyster. The American species was especially investigated by Brooks (1879), Ryder (1881),
Rice (1883), Winslow (18S4), Jackson (1S8S), Nelson (18S8-1915). United States investigators
have been prone to believe that the straight-hinge larva becomes transformed into the spat, and
many expensive experiments have been carried out and failed because of this mistake. Even
Nelson, whose -work began in 188S and continued to 1915, did not begin to get away from this
idea until 1907, and he appears to have been still under its spell when he wrote his very last
report, where he states: " The Canadian oyster-spat, at the time of fixation to cultch, is a fourth
larger than the spat in the corresponding stage of development-in New Jersey waters."
"' The Canadian oyster-spat, at the time of fixation to cultch, is a fourth larger than the
spat in the corresponding stage of development in New Jersey W'aters."
As the spat at the time of fixation has the same size and organization as the larva immediately
before fixation, it would follow that the full-grown New Jersey larva is a fifth smaller than the
full-grown Canadian larva—and the larva or spat of 55 units length in Canada would correspond
with a larva or spat of 44 units length in New Jersey. I have elsewhere shown (" The Canadian
Oyster" and' other reports) that the common size for fixation of the eastern oyster of Canada is
55 units (=0.379 mm.) and of the western oyster of Canada is 37 units (=0.255 mm.). The
circumstance is suggestive that the New Jersey oyster may be a different species from the more
northern Canadian, and, in fact, Nelson makes the statement: " It is still somewhat doubtful
whether the Canadian oyster may not be a distinct variety, breeding true to its kind." But there
is another alternative which seems to have escaped Nelson—viz., that the larvae of the same species
might set at different ages and' sizes in northern and southern climates.
In looking through Nelson's former publications for some reference to measurements of New
Jersey larva?, I find (1907) : "The actual size of the larval shell at times of setting is one-fiftieth
of an inch in length" (=0.5 mm.). Measurements of "newly attached spat" of his Plate II. when
divided by their stated magnifications give 0.5 and 0.425 mm., which are larger than Nelson's own
measurements of the largest Canadian larva? (400 microns = 0.4 mm.). According to his own figures,
I do not see how it is possible to make the statement about the relative sizes of New Jersey and
Canadian spat, unless in his latest paper he meant to retract his earlier measurements as being
inaccurate. My own largest measurement of a Canadian larva is 0.386 mm. in length, and I find
no constant or noticeable difference in larva? of the same species at the extremes of northern and
southern distribution, either on the Atlantic or on the Pacific.
The bearing of the subject upon some phases of culture and of transplantation induced me to
write to the United States Bureau of Fisheries, asking if it were possible for one of their investigators to procure and send me samples of plankton taken above oyster-beds and of young spat. The
plankton was not successful, but the spat were satisfactory. Comparing them with some of my own
from eastern Canada, I find they agree in every respect.
The full-grown larva of the Atlantic oyster was first discovered and described by the writer
in 1904. Its external features, size, shape, asymmetry, high umbos, internal structure, foot, gills,
and many other organs were then comprehended for the first time in the history of the subject.
At the same time the other phases of the life of the larva—viz., the place and time at which
it is to be found and the manner in which it may be obtained, as well as the bearing up the
subject of oyster-culture—were referred to. These have all been further elaborated in my later
works, so that it would now be possible "to write a more complete and comprehensive account
of the life-history of the oyster than has ever hitherto been presented.
The Pacific oyster agrees in all essential features with the Atlantic species. All lines of
research—embryology, anatomy and physiology, environment, culture—have been investigated
by the writer and have received equal attention. Before 1911 there was nothing known of it
hut its external features and its distribution, and these only very imperfectly. All the rest
has been written by myself.
The final application of the knowledge gained from both species, so far as oyster-culture is
concerned, centres in the intelligent use of cultch, or. to be still more precise, in the proper time
to plant cultch. This point, although insisted on in several of my earlier works, has not yet
received the attention that is its due. It takes a long time for most scientific facts, principles,
or methods to filter down among the masses.
In the northern part of British Columbia I met a man working in a salmon-cannery who told me
he had formerly been employed by an oyster company at Whitstable, England, and that he knew
" all about the oyster." So insistant was he in repeating the statement that I ventured to ask:
" Perhaps you won't mind telling me how long it takes an oyster-egg* to become a spat? " He was
somewhat staggered, but replied:    "Oh, I don't know anything about that."
At Willapa Harbour (Shoalwater Bay), Washington, in talking to a eulturist from the East,"
I was asked a similar question, and upon its being answered he appeared bewildered, and said:
" Well,   that  is  very  different from  what we have always heard."
A seed-oyster producer of New York, after having written many times, called on me. In discussing the points about which he was particularly interested he became frank in expressing his
views—one of which was that " The professors have never done anything for oyster-culture and do
not attack the problems that occur at the great oyster centres." I did not waste time to disillusion
him. Any man in a receptive mood and seeking for information should be helped, but one so badly
informed and decided in his views is beyond hope. I might have answered: "On the contrary,
zoologists have done nearly everything that has been done; oyster fishermen, growers, and handlers
would never have got the information; Brooks, Nelson, and others have certainly worked at the best
centres; but it is not necessary to even do this; where nature unassisted produces a lavish supply
there is little credit to be taken by the eulturist; if good results can be obtained in poor centres it is
a sure proof of the value of the method."
When I first went to Crescent and a notice of my purpose had got into the papers I was
bombarded with letters asking for " private tips." These were not from oyster-culturists and I did
not answer them. I am not concerned with greedy money-grabbers who are looking for unfair
advantages. I care only for the subject—the gaining of correct information, the improvement of the
industry, the furnishing of a larger food-supply. I write for the masses; it is their privilege to make
use of or to reject my methods.
From the observation that small oysters are sometimes found attached to hard objects in
the water of shallow bays and estuaries it is but a short step to the putting-out of cultch for
the purpose of collecting spat. There is little use of planting cultch in autumn, winter, or early
spring—it does not catch spat then. There has grown up a practice among oyster-culturists of
putting out cultch at certain times in much the same way as farmers plant seeds or sow grain
at certain times. Seeds planted too soon might rot before the proper conditions for their
germination arrived, while if planted too late the growth might not reach maturity before the
cold weather interfered. In the case of the oyster the egg and succeeding stages (which correspond to the seeds of plants) are not matured and extruded into the water until the warm
wreather arrives. If they were under the control of man he would no doubt make mistakes and
bring about spawning at wrong times, but fortunately they are under the control of natural
forces. That which is under the control of man is the power of putting out cultch at the proper
time to accommodate the developing oyster. If cultch is put out too soon it is liable to sink
into the soft substratum, to become covered with sediment, to be overgrown with plant or animal
colonies, and to become coated with an organic slime. To such an extent may one or more of
such processes take place that the available exposed surface is much restricted and the efficacy 8 Geo. 5 Native Oyster of British Columbia. Q 109
of the cultch reduced to only a small fraction of what it w7as originally. The longer the cultch
is in the water the more this is the case. It is of great advantage to delay planting cultch until
the very beginning of the time when it will be useful.   To determine this time is the problem.
The time to put out cultch has been and still is largely judged by the results of previous
plantings—i.e., by experience. A sort of customary time—about the last of June or first of
July—has been arrived at. But this is not equally good for all places. It may be a little late
for places to the south or somewhat early for those to the north. Then, again, it is not equally
good for all years, for the warm weather of one summer may be considerably earlier than for
another. There are other things that may interfere, such as sudden changes of temperature or
a heavy fall of rain. It is useful to have in mind some approximately correct time as a reminder
that certain preparations should be commenced, but the actual time cannot be foretold with
accuracy for any considerable period in advance. It has to be determined for each year and, in
fact, for each locality, except where places are near together and under like conditions.
Another way of obtaining information about the time to put out cultch is to open oysters
from time to time to find out if they are becoming richer in colour and more swollen with
reproductive matter. When ova or sperm are approaching ripeness some may he squeezed from
the reproductive openings by lightly stroking the side of the abdomen. If the cells cling to one
another in masses they are not yet ripe, but if they separate into individuals they may be fully
mature. To be still 'more certain they may be examined with a microscope and a fertilization
experiment may be performed.
