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PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31ST… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly [1930]

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 PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
EEPOET
OP  THE
COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES
FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 81 ST, 1928
WITH APPENDICES
PRINTED BY
AUTHORITY OP THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY.
VICTORIA,  B.C. :
Printed by Charles F. Bani-ield, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
1929.  The Honourable William Sloan.
Commissioner of Fisheries for British  Columbia from
1918 to 1928, died on March 2nd, 1928.
Mr. Sloan first entered public life on his election to the Federal House of
Commons for Comox-Atlin in 1904. He was re-elected in 1908. In 1916 he was
elected to represent the Nanaimo District in the Provincial Legislature and entered
the Cabinet as Minister of Mines. In 1918 he was appointed Commissioner of
Fisheries for the Province and served until his death. As a member of the Federal
House of Commons Mr. Sloan took an active part in all fishery discussions, notably
in connection with the fur-seal question and the salmon and herring fisheries of
British Columbia. On his insistence the use of herring in fish-reduction in British
Columbia was prohibited.
As Commissioner of Fisheries of the Province he pressed steadily for conservation measures, and advocated the exchange of treaties between Canada and the
United States dealing with the halibut-fisheries of the Pacific and the salmon-
fisheries of the Fraser River system.  To His Honour Robert Randolph Bruce,
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of British Columbia.
May it please Your Honour :
I beg to submit herewith the Report of the Provincial Fisheries Department for the year
ended December 31st, 1928, with Appendices.
SAMUEL LYNESS HOWE,
Commissioner of Fisheries.
Provincial Fisheries Department,
Commissioner of Fisheries' Office,
Victoria, British Columbia, December Slst, 1928. TABLE OF CONTENTS.
FISHERIES COMMISSIONER'S REPORT FOR 1928.
Page.
Value of Fisheries and Standing of Provinces     5
Species and Value of Fish caught in British Columbia  5
Salmon-pack in British Columbia in 1928  6
Salmon-pack by Districts  6
Digest of Reports from Salmon-spawning Areas  8
Mild-cured Salmon Products  9
Production of Fish Oil and Meal  9
Halibut Landings in 1928  10
Contribution to the Life-history of Sockeye Salmon  10
Salmon-tagging in British Columbia AAraters  15
The Halibut Investigation  17
APPENDICES.
Contribution to Life-history op Sockeye Salmon.   (No. 14.)   By Drs. AV. A. and Lucy S.
Clemens  19
Spawning-beds of the Fraser River.    By John Pease Babcock  41
Spawning-beds of Rivers Inlet.    By A. AV. Stone  46
Spawning-beds of Smith Inlet.    By A. W. Stone  49
Spawning-beds of the Skeena River.    By Robert Gibson  50
Spawning-beds of the Nass River.    By C. P. Hickman  53
" A Canadian-American Salmon Reclamation Project."    By John Pease Babcock...  55
Report of the International Halibut Commission  58
The Salmon-pack Statement in Detail  77
Salmon-pack of Province, by Districts and Species, 1913 to 1928, inclusive  80
sockeye-salmon pack of entire fraser rlver sy'stem, 1913 to 1928, inclusive  83
sockeye-salmon pack op province, by districts, 1913 to 1928, inclusive  83
Production of Fish Oil and Meal, 1920 to 1928, inclusive  83 FISHERIES COMMISSIONER'S REPORT
FOR 1928.
VALUE OF CANADIAN FISHERIES AND THE STANDING OF PROVINCES, 1927.
The value of the fishery products of Canada for the year 1927 totalled $49,497,038.
During the year 1927 British Columbia produced fishery products of a value of $23,264,342,
or 47 per cent, of Canada's total.
In 1927 British Columbia again led all the Provinces in the Dominion, as has been the case
for many years, in the value of her fishery products. Her output in 1927 exceeded in value
that of Nova Scotia, the second in rank, by $12,480,711, and also exceeded that of all the other
Provinces combined by $7,815,277.
The market value of the fishery products of British Columbia in 1927 was $4,102,757 less
than in the previous year, 1926, due largely to a decrease in the salmon-pack.
The capital invested in the fisheries of British Columbia in 1927 was $31,117,986, or 55
per cent, of the total capital employed in Canada. Of the $31,117,986 invested in the fisheries
of British Columbia in 1927, $12,263,636 was employed in catching and handling the catches
and $18,854,350 invested in canneries, fish-packing establishments, and fish-reduction plants.
The number of persons engaged in British Columbia fisheries in 1927 was 21,322, or
26y2 per cent, of Canada's total of 80,112. Of the 21,322 engaged in British Columbia, 13,076
were employed in catching and handling the catches and 8,246 in packing, curing, and fish-
reduction.* The total number engaged in the fisheries in 1927 was 724 greater than in the
preceding year.
The following statement gives in the order of their rank the value of the fishery products
of the Provinces of Canada for the years 1923 to 1927, inclusive:—•
Province.
1923.
1924.
1925.
1926.
19:27.
British Columbia	
Nova Scotia	
New Brunswick	
Ontario....	
Quebec	
Manitoba	
Prince Edward Island
Alberta	
Saskatchewan	
Yukon Territory	
Totals	
$20,795,914
8.448,385
4,548,535
3,159,427
2,100,412
1,020,595
1,754,980
438,737
286,643
11,917
$42,565,545
$21,257,567
8,777,251
'0,383,509
3,557,587
12,283,314
1,232,563
1,201,772
339,107
482,492
18,773
$22,414,618
10,213,779
4,798,589
3,436,412
3,044,919
1,466,939
1,598,119
458,504
494,882
15,370
$27,367,109
12,505,922
5,325,478
3,152,193
3,110,964
2,328,803
1,358,934
749,076
444,288
17,866
$44,-534,235
$47,942,131
$56,360,633
$23,264,342
10,783,631
4,406,673
3,'670,229
2,736,450
'2,039,738
1,367,807
712,469
-503,609
12,090
$49,497,038
THE SPECIES AND VALUE OF FISH CAUGHT IN BRITISH COLUMBIA.
The total value of each of the principal species of fish taken in British Columbia for the year
ended December 31st, 1927, is given in the following statement:—•
Salmon  $14,253,803
Halibut    3,841,333
Herring, oil, meal, etc  1,867,429
Cod, hake   402,438
Pilchards, oil, meal, etc  1,838,867
Clams, abalones   102,244
Black cod   123,421
Crabs   68,477
Carried forward --  $22,498,012
* As this report goes to press the Commissioner is in receipt of a preliminary report on the fishery
products of the Province for the year 1928, issued by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics—E. H. Coats,
Statistician-—from which the following data are taken : The value of the fishery products of British Columbia
in 1928 totalled $26,562,691, an increase of $3,298,349, compared With the production in 1927. G 6 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
The Species and Value of Fish caught in British Columbia—Continued.
Brought forward  $22,498,012
Soles     82,180
Shrimps   16,592
Oysters    ~  32,258
Flounders, brill  17,631
Red cod   22,479
Perch    12,402
Smelt    16,459
Sturgeon    7,971
Octopus   2,241
Skate    5,490
Oolachans   2,800
Whiting   487
Trout  1,118
Whales     241,488
Fish-oils, grayfish, etc  138,180
Fish-meals     145,449
Fish-fertilizer     5,300
Fur-seals  '.  15,805
Total  $23,264,342
The above statement shows that the salmon-fisheries of the Province in 1927 produced
$14,253,803, or 61 per cent, of the total.    It was $4,522,959 less than in the previous year.
The total halibut landings were marketed for $3,841,333.    It was $702,387 less than in the
preceding year.    The herring-catch produced $1,867,429.    It was $338,695 larger than in 1926.
The foregoing data are derived from the " Fisheries Statistics of Canada " for 1927.
THE SALMON-PACK OF THE PROVINCE IN 1928.
The salmon-pack of the Province in 1928 totalled 2,035,629 cases, the second largest recorded.
It was but 29,561 cases less than the highest record pack of 1926. It consisted of 203,542 cases
of sockeye, 18,891 cases of springs, 150,657 cases of cohoes, 792,372 cases of pinks, and 862,230
cases of chums. The sockeye-pack of 203,542 cases was the second smallest recorded. There
was a decrease in every district. It constituted but 10 per cent, of the total pack. Since 1915
there has been a decline in the percentage of sockeye in the pack, due to the decrease in the
sockeye run to most districts and to the great increase in the pack of pinks and chums. The
combined pack of pink and chum salmon in 1928 constituted 79 per cent, of the total pack made
in the Province.
The market value of the pack in 1928 has been estimated at $16,518,286, as compared with
$14,253,803 in 1927 and $18,776,762 in 1926.
THE 1928 PACK BY DISTRICTS.
The Fraser River System.—The catch of all species of salmon made in the Fraser River
system in the Province in 1928 produced a total pack of 258,244 cases, as against 284,378 in 1927,
274,951 in 1926, 276,855 in 1925, and 212,059 in 1924.
The pack consisted of 29,299 cases of sockeye, 5,082 cases of springs, 27,061 cases of cohoes,
2,881 cases of pinks, and 193,106 cases of chums.
The pack of sockeye was the second smallest recorded in the Provincial waters of the
Fraser system. It was 32,094 cases less than in 1927, 56,390 cases less than in 1926, and 10,444
cases less than in its brood-year, 1924. The pack of 193,106 cases of chums was the largest
made. It was 83,611 cases greater than in the former high-record pack of 109,495 cases made
in 1924. The pack of pinks—it was not a " pink " year—was but 2,881 cases. It was 29,375
cases less than the pack in its brood-year, 1926. The cohoe-pack of 27,061 cases was 9,656 cases
less than in its brood-year, 1925.
The catch of sockeye in the State of AVashington waters of the Fraser River system in 1928
produced a pack of 61,044 cases. It was 8,325 cases less than the pack in the preceding fourth
year—its brood-year. ——
BRITISH COLUMBIA. -     G 7
The combined pack of sockeye in the entire Fraser River system totalled 90,343 cases.
It was 18,769 cases less than in its brood-year, 1924. It was 32,028 cases less than the average
of the preceding eight years. There was no late run to correspond with the late runs in both
1926 and 1927.
The following statement gives the weekly pack of sockeye from fish caught in the Fraser
River in Provincial waters:—
AVeek ending. Cases. Week ending. Cases.
July 14       414 Sept.   8     1,346
July  21     2,164 Sept. 15       973
July 28     2,613 Sept. 22     1,676
Aug.    4     4,908 Sept. 29     1,507
Aug.    8     4,006 Oct.     6        115
Aug. 18    2,794 Oct.   13         57
Aug. 25     1,129 .	
Sept.   1    2,538 Total  26,240*
The Skeena River.—The salmon-pack in the Skeena District in 1928 totalled 298,709 cases,
consisting of 34,559 cases of sockeye, 6,420 cases of springs, 30,194 cases of cohoes, 209,579 cases
of pinks, and 298,709 cases of chums. The total pack was 68,360 cases less than the average
pack of the preceding ten years.
The pack of sockeye was the smallest recorded on the Skeena since the fishery was developed.
It was 59,270 cases less than the average in the last eight preceding years. The sockeye run
to the Skeena in 1928, like that to all the northern waters of the Province, was most disappointing. The run of sockeye to the Skeena, as the records of the Department abundantly show,
consist of four-year-old and five-year-old fish in more or less even proportion; hence the run
of 1928 consisted of sockeye derived from the spawnings in 1923 and 1924, two years in which
the packs were large—131,731 cases in 1923 and 144,747 cases in 1924. The catches in both of
those years wyere larger than the averages of the last ten years. The packs in the brood-years
of the 1928 run were not only large, but the reports from the spawning-beds in each of those
years show a large seeding. The only disconcerting factor in forecasting the sockeye run to the
Skeena in 1928 was that brought out by Drs. Clemens in their report for 1927; to wit, that
the catch in 1923 of five-year-old fish formed but 34 per cent, of that run and in 1924 the four-
year-old fish formed but 25 per cent, of that run. On that basis they estimated that the 1928
run would not produce a pack much in excess of 80,000 cases. It did not come near that figure;
it totalled but 34,559 cases.
The small catch of 1928, together with the records of 1923 and 1924, are so unsatisfactory
that measures to afford a far greater escapement four and five years hence are imperative.