Observation of the actual process of spawning can be seldom carried out. It is not a
sufficiently conspicuous phenomenon to be depended upon as an indication of the time of ripeness
and may slip by without being noticed. I have seen both Atlantic and Pacific oysters in the
act of spawning. In the first the very small eggs (or sperm) are expelled witb»a squirting noise
and can be seen as a little white cloud in the water, dispersing as it settles to the bottom. When
the oysters are lying on the warm flats instead of being covered with water, the squirt can be
heard and seen and the spawn remains as a white deposit on the oyster or other near objects.
This phenomenon is, as stated, rarely to be observed, but what can be noted is the occurrence of
thin, dark-coloured, spent individuals, that have spawned out, increasing in numbers, while the
plump, fresh, healthy individuals, that have not yet spawned, are decreasing in numbers. In
the Pacific species the much larger and heavier eggs drop into the gill-cavities and mantle-
chamber, where they lie for some days undergoing development, and only pass to the outside
when they have attained to some stage of the straight-hinge larva. This is an advantage that
the western oyster offers over the eastern, for on opening them the eulturist can easily recognize
the soup-like spawn lying about the gills. It varies in colour from white through grey to brown,
according to the age. The young white eggs are quite motionless, but the late grey or brown
larva? are active swimmers, best seen under a lens or microscope.
As long as it was believed that eggs become spawned, fertilized, developed, and set as spat
in a few hours (or days), the time of spawning could be accepted as near enough to the time
of spatting to be used as a sign for the planting of cultch. As already mentioned, the writer
showed that this was a mistake and that it required a month instead of a few hours for the
process. The elaborate experiments of Ryder, as well as the simpler ones of Rice, Winslow,
Nelson, and others in the United States, could hardly have succeeded against such miscalculation.
Any results that were obtained were due to other (earlier) eggs than those counted on. Cultch
put out a month in advance of the time when the young oysters will be ready to make use of
it will become greatly reduced in efficiency in the meantime. There is no use of going to the
expense of time, labour, or money in collecting, preparing, and cleansing cultch for that purpose.
Besides, many things can happen the developing young in this period. Of the myriads of eggs
spawned at the beginning of the period there may be very few larva? to represent them towards
the end of the period. Records of previous plantings, evidence from the appearances of the
oysters, ripening of eggs, spawning, fertilization, beginning of development, are all helpful as
bits of information, but they are all too far anterior to the setting of the spat to be depended
upon.    It is evident something more is required.
The only accurate, strictly scientific, and satisfactory method of acquiring the knowledge
of -when to plant cultch is the plankton method. It begins where the other methods leave off
and continues the following-up of the young throughout the period of time that elapses between
spawning and spatting—i.e., throughout the month required for the development to the full-grown Q 110 Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
larva. It supplies the information of where the young are and what they are doing during this
period. For the eastern oyster all stages of development between the egg and the spat are in
the water about the parent oysters. For the western oyster the eggs and younger stages of
development are retained in the mantle-cavity of the mother for about half the period, and the
later stages from the straight-hinge to the full-grown umbo stage of the larva, are free in the
water above oyster-beds. The free-living larvae of both species can only be obtained for observation by some adaptation of the plankton method such as was first applied by myself. All the
literature of this subject, with the exception of the little that has been copied by others without
acknowledgment, has been written by myself. It includes the facts of their existence, their
appearance, measurements, shape, and organization, the distinctions from other bivalve-larva?
and other plankton organisms, the time of year, place of occurrence, manner of life, rate of
growth, age, when and at what size full-grown—in fact, all that seems useful to know about
when, where, and how to procure, observe, and recognize the larva?.
Up to the time of the earliest spawning and for one or two weeks afterwards there are no
shell-bearing oyster larva? in the water and consequently none in plankton collections. About
two weeks after spawning has begun there appear little straight-hinge oyster larva? in the catches.
From this time onwards there come to be several sizes; the earliest have grown older and larger
and other broods of younger and smaller larvae have come on. The oldest grow to a limit in
size beyond which there are no representatives in the plankton collections. They either become
set as spat or they perish for lack of cultch or from other causes. In good places it is possible
to go on taking plankton with oyster larva? of various sizes in it for two or three months. As
soon as one brood grows up and disappears a new brood ordinarily takes its place, so that
the collections preserve a certain uniformity of appearance, although it is not from the same
larva? or the same broods. But the broods are not equal in numbers of individuals. The first
that come on are few because they are from eggs that were spawned at the beginning of the warm
weather, when only those oysters were ready to spawn that were in most favourable places.
A little later a much greater number of oysters would be ready to spawn at one time. If the
eulturist has kept in touch with the conditions of the oysters on the beds he will know when
the greatest amount of spawning has taken place and at what time to expect the largest swarms
of larva?. His plankton catches should agree with and verify this information and show when
there will be the greatest number of full-grown larva? in the water ready to set as spat. This is
the time to plant cultch. As soon as the first of these larva? attain to the maximum size the
prepared shells should be distributed so as to offer a vast and suitable surface for attachment
at a time when the masses are ripe for fixation. Good, fresh, clean, white shells put out at the
time when there is an abundance of full-grown oyster larva? in the water searching for places
for attachment cannot fail to catch a good set of spat.
This is the information to which all my observations of structure, development, habits, and
surroundings converge, as well as to which all my experiments point—when to bring together
these two most important factors of abundance of full-grown larvae and abundance of suitable
cultch. The successful capture of immense numbers of spat is not only the cheapest way of
obtaining one's own seed, but is the most satisfying intellectual and practical achievement within
the grasp of the eulturist.
All the information gained from former experience, from the examination of ripening oysters,
from the observation of the process of spawning, from the finding of spawned-out individuals,
from the procuring of older and younger broods of larva? in the plankton collections, even from
the putting-out of a few shells to see If occasional specimens of spat can be secured from the
earliest broods of larva?; all this information fits together as one piece and points to one conclusion—the proper time to plant prepared cultch. If this occasion is allowed to pass by unused
the labour of gaining the information as well as of procuring, preparing, and planting of the
cultch is largely lost. Cultch is.of no use unless it is planted. If put out late it may still
secure a fair although not so great a set. It is not possible to catch too many spat. If not
captured in this way they will inevitably be lost. There may be more attached to some pieces
of cultch than can find room to grow, but other pieces will not be overstocked. The loss from
the many accidents to which they are exposed will not fail to thin them out in the end.
There is another reason why it is advisable to get the cultch into the water for the first
large swarm of larva?. Early spat are likely to have advantages over late ones in the fact
that they have before them a longer period of warm weather and abundant food and will be 8 Geo. 5 Native Oyster of British Columbia. Q. Ill
larger, stronger, and better protected to withstand the approaching winter. But it may not be
good policy to plant shells for the very first swarms of larvae because of their small numbers.
The eulturist needs to know his grounds as well as to know his oysters. If the locality is one
that rapidly reduces the efficiency of cultch there is all the more necessity to play for the quick
capture of a great number of spat—i.e., to put out the shells to accommodate the largest brood.
If, on the other hand, cultch does not become very rapidly coated it may be safe to risk the
chances of obtaining small contributions from successive broods. When once in the water shells
are likely to receive fresh additions of spat as long as there are any larva? left. The cultch
supplied for the largest brood also has this advantage.
It may appear that since larva? are in the water for so long a period there need be no concern
about putting out cultch to suit the requirements of the first or any other large brood—that the
continual accession of occasional spat from small broods will total a fair set in the end. But
this reasoning is not safe. The study of plankton collections shows that the total number of
larva? in the water from time to time is subject to great fluctuation, as is also the total number
of full-grown larvae. It is the latter the eulturist should count on in putting out shells. There
are times when for days there are scarcely any to be found, and if cultch happens to be put
out at such a time there will be next to no spat secured and the cultch will be deteriorating
while the younger broods are growing up to the spatting stage. The cause for the fluctuation
may have existed a month previously, when the eggs were spawned, or may have happened at
any time during the previous month, when great numbers of larvae have been destroyed. A cold
spell of weather, a protracted rain, or a scarcity of food may have operated to prevent the
ripening of eggs, the spawning, the fertilization, or the development.
There is still left one method of judging the time to plant cultch, and that is to keep watch
on old shells or, better, to put out a few good shells and examine them for spat. Of course,
this method is open to the objection that the first good fall of spat may be past before the
eulturist becomes aware of the presence of spat and before he has the bulk of his cultch planted.
The method, however, can be used in combination with the other methods to advantage, in that
while the full-grown larva? are still few in numbers the eulturist may capture occasional spat
and even recognize an increasing number which will add to his assurance that he is on the right
road.
Special Work.
The eulturist who is in contact with the same areas from year to year is in the best position
to detect and follow up the special problems of the district. He should become interested in
the subject in other than financial aspects. He may not be able to apply the most technical
methods and reach the most accurate conclusions, but he will soon discover whether he is
increasing the production or not. Mechanical repetition of a set course of action Is not likely to
improve his methods. It is quite unnecessary to risk any suggested change on a large scale.
A small, perhaps somewhat isolated, area may be set apart for an experiment. He should aim
at finding the best grounds for spatting, for growing, for fattening, for keeping over winter, etc.
He could make observations on the rate of development and rate of growth, the conditions under
which discoloured oysters (black, green, red) are produced, and the local causes of death among
the oysters.
A subject of great importance is that of food. The contents of the stomachs of oysters may
be withdrawn by means of a pipette and examined under a microscope to see the kinds and
quantities of food-organisms that have been swallowed. Search can be made on eel-grass and
other seaweeds and in plankton collections for the same organisms in order to learn where they
are produced. These places should then be tried by planting oysters on them and noting the
growth.
Different conditions of the bottom and of the water may be tested; continuous submersion
or periodical exposure, stagnant or flowing water, gravelly or muddy substratum, sloughs, pools,
lagoons, artificial ponds, dyked areas, salinity, temperature, etc.
Oysters transplanted from other districts should be observed with a view to determining the
best sources from which to draw. Observations having an apparent local value may be found
by comparison to possess a broader significance. Q 112 Report of the Commissioner op Fisheries. 1918
Trade and Commerce.
There is no need to dwell here on such subjects as finding a market, sorting to a uniformity
with the sample, the use of trade-names, catering to the tastes of the people, greening, bleaching,
freshening, etc., that hardly fall within the scope of this work. Fig.  1.  Planting seed-oysters at low  tide.
iAm* in- mi
* a ■
.-•.. ■*#
7 :j-i
Fig. 2. Thinning out at low tide. Fig.  3.  Collecting native oysters.
Pig. 4. Towing to wharf at high tide. 8 Geo. 5 Sockeye Run on the Fraser River. Q 113
THE SOCKEYE RUN ON THE FRASER RIVER:   ITS PRESENT CONDITION
AND ITS FUTURE PROSPECTS.
By C. H. Gilbebt.
The history of the Fraser River sockeye runs shows unmistakably that the three small years
of each four-year cycle were overfished early in the history of the industry, and immediately
showed the effects of serious depletion. These effects have continued in increasing measure to
the present day, when we have but small remains of the generous runs with which the industry
began.
During the early years, when fishing was confined to the region about the mouth of the river
and drift gill-nets alone -were employed, no evidence exists of overfishing. The last cycle in
which these conditions obtained was 1S94-96. During each of the small years of that cycle
(1894, 1S95, and 1896) there were packed approximately 350,000 cases on the Fraser River and
about 60,000 cases on Puget Sound. During each of those years, therefore, about 5,000,000 sockeye
were taken from the spawning run and used for commercial purposes. It should have been
considered at that time an open question whether enough salmon to keep the runs going had
been permitted to escape to the spawning-grounds. Strict inquiry should have been made to
ascertain whether, in addition to a surplus of individuals which could be spared, we had
encroached on the spawning reserve, with the certain result that the runs would show a
falling-off.
Apparently, however, a third of a million cases a year could be safely spared, for the
following cycle shows no decrease. If from the beginning the pack had been limited to a third
of a million cases for each small year, apparently the runs would still continue in their primitive
abundance. During the three small years of this cycle approximately 1,200,000 cases were
packed.
But in the following period of four years (1897, 1898, 1899, and 1900) the traps on Puget
Sound became an important factor. While the British Columbia pack showed little- or no reduction, it was now met by a pack on Puget Sound which nearly equalled it. The total captures
during the three off-years of this cycle nearly doubled those of the preceding years and exacted
an average toll of about 10,000,000 fish from the spawning run of these years. The total pack
of the three years of this cycle was over 2,000,000 cases.
The result was quickly apparent. If 5,000,000 fish could be safely spared, this figure nevertheless must have been near the upper limit of safety, for when 10,000,000 fish were abstracted
the small years of the following cycle showed such a marked decline as to indicate that we had
far overstepped the line of safety. It was then during the cycle of 1897-1900 that the first serious
damage was done to the sockeye runs of the Fraser River. By doubling the pack of the three
small years, not only was the surplus fully taken, but the necessary spawning reserve was
seriously encroached on, with the result that in the small years of the following cycle (1902,
1903, and 1904), in spite of the increased amount of gear employed, the pack was cut in half,
while the spawning-beds at the same time were but sparsely seeded.
Is it any wonder that the voice of my friend and colleague, J. P. Babcock, of the Fisheries
Department of British Columbia, was raised insistently in warning and protest! The inevitable
and disastrous trend of events should have been evident to the dullest. But the parties in
interest refused to hold their hands and proceeded with the slaughter of the spawning remnant,
while politically controlled Commissions of Fisheries smugly reported " business as usual" and
tacitly encouraged the good work to go on.
The result, as I have remarked, was quickly apparent. In 1902, 1903, and 1904 the total
sockeye-pack of the Fraser was cut to 1,200,000 cases, and in succeeding years it has suffered
still further reduction, the pack of the three off-years of a cycle never again equalling 1,000,000
cases. In 1906-8 it was 750,000 cases; in 1910-12, 880,000 cases; in 1914-16, 796,000. And
with each year the amount of gear employed has increased by leaps and bounds. The small years
of the present cycle may be expected to register a smaller total than any which have gone before.
As regards the big years of their respective cycles, it could not be shown prior to 1913 that
any permanent impairment of the runs had occurred.    But the accidental blockade of the canyon Q 114 Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries. 1918
during that year prevented in large measure the seeding of the up-river spawning-beds. The fish
that should have reached them died without spawning below the canyon. The results were only
too conspicuous in 1917, and show beyond question that the blocking of the canyon was a disaster
of the first magnitude. It has destroyed the big run for all time, unless extraordinary measures
are taken to restore it. The " big year " must now range itself in size and importance with the
" off-years." There is no reason to hope that 1921 will even equal 1917, much less surpass it.
So closely were the sockeye gleaned this past season that the proportion of escape was reduced to
a minimum. The reports of Mr. Babcock concerning the condition of the spawning-beds indicate
that far less spawn was deposited than in 1913. There is no reason to hope that any measures
would be effective in now restoring the " big year " of the cycle, which would not be equally
effective w7ith the " off-years."
These are the facts with which we are confronted: The three off-years very seriously
impaired, with an almost certain prospect of worse to come during the present cycle; and the
big year on which we have principally relied heretofore, a thing of the past. Nothing short of
heroic remedies can restore the Fraser to even a fair measure of productivity. Vet the spawning-
grounds are uninjured and unsurrounded by any large populations of either natives or whites,
and the river-channels are unpolluted. The fields are ready as ever for the harvest. We need
but to spare the seed.
In planning to replenish a sockeye-stream the question is at once raised: " To what extent
can we depend on hatcheries? " Unfortunately no certain answer can be returned to this question.