The poor runs of sockeye to the Skeena in 1927 and 1928 and the reports from the spawning-
beds in those years demonstrate how little dependence can be placed on forecasts based on pack
and spawning-bed records of brood-years. Years in which the catches and seedings were large
may be followed by a poor return. The records do not, however, show a large return from a year
when the catches and the seedings were small.
The catch of pinks on the Skeena in 1928 was large—the third largest made there. It
totalled 209,579 cases and has only been exceeded by the packs of 210,081 in 1926 and 301,655
in 1922, both of which years are in the 1928 cycle. The fish were unusually large and in prime
condition.
The catch of chum salmon on the Skeena this year was again small. It produced a pack of
but 17,716 cases, as against 19,006 in 1927, 63,527 in 1926, 74,308 in 1925, and 25,588 in 1924.
The pack of springs on the Skeena in 1928 was the smallest recorded there. It totalled but
6,420 cases, as against 19,038 cases in 1927, 30,594 in 1926, 23,445 in 1925, 12,028 in 1924, and
12,247 cases in 1923.    The tierced pack of springs was also much less than usual.
The foregoing statements of the catches of sockeye, springs, and chums show that conditions
in the Skeena are far from satisfactory and call for greater protective regulations if the industry
in the cycles in question is to be productive.
* Does  not include  the  3,059  cases  consisting of  sockeye caught in  traps  In  Juan  de Fuca  Strait,
Vancouver Island. G 8 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
Rivers Inlet.—The salmon-pack in the Rivers Inlet District in 1928 totalled 81,527 cases.
It consisted of 60,044 cases of sockeye, 468 cases of springs, 868 cases of cohoes, 16,546 cases
of pinks, and 3,594 cases of chums.
The run of sockeye to Rivers Inlet, like that to the Skeena, consists of four- and five-year-old
fish; hence it was derived from the spawnings of 1923 and 1924, years in which the catches
produced packs of 116,850 and 94,891 cases. Drs. Clemens, in their digest of the data collected
in 1927, stated that there was little hope for a large sockeye run to Rivers Inlet in 1928. They
called attention to the reports that the escapement to the beds in 1918 was very poor, and that
this was confirmed by the analysis of the run in 1923, when the five-year-old fish formed but
24 per cent, of the run, and that in consequence a large run of five-year-old fish could not be
anticipated in 1928.
As to the other brood-year—1924—of the 1928 run, it had been shown that there was an
exceptionally good escapement and that in that year the run consisted of 44 per cent, of four-
year-old fish. On these showings they anticipated a fair run in 1928 of five-year-old fish.
Drs. Clemens's analysis of the 1928 run shows that it consisted of 58 per cent, of four-year and
42 per cent, of five-year-olds.
Conditions at Rivers Inlet, like those on the Skeena, call for drastic action if the runs are
to be restored.
Smith Inlet.—The catch of salmon at Smith Inlet in 1928 was most satisfactory. There was
an exceptionally large return. The catch of sockeye produced a pack of 33,442 cases. It was
10,760 cases larger than the good run of the previous year. It is interesting, in view of the
rather limited spawning area of the Smith Inlet run of sockeye, to note that it produced almost
as large a return as that made from the vastly more extensive spawning area of the Skeena.
The Nass River.—The catch of salmon in the Nass River District produced a total pack of
104,877 cases, consisting of 5,540 cases of sockeye, 1,846 cases of springs, 10,734 cases of cohoes,
83,183 cases of pinks, and 3,538 cases of chums.
There was a large increase in the catch of pinks, larger than in the two preceding brood-
years of that cycle. The catch of sockeye, on the other hand, produced much the smallest pack
recorded in that district. The run of sockeye to the Nass is periously near extinction. The
reports from the spawning areas this year are no more promising than the catch.
Queen Charlotte Islands.—The salmon-catch in Queen Charlotte waters produced a pack of
247,757 cases, consisting of 167,217 cases of pinks, 72,477 cases of chums, 7,619 cases of cohoes,
and a few cases of sockeye and springs. This district is strictly a producer of pink and chum
salmon, its fresh waters being unsuited to the propagation of other species. The catch of pinks
—it was a " pink " year—was 33,295 cases less than in the brood-year 1926. The catch of chums
was below the average of the last four years.
Vancouver Island.—The catch of salmon from the waters of Vancouver Island produced a
total pack of 390,470 cases, consisting of 14,248 cases of sockeye, 2,269 cases of springs, 23,345
cases of cohoes, 41,885 cases of pinks, and 303,474 cases of chums. The pack of chums was the
largest made from its waters.
Outlying Districts.—The catch of salmon in the outlying districts produced a pack of 619,915
cases, consisting of 26,372 cases of sockeye, 2,084 cases of springs, 50,606 cases of cohoe, 270,914
cases of pinks, and 269,336 cases of chums.
REPORTS FROM SALMON-SPAWNING BEDS.
In 1928, as in former years, the Department investigated conditions on the spawning-beds
of the Fraser, Skeena, and Nass Rivers, and Rivers and Smith Inlets.
The following is a brief summary of the reports, which will be found in full in the Appendix
of this report:—
The Fraser River.—The inspection of the salmon-spawning areas of the Fraser River basin
was again made by Mr. Babcock, his twenty-sixth annual inspection.
Sockeye in numbers made their appearance in Hell's Gate Canyon, above Yale, in July.
The July and August runs were the largest. The number seen there in September and October
was less than in recent years. Sockeye in numbers entered the Chilcotin in July and August.
The Chilcotin Indians caught upwards of 1,900 sockeye during the season. Their catch this
year was three or four times greater than that made in any one of the last twelve !years.
Dominion Fishery Officer Harvey, assigned to the Chilcotin section, observed upwards of 20,000
sockeye in the reaches of the Chilko River, below the outlet of Chilko Lake, the first time in BRITISH COLUMBIA. G 9
twelve years that sockeye in numbers have been observed there. The size of the run of sockeye
to the Chilko this year is as difficult to account for as the runs to Adams and Little Rivers,
Shuswap area, late in 1926 and 1927. In no other tributary of the Fraser, above the mouth of
Bridge River, which includes Quesnel and Stuart Lakes, were sockeye in numbers reported
this year.
Dominion Fishery Officer Shotton reported that approximately 10,000 sockeye spawned in
Little River in October, the majority of the fish being small in size. Sockeye in numbers were
not found in any of the tributaries of Shuswap Lake.
The number of sockeye that reached the Birkenhead River, at the head of the Harrison-
Lillooet Lakes section, while up to the average, was considerably less than the run in their
brood-year, 1924.    Sockeye-egg collection totalled 35,000,000.
The run of sockeye to Cultus Lake was intercepted at the entrance to the lake, in accordance
with the experiments being conducted there by the Biological Board of Canada. The number of
fish taken totalled 14,899—11,205 females and 3,694 males, a most exceptional ratio of three
females to each male.
As a result of Mr. Babcock's investigation he concludes that " a small return is all that can
be anticipated from this year's seeding of the spawning-beds of the Fraser River basin."
The Skeena River.—An inspection of the sockeye-salmon spawning-beds in the Skeena River
basin this year was again made by Fishery Officer Gibson. In his report he states that because
of the small pack this year he did not anticipate finding well-seeded beds and, in consequence,
was surprised to find them so well seeded. In 15-Mile Creek, at the head of Babine Lake, the
main lake tributary of the Skeena, he found more sockeye than he had seen there since 1920.
He reports similar conditions in Pierre Creek and Fulton River. In his summary of the Babine
Lake area he says it was exceptionally well seeded. The report is filled with details. With the
exception of the Lakelse Lake area, all the beds are reported as well seeded.
Rivers Inlet.—The spawning areas of the Rivers Inlet sockeye run were again inspected
by Fishery Officer Stone. In his summary of the conditions he expresses the opinion that
" a moderate run only may be expected from the result of the sockeye spawning this year."
With the exception of three tributaries, all showed a marked falling-off, which he estimates to
be 40 per cent, lower than in the brood-years 1923 and 1924. This he attributes in great measure
to the severe floods in the late fall of 1924.
Smith Inlet.-—Fishery Officer Stone again inspected the spawning areas of the sockeye run
to Smith Inlet. He reports an excellent seeding of the entire area and expresses the opinion
that " we can look forwTard to a big run of sockeye from this year's seeding four and five years
hence."
Nass River.—Inspector of Fisheries C. P. Hickman again inspected the Meziadin Lake area
of the Nass River—the main spawning area in the Nass basin—this year being his twentieth
annual inspection. His summary of conditions shows that few sockeye were found in any
section—" far less than have been found there in any one of the last four years. Neither in
Meziadin Lake nor at the fishway at the falls below the lake were sockeye in number to be
seen." There were so few sockeye at the fishway that he was unable to obtain sufficient
specimens from which to collect the scales desired by Drs. Clemens. The set-nets which he
placed in the Nass River, above the mouth of the Meziadin River, failed to catch a single sockeye.    The fishway was found in excellent condition.
MILD-CURED SALMON PRODUCTS.
The mild-cured salmon products totalled 2,676 tierces—approximately 1,800,000 lb.; substantially that of 1927.
FISH OIL AND MEAL PRODUCTION IN 1928.
The production of fish oil and meal in the Province in 1928 shows a large increase. The
twenty-three fish-reduction plants on the west coast of Vancouver Island produced 4,035,879
gallons of oil and 15,280 tons of meal, as against 2,827,796 gallons of oil and 13,571 tons of meal
in 1927. Four new plants were in operation. Of the total production in 1928, 3,997,656 gallons
of oil and 14,502 tons of meal were extracted from pilchards and 38,223 gallons of oil and 320
tons of meal from herring.
The twenty-three plants in operation on the west coast in 1928 handled 81,740 tons of fresh-
caught pilchards, from which they extracted an average per ton of 48.6 gallons of oil and 0.016 G 10 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
ton of meal. The seven plants which engaged in herring production used 1,846 tons of fresli
herrings, from which was extracted an average of 19.9 gallons of oil and 0.017 ton of meal from
each ton of fresh fish handled.
AVhile the bulk of the pilchards landed were taken in estuary waters, the catches made in
the open sea off the coast were much larger than in previous years.
The fish meal and oil products of the Province are exported, England, Germany, and the
United States being the largest importers.
The stockmen of the Province should not overlook the animal food value of the fish-meals
being produced on our west coast. Professor G. W. Cavanagh, of Cornell University, states that
calves fed a ration of fish-meal per day " at the end of a year had an average height of 2V2 inches
in excess of the standard height and an average weight of 300 lb. in excess of the standard
weight. Herds fed on a ration of fish-meal are free from goitre, and no cases of abortion in
cows of the herd recorded." Other authorities claim that herds fed a ration per day of fish-meal
have no tubercular cows.
HALIBUT LANDINGS IN 1928.
The landings of halibut in British Columbia ports in 1928 totalled 30,007,179 lb., as against
26,892,328 lb. in 1927. a gain in Provincial landings of 3,114,851 lb. Of the total Provincial
landings, 9,758,560 lb. were docked by the Canadian fleet and 20,248,619 lb. by the United States
fleet, the catches of the latter being shipped in bond to the United States. Of the total landings
in British Columbia, 28,412,356 lb. were made at Prince Rupert, 1,214,771 lb. at Vancouver, and
the balance on the west coast of Vancouver Island and at Butedale. The landings in Prince
Rupert were 3,101,767 lb. greater than those made in 1927. An interesting feature of the landings
made at Prince Rupert in 1928 is the statement that the " Prosperity A " led the fleets in her
total landings of 293,000 lb. and that her crew's share for that season was close to $2,500 per
man; also that the " Onome " ranked second in the season's record of landings, the crew's share
per man being $2,170.
The landings of halibut at all Pacific ports in 1928, with a few scattered returns missing,
totalled 54,255,918 lb., against 54,712,796 lb. in 1927, a decline of 456,878 lb. The total landings
at Provincial ports were 55.3 per cent, of the total Pacific port landings.
CONTRIBUTION TO THE LIFE-HISTORY OF THE SOCKEYE SALMON.