Certain sources of waste and loss in natural spawning are undoubtedly eliminated in the hatcheries. The dangers which threaten the eggs—and these are many and serious—may be largely
avoided. From a given quantity of eggs the hatcheries without doubt can produce a much larger
number of fry than is possible in natural propagation. Such doubts as we may entertain concerning the effectiveness of sockeye-hateheries must deal, it would seem, with less favourable conditions under which the fry are liberated, and possibly the less active avoidance of their enemies
on the part of hatchery-raised fish. Some of these dangers may be minimized by the adoption
of better methods. Certain it is, much of the hatchery-work has been done with little intelligence
and less conscientiousness. Much better records may be made in the future. But to the present
time there is little to indicate a high efficiency of sockeye-hateheries. Sockeye-streams in Alaska
or elsewhere, which are provided with hatcheries, seem to conserve their runs little, if any, better
than the streams without hatcheries. And specially successful years at the hatcheries have not
been followed by increase of the runs.
It is clear, then, that in planning the rehabilitation of the Fraser River it will be unwise to
place too much dependence on the work of hatcheries. Measures should be adopted which will
promise results in any case, and then the help of the hatcheries availed of to the full extent that
they can furnish aid. In any event, the hatcheries can work no miracles, and can produce no
salmon-fry without salmon-eggs. And it must be borne in mind that on the upper river, where
are located the greatest spawning-beds of the river-basin, no hatchery can now operate, because
spawning fish no longer reach this section in sufficient numbers to furnish the eggs. The hatcheries located on the upper river have been compelled to close their doors, so greatly since they
were built have the runs become depleted.
The one all-important remedy for the existing situation is to permit more fish—many more
figh—to escape capture and become spawners. Until adequate measures are taken to that end
it is useless to discuss any minor remedies. If we hope for results, we must act in no picayunish
fashion—we must deal in large quantities. The mortality among salmon is great. At every
stage of their lives their enemies in infinite numbers and variety lie in wait. A sockeye-egg,
under natural conditions, has not more than one chance in a thousand to develop and survive
to maturity. If a female lays 2,000 eggs—and this is not far from the usual number—not more
than two of these on the average will proceed to sea, escape their enemies, and return to spawn
at term. Nature has set the scene for a vast slaughter. The utmost we can ever accomplish by
way of protection covers only the life of the egg and the younger stages of the fry. Beyond that,
Nature will have its way and will take its vast toll. To keep a stream stocked with salmon this
wastage must be allowed for. An extensive spawning run must be maintained, all the more
extensive if, as in the present case, the stock of salmon is already seriously depleted and we
wish to restore it. 8 Geo. 5 Sockeye Run on the Fraser River. Q 115
The Fraser River presents unexampled opportunities for productiveness and wealth. The
people need the enormous supplies of highly valuable food which the river is able to produce
annually. It should not be permitted to remain at its present low rate of production. Those
now engaged in the industry of preparing this food product for market should voluntarily
surrender for purposes of propagation such quota of the run as will not only arrest the process
of depletion, but will restore the runs. If they are unable to agree on this, the Governments
should step in and control the matter. In no way can the Governments escape the responsibility.
The people need the food. They will come to need it in future years even more sorely than they
do at the present. No private interests should be permitted to stand in the way of restoring this
producer of food to the public.
If the Fraser River were a private monopoly, to be henceforth wisely handled, there can be
no doubt it would now be promptly closed to commercial fishing for a term of years, and the
entire run—now so sadly dwindled—dedicated to purposes of propagation. This should be done
without further delay for at least one cycle of four years, and the results carefully noted by a
continued study of the spawning-beds. Fortunately, there now exists adequate data for comparison. No other sockeye-stream has received such close and discriminating study. Through
the wise efforts of J. P. Babcock, annual Inspection has been made of the spawning-beds of the
entire watershed, and predictions of the runs four years thence have been fearlessly made. It is
a matter of record how consistently these prophecies have been fulfilled. We are now, therefore,
in possession of information to enable us to judge with some degree of accuracy the effects of
any remedial measures we may adopt. If the river were closed to fishing for one cycle of four
years, we could know fairly well in advance what the result was to be, and could then either
open the river and sound to restricted fishing, if the condition should warrant, or if necessary
close it for a further period of four years. This is the only method to restore the sockeye run
with any promptness and with any certainty of success.
So great has been the reduction of the runs, we cannot predict with any optimism what
would be the result of less drastic measures. If the amount of fishing-gear in use be limited
and the weekly closed season be extended, undoubtedly a somewhat larger proportion of fish
would reach the spawning-beds. But it must be borne in mind that it is not the proportion of
a given run which spells success, but the actual number of spawners. The whole of a sadly
depleted run may be all too few to produce the desired results. It is greatly to be feared that
any restrictions in the present case which would be so moderate as still to leave it profitable
for canneries to operate in the face of such reduced runs can accomplish little or nothing towards
the restocking of the river. The only wise course—the only adequate remedy—is to close the
river for a term of years, by concurrent action of the two Governments. We might, of course,
do nothing, and thus permit the run to decline to a point where commercial fishing would become
largely if not wholly unprofitable—in the hope that when parties in interest no longer existed
it might be possible to adopt such measures as would then build the run up again. But in that
case a still longer period would be necessary, with far less probability of success. Q 116
Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries.
1918
SALMON-FISHERY OF THE FRASER RIVER DISTRICT.*
By John Pease Babcock, Assistant Commissionee of Fisheries, British Columbia.
The sockeye salmon which frequent the Fraser River in British Columbia are natives of
that stream. All of them are hatched in its watershed, and, with few exceptions, spend the first
year of their life in the fresh waters of some one of its many large lakes. They then migrate
to the sea, where they remain until the summer of the year they are four years old, when they
again seek the waters of the Fraser to spawn, and, after spawning, die.
In returning from the sea to the Fraser the salmon pass through many miles of American
waters in the State of Washington, and there the greater proportion of the run is caught by
American fishermen. It is this feature of the fishery that makes it an international one. ' In
dealing with the salmon-fisheries of the Fraser it is necessary to deal also with the fishing
operations carried on in American waters through which they pass, since it has been demonstrated that all the sockeye salmon which are taken in Puget Sound, in the State of Washington,
are Fraser River bred fish. The term " Fraser River District" is here used to include all the
American and Canadian waters in which the Fraser River fish are caught. In order to show
an increase or decrease in the run of sockeye to the Fraser for a given year it is necessary to
compare the catch of that year with the catch in the fourth preceding year, since, as already
set forth, the sockeye that run to that river predominantly mature in four years, and since the
sockeye seeking the Fraser are caught in both Canadian and American waters it is necessary
to take the combined catch in those waters in order to ascertain the total for any year.
Up to the present year (1917) the run of sockeye salmon to the Fraser River District made
it the most valuable and at the same time the most remarkable salmon-fishery known. Every
fourth year, up to 1917, the run of sockeye salmon in that district has greatly exceeded the run
to any other river, and has so greatly exceeded the run to the Fraser in the three following years
that it is termed " the run of the big year." The run to the Fraser in each of the three years
succeeding the big year is so much smaller that those years are termed " the lean years."
Analysis of Pack.
Nineteen hundred and nine was a year of a " big run." The pack in the district that year
totalled 1,6S3,339 cases, each case containing forty-eight 1-lb. cans or their equivalent. The
combined pack of the three following lean years totalled but 893,253 cases, or 53 per cent, of
that of 1009.
The pack in 1913, the next big year (and, as will later be shown, to have been the last big
year), totalled 2,392,895 qases, while the combined pack in the three following lean years
totalled hut S05,910 cases, or 35 per cent, of that of 1913.
A study of the recorded pack of sockeye salmon caught in the Fraser River District for the
past eight years, 1909 to 1916, inclusive, affords a comprehensive basis for an understanding of
conditions in both Provincial and State waters of that district up to 1917. It demonstrates the
vast difference between the catch in the big. and in the lean years up to that year, as well as the
great difference in the proportion of the catch in the Provincial and the State waters, and it
also shows the decline in the run in the lean years.