The fourteenth contribution to the series of papers on the life-history of the sockeye salmon,
issued by the Department, which is contained in the Appendix of this report, is contributed by
Drs. W. A. and Lucy S. Clemens. The present paper, together with those which have preceded
it, constitute one of the most detailed continuous records of any fishery. They give the constituents of the age-classes, sex, weights, and lengths of the salmon in each of the runs to the
principal waters of the Province for the last fifteen years. The following is a brief summary
of the present paper:—
In 1928 the packs of sockeye in the four areas considered by Drs. Clemens in the present
report were small and in three of them were below expectancy, the exception being in the run
to Rivers Inlet, and, what is equally significant, the reports from the spawning-beds indicate
small escapements to the spawning-beds, with the exception of Skeena River.
The situation disclosed by Drs. Clemens's present paper merits earnest consideration. When
such close study of representative sampling of runs, examination of packs, and reports from
spawning-beds indicates so clearly a steady decline in any cycle, coupled with small escapements,
it is obvious that the amount of the catch should be reduced in order that a greater escapement
to the spawning-beds may be secured. In this connection Drs. Clemens instance the pack on
the Nass River. The catch this year produced a pack of but 5,540 cases. The bulk of the
sockeye in that river system mature at five years of age. The year 1928 therefore falls in the
cycle-years 1908-13-18-23-28. The packs in those years were as follows: 1908, 27,584 cases;
1913, 23,574 cases; 1918, 21,816 cases; 1923, 17,821 eases; 1928, 5,540 eases. The reports from
the spawning-beds of the Nass in those years show good escapement in 1908; a fair one in 1913;
no report for 1918; a poor escapement in 1923: and a very poor one in 1928—indicating clearly
that escapements have not been adequate to maintain the runs in this cycle.
■■■■■■ Drs. Clemens call attention to the efforts being made in British Columbia and in Alaska to
obtain exact data concerning the relation between catch and escapement.   It is not known at BRITISH COLUMBIA. G 11
present what this relation should be in order to maintain a run at a reasonable high level of
production. Until such time as this information is available, resort must be made to experiment.
In those cycle-years of any stream where continuous decreases in the catches have occurred
and where escapements have been obviously inadequate, the line of action should be to restrict
the catch to such an extent as to ensure an adequate escapement; and, as already stated, the
restriction must at present be determined by experiment. However, in the case of the 1908-13-
18-23-28 cycle of the Nass River, depletion has become so serious that only complete prohibition
of sockeye-fishing in 1933 can apparently save the cycle.
With the accumulation of our knowledge in the last fifteen years concerning the cycles of
the runs to our principal streams, it would seem that the time has arrived when a definite limit
of the catches for each river system might be made. Drs. Clemens call attention to the fact that
in conjunction with such a procedure it is imperative that provision be made for obtaining more
exact information concerning escapements, preferably by the installation of counting-weirs.
General Characteristics of Fraser Sockeye Run in 1928.
In dealing with the total sockeye-pack for the Fraser River system in 1928, Drs. Clemens
show that the catch produced a total pack of 90,343 cases, of which 29,299 cases were packed in
British Columbia and 61,044 cases in the State of AA'ashington. The year 1928 was the continuation of the 1912-16-20-24 cycle and its pack shows a continuation of the steady decline in the
packs of that series. It cannot be assumed that the blockade in Hell's Gate Canyon in 1913
affected that cycle; hence there can be but one conclusion drawn—namely, that the catches have
greatly exceeded the reproductive capacity of the escapement of the years in that cycle. It is
now more clearly evident that the catches in 1904 and 1908, with packs of 458,000 and 429,000
respectively, were too great, and, in face of the continued decline in the cycle as indicated by
the pack and the spawning-bed reports, it is manifest that the toll of the fishery is still too
great to maintain even the present low average of the Fraser.
The sockeye run to the Fraser system in 1929, Drs. Clemens state, will be derived from the
spawnings of 1925. The year 1929 is in the cycle of the one-time " big years," and there is a
reasonable expectation of the run in that year being at least equivalent to that of 1925. This
conclusion appears justified from the report on the spawning-beds in 1925, which states:
" A summary of observations and reports on spawning conditions in the Fraser River basin this
season warrants the conclusion that the escapement of sockeye was somewhat greater than in
any year since 1913. However, the number of sockeye that reached and spawned in all sections
was not sufficiently great to produce much, if any, increase in the run four years hence."
The material used by Drs. Clemens for this year's study of the Fraser sockeye run consisted
of data and scales from 1,004 sockeye selected at random from April 20th to September 15th, in
twenty-nine samplings.
The 4o age-group predominated as usual, being represented by 717 individuals, or 71 per cent,
of the total. The 5 age-group, the next most abundant numerically, was represented by 188
individuals, or 19 per cent. Other age-groups—namely, 5., 6 , 3 , 4 , 3 , and 4 —were present
in small numbers. Drs. Clemens present this year a table giving the percentages of the various
age-groups in each year since 1919.
The average lengths and weights of the 1928 fish were normal.
General Characteristics of the Rivers Inlet Sockeye Run of 1928.
The run of sockeye to Rivers Inlet in 1928 was the only one that came up to expectancy.
It amounted to 60,044 cases and, while comparatively small, was without doubt all that could
have been expected from the spawnings of 1923 and 1924. A disquieting feature, however, is
that the reports from the spawning-beds in 1928 indicate a poor escapement.
Drs. Clemens furnish a table giving a general summary of the packs and the composition
of the Rivers Inlet runs for a period of seventeen years, wThich shows some considerable uncertainty as to the real nature of the sockeye runs. The annual pack varies over a wide range
and the relative proportions of the four- and the five-year-old fish show a marked variability
from year to year, a seemingly uncorrelated mass of data. " If, however, we accept," Drs.
Clemens state, " the theory that this river has pre-eminently a five-year cycle, we are able to
interpret this data with considerable satisfaction, both for packs and also for relative percentages G 12 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
of the age-groups. Turning attention first to the commercial yield, we find a striking correlation
if we tabulate the successive packs in series of five-year intervals. In the following table each
series, or five-year cycle, is arranged horizontally across the page:—
1.
1907,
87,874 cases;
1912,
112,884;
1917,
61,195;
1922,
53,584;
1927, 64,461.
2.
1908,
64,652 cases;
1913,
61,745;
1918,
53,401;
1923,
107,174;
1928, 60,044.
3.
1909,
89,027 cases;
1914.
89,890;
1919,
56,258;
1924,
94,891.
4.
1910,
126,921 cases;
1915,
130,350;
1920,
125,338;
1925,
159,554.
5.
1911,
88,763 cases;
1916,
44,936;
1921,
48,615;
1926,
65,581.
The major fluctuations in size of pack are remarkably constant in series 2, 3, and 4. Series
2, with the exception of the year 1923, has produced packs ranging between 50,000 and 65,000
cases. Series 3, except for one year, 1919, is composed of greater packs, varying within the
limits of 89,000 to 95,000 cases. The pack in 1923 is much larger than would be anticipated from
the brood-year pack of 1918. Similarly, in series 3 the pack of 1919 is noticeably small and less
than expected. These two exceptions in the series find a ready explanation in Overseer Stone's
report of the conditions on the spawning-beds in 1919. He wrote: " Taking into consideration
the comparatively poor pack obtained by the canners at Rivers Inlet this season, it is surprising
that the spawning-beds did not show a correspondingly poor seeding. The exceptionally large
number of sockeye observed spawning on the beds, and noted in tens of thousands schooled up
in the deeper portions of the various tributaries, precludes the opinion generally expressed by the
canning fraternity that the run this year was a small one. My inspection showed that the
spawning-beds were as abundantly seeded as in 1914 and more so than in 1915. As the sockeye,
generally speaking, did not reach an average standard in size, the poor catch may be attributed
to their having passed through the nets. Fishermen whom I interviewed during the fishing
season time and again deplored their luck in seeing hundreds of salmon pass through their nets.
The extension of the weekly closed season had its effect, because I found the spawning-beds of
the tributaries of Owikeno Lake so abundantly seeded this year that I look for a favourable
return in the runs four and five years hence." " Hence," state Drs. Clemens, " the small commercial pack of 1919 is accounted for by the fact that the fish were smaller than usual and
immense numbers of them passed through the nets. AVhile the pack statistics for the year 1919
indicate a poor run, it was in reality a very large one. This simply shows that the size of the
pack in itself may not be a reliable index to a run."
As for the pack of 1923, which was considerably greater than expectancy, 76 per cent, of the
fish were four years old and were the progeny of the enormous escapement of 1919.
Series 4 of the five-year pack statement has a uniformly high pack of 120,000 cases or better.
Undoubtedly the success of this cycle is at least partly accounted for by the fact that in the
5   group, which predominates the cycle, the females outnumber the males.
Series 1 and 5 of the statement under consideration show less uniformity in size of pack
than do the other series. It is possible that we would find some explanation for these fluctuations, which are particularly marked in the earlier years, if reports of the escapements were
available.
A most interesting correspondence is brought out in the runs in the years in question, if we
arrange a similar series, substituting the percentage of the four- and the five-year-old fish in
place of the pack:—
1. 1912...
-.79%
1917...
-.67%
1922...
....18%
1927...
....17%
21%
33%
82%
83%
2. 1913....
....20%
1918....
....43%
1923...
....24%
1928—
-.42%
80%
57%
76%
58%
3. 1914
....65%
35%
1919
....54%
46%
1924
....56%
44%
4. 1915
....87%
13%
1920
....95%
5%
1925
-.77%
23%
5. 1916
....76%
24%
1921
....51%
49%
1926
-.40%
60%
As would be expected, the second, third, and fourth series are /those in which the greatest
constancy is found. In the second series in all cases the percentage of four-year-old fish is greater
than that of the five-year-olds. In series 3 the five-year-old fish slightly outnumber the four-year
fish.   In series 4 the five-year-olds form the great bulk of the packs. BRITISH COLUMBIA. G 13
In comparing these twTo sets of tabulations, Drs. Clemens saw at once that there is a correlation between the size of the pack and the relative proportions of the four- and five-year-old fish.
A majority of four-year-old fish means a small pack, roughly between 50,000 and 60,000 cases.
AVhen the five-year-old slightly exceed the fours the pack amounts to 85,000 to 95,000 cases. A
preponderance of five-year-old fish produces a pack of at least 120,000 cases.
At the present t-ime Drs. Clemens can give no explanation for the reversal of the proportions
of the age-groups either between any two successive years, such as 79 per cent, five-year-olds and
21 per cent, four-year-olds in 1912, against 20 per cent, five-year-olds and 80 per cent, four-year-
olds in 1913; or between any two five-year periods within the same series—as illustrated by 67
per cent, fives and 33 per cent, fours in 1917 and 18 per cent, fives and 82 per cent, fours in 1922.
Neither are they able to determine why the four-year age-groups have a greater correlation
when plotted on a basis of five than they have when tabulated on a basis of four. All they
suggest is that these tabulations show that certain rather definite proportions of the four- and
five-year age-groups seem to have been established in three five-year cycles in Rivers" Inlet and
that these proportions are in turn linked with packs of certain size.
Drs. Clemens state that the year 1928 belongs to the cycle in which the packs have the small
average of about 60,000 cases. The average packs of the cycles 1909-14-19-24 and 1910-15-20-25
show that Rivers Inlet is capable of a much greater annual yield than 60,000 cases. If, therefore,
the cycle of 1908-13-18-23-28, which is known to be " weak," is to be made more productive, it
can only be done by making provision for a greater escapement to the spawning-beds.
Referring to the run of 1929, Drs. Clemens say it will be the product of the spawnings of
1924 and 1925. In 1924, according to the report from the spawning-beds, there wras an exceptionally large escapement and the samplings in that year showed that five-year-old fish made up
56 per cent, of the run. The pack consisted of 94,891 cases. The report from the spawning-beds
in 1925 indicated an excellent escapement, but in that year 77 per cent, of the run consisted of
five-year-old fish and it is not expected that the progeny of these fish will appear until 1930. The
four-year-old fish formed but 23 per cent, of the run which produced the large pack of .159,554
cases. There may therefore be a return of a fair number of four-year-old fish in 1929. Taking
these things into consideration and also the fact that the year 1929 belongs to the 1909-14-19-24
cycle, there would seem to be a reasonable expectancy of a run which may produce a pack
of between 85,000 and 95,000 cases.
General Characteristics op the Skeena River Sockeye Run of 1928.
In dealing with the Skeena River sockeye run of 1928, Drs. Clemens state that " from the
commercial standpoint the pack was the darkest spot in the sockeye-fishing of that season." The
pack consisted of only 34,559 cases, which is the lowest on record and 6,459 cases less than the
previous low record of 1921. In their report for the year 1927 they pointed out that a large pack
could not be expected in 1928 because of the low percentages of four- and five-year-old fish in the
runs of 1924 and 1923 respectively, and stated that a pack much in excess of 80,000 cases could
not be expected. It is of interest, therefore, to seek possible causes for the discrepancy between
the prediction and the actual pack.
Predictions at the present time, Drs. Clemens state, are based upon pack statistics according
to cycle-years, analyses of random samplings of the runs from year to year and annual reports
from the spawning-beds, also upon the assumption that conditions remain reasonably constant
from year to year. Nothing is known concerning the success of the hatch, conditions during
either the fresh-water or the marine periods of growth, and but little concerning the fishing conditions in any year. It is evident, therefore, that the pack of any year may not coincide with
predictions. However, in 1928, although the pack was relatively small, the reports from the
spawning-beds indicate a large escapement. Mr. Gibson, who has inspected the beds for a
number of years, says of 15-Mile Creek, a tributary of Babine Lake, in Skeena basin: " Although
I have been inspecting the spawning-grounds of Babine Lake since 1920, I have never before
seen so many sockeye in this creek." Again: " In summing up the Babine area, I can say with
confidence that this area will be exceptionally well seeded this year." He suggests that the
additional weekly twelve hours of " close season" may have been responsible for the large
escapement. Undoubtedly the extra closed period did allow more fish to pass up to the spawning-beds than otherwise would have done so. Whether this circumstance is sufficient to account
for the difference between the expected and the actual pack cannot be determined at the present G 14 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
time, and the returns four and five years hence will be watched with great interest. It would
seem, however, that with the large escapement the situation as regards the future of this cycle
on the Skeena River is satisfactory and that there should be a good return four or five years
hence.
The run of 1929, Drs. Clemens state, will be derived from the seedings of 1924 and 1925. In
1924 the pack consisted of 144,747 cases and the sampling of the fish in that year showed that
the five-year-old fish made up 75 per cent, of the run. The report from the spawning-beds at
both Lakelse and Babine Lakes stated that large numbers of sockeye reached the stream and
in general the runs were exceptionally good. The prospects of a large return of five-year-old
fish in 1929 should therefore be good. In 1925 the pack totalled 77,784 cases and the run was
made up of 53 per cent, of four-year-old fish. The spawning-beds were reported as having been
very well seeded. In view of these facts it would seem that a large run, possibly producing a
pack in the neighbourhood of 140,000 cases, may be expected.
General Characteristics op Nass River Sockeye Run in 1928.
The year 1928 Drs. Clemens find the erratic Nass a normal river, fulfilling a logical expectation of a very small sockeye-pack. The pack is the smallest on record and consists of the
astonishingly small figures of 5,540 cases. Although the certainty of an unmistakable decline
in the run of sockeye to the Nass has been impressing itself during the past few years, up to the
present time it has not been necessary to face the possibility of complete failure in the near
future. AAre cannot look ahead without looking back. As is well known, the great majority of
the Nass sockeye mature at the end of five years. Hence the principal brood-year of this 1928
run was 1923, which yielded the mediocre pack of 17,821 cases. In that year, after his annual
inspection of the spawning-grounds in the Meziadin watershed of the Nass River basin, Inspector
of Fisheries Hickman reported a very poor seeding. In view of the small size of this year's pack
it is not surprising to find the following in the summary of Inspector Hickman's report for 1928:
" A summary of spawning conditions showrs that very few sockeye were to be found in any section ; far less than have been found in any one of the last four years."
In 1923 the pack on the Nass was 17,821 cases; in 1928 it was 5,540—a drop of 12,000 cases.
What will the pack be in 1933 ? AVhile predictions and expectancy in the Nass run are in general
unreliable, one cannot conceive of any condition which could produce in 1933 anything but an
exceedingly small run and a pack of very small commercial value. On the other hand, the run
itself, by reason of its greatly reduced numbers, will be very valuable for seeding purposes and
every effort should be made to allow all the sockeye to reach the spawning-beds.
Drs. Clemens quote what Dr. Gilbert wrote in 1919, to wit: " When the experience of a
series of years indicates unmistakably that the productivity of a stream is declining to a lower
level, the common-sense treatment of the situation is to modify favourably the only factor over
which we exercise control. AVe should increase the spawning reserve and thus seek to augment
the egg production. Egg production must, after all, be fundamentally most important. As a
constant factor, in the long run it will dominate the situation." Unless the taking of sockeye in
the Nass River is prohibited, in the year 1933 we can look for nothing but complete annihilation
of the run which occurs in the five-year cycle, 1923-28-33-38.
As to the run of 1929, Drs. Clemens make no prediction. They simply state that in the past
the packs of this five-year-cycle stream have been consistently large, as the following figures
show: 1909, 28,246 cases ; 1914, 31,327 cases ; 1919, 28,259 cases; and 1924, 33,590 cases. Consequently we may await 1929's returns with interest.
In former years the late Dr. Gilbert pointed out, in several of his contributions to this series
of papers, that large runs to the Skeena and Rivers Inlet seem to be intimately associated with
large percentages of five-year-old fish. It is interesting to note that in this cycle of the Nass
the four-year-old component of the runs is very small. We have no figure for 1909, but in 1914
the four-year-olds constituted only 4 per cent, of the run; in 1919, 7 per cent.; and in 1924,
4 per cent.; while over a period of seventeen years the general average of the group is 11-12
per cent. Not only is the brood-year pack of 1919 larger, but, in addition, in that year Inspector
Hickman reported the spawning-beds more extensively seeded than usual. In any other river
system except the Nass these facts would indicate a very good return in 1929.
The full text of Drs. Clemens's paper, together with its thirty-one tabulations, will be found
in the Appendices of the report. It is, as the foregoing digest shows, one of the most interesting
and valuable of the series published in the annual reports of the Department since 1912. BRITISH COLUMBIA.
G 15
SALMON-TAGGING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA WATERS.
The Biological Board of Canada, following an agreement with the International Pacific
Salmon Investigation Federation, consisting of the executive and scientific staffs of the Fisheries
Departments of Canada, the United States, British Columbia, AVashington, Oregon, California,
and Alaska, has been tagging and liberating salmon in British Columbia waters since 1925.
The purpose of the Federation is to produce through joint and uniform effort the knowledge
essential for the proper and scientific administration of the salmon-fisheries of the Pacific Coast
in order to effectively conserve the great salmon resources of the North Pacific.
The tagging of salmon experiments conducted by the Biological Board of Canada in British
Columbia waters were begun in 1925 and have been continued since then. The following is a
brief summary of the Board's efforts :—
Summary op Spring Salmon (O. tsciiawytscha) tagged in British Columbia
Waters, 1925-28.
Date
tagged.
Location.
Total
tagged.
Recaptured.
Per Cent.
of
Recapture.
1925	
Ucluelet, west coast of Vancouver Island	
Hippa Island, Queen Charlottes	
1,125
274
1,353
54
518
168
267
133
122
34
179
18
64
15
15
6
10.8
1925	
12.0
W6    ..
13.2
1927	
Quatsino, west coast of Vancouver Island	
33.0
1927
12 4
1927
9.0
1928
5 6
1928
4 5
Totals	
3,892
453
Of the 1,125 spring salmon tagged at Ucluelet in 1925, sixty-eight were recaptured the same
year, two of which were taken in the Sacramento River in California, forty-one in the Columbia,
two on the coast of Oregon, eleven in Puget Sound, and four in the Fraser River.
In 1926 the number of recaptures of spring salmon tagged in 1925 off Ucluelet totalled forty-
five, of which twenty-six were retaken in the Columbia River, two in Oregon, one on the west
coast of AVashington, and the balance inside the entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait, only one of
which was taken in the Fraser.
Of the 1,353 spring salmon tagged off Ucluelet in 1926, 128 were recaptured that year—
sixty-nine were taken in the Columbia, one off the Washington coast, fifty-six taken inside Cape
Flattery, only nine of which were taken in the Fraser. Forty-seven of the spring salmon tagged
off Ucluelet in 1926 were retaken in 1927, thirty-seven of which were retaken in the Columbia.
All the other ten were retaken east of Cape Flattery.
Seven of the fish tagged off Ucluelet in 1925 were retaken in the Columbia River in 1927;
also one tagged there in 1926 was retaken in the Columbia River in 1928.
Of the fifty-four spring salmon tagged off Quatsino in 1927, eighteen were retaken that year
—twelve of which were caught in the Columbia River and only three inside Cape Flattery. None
have since been taken.
Of the 518 spring samon tagged off Kyuquot in 1927, fifty-eight were retaken that year—
forty of which were caught in the Columbia, seven off the coast of AVashington, and three off
the coast of Oregon.
Five of the fish tagged off Kyuquot in 1927 were retaken in 1928—one off Goose Island, north
of the Queen Charlotte Islands, two at Cape Flattery, one in Barkley Sound, and one in the
Fraser River.
Of the 274 spring salmon tagged off Hippa Island, west coast of Queen Charlottes, in 1925,
thirty-one were retaken that year—seven in the Columbia, twelve off the Oregon coast, one off
the AVashington coast, two in the Skeena River, and two in Barkley Sound. But three of the
fish tagged off Hippa in 1925 were retaken in 1926—one in Alaska, one in the Nass River, British
Columbia, and one off the AVashington coast. G 16
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
Of the 133 spring salmon tagged in Queen Charlotte Sound in 1928, but six were retaken
that year—four of which were taken in the Fraser River, one near Nanaimo, and one at West
Beach, AVashington.
Of the 168 spring salmon tagged at Deep Bay, north-east coast of Vancouver Island, in 1927,
only nine were recovered that year—four of which were taken in the Fraser and one in the
Skagit River in AVashington. But six of the fish tagged at Deep Bay in 1927 were retaken in
1928—three in the Fraser, one at Knight Inlet, one at Cape Mudge, and one at Deep Bay.
Of the 267 spring salmon tagged near Nanaimo, east coast of Vancouver Island, in 1928,
fifteen were recaptured that year—of which eight were taken from the Fraser, one in the
Columbia River, one at Smith Inlet, north of Queen Charlottes, one at Point Roberts, and one
in the Cowichan.
The foregoing shows that of the 2,478 spring salmon tagged off Ucluelet in 1925 and 1926,
181 were recaptured in the Columbia River; and that of the 572 spring salmon tagged off Quatsino and Kyuquot in 1927, fifty-two were retaken in the Columbia.
The foregoing data demonstrate that a considerable number of Columbia River breed spring
salmon feed off the west coast of Vancouver Island, and that one of them was caught and tagged
on the east coast of Vancouver Island.
Summary of Cohoe Salmon (O. kisutch) tagged, 1925-28.
Date
tagged.
Location.
Total
tagged.
Return.
Per Cent.
of
Return.
1925
51
180
135
357
99
1,609
833
5
11
8
47
23
158
77
9.8
1926    	
6.1
1927
6.0
1927
13.5
1928
23.0
1928
9.8
1928
9.2
Totals	
3,264
329
Of the fifty-one cohoe salmon tagged off Ucluelet in 1925, only five were retaken that year;
all were retaken east of the point of liberation. Of the 180 tagged in 1926, eleven were retaken
■—one as far south as Grays Harbour, Washington, one at Dungeness, and one in Bute Inlet. Of
the 135 tagged off Kyuquot in 1927, eight were retaken that year, two of which were captured in
the Columbia.
Of the ninety-nine cohoe tagged at the traps at Sooke, twenty-four were retaken that year,
all inside Juan de Fuca Strait.
Of the 833 cohoe tagged in Queen Charlotte Sound in 1928, seventy-seven were retaken that
year—eleven in the Fraser, thirteen in Bute Inlet, and the others in waters south of the point
of liberation.
Of the 1,609 cohoe tagged near Nanaimo in 1928, 158 were recaptured that year—thirty-five,
or 22 per cent., in the Fraser.
Summary of Sockeye Salmon (O. nerka) tagged, 1925 and 1928.