Pack or Sockeye Salmon caught in Fkasee River Disteict, 1909-1917.
Year.
British
Columbia
Waters.
State of
AVashington
Waters.!
Total for
District.
585.435
150.432
58,487
123,879
719.796
198,183
91.130
32,146
1,097,904
248,014
127,761
184,680
1,673,099
335,230
64,584
84,637
1,683,339
398,446
186,248
308.559
2.392,895
533,413
155,714
116,783
Totals   1909-1916 	
1.959,488
3,815,909
5,775.397
148.164
300,000±
448,164
* Reprint from Commission of Conservation Report for 1917.
t Data from Pacific Fisherman,  Seattle,  Wash. t Estimate. 8 Geo. 5 Salmon-fishery op the Fraser River District. -Q 117
The pack for the eight years, 1909 to 1916, inclusive, includes the catch of the last two big
years and the last six lean years. Together they constitute the last two four-year cycles of the
run to the Fraser River. The grand total for the eight years is 5,775,397 cases, of which 33.9
per cent, was packed in British Columbia and 66.1 per cent, in the State of Washington. In every
recent year, except 1915, the catch in the State of Washington waters of the district has exceeded
the catch in British Columbia waters. In the two big years the pack from Washington waters
exceeded the pack from British Columbia waters by more than 100 per cent., and in 1913 it
exceeded the combined pack in the British Columbia waters of the last two big years, 1909 and
1913. The pack in Washington in the six lean years exceeded the pack in British Columbia
waters in the same years by 157 per cent. The decline in the catch in the lean years is
pronounced. The catch in Provincial waters in 1916 was only 26 per cent, of that of the previous
fourth year, and was 91,733 cases less than in 1912. In 1916 the pack in Washington was
100,043 cases less, or 45.8 per cent., than in 1912, four years previous.
The final figures for the pack of sockeye in the Fraser River District for 1917 are not yet
available. The pack in British Columbia waters was 148,166 cases and the pack in the State
of Washington is estimated at 300,000 cases, a total for the district of 448,164 cases. This is
only one-sixth of the pack of the previous big year, 1913, and shows a decrease of 1,944,731 cases,
or more than 81 per cent.
Depletion of Run.
It has been demonstrated in the reports of the British Columbia Fisheries Department, and
by the findings of two international commissions, that the sockeye caught in the Fraser River
District are predominantly four-year-olds, are all hatched in the watershed of the Eraser, in
British Columbia, and, when taken, were seeking to return to that watershed to spawn and die.
It is therefore manifest that the catch in both the big and the lean years is the product of the
same spawning-beds. The catches in the big years display the maximum product of the spawning-
beds—tbe harvest that may be reaped four years after the beds have been abundantly seeded.
The smaller catches in the lean years are the natural result of a failure to seed the same beds
abundantly. Provided the beds had been as abundantly seeded in the lean years as they have
been in the big years up to 1913, they would have produced as abundantly. Since the spawning-
beds were abundantly seeded both in 1905 and 1909, the catch in those years represents the
proportion of the total run that was in excess of the number necessary to stock all the beds.
Beyond any question the catch in. 1913 was the product of the abundant spawning of 1909.
Notwithstanding the fact that the catch of 1913 was very much greater than that of any former
season, investigation demonstrated that a sufficient number of the fish escaped capture and passed
up the Fraser River that year to have stocked all the beds as abundantly as they were stocked
in 1909 had they been permitted to reach them. The catches of 1909 arid 1913, great as they
were, were not made at the expense of the capital stock, of the foundation of the run. The
catches made in those years disclose the vast numbers that may be safely taken from every year's
run when the beds are abundantly seeded.
The catches in recent lean years have grown less because they were made at the expense
of the fish necessary to seed the beds. The catches in those years are in excess of the number
that may be taken without endangering the supply of the stock fish. They have been an overdraft on the runs of the future. The runs can neither be maintained nor built up under such
conditions. If for a period of lean years all the fish which return from the sea were permitted
to reach the spawning-beds and there spawn, the runs in those years would eventually reach the
proportion of a big year. It is simply a matter of conserving the brood stock, of seeding the
spawning-beds. •
The salmon industry does not depend upon the amount of money invested in canneries, gear,
and boats. It depends upon the number of salmon which escape capture and successfully spawn.
The perpetuation of the run depends upon the numbers which escape capture. The fish which
are caught and*canned are not factors in future runs. The fish that escape capture and reach
the beds and spawn there are the stock-in-trade. The run four years hence depends upon their
spawning. If the catch is not confined to that proportion of the total number of fish in the run
that is in excess of the numbers necessary to seed the beds, it is made at the expense of the
capital stock of the industry. If the catch is in excess of that number, it is made at the
expense of the runs of the future. It is an overdraft. The catches in the lean years in the
Fraser River District have long been made at the expense of the brood stock.    A decline in Q 118 Report op the Commissioner op Fisheries. 1918
the catch of any year is a matter of passing moment if it can be shown that the number of
fish which reached the spawning area was sufficient to seed the beds. A decline in the number
which spawn is a much more serious thing, for it foretells future loss.
For the last decade and more the record of the pack of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River
District and the reports from the spawning-beds of the watershed of that river leave no shadow
of doubt as to the depletion of the runs in the lean years. It is difficult to see wherein more
proof of depletion, save the final one of commercial extinction, could be adduced. The results
of excessive fishing which were first manifested by the sparsely covered spawning-beds of the
Fraser watershed are now more forcibly called to attention by the reduction in the size of the
pack.
For the past fourteen years the reports of the British Columbia Fisheries Department have
called attention to the conditions on the Fraser River spawning-beds which forecasted the
depletion of the runs of the lean years. The report of that Department in 1913 forecasted the
decline in the run of 1917. Year after year, since 1902, it has been shown that, with few exceptions, the greater proportion of the vast spawning-beds of the Fraser watershed have been but
sparingly seeded in the lean years; that not enough fish reached those beds to maintain
subsequent runs.
HlSTOEY  OF  THE  FISHERY.
The history of the fishing in the Fraser River District in the past fourteen years is a record
of depletion, a record of excessive fishing in the lean years, a record of failure on the part of
the authorities of the State of Washington to realize the necessity of conserving a great fishery,
notwithstanding convincing evidence submitted to them by agents of their own creation that
disaster was impending to one of their great industries.
The Canadian authorities, on the other hand, have by their representations and acts evinced
in unmistakable manner their willingness to deal squarely and adequately with conditions that
foretold depletion, and to join with the State of Washington or the United States Government
in legislation to prevent it.
Throughout the negotiations with the Canadian authorities and those of the State of Washington the former have urged the passage of restrictive measures for both Provincial and State
waters. Following the investigation of 1905 of a joint commission representing the Dominion
of Canada and the Governor of the State of Washington, the former approved the unanimous
findings of that body, and passed, as recommended, an Order in Council which suspended all
sockeye-fisbing in the Canadian waters of the Fraser River District during the years 1906 and
1908, conditional upon the Legislature of the State of Washington passing an Act of like nature
for her waters. The Legislature of the State refused to pass such an Act, whereupon the
Dominion Order in Council was rescinded.
Canada has done her Paet.
In 190S Great Britain and the United States, " recognizing the desirability of uniform and
effective measures for the protection, preservation, and propagation of food-fishes in waters
contiguous to the Dominion of Canada and the United States," convoked a convention for that
purpose, and appointed an international commission, consisting of one person named by each
Government, to investigate conditions and prepare a system of uniform and common regulations
for the protection and preservation of food-fishes. That commission agreed upon a uniform
system for the protection, preservation, and propagation of the salmon in the Fraser River
District. The Canadian Government promptly approved the finding and announced its willingness to adopt for her waters the regulations recommended. The Senate of the United States
after years of delay refused approval, and the convention was terminated. Canada's record on
this vital question is clear and unmistakable. She has been, and still is, desirous of maintaining
and building up the runs of salmon to the Fraser. The record of the State of Washington in
this respect is one of inaction. Unfortunately, Canada alone cannot preserve the fish. Until
such time as the authorities of the United States or the State of Washington indicate by their
enactments their willingness to meet the issue there is no relief in sight, and the runs to the
Fraser River will continue to be decimated.