Date
tagged.
Location.
Total
tagged.
Recaptures.
Per Cent.
of
Return.
1925 .
659
515
10
402
135
107
3
61
20 5
1925	
20.0
1928	
Johnstone Strait 	
30.0
1928 . .
15.0
Totals	
1,586
306 .
BRITISH COLUMBIA. G 17
Of the 515 sockeye salmon tagged at Deep AVater Bay in 1925, sixty-five were retaken that
year. As was anticipated, fifty-six, or 86 per cent., were retaken in the Fraser, three in English
Bay, and only one in the State of Washington waters. Limited as is the above return, it sustains the belief that a portion of the run of sockeye which seek the Fraser come down from the
north through Johnstone Strait.
Of the 659 sockeye that were tagged off Haystack Island, north-west end of Vancouver
Island, in 1925, 135 were retaken that year. The return shows that eighty, or 60 per cent., were
taken in the Nass, thirteen in the Skeena, twenty-seven in South-eastern Alaska, and the balance
in various waters north of the point of liberation.
HALIBUT INVESTIGATION.
The International Fisheries Commission, created by the Halibut Treaty between Canada
and the United States to make a thorough investigation into the life-history of the Pacific halibut
and the condition of that fishery, made its first report to the two Governments in the spring of
1928. The report is reproduced in the Appendix of this report. The following excerpt from
the report shows the extent and condition of the fishery:—
" Fisheries for halibut are prosecuted in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic Oceans,
and yield about ninety millions of pounds annually. The Pacific halibut-fishery, which is
covered by the terms of this convention, is the greatest in the world. The annual catch exceeds
fifty millions of pounds, which represents about 60 per cent, of the world's catch. Of the remainder, about thirty millions are credited to European countries and six millions to the
Atlantic Coast of this continent. The value of the Pacific halibut-catch to the fishermen is about
seven million dollars annually, and it is consequently one of the most important fisheries in
North American waters. The Pacific halibut is, therefore, one of the most important species of
food-fishes indigenous to the waters of the North American Continent. The halibut-fishery banks
of the Eastern Pacific are shown in Plates Nos. 1-3. The division into areas shown thereon is
for statistical purposes and should not be confused with those referred to in the Commission's
recommendations, which will be submitted later on.
" The Pacific halibut-fishery originated soon after the first railway communication was
established between the two coasts of the United States. It is, therefore, comparatively young.
It had its inception in 1888 near Cape Flattery, at the entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait. The
fishery expanded rapidly and by 1910 it had extended to grounds off Cape Ommaney, Baranof
Island, 600 miles to the north. Subsequent expansion has extended the fishery until it now
covers about 1,800 miles of coast. Formerly as many fish were taken from the 600-mile stretch
as are now procured from the entire area of 1,800 miles. The banks on the eastern side of the
Gulf of Alaska, which yield spawning fish, were first exploited in 1913. In 1926 the larger
boats made by far the greater part of their catches in the vicinity of Kodiak Island, on' the
western side of the Gulf of Alaska, about 1,200 miles beyond the original fishery. The catch on
the older grounds south of Cape Ommaney has decreased from a total in excess of fifty million
pounds in 1910 to about twenty-one millions in 1926, and much greater effort was exerted in
making the catch in the latter year. It is evident that the present level of production has been
maintained by extending fishing operations to new areas, as the catch on the older grounds
decreased, and by increasing the intensity of the fishing effort.
" The amount of gear now used on the older banks is about two and one-half times the
quantity formerly used, yet the present catch is only about 40 per cent, of the former yield from
these grounds. Under the stress of this great intensification of fishing effort the abundance of
fish on the older banks has fallen enormously, to 16 per cent, of the abundance in 1906. AVhere
in 1906 the catch per set of a unit of fishing-gear was nearly 300 lb., in 1926 it was below 50 lb.
Expressed in another way, it required six units of gear to catch as many fish as one unit caught
in 1906. The decline has gone on at an even rate and shows no tendency to slacken. Accompanying this fall in abundance there has been a decrease in the average size of the fish landed
and a great increase in the percentage of undersized fish. For example, between 1919 and 1926
the percentage of undersized fish from the older banks increased from 20 to 30 per cent.
" The more recently exploited banks to the westward show the same trend, the catch having
fallen from 160 lb. per unit of gear in 1923 to 100 lb. in 1926, and was still lower in 1927, while
at the same time there was an increase in the number of fish under 11% lb.
2 G 18 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
" The rapidity of decline is regarded as especially serious because of the very slow rate of
growth of the halibut, an adult being from twelve to twenty-five years, or over, in age. Hence
the present decline has taken place within the life-span of one halibut of ordinarily large size.
As nearly all the fish which are being caught now were spawned eight or ten years ago, the
abundance of the younger fish, which will annually be available for capture in the next ten
years, has already been established. If these are greatly reduced in numbers, and the intensity
of the fishery is maintained, the outlook for a future stock of spawning fish sufficient to maintain
the supply presents a hopeless picture. In fact, the Commission's investigations indicate that
relatively few mature halibut are now found on the older banks.
" These illustrations demonstrate beyond a doubt that the fishery is in a very serious condition, and that the banks cannot stand the intensity of fishing to which they are subjected. The
Commission is fully convinced that the conditions are so serious that no delay should be permitted in the adoption of additional conservation measures. In the light of the investigations
made, such action is essential to the maintenance of the fishery."
Recommendations.
The Commission recommends that power be given proper governmental authorities:—
" 1. (a.) To establish areas, within each of which, if deemed necessary for the preservation
of the fishery there, the total catch of halibut may be reduced by a predetermined percentage
annually, commencing not less than one year after the putting into force of this recommendation,
until the fishery therein shall reach a state of stability of yield.
"(6.) To determine upon the amount of this percentage reduction, and to revise the same
from time to time as may be found necessary, the intent being to restrain any increase in the
amount of fishing within such area.
" 2. To close permanently to all fishing the two areas herewith defined, and known to be
populated by small immature halibut, and to close such other grounds as may be found by the
Commission to be populated by a similar class of fish.
" 3. To prevent the use of any fishing-gear deemed unduly destructive.
" 4. To extend the present closed season by two weeks at its beginning, making the closure
for all fishing in all areas from November 1st to February 15th, both dates inclusive, and to
facilitate future alterations in the length of close season.
" 5. To license all vessels fishing for halibut in treaty waters, under such terms as are
necessary for the purpose of the treaty, including statistical returns, and for clearance to
regulated waters." LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON. G 19
APPENDICES.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LIFE-HISTORY OF THE SOCKEYE SALMON.
(No. 14.)
By AVilbert A. Clemens, Ph.D., Director, Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo,
and Lucy' S. Clemens, Ph.D.
INTRODUCTION.
In the year 1928 the packs of sockeye in the four areas considered in this series of reports
have been low, and in three of these below expectancy, the exception being in the case of Rivers
Inlet. Coupled with this, the reports from the spawning-beds indicate small escapements to
the streams, except in the case of the Skeena River. The situation therefore merits earnest
consideration.
AVhen study of representative samplings of runs, examination of pack statistics, and perusal
of reports from spawning-beds have been made, and clear indication of steady decline in any
cycle coupled with poor escapements has been found, it is obvious that the amount of the
catch should be reduced so that greater escapements to the spawning-beds may be permitted.
For example, the pack on the Nass River this year was 5,540 cases. The bulk of the sockeye in
this river system mature at five years of age and the year 1928 therefore falls in the cycle-years
1908-13-18-23-28. The packs in these years were as follows : 1908, 27,584 cases ; 1913, 23,574;
1918, 21,816; 1923, 17,821; 1928, 5,540. The reports from the spawning-beds were as follows:
1908, good-; 1913, fair; 1918, no report; 1.923, poor ; 1928, very poor. It is thus clearly evident
that escapements have not been adequate to maintain the runs of this cycle.
AA'hile efforts are being made both in British Columbia and in Alaska to obtain exact data
concerning the relation between catch and escapement, we do not know at the present time what
this relation should be in order to maintain a run at a reasonably high level of production, and
therefore until such time as this information is available, resort must be made to experiment.
In those cycle-years of any stream where continuous decreases in packs have occurred, and where
escapements have been obviously inadequate, the line of action should be to restrict the catch
to such a point that there is definite assurance of adequate escapement. As stated previously,
the extent of restriction must for the present be determined by experiment. In the case of the
1908-13-18-23-28 cycle of the Nass River, depletion has become so serious that it would seem
that only complete prohibition of sockeye-fishing in 1933 would save the cycle.
AA'ith the accumulation of our knowledge concerning the cycles of runs, it would seem that
the time had arrived when a definite limit to the amount of catch for each river system might
be made. In conjunction with such a procedure, it would be imperative that provision be made
for obtaining more exact information concerning escapements, preferably by the installation of
counting-weirs.
1.  THE FRASER RIVER SOCKEYE RUN OF 1928.
(1.)  General Characteristics.
The total pack for the Fraser River system in 1928 amounted to 90,343 cases, of which
29,299 cases were packed in the Province of British Columbia and 61,044 cases in the State of
Washington. The year 1928 is the continuation of the 1912-16-20-24 cycle and its pack shows
a continuation of the steady decline in the packs of this series (Table I.). It cannot be conceived that the blockade at Hell's Gate in 1913 affected this cycle, and there can be but one
conclusion—namely, that the catch has greatly exceeded the reproductive capacity of the cycle.
It is abundantly evident now that the catches in 1904 and 1908, with packs of 458,000 and
429.000 respectively, were too great, and in the face of the continued decline in the cycle, as
indicated by the packs and the spawning-bed reports, it is evident that the toll of the fishery is
still too great. G 20
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
The run of 1929 will be derived from the spawning of 1925. This is in the cycle of the
one-time " big years," and there is a reasonable expectation of the run of 1929 being at least
equivalent to that of 1925. This conclusion appears justified from the report on the spawning-
beds in 1925, which states: " A summary of observations and reports on spawning conditions in
the Fraser River basin this season warrants the conclusion that the escapement of sockeye was
somewhat greater than in any year since 1913. However, the number of sockeye that reached
and spawned in all sections was not sufficiently great to produce much, if any, increase in the
run of four years hence."
The material for this year's study consisted of data and scales from 1,004 sockeye salmon
selected at random from April 20th to September 15th in twenty-nine samplings.
(2.) Age-groups.
The 4 age-group predominated as usual, being represented by 717 individuals, or 71 per cent,
of the total. The 5 age-group,* the next most abundant numerically, was represented by 188
individuals, or 19 per cent. Other age-groups—namely, 5,6,3,4,3, and 4 •—were present
in small numbers (Tables II. and III.).* AVe present this year Table IN., showing the percentages of the various age-groups in each year since 1919.
The average lengths of the males and females of the dominant age-group, 4 , were practically
the same as those of their progenitors in 1924. The average was 23.4 inches in the case of the
males and 23 in the case of the females.
Similarly, the average lengths of the 5 and 5 age-groups are quite normal. The outstanding
feature in the lengths is the large average size of the 6 group and the small average sizes of
the 3 and 4 groups. It must be kept in mind, though, that the number of individuals in these
groups is relatively small.    (See Table V.)
The average weights of the 4 , 5o, and 5, age-groups are quite similar to those of their
progenitors. It is interesting to note the much greater weight of the 5 group in 1928 as
compared with that of 1927. Corresponding with the great length of the 6 group, we find large
weight. Curiously enough, in the 3 and 4 groups, while the lengths are the smallest on record,
the weights are normal  (Table VI.).
The total number of males was 559, while that of the females was 445, and the males
exceeded the females in numbers in all the important year-classes.
Table I.—Fraser River Packs, 1910-28, arranged in accordance with the Four-year Cycle.
B.C 1910—   150,432 1914—198,183 1918— 19,697 1922— 51,832 1926— 85,689
Wash..'.  248,014 335,'230 '50,723 48,566 44,673
Total ■- 39S,446 533,413 70,420 100,398 130,362
B.C 1911—     58,487 1915— 91,130 1919— 38,854 1923— 31,655 1927— 61,393
Wash  127,761 64,584 64,346 47,402 97,594
Total  186,248 155,714 103,200 79,057 158,987
B.C 1912—   123,879 1916— 32,146 1920— 48,399 1924— 39,743 1928— 29,299
Wash  184,6S0 84,637 62,654 69,369 61,044
Total  308,5-59 116,783 111,053 109,112 90,343
B.C 1913—   719,796 1917—148,164 1921— 39,631 1925— 35,385
AVash  1,673,099 411;538 102,967 112,023
Total  2,392,895 '559,702 142,598 147,408
* In this paper, as in the preceding one, a modification in the terminology for describing the age-classes
comprising the sockeye runs to the various rivers has been adopted. In the earlier papers the age-groups
were distinguished at maturity and the years spent in fresh water as " four-years-old, one-year-in-thc-lake,"
or " five-years-old, two-years-in-the-lake." In the present terminology these terms are used symbolically
as follows : 4„ and Ss, in which 4 and 5 represent the age1 of the fish and the 2 and 3 the year of its life
in which the fish left the fresh water. Pish which spend one year in fresh water migrate to sea in their
second year; hence the terms "four-years-old, one-year-in-the-lake" and 4, are synonymous. Likewise
"five-years-old, two-years-in-the-lake" and 53 are synonymous, and so on. The age-group known as the
sea-type, in which the fish go to sea as fry in their first year, are designated as S1 and 4,, according as they
mature at the age of three or four years. LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
G 21
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REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
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G 23
Table IV.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Percentages of the Year-classes from 1919 to 1928.
Year.
4
O
5o
5
3
63
3
i
4
i
3o
4
3
1919	
1920	
70.5
69.6
78.1
70.5
67.1
68.2
67.9
66.1
84:6
71.4
20.3
21.2
14.6
9.3
10.8
18.7
24.9
20.3
7.5
18.'8
3.4
6.2
4.1
4.5
3.9
9.2
3.4
5.2
3.0
5.3
0.9
0.2
0.7
2.0
1.2
0.5
0.2
1.6
0.8
0.5
3.1
1.9
0:5
6.3
6.7
0.5
2.2
2.0
1.9
2.0
1.8
0.9
2.0
'5.6
9.9
2.0 '
0.0
2.5
2.2
0.7
0.9
0.4
0.8
0.6
2.1
1.0
1921	
1922	
1923	
0.9
0.0
1924	
1925	
1926	
0.1
0.8
0.2
1927	
1928	
0.3
Table V.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Average Lengths of Principal Classes from 1919 to 1928.
Year.
4
2
h
5
3
63
3t
4
l
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
1919	
1920	
1921	
24.1
24.1
23.7
'22.8
23.2
23.0
23.0
23.3
'22.8
'22.9
22.3
23.1
23.0
26.1
25.7
25.9
25.S
25.8
24.9
25.8
24.6
26.1
25.5
28.1
24.6
24.6
21.1
24.8
23.9
24.6
24.0
24.6
21.7
24.2
24.3
23.5
24.2
23.7
24.0
23.2
21.7
24.2
22.7
23.2
22.7
22.9
22.7
•22.0
22.4
22.0
23.4
25.8
25.7
25.4
26.3
24.3
25.5
25.3
27.1
23.5
24.3
24.9
23.7
24.6
26.0
22.6
23.3
23.0
23.3
21.9
22.5
23.4
23.4
19.1
22.2
21.S
22.6
22.7
20.4
21.7
22:5
22.2
18.7
25.0
25.5
25.5
25.2
25.2
25.4
25.1
19.8
24.3
24.3
1922	
24.0
2'4.3
23.8
23.5.
22.6
24.1
23.4
94 0
1923 	
1924	
24.1
24.4
1925.	
1926	
24.6
1927	
24.5
1928	
Table VI.—Fraser River Sockeyes, Average Weights of Principal Classes from 1919 to 1928.
Year.
4
2
5,
5
3
63
3t
4
1
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
1919	
1920	
1921	
1922	
6.1
6.4
6.6
-5.8
5.2
6.1
6.0
'5.1
5.7
5.8
■5.2
4.9
5.5
0.0
7.2
7.0
7.8
7.6
6.2
7.3
7.4
6.5
6.1
6.9
6.6
5.7
6.S
6.9
5.7
6.1
6.0
6.1
5.4
4.5
6.5
4.5
5.4
5.2
5.3
4.S
4.8
5.7
6.5
7.2
7.3
7.4
6.5
8.6
5.3
0.6
6.5
5.7
5.5
8.0
5.3
5.9
6.2
■5.3
6.1
■5.9
6.4
4.8
5.2
5.3
4.6
5.4
5.2
5.4
6.8
7.9
7.3
7.3
7.2
8.0
6.1
6.9
1923	
6.5
1924	
1925  	
1926  	
6.6
1927 	
6.8
1928	
6.6
2.   THE RIVERS INLET SOCKEYE RUN OF 1928.
(1.)  General Characteristics.
The pack of the Rivers Inlet area was the only one of the four under consideration which
came up to expectancy in 1928. It amounted to 60,044 cases and, while comparatively small,
was without doubt all that could be expected from the spawnings of 1923 and 1924. However,
a disquieting feature is the report from the spawning-beds indicating a very poor escapement.
Table VII. gives a general summary of the packs and the composition of the runs over a
period of seventeen years.    A perusal of this table leaves one in considerable uncertainty as to G 24
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
the real nature of the Rivers Inlet sockeye run. The annual pack varies over a wide range and
the relative proportions of the four- and five-year-old fish show marked variability from year to
year. "VVe have before us a seemingly uncorrelated mass of data. If, however, we accept the
theory that this river has pre-eminently a five-year cycle, we are able to interpret this data with
considerable satisfaction, both for packs and also for the relative percentages of the age-groups.
Turning our attention first to the commercial yield, we find a striking correlation if we tabulate
the successive packs in series with five-year intervals. In the following table each series, or
five-year cycle, is arranged horizontally across the page:—■
1.
1907,
87,874 cases;
1912,
112,884
1917,
61,195;
1922,
53,584;
1927, 64,461.
2.
1908,
64,652 cases;
1913,
61,745
1918,
53,401;
1923,
107,174;
1928, 60,044.
3.
1909,
89,027 cases;
1914,
89,890
1919,
56,258;
1924,
94,891.
4.
1910,
126,921 cases;
1915,
130,350
1920,
125,338;
1925,
159,554.
5.
1911,
88,763 cases;
1916,
44,936
1921,
48,615;
1926,
65,581.
The major fluctuations in size of pack are remarkably constant in series 2, 3, and 4. Series
2, with the exception of the year 1923, has produced packs ranging between 50,000 and 65,000
cases. Series 3, except for one year, 1919, is composed of greater packs, varying within the
limits of 89,000 and 95,000 cases. The pack of 1923 is much larger than would be anticipated
from the brood-year pack of 1918. Similarly, in series 3 the pack of 1919 is noticeably small
and less than expected. These two exceptions in our series find a ready explanation in Inspector
Stone's report of the conditions on the spawning-beds in 1919. He writes: " Taking into consideration the comparatively poor pack obtained by the canneries at Rivers Inlet this season,
it is surprising that the spawning-beds did not show a correspondingly poor seeding. The
exceptionally large number of sockeye salmon observed spawning on the beds, and noted in tens
of thousands schooled up in the deeper portions of the various tributaries, precludes the opinion
generally expressed by the canning fraternity that the run ,this year was a small one. My
inspection showed that the spawning-beds were as abundantly seeded as in 1914 and more so
than in 1915. As the sockeye, generally speaking, did not reach an average standard in size,
the poor catch may be attributed to their having passed through the nets. Fishermen whom
I interviewed during the fishing season time and again deplored their luck in seeing hundreds
of salmon pass completely through their nets. The extension of weekly closed time had its
effect, because I found the spawning-beds on the tributaries of Owikeno Lake so abundantly
seeded this year that I look for a favourable return in the runs four and five years hence."
Hence, the small commercial pack of 1919 is accounted for by the fact that the fish were
smaller than usual and immense numbers of them passed through the nets. While the pack
statistics for the year 1919 indicate a poor run, it was in reality a very large one. This simply
shows that size of pack in itself may not be a reliable index to a run.
As for the pack of 1923, which was considerably greater than expectancy, 76 per cent, of the
fish were four years old and were the progeny of the enormous escapement of 1919.
Series 4 has a uniformly high pack of 120,000 cases or better. Undoubtedly the success
of this cycle is at least partially accounted for by the fact that in the 5^ group, which predominates the cycle, the females outnumber the males.
Series 1 and 5 show less uniformity in size of pack than do the other series. It is very
possible that we would find some explanation for these fluctuations, which are particularly
marked in the earlier years, if reports of the escapements were available.
Secondly, a most interesting correspondence is brought out if we arrange similar series,
substituting the percentages of the four- and five-year-old fish in place of the packs:—
1. 1912 79% 1917..
21%
2. 1913 20% 1918..
80%
3. 1914 65% 1919..
35%
4. 1915 87% 1920..
13%
5. 1916 76% 1921..
24%
..67%
33%
..43%
57%
..54%
46%
-95%
5%
..51%
49%
1922..
1923..
1924..
1925..
1926..
..18%
82%
-24%
76%
-56%
44%
-77%
23%
-40%
60%
1927..
1928..
-17%
83%
-42%
58% LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON. G 25
As we should expect the second, third, and fourth series are those in which the greatest
constancy is found. In the second series in all cases the percentage of the four-year-old fish
is greater than that of the five-year-olds. In series 3 the five-year-old fish slightly outnumber
the four-year fish.    In series 4 the five-year-olds form the great bulk of the packs.
In comparing these two sets of tabulations, we see at once that there is a correlation between
the size of the pack and the relative proportion of the four- and five-year-old fish. A majority
of four-year-old fish means a small pack, roughly between 50,000 and 65,000 cases. When the
five-year-olds slightly exceed the fours the packs amount to 85,000 to 95,000 cases. A preponderance of five-year-old fish produces packs of at least 120,000 cases. At the present time we
can give no explanation for the reversal of the proportions of the age-groups either between any
two successive years, such as 79 per cent. 5's and 21 per cent. 4's in 1912, against 20 per cent. 5's
and 80 per cent. 4's in 1913; or between any two five-year periods within the same series—as
illustrated by 67 per cent. 5's and 33 per cent. 4's in 1917 and 18 per cent. 5's and 82 per cent. 4's
in 1922.
Neither can we explain why the four-year age-groups have a greater correlation when plotted
on a basis of five than they have when tabulated on a basis of four. All we can say is that these
tabulations show that certain rather definite proportions of the four- and five-year age-groups
seem to have been established in three five-year cycles in Rivers Inlet and that these proportions
are in turn linked with packs of certain sizes.
The year 1928 belongs to the cycle in which the packs have the small average of about
60,000 cases. The average packs of the cycles 1909-14-19-24 and 1910-15-20-25 show that Rivers
Inlet is capable of a much greater annual yield than 60,000 cases. If, therefore, the cycle of
1908-13-18-23-28, which is known to be " weak," is to be made more productive, it can only be
done by making provision for a greater escapement to the spawning-beds.
The run of 1929 will be the product of the spawnings of 1924 and 1925. In 1924, according
to the report from the spawning-beds, there was an exceptionally large escapement and the
samplings in that year showed that five-year-old fish made up 56 per cent, of the run. The pack
consisted of 94,891 cases. The report from the spawning-beds in 1925 indicated an excellent
escapement, but in that year 77 per cent, of the run consisted of five-year-old fish and it is not
expected that the progeny of these fish will appear until 1930. The four-year-old fish formed
23 per cent, of the run which produced the large pack of 159,554 cases. There may therefore
be a return of a fair number of four-year-old fish in 1929. Taking these things into consideration,
and also the fact that the year 1929 belongs to the 1909-14-19-24 cycle, there would seem to be
reasonable expectancy of a run which may produce a pack between 85,000 and 95,000 cases.
(2.) Age-groups.
The material which formed the basis for the study of the 1928 run was composed of 1,179
samples gathered at random on nine different days between the dates of June 25th and July 30th.
The vast majority of the Rivers Inlet sockeyes spend one year in the fresh water and two or
three years in the ocean, thus maturing in their fourth and fifth years respectively, and are
known as the 4 and 5 classes. A small number of fish wait two years before migrating ocean-
ward. These also mature after two or three years of sea-feeding and constitute the 5 and 6
groups. One other class, known as sea-type, in which the fry pass immediately to the salt water,
is very occasionally found. Three such individuals were present this year and are the first
noted since 1919.