United States suffers.
The failure of the State of Washington to recognize the necessity for and the advantages
that would follow7 the suspension  of sockeye-fishing in  the lean  years  in  her own  and the 8 Geo. 5 Salmon-fishery of the Fraser River District. Q 119
Provincial waters of the Fraser River District is a reflection upon her business foresight. Her
proportion of the catch of sockeye in each of the last three big years (1905, 1909, and 1913)
has averaged 1,399,808 cases per year, of an average value of $11,198,464. Her average in
each of the last six lean years has been 182,091 cases per year, of an average value of $1,456,728.
The average value of her catch of sockeye in tbe big years up to 1917 exceeds the average value
in the lean years by approximately $9,741,736 per year. Since, as has already been stated, the
catches in both the big and the lean years are the product of the- same spawning-beds, it is
evident that those spawning-beds would have produced on the average as great a run in
the lean years as they produced in the big years provided they had been as abundantly
seeded. It is simply a question of seeding. The failure of the United States and the State
of Washington to join Canada in measures to ensure seeding those beds every year as
abundantly as in the big years has, in the three lean years of the last four-year cycle,
entailed a loss to the State of Washington alone of $29,225,208. If the State of Washington
would unite with the Dominion in the adoption of joint regulations that would ensure an abundance of fish reaching the spawning-beds every year—years in which there can be little profit
to those engaged in the industry—there can be no- question of the result. Provided fishing in
the lean years is suspended for a sufficient period, the number of sockeye that reach the spawning-
beds would approximate the number of former big years. The ultimate return from such a
measure would be so great that it is difficult to understand the failure of those most concerned
in the industry to secure the necessary legislation in the State of Washington.
Turning from a consideration of the runs in the lean years to that of the run in the big
years, we find that the report of the Fisheries Department of British Columbia for 1913 affords
the basis of an intelligent conception of the conditions on the spawning-grounds of the Fraser
River, which in that year caused the -decline in the catch in 1917. The reports from the spawning-
grounds contained in the report for 1913 demonstrate that the numbers of sockeye salmon which
passed up the Fraser River that year were as great as in any previous big year of which there
is record, and possibly even greater. The capital stock of that year's run was not overdrawn
even by the great catch of that season. In June the adult sockeye made their appearance in
the canyon of the Fraser, above the town of Yale, and during the high water of June and July
large numbers passed through for Quesnel and Chilko Lakes, at the head of the watershed.
The greater proportion of the run of sockeye that reached the canyon at Yale in late July and
during August and September were blockaded there by rock-obstructions placed in the channel
incident to railway-construction, with the result that few of them were able to pass through
the canyon during that time. The blasting of temporary passage-ways enabled a large proportion
of the October and November sockeye run to pass through the canyon and spawn in Shuswap
and Seton Lakes. In August sockeye were seen drifting down-stream between the canyon and
Yale, which movement was very pronounced in September and continued until the middle of
October. The streams which enter the Fraser between the canyon and Agassiz were filled with
sockeye from the middle of r^ugust until the end of October, while they had not been observed
in those streams in previous years. Very few sockeye spawned in any of these streams; most
of them died without spawning. Vast numbers of dead sockeye, which had died without spawning, were found on the bars and banks of the Fraser between Yale and Agassiz in September and
October.
The number of sockeye which reached Quesnel Lake in 1913 was little more than one-eighth
of the number which entered that great lake in 1909. The number which entered Chilko Lake,
the second largest lake in the watershed of the Fraser, was equally small. The summer run
of sockeye to Shuswap, Adams, Seton, Anderson, and other large lakes in the Fraser watershed
above the blockaded canyon was very much less than in any former big year, and the October
and November run was also far less. The run in 1913 to Lillooet and Harrison Lakes, through
the tributary which enters the Fraser below the blockaded canyon, was not greater than in
former big years, showing that the blockaded salmon did not drop down-stream and spawn in
these lakes. In summarizing conditions on the spawning-beds, the writer, in the Provincial
Fisheries Report for 1913, said: " These facts, in my opinion, warrant the conclusion that the
number of sockeye which spawned in the Fraser River watershed this year was not sufficient
to make the run four years hence even approximate the runs of either 1905, 1909, or 1913." Q 120 Report op the Commissioner op Fisheries. 1918
Obstruction removed.
It may here be noted that the rock-obstruction which prevented the late July and the August
and September run of sockeye salmon from reaching suitable spawning-grounds in 1913 was
all removed in 1914-15. In all, a total of 225,000 cubic feet of rock was removed at a cost of
$120,000. The old channel of the river was fully restored. The salmon which reach there now
have no greater difficulty in passing through the canyon than in years prior to 1913.
Had the slide of 1913 shut off the run of an off-year the damage would have been slight,
because, as already shown, the number of fish which reach the spawning area in the off-years
is small.
It was little less than a calamity that the rock-slide, which so nearly destroyed the run of
1913, should have occurred in a year of the big run. The destruction of the spawning run in
the Fraser in 1913 is the greatest disaster that has been recorded in the history of the fishing
industry of the world. So far as tbe writer is informed, it has had no parallel. Estimated on
the valuation of the pack of that year, the loss to the fisheries of the Province of British Columbia
in 1917 alone is in excess of $8,000,000 and the loss to the State of Washington is in excess of
$19,500,000, a total loss to the packers of that district of $27,500,000.
Furthermore, the loss will not be confined to 1917. It will be repeated every fourth year,
until such time as the Governments of Canada and the United States by united efforts, drastic
and long continued, shall succeed in repopulating the spawning-beds of the Fraser River with
the millions of adult sockeye that spawned there every fourth year up to 1913; for not only was
the catch in 1917, 1,944,731 cases, or SI per cent., less than in 1913, but in 1917 the spawning-beds
were virtually unseeded. So great a proportion of the run that sought the Fraser watershed in
1917 was taken by the fishermen that the spawning-beds were no better seeded that year than
in recent off-years. The result of the spawning cannot produce greater results in 1921 than
were produced by the spawning of 1913, and there can be little hope that it will produce a result
even approximately as great.
Dbastic Joint Action needed. ,
Such statements should bring a realization of the extent of the remedial measures that must
be adopted if the runs to the Fraser River are to be restored. How can the salmon be brought
back? There have been, and there will continue to be, many suggestions as to how this may be
accomplished, but all of them that fall short of closing the district to fishing for a long period
of years—years including many four-year cycles—will fail to produce the equal of the runs of
1901, 1905, 1909, and 1913. This remedy cannot be applied by one Government. Neither Canada
nor the United States alone can accomplish it. There must be joint action. The figures showing
the catch in Canadian and United States waters of the district set forth in the opening paragraphs
of this paper may be recalled to show the proportionate interest that each Government has in
the salmon-fishery of the Fraser-bred fish.
Immediate joint action on the part of Canada and the United States looking to the
restoration of the run of salmon to the Fraser River is imperative. The longer it is postponed
the longer it will take. I venture the opinion that no other fishery question on this continent
is of such importance. Certainly in no other fishery can so much be accomplished if an adequate
close season is instituted and maintained.
Discussion.
Dr. Robertson: Mr. Babcock has impressed on me, as a private citizen, the absolute necessity
of regulating the catch in the Fraser River District. The fish did not get to their spawning-
grounds. The magnitude of the disaster which has followed will, I think, make the Government
realize the necessity of seeing that the fish get to their spawning-grounds. I take it that there
is no limit to the spawning-places in the north; and the limit we put on our catch is the limitation on the number of fish that may reach the spawning-grounds, so that those grounds may be
properly seeded.
Mr. Babcock is willing to answer questions, but before we ask any, Lieut.-Col. W. P. Anderson, Chief Engineer of the Department of Marine, might be able to supplement what Mr. Babcock
has said. 8 Geo. 5 Salmon-fishery op the Fraser River District. Q 121
Lieut.-Col. Anderson: I had not the slightest intention of speaking, although I happened to
be in British Columbia in 1913, and was asked by the Department of Fisheries to look into the
question of the landslide from an engineering point of view.