The 1.179 fish were distributed as follows:   643 4 's, 470 5 's, 51 5 's, 12 6 's, and 3 3 's.
2 2 3 3     ' 1
The two dominant groups form 94 per cent, of the entire run. Table VII. shows that the
proportions of these two principal classes vary considerably from year to year. As we have
stated above, the history of this river shows that, with but one exception, years such as 1928,
in which the 4o's outnumber the 52's, the packs are small. In this connection it may be worth
while pointing out that, given equal numbers of 4 's and 5 's, the commercial yield from the
former lot wrould be less than from the latter, because of the considerable difference in the size
of the individual fish in the two groups. This factor combined with a small run will always
produce a poor pack.
(3.)  Lengths and Weights.
Tables VIII. and IX. give the length and weight distribution of all classes except the
sea-type.    The three individuals belonging to this class are all males and are of nearly identical G 26
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
2iy2 inches;  4% lb., 2iy2 inches;   and
size.   Their lengths and weights are as follows:  4 lb.,
4% lb., 21% inches.
The 4 group of Rivers Inlet is unique among all the age-groups of the four river systems,
because the average size of the males and females is so nearly the same. In most years the two
sexes have differed in length by only 0.1 or 0.2 inch. This year the difference is 0.5 inch, which,
although small in comparison with the differences in the other rivers, is the greatest recorded.
The weights exhibit the same feature. In this group there is another interesting size relationship, which is a natural consequence of similarity in size—namely, that the females are sometimes larger than the males. Such has been the case for the past three years in respect to
average lengths and for the last two years in regard to average weights. Scattered cases also
occur during the earlier years. In all the other river systems there is only a single instance
to be found, that in the 5   group of the Fraser River in 1927.
The average length of the males (22.3 inches) in the 4, class of 1928 compares favourably
with the averages of recent years, but is less than those of earlier years. The average length
for the females (22.8 inches) has been exceeded once only, in the year 1926. The males of the
5o class set a new high record in their length of 26.1 inches and the female average of 25.2
inches has never been exceeded (Table X.). As for the average weights of males, that of the
four-year-olds (4.8 lb.) is decidedly low, while that of the five-year-olds (7.5 lb.) is but one-tenth
of a pound less than the greatest average recorded. The average weights of the females in both
age-groups do not depart from the general averages for the classes (Table XL).
(4.)  Distribution of the Sexes.
The year 1928 is no exception to the rule in Rivers Inlet that the four-year males outnumber
the females, while in the five-year group the conditions are reversed (Table XII.). In both
classes the percentages of the females are high, particularly when compared with those of earlier
years. Conversely, in 1928 the male percentages are low. The total numbers of the two sexes
are nearly equivalent; the males slightly outnumber the females, with a percentage of 51 per
cent, against 49 per cent. While this basis of approximately equal numbers is probably the
normal distribution of the sexes, our data show that the resultant packs are small or mediocre.
On the other hand, as stated previously in this report and in the report for 1925, the cycle of
1915-20-25, in which the total females exceed the males, the packs are large. LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
G 27
Table VII.—Percentages of 40
and oo Age-groups, Rivers Inlet Sockeyes, in Runs of
Successive Years.
Run of the Year.
Percentage,
Four and Five
Years old.
Brood-year from which
derived.
1912 (112,884 cases)	
1913 (61,745 cases)	
1914 (89,890 cases)	
1915 (130,350 cases)	
1916 (44,936 cases)	
1917 (61,195 cases)	
1918 (53,401 cases)	
1919 (56,258 cases)	
1920 (121,254 cases)	
1921 (46,300 cases)	
1922 (60,700 cases)	
1923 (107,174 cases)	
1924 (94,891 cases)	
1925 (159,554 cases)	
1926 (65,581 cases)	
1927 (64,461 eases)	
192S  (60,044 cases)	
5 yrs. 79%
4 yrs. 21%
5 yrs. 20%
4 yrs. 80%
5 yrs. 65%
4 yrs. 35%
■5 yrs. 87%
4 -yrs. 13%
5 yrs. 76%
4 yrs. 24%
5 yrs. 67%
4 yrs. 33%
5 yrs. 43%
4 yrs. 57%
5 yrs. 54%
4 yrs. 46%
5 yrs. 95%
4 yrs. 5%
5 yrs. 51%
4 yrs. 49%
5 yrs. 18%
4 yrs. 82%
5 yrs. 24%
4 yrs. 76%
5 yrs. 56%
4 yrs. 44%
5 yrs. 77%
4 yrs. 23%
5 yrs. 40%
4 yrs. 60%
0 yrs. 17%
4 yrs. 83%
5 yrs. 42%
4 yrs. '58%
1907 (87,874 cases).
1908 (64,652 cases).
1909 (89,027 cases).
1910 (126,921 cases).
1911 (88,763 cases).
1912 (112,884 cases).
1913 (61,745 cases).
1914 (89,890 cases).
1915 (130,350 cases).
1916 (44,936 cases).
1917 (61,195 cases).
1918 (53,401 eases).
1919 (56,258 cases).
1920 (121,254 cases).
1921 (46,300 cases).
1922 (60,700 cases).
1923 (107,174 cases).
1924 (94,891 cases). -
G 28
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
Table VIII.—Rivers Inlet Sockeyes, Run of 1928, Grouped by Age, Sex, and Length,
and by their Early History.
Number op
Individuals.
Length in Inches.
4
2
5
2
53
6
3
Total.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
19 V,    	
3
3
20	
19
2
21
20%	
40
2
3
45
21	
56
11
5
72
21%	
52
19
1
77
22	
54
35
1
1
3
2
96
22%	
33
42
9
1
0
85
23	
26
48
2
5
2
4
87
23%	
33
42
4
18
3
3
103
24	
37
26
7
29
4
1
1
105 ■
24%	
28
10
7
47
2
94
25	
15
2
11
55
3
1
3
90
25%	
7
16
61
1
3
88
26	
2
23
63
2
90
26V,	
1
IS
30
1
1
2
53
27	
28
13
1
42
27%	
14
o
16
28	
2
1
3
28%	
4
4
29	
2
2
Totals	
406
237
141
329
37
14
2
10
1,176
Ave. lengths....
22.3
22 .'8
'26.1
25.2
22.8
23.0
27.2
25.5
Table IX.—Rivers Inlet Sockeyes, Run of 1928, Grouped by Age, Sex, and Weight,
and by their Early History.
Number of
Individuals.
Weight in Pounds.
42
52
5
3
6
3
Total.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
3	
2
52
91
90
46
44
42
27
'5
6
1
3
31
60
53
52
31
'7
2
7
8
9
16
13
18
33
16
11
4
1
3
1
4
18
31
52
66
56
57
30
10
2
1
1
'5
9
]5
2
1
6
4
2
3
1
4
3
3
2
1
1
1
1
1
3
1
3
1
2
60
133
165
130
139
143
123
78
87
66
26
13
6
1
3
1
3%	
4	
4%	
5	
5%	
6	
ey2	
7	
7%	
S	
8%	
9	
9y2	
10	
10%	
11	
Totals	
406
237
141
329       |
37
14
2
10
1,176
Ave. weights
4.8
5.0
7.5
6.7       1
5.1
■5.2
8.7
6.8 LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
G 29
Table X.—Average Lengths in Inches of Rivers Inlet Sockeyes for Seventeen Years.
Year.
Four-year
Males.
Four-year
Females.
Five-year
Males.
Five-year
Females.
1912.. .                    ....              	
23.2
22.9
23.0
22.9
22.9
22.5
22.3
22.4
22.9
22.5
22.4
22.3
22.2
22.8
22.1
22.3
22.8
23.0
22.8
22.8
22.8
22.3
22.5
22.3
22.6
22.4
22.3
22.3
22.2
22.9
22.4
22.8
25.8
25.9
25.9
26.0
25.8
25.0
24.9
24.8
26.0
25.2
24.6
24.6
24.9
25.5
25.1
24:6
26.1
24.6
1913	
25.2
1914                                   	
25.2
1915                                                      	
25.1
1916                              	
25.0
1917                            	
24.4
1918	
24.5
1919	
24.4
1920	
25.0
1921	
24.2
1922	
24.2
1923	
24.1
1924	
24.3
1925                	
24.8
1926	
24.6
1927	
24.2
1928	
25.2
Table XI.—Average Weight in Pounds of Rivers Inlet Sockeyes for Fourteen Years.
Year.
Four-year
Males.
Four-year
Females.
Five-year
Males.
Five-year
Females.
1914	
5.4
5.3
5.5
5.0
4.9
4.9
5.2
6.0
5.0
4.9
4.6
5.2
5.3
4.8
5.2
5.1
5.0
4.9
5.1
4.8
4.9
5.9
4.8
4.8
4.4
5.2
5.8
5.0
7.3
7.3
7.6
6.6
6.7
6.3
6.9
7.4
6.5
6.6
6.9
6.9
7.3
7.5
6.8
1915—
6 6
1916—
6.7
1917	
6.2
1918	
6.7
1919	
5.9
1921	
6.0
1922	
7.0
1923	
5.9
1924	
6 1
1925	
6 2
1926	
6 3
1927	
7.6
1928              	
6 7
Table XII.—Relative Numbers of Males and Females, Rivers Inlet Sockeyes,
of the 42 and 5o Groups, 1915 to 1928.
Average Percentages.
Per Cent.
Total
Males.
Per Cent.
Year.
Four-year
Males.
Four-year
Females.
Five-year
Males.
Five-year
Females.
Total
Females.
1915              	
74
75
74
■79
74
65
66
71
74
66
63
68
63
26
25
26
21
26
35
34
29
26
34
37
32
37
40
42
49
45
48
38
38
33
31
34
32
36
30
60
58
51
55
■52
62
62
67
69
66
68
64
70
45
■52
53
66
58
49
51
61
62
50
41
51
62
51
1916               	
48
1917                      	
47
1918               	
34
1919...	
42
1920	
51
1921               	
49
1922	
39
1923...             ...
38
1924               	
50
1925	
'59
1926	
49
1927	
38
1928	
49 G 30
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
3. THE SKEENA RIVER SOCKEYE RUN OF 1928.
(1.) General Characteristics.
From the commercial standpoint the pack of the Skeena River was the darkest spot in the
sockeye-fishing of the season. The pack consisted of only 34,559 cases, which is the lowest on
record and 6,459 cases less than the previous low record of 1921 (Table XIII.). In our report
for the year 1927 we pointed out that a large pack could not be expected in 1928 because of the
lowT percentages of four- and five-year-old fish in the runs of 1924 and 1923 respectively, and
stated that a pack much in excess of 80,000 cases could not be expected. It is of interest, therefore, to seek possible causes for the discrepancy between prediction and actual pack.
Our predictions at the present time are based upon pack statistics according to cycle-years,
analyses of random samplings of the runs from year to year, and annual reports from the
spawning-beds, and upon the assumption that conditions remain reasonably constant from year
to year. We know nothing concerning the success of hatch, conditions during either the freshwater or the marine periods of growth, and but little concerning the fishing conditions in any
year. It is evident, therefore, that the pack of any year may not coincide with prediction.
However, in 1928, although the pack was relatively small, the reports from the spawning-beds
indicate a large escapement. Mr. Gibson says of 15-Mile Creek, a tributary of Babine Lake, in
Skeena basin: " Although I have been inspecting the spawning-grounds of Babine Lake since
1920, I have never before seen so many sockeye in this creek." Again: " In summing up the
Babine area, I can say with confidence that this area will be exceptionally well seeded this year."
He suggests that the additional weekly twelve hours of " close season" may have been
responsible for the large escapement. Undoubtedly the extra " close " period did allow more fish
to pass up to the spawning-beds than otherwise would have done so. Whether this circumstance
is sufficient to account for the difference between the expected and the actual pack cannot be
determined at the present time, and the returns four and five years hence will be watched with
great interest. It would seem, however, that with the large escapement the situation as regards
the future of this cycle on the Skeena River is satisfactory and that there should be good returns
four and five years hence.