The slide came from a cliff on the south side of the Fraser River, and was caused by the
Canadian Northern Railway building a tunnel. The tunnel took away the support from the face
of the cliff and it came down in one mass, causing a water-fall of about 9 feet in the river where
only a rapid had existed before. This happened at one of the narrowest parts of the river,
and the water shot over the fall with such a velocity and in such a direction that the salmon
could not jump it. Ordinarily, the height would not have stopped a salmon, but the velocity of
the water was so great that they could not stem it. It was most interesting to watch the
manoeuvres of the salmon in trying to overcome that obstruction. They would coast along the
shore of the river and take advantage of every little projecting point of rock or any little eddy
that occurred, until they got right up to the point where no further protection was possible, and
then they would make a jump for it, but would be caught by the current and Inevitably carried
down.
The Department was trying to help matters as much as possible by taking out the salmon
in drift-nets, lifting them over the fall, and dumping them into the river above. In the aggregate,
a great many salmon were thus transported into the upper waters, but apparently not enough
to furnish sufficient eggs.
The immense mass of rock was later blasted into comparatively small pieces and removed
to the shore above, thus making the current slow enough to allow the salmon to ascend the
rapids.
I would like to ask Mr. Babcock if it would not be possible to arrange matters in su6h a way
as to make the lean years a little more productive, thus making production more uniform.
Mr. Babcock: There is no doubt at all that if you could get as many fish on the spawning-
beds in the lean years as in the big years you would get the same result. You could get the fish
on the spawning-beds, but you could not do it and fish as now. I have been termed a pessimist
respecting the lean years and the situation on the Fraser River, because our Department has been
trying, in every known way, to prevent fishing in the lean years, in order that all the fish that
came into the river in those years could reach the spawning-beds. There are millions of salmon
on the spawning-beds of the Fraser River in a big year. Over 4,000,000 sockeye went into Quesnel
Lake in 1909. This was ascertained by actual count of the fish as they passed through the fishway at the outlet of the lake. I believe an equal number spawned in the Chilko Lake watershed;
there were millions in Seton and Anderson Lakes, and over a million in Shuswap Lake. The
greater portion of the Eraser watershed—the available spawning-grounds for sockeye—was
absolutely crowded with fish in 1909. Notwithstanding that 25,000,000 were caught in that year,
there was an equal number on the spawning-beds. In the Chilko River below Chilko Lake I saw
fish as thick as I have ever seen them in a hatching-box in a hatchery. They were as thick as
sheep in a corral into which you cannot get another sheep.
A member of the Commission:   And how deep were they?
Mr. Babcock: I could not say. There were so many of them that the birds would not eat
the eyes of those that were lying dead on the banks. They had eaten so many they were glutted.
That indicates the supply of fish on the spawning-beds.
In the lean years the situation is very different. In 1916, in Quesnel Lake, we could not get
fish enough to obtain measurements and scales. We did not catch one female salmon there
in 1916.
In 1917 approximately only 27,000 sockeye went into Quesnel Lake, as against 4,000,000 in
1909 and 500,000 in 1913. Catches in the Fraser River District have been lean because there
were no fish on the spawning-beds in the fourth preceding year. Canada, as I have tried to
impress on you, has endeavoured to stop fishing. The officials sent over from the State of Washington to investigate agreed with us, but the State took no action. The Dominion Government
passed an Order in Council closing all Fraser River fishing in 1906 and 1908, provided the State
of Washington would do the same thing. The State Senate passed such a regulation unanimously,
but the Assembly threw it out.
Senator Edwards: If, in these years, there were the normal numbers of fish spawning, why
are not all subsequent years prolific? Q 122 Report op the Commissioner op Fisheries. 1918
Mr. Babcock: Because there are not enough fish running in the lean years, and very few
escape the fishermen. If you compare a year when the pack is 1S6,000 cases with a year in
which it is 2,000,000 cases, you can see the enormous difference in the number of fish that were
running in those years.
Mr. Snowball:   Why?
Mr. Babcock: They live four years? The run of a given year depends on the number that
spawned four years before.
Mr. Snowball:   The fish that were hatched in 1905 come back in 1909?
Mr. Babcock:   Yes.
Mr. Snowball:   Why the small run in 1904?
Mr. Babcock: The catch in 1904 was small because the run in 1900 was small and the beds
were unseeded. There have always been three lean years followed by one big one. There has
been much speculation as to the reason for this. _ It may be due to a slide centuries ago similar
to the one in 1913.
Mr. Snowball:   But it would have to come three years in succession.
Mr. Babcock: No. If we had not taken the slide of 1913 out, it probably would have been
there yet and the fish could not have got by. Many years ago something may have shut off
access to the spawning-grounds and made those years barren at a time of which we have no
record.
Mr. Hewitt:  That would postulate the removal of that obstacle every fourth year.
Mr. Babcock:   Yes.
Mr. Snowball:   Would the prohibition of fishing in 1921 produce a normal run again?
Mr. 'Babcock: No. If we had had no fishing this year, and if all the fish that came into
the river had been permitted to get on to the spawning-beds and spawn, there would still not
have been as many fish on the spawning-beds as there were in 1913.
.   Dr. Robertson:   Would two full periods of four years each, in which no fishing was allowed,
rectify the situation?
Mr. Babcock: I do not believe that even two four-year periods will be sufficient. To bring
the spawning up to the spawning of a big year's run, I believe fishing will have to be prohibited
for many four-year cycles. Up to 1913 some men who studied the question said that there were
too many salmon on the spawning-ground in the big years.
Dr. Hewitt: It looks as if the phonomenon of the big year had been wiped out and that
future years will be uniform.
Dr. Jones: Have you any data as to the number of fish reaching the spawning-beds this
year compared with the lean years?
Mr. Babcock:   The number was little larger than in the lean years.
Dr. Jones : It seems to me that the preparations for catching this year, although the catch
was not excessive, might have prevented many more going up than even in the last year.
Mr. Babcock: They went after them in every way they could. At times, in 1901, the canners
refused to take the entire catch, and many thousands were thrown away. The price of sockeyes
was about 10 cents each. It was 50 cents early this year, and 75 cents after they saw the effect
of the slide. The pinks, which run every second year, live only two years and die. We would
not use them in 1.901. When the Provincial Government began to propagate them in 1903, it was
ridiculed for doing it. The packers said they were a nuisance. They did not use them all in
1909. They used a good many in 1913. They paid 3 cents each in 1913, 15 cents in 1915, and
32 cents this year.
Dr. Jones:   Did the slide affect them in the same way?
Mr. Babcock:   Yes.    It affected all that should have spawned above the canyon.
Dr. Robertson: Do you know if there is any difference in the success with which the fish
reach the upper regions in the early part of the season and the late part of the season?
Mr. Babcock:   Not ordinarily.    Prior to 1913 the fish never failed to get through.
Lieut-Col. Anderson: If you saw the aggregation of drift-nets in the Fraser River, you
would wonder how any got through.    There are twenty or thirty miles of nets.
Mr. Babcock: This year, in this water alone (indicating Gulf of Georgia and Fraser River),
there were 2,600 gill-nets fishing as hard as they could, and there was not an available point in
that district (indicating Puget Sound) in which they could drive a trap or use a purse-seine
that they were not doing so.    They are now trying to use gill-nets in the clear waters there. 8 Geo. 5 Salmon-fishery of the Fraser River District. Q 123
The Americans catch 66 per cent, to our 34 per cent., because they have the first chance at the
fish and in their waters they use traps. If we had control of the whole situation we could soon
effect a change.
Mr. Found: I wish to say a word of appreciation of Mr. Babcock's paper. The problem, as
he has pointed out, is an international one. Canada alone cannot save the situation. None of
us who have been following the matter closely would be any more ready to hazard a statement as
to just what length of time it will take to rehabilitate the fishery than was Mr. Babcock; but there
is no question that by international co-operation it can be done. It is fortunate that we now
have the United States as our ally, for it makes it easier for us to take a common view-point.
The matter has already been taken up, and we hope it will be found possible, by international
co-operation, even though drastic action will be necessary, to restore the fishery to its former
condition. The gravity of the situation has been realized for years by every one in Canada who
has been dealing with it.
Any one seeing the immense amount of fishing-gear in United States waters would wonder
that our own fishermen have any fish to catch at all when their turn comes. Canada has only
second chance at the fish, and could, if she so desired, have followed the course the Americans
have in fishing to depletion, but she has not done so, and the fishery has thus been spared.
I would not want the impression to be gained that no protection has been given. Not only
has the length of net and the size of the mesh been limited, but each week a close time from
twenty-four to forty-eight hours has been enforced, during which no nets were allowed in the
water. Had fishing gone on all week in our waters, conditions would have been worse than
they are.
Mr. Snowball:   Do the same number of people fish in the lean years as in the full years?
Mr. Babcock: Since the war the demand has become so great that there was about as much
gear in the water in 1916 as in 1917. The years 1916 and 1917 presented a great opportunity for
fishermen, because the fish brought 50 cents each.
If the spawning-beds are well seeded, you can confidently expect that you may have a run
four years thence. It does not necessarily follow that you will, because, for three years, when
the fish are out in the ocean, you do not know what happens to them. There may be epidemics
among them, or their enemies may be more successful in attacking them. You can seed the beds
well and have a failure; but if you do not seed the beds you cannot have a run.
There never has been an instance in which the spawning has been poor that there has been
a good run four years later. That cannot be. But you may send millions of young fish down
the Fraser River from the spawning-beds, and then have some disaster overtake them in the sea.
But if you do not send any down from the beds you cannot possibly have them hatched in the
sea, because they cannot possibly be hatched in salt water.
Mr. Snowball:   Have you any artificial hatcheries?
Mr. Babcock:   Lots of them, but this year we have no eggs with which to fill them. Q 124
Report op the Commissioner op Fisheries.
1918
PACK OF BRITISH COLUMBIA SALMON, SEASON 1917.
Compiled from Figures furnished the Department by the B.C. Salmon Canners' Association.
Names.
Sockeyes.
Red
Springs.
White
Springs.
Chums.
Pinks.
Cohoes.
Blue backs
and
Steelheads
Grand
Totals
(Cases).
Fraser River District—
40,578
7,119
6,297
24,550
14,241
6,007
3,075
3,887
11,797
1,426
4,068
5,321
6,885
2,465
3,976
5,806
2,668
1,438
239
230
3,666
68
108
434
1,369
74
1,396
135
225
92
252
471
3,967
561
600
1,834
58
587
1,827
2,455
305
3,021
640
927
191
1,469
414
60
S56
' 3,707
L053
478
1,349
25
16,923
11,901
4,188  .
4,022
7,654
7,198
619
42,226
10,554
6,500
8',679
3,144
5,715
3,228
12,814
2,168
5,176
5,317
4,101
4,699
5,002
11,055
5,064
5,018
667
1,320
1,842
510
2,247
627
3,511
108
805
582
4,139
1,354
1,607
1,378
190
25,895
43
"'21
"31
3,6ii
1,836
9
94,126
J. H. Todd & Sons	
19,130
17,654
J. H. Todd & Sons (Esquimalt)
24,550
31,336
Glen Rose Canning Co., Ltd	
9,266
13,079
10,028
48,900
4,081
29,378
CL. Packing Co., Ltd	
16,183
Sfc. Mungo Canning Co., Ltd	
Eagle Harbour Packing Co., Ltd....
19,299
18,291
19,513
19,743
7,982
148,164
10,197
18,916
59,973
2,365
717
659
572
250
13,483
237
366
2,822
45
134,442
4,951
402,538
Skeena River District—
16,056
8,040
4,159
6,472
7,425
4,070
4,954
9,179
3,195
3,210
65,760
2,831
1.567
2,510
459
1,095
681
831
1,551
1,289
772
200
762
633
48
209
438
52
"iie
141
43,249
20,540
11,001
9,317
9,523
9,311
11,016
15,816
10,526
8,020
10,583
3,183
9,388
1,509
3,753
2,632
1,618
2,418
2,939
535
1,191
"244
167
209
"'37
36
75,476
Anglo B.C. Packing Co., Ltd	
J. II. Todd & Sons	
Kildare Packing Co., Ltd	
B.C. Canning Co.. Ltd	
Skeena River Com. Co., Ltd	
Cassiar Packing Co., Ltd	
34,809
28,350
18,621
22,422
30,824
18,608
29,328
Gosse-Millerd Packing Co., Ltd. ,
Canadian Fish & Cold Stor. Co., Ltd.
21,024
12,758
Totals	
13,586
2,699
21,516
148,319
38,456
1,883
292,219
Rivers In-let District—
20,175
6,988
7,946
7,864
6,635
7,885
3,702
301
107
i52
110
45
37
'si
34
102
6,566
88
2,388
11
2,005
4,907
136
16,101
3,736
328
681
77
2,090
647
506
3,479
101
2,085
53
2,538
209
659
34,294
J. H. Todd & Sons	
7,612
13,100
8,157
Kildala Packing Co., Ltd	
13,409
13,727
Provincial Canning Co., Ltd	
5,003
61,195
4,950
8,528
5,523
3,187
22,188
94
1,092
2,435
153
41
1,800
1,203
"ire
2,437
196
12
9,639
9,634
669
1,783
5,383
9,615
5,818
715
8,065
5,318
15,839
9,887
13,524
9,124
95,302
Nass River District—
1,706
376
S76
212
3,170
14
3,758
5,466
229
265
"961
700
312
332
236
417
3,024
.     283
732
361
1,326
1,704
8,296
8,894
6,045
3,973
4,843
6,864
6,500
359
364
269
133
18,243
Anglo B.C. Packing Co., Ltd	
38,977
32,674
29,601
24,938
17,418
140
46,499
10,283
693
15,936
5,563
3,800
28,139
9,377
14,616
4,794
50,902
32,221
240,381
44,568
4,491
16,800
18
8,032
1,698
4,225
1,276
3,359
2,143
1,714
6,400
22,180
4,831
6,013
2,856
5,133
2,718
634
2,125
325
2,522
1,007
2,402
154
1,013
1,125
119,495
Vancouver Island District—
Anglo B.C. Packing Co., Ltd	
J. H. Todd* Sons	
"900
274
187
192
"387
'' 191
476
235
429
"624
1,7
1,1
53
63
26,848
27,611
56,205
Quathiaski Canning Co., Ltd	
CL Packing Co., Ltd	
26,299
5,719
20,836
10,312
Clayoquot Sound Canning Co., Ltd.
Nanaimo Canning & Packing, Ltd..
Redonda Canning & Cold Storage Co.
Gulf Islands Fishing & Can. Co., Ltd.
0,625
35,726
14,081
19,147
15,879
Lummi Bay Packing Co	
Nootka Packing Co., Ltd   ....
51,252
36,794
15,714
3,795
593
'"99
"He
808
49,156
31,733
2,916
353,334
Outlying Districts—
2,222
145
108
399
420
4
1,950
18,796
23,872
7,567
8,068
27,268
1,784
19,853
5,156
17,489
22,627
6,681
311
30,184
27,606
1,166
6,145
112,209
10,885
1,897
2,147
468
8,078
2,317
591
3,828
30,201
143
245
"477
59,762
Gosse-Millerd Packing Co., Ltd	
49,210
18,531
14,619
76,141
Western Packers, Ltd	
Aliforce Bay Cannery  .
37,529
23,676
15,129
32,902
5,248
112,364
865
294,597
Grand totals	
339,848
48,630
27,646
475,273
496,759
157,589
ll,*i
40
1,557,485 8 Geo. 5
Salmon-pack of Province.
Q 125
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59,593
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22,188
4,496
24,938
44,568
22,180
1,125
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1918
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