The run of 1929 will be derived from the seedings of 1924 and 1925. In 1924 the pack consisted of 144,747 cases and the samplings of fish in that year showed that the five-year-old fish '
made up 75 per cent, of the run. The report from the spawning-beds at both Lakelse and Babine
Lakes states that large numbers of sockeye reached the streams and in general the runs were
exceptionally good. The prospect of a large return of five-year-old fish in 1929 should therefore
be good. In 1925 the pack amounted to 77,784 cases and the run was made up of 53 per cent, of
four-year-old fish. The spawning-beds were reported as having been very well seeded. In view
of these facts, it would seem that a large run, possibly producing a pack in the neighbourhood
of 140,000 cases, may be expected.
(2.) Age-groups.
Our material for study this year consisted of scales and data of 2,562 fish collected from
June 30th to August 14th, in twelve samplings. The four-year-old fish (4o) were predominant,
amounting to 1,318 individuals, or 51 per cent. The five-year-old fish (5 ) consisted of 996
individuals, or 39 per cent. The 5^ and 6 age-groups were present in percentages of 7 and 3
respectively (Tables XIV.. XV., and XVI.j.
(3.) Lengths and Weights.
The average lengths and weights in all the age-groups are low and in general slightly lower
than those of their progenitors. New low records in lengths are set by the 4 males, the 5, males,
and the 5 females, with 23.3, 23.5, and 22.8 inches respectively, and in weights by the 4 males
and females and the 5
to XX.).
males and females, with 5, 4.6, 5, and 4.6 respectively  (Tables XVII.
(4.)  Proportions of the Sexes.
The females slightly outnumbered the males in all the year-classes except in the 6. group.
The total number of females was 1,372 and of males 1,190, percentages of 54 and 46 respectively
(Table XXL). LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
G 31
Table XIII.—Percentages of >tv and 5- Age-groups, Skeena River Sockeyes,
in Runs of Successive Years.
Run of the Year.
Percei
Four an
Years
tage,
d Five
old.
o yrs.
4 yrs.
43%
57%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
50%
50%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
75%
25%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
64%
36%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
60%
40%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
62%
38%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
59%
41%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
69%
31%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
82%
18%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
24%
76%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
19%
81%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
34%
66%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
75%
25%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
47%
53%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
30%
70%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
31%
69%
5 yrs.
4 yrs.
43%
57%
Brood-years from which
derived.
1912 (92,49S cases).
1913 (59,927 cases).
1914 (130,166 cases).
1915 (116,553 cases).
1916 (60,923 cases).
1917 (65,760 cases).
191S (123,322 cases).
1919 (1S4.945 cases).
1920 (90,869 cases).
1921 (41,018 cases).
1922 (96,277 cases).
1923 (131,731 cases).
1924 (144,747 cases).
1925 (77,784 cases)....
1926 (82,360 cases).
1927 (83,996 cases).
1928 (34,559 cases).
1907 (108,413 cases).
1908 (139,846 cases).
j-1909 (87,901 cases).
1910 (187,246 cases).
1911 (131,066 cases).
1912 (92,498 cases).
1913 (52,927 cases).
1914 (130,166 cases).
1915 (116,-553 cases).
1916 (60,923 cases).
1917 (65,760 cases).
1918 (123,322 cases).
■ 1919 (184,945 cases).
1920 (90,869 cases).
.1921 (41,018 cases).
1922 (96,277 cases).
.1923 (131,731 cases).
J
1924 (144,747 cases). G 32
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
Table XIV.—Percentages of the Principal Year-classes, Skeena River Sockeyes,
from 1916 to 1928.
One Year in Lake.
Two Years in Lake.
Year.
Four Years
old.
Five Years
old.
Five Years
old.
Six Years
old.
1916	
34
57
51
27
•15
69
70
56
23
51
62
62
'51
38
29
34
60
71
22
16
29
69
45
26
28
39
13
9
9
9
6
6
12
8
7
3
9
9
7
18
1917	
1918	
6
1919	
4
1920	
8
1921	
3
1922	
2
1923	
7
1924	
1
1925	
1
1926	
3
1927               	
1
1928	
3
Table XV.—Skeena River Sockeyes, 1928, grouped by Age, Sex, and Length, and by
their Early History.
Number of
Individuals.
Length in Inches.
4
2
5
2
5
3
6
3
Total.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
20	
20%        .  	
1
3
18
23
59
61
152
88
109
61
41
13
1
2
1
2
17
35
141
104
220
74
59
22
6
3
2
1
7
4
10
19
50
40
88
54
91
32
39
6
2
4
3
6
2
32
40
112
80
136
61
57
10
10
1
1
1
5
7
16
16
16
8
4
2
1
2
3
24
19
32
9
12
2
1
1
4
3
5
1
10
4
4
1
2
5
8
5
6
o
1
1
1
1
1
2
6
21	
21%            	
39
65
22	
22%	
242
197
23	
23%     	
465
251
24	
24%             	
370
221
25	
25%	
287
135
26	
26%	
27	
27%	
28    .           	
161
52
54
6
4
28%	
Totals	
632
686
447
549
78
104
33
33
2,562
Ave. lengths
23.3
22.8
25.3
24.7
23.5           22.8
1
25.6
24.7 LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
G 33
Table XVI.—Skeena River Sockeyes, 1928, grouped by Age, Sex, and Weight, and by
their Early History.
NUMEER  OF
Individuals.
Weight in Pounds.
4
2
5
2
5
3
63
Total.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
3%     	
15
80
175
169
95
73
17
7
1
12
168
284
157
50
14
1
1
3
14
32
62
101
96
68
29
24
8
7
1
1
4
28
85
158
146
87
32
7
1
1
3
6
20
24
17
3
4
1
1
26
42
21
6
6
2
1
7
4
7
10
3
1
1
9
9
7
5
1
1
32
4	
4%	
287
564
5    	
498
5%         	
404
6         	
354
6%	
7	
215
121
7%	
8        	
40
26
8%   	
9
9	
9%	
9
2
10    	
1
Totals	
632
686
447
549
78
104
33
33
2,562
Ave. weights....
5.0
4.6
6.4
5.8
5.0
4.6
6.5
5.8
Table XVII.—Average Lengths of Skeena River Sockeyes, 40
for Seventeen Successive Years.
and 5  Age-groups,
Year.
Four-year
Males.
Four-year
Females.
Five-year
-Males.
Five-year
Females.
1912.
1913
1914.
1915
1916
1917.
1918
1919
1920.
1921.
1922.
1923.
1924.
1925.
1926.
1927.
1928.
24.6
23.5
24.2
24.2
23.9
23.6
'24.1
24.3
23.8
23.8
23.6
23.7
24.1
23.6
23.8
23.9
23.3
23.5
22.9
23.4
23.5
23.6
23.2
23.3
23.4
23.2
23.1
23.2
23.1
23.3
22.8
23.4
23.3
22.8
26.4
25.5
26.2
25.9
26.2
25.5
25.9
25.7
26.2
25.2
25.3
25.5
26.2
25.6
25.6
25.7
25.3
25.2
24.7
25.1
25.0
25.0
24.7
25.0
24.8
25.3
24.2
24.4
24.5
25.2
24.7
24.8
24.8
24.7 G 34
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
Table XVIII.—Average Lengths of Skeena Sockeyes, 5
for Thirteen Successive Years.
and 6   Age-groups,
Year.
Five-year
Males.
Five-year
Females.
Six-year
Males.
Six-year
Females.
1916	
24.1
23.9
23.9
24.3
24.1
24.2
23.8
23.9
24.7
24.1
24.6
24.1
23.5
23.8
23.8
23.4
23.4
23.4
23.4
23.3
23.2
23.6
23.3
23.8
23:5
22.8
26.2
25.4
25.2
25.8
26.2
24.9
24.6
25.6
25.8
25.8
26.0
2'5.2
25.6
24.8
1917                     	
25.0
1918             	
24.7
1919                                                     	
24.7
1920                                           	
25.1
1921              	
24.2
1922             	
24.1
1923                  . ...
24.4
1924	
24.8
1925	
24.8
1926	
25.0
1927	
24.9
1928	
24.7
Table XIX.—Average Weights of Skeena River Sockeyes, 4
for Fifteen Successive Years.
and 5   Age-groups,
Year.
Four-year
Males.
Four-year
Females.
Five-year
Males.
Five-year
Females.
1914	
5.9
5.7
5.4
5.3
5.8
6.1
5.6
5.7
5.4
5.3
5.6
5.1
5.3
5.4
5.0
5.3
5.2
5.1
5.0
5.3
5.5
5.1
5.1
5.1
4.9
5.0'
4.7
5.1
5.1
4.6
7.2
6.8
7.1
6.4
6.9
7.0
7.2
6.4
6.5
6.3
7.0
6.5
6.5
6.5
6.4
6.3
1915	
6.2
1916                   	
6.3
1917	
6.0
1918                                                        	
6 4
1919                                             	
6 2
1920 . .                     	
6 4
1921 :	
5 7
1922.. .             -	
1923                                        	
1924	
6 3
1925	
5 8
1926	
5 8
1927             	
1928	
5 8
Table XX.—Average Weights of Skeena River Sockeyes, 5   and 6   Age-groups,
for Fourteen Successive Years.
Year.
Five-year
Males.
Five-year
Females.
Six-year
Males.
Six-year
Females.
1915	
5.9
5.8
5.5
5.7
6.1
6.3
5.8
5.5
5.3
5.9
'5.5
5.9
'5.4
5.0
5.2
5.4
5.2
5.3
5.4
5.1
5.1
5.1
4.8
5.1
4.9
5.2
■5.0
4.6
6.6
7.1
6.3
6.6
6.9
7 H
6 0
1916	
5 9
1917	
5.8
1918	
1919	
6.3
1920	
1921	
1922	
6.2
6.3
6.6
6.9
6.9
6.0
6.5
5.7
5.4
5.8
5.4
6.2
■5.8
5.8
1923	
1924	
1925	
1926 ;	
1927	
1928	 LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
G 35
Table XXI.—Percentages of Males and Females in each of the Different Year-groups,
Skeena River Sockeyes, in a Series of Years.
Year.
4
2
6
2
5
3
6
3
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
1912	
54
69
60
55
70
65
63
53
41
44
52
60
50
57
40
45
48
46
31
40
45
30
35
37
47
59
56
48
40
50
43
60
55
52
42
47
47
45
43
48
46
46
37
44
41
37
43
42
43
41
45
5S
53
53
55
57
52
54
54
63
56
59
63
■57
58
57
59
55
56
65
61
52
43
SO
52
56
46
45
48
47
43
....
44
35
39
48
57
50
48
44
54
'55
52
53
57
--
54
58
56
45
41
43
53
40
46
47
49
'56
50
1913   	
1914	
1915	
1916	
46
1917	
42
1918 	
44
1919  	
1920	
59
1921	
57
1922	
47
1923	
60
1924     	
1925      	
53
1926	
1927	
1928	
51
44
50
4.   THE NASS RIVER SOCKEYE RUN OF 1928.
(1.)  General Characteristics.
The year 1928 finds the erratic Nass a normal river, fulfilling a logical expectation of a
very small pack. This pack is the smallest on record and consists of the astonishingly small
figure of 5,540 cases. Although the certainty of an unmistakable decline of the run of sockeyes
to the Nass has been impressing itself upon us during the past few years, up to the present time
it has not been necessary to face the possibility of complete failure in the near future. We
cannot look ahead without glancing back. As is well known, the great majority of Nass sockeyes
mature at the end of five years. Hence, the principal brood-year of this 1928 run was 1923,
which yielded the mediocre pack of 17,821 cases. In that year, after his annual inspection of the
spawning-grounds in the Meziadin watershed of the Nass River basin, Inspector Hickman
reported a very poor seeding. In view of the small size of this year's pack it is not surprising
to find the following in the summary of Inspector Hickman's report for 1928: " This year shows
that very few sockeye were to be found in any section; far less than have been found in any
one of the last four years."
In 1923 the pack was 17,821 cases. In 1928 it was 5,540, a drop of 12,000 cases. In 1933
what will the pack be? While predictions and expectations in the Nass run are in general
unreliable, one cannot conceive of any condition which could produce in 1933 anything but an
exceedingly small run and a pack of very small commercial value. On the other hand, the run
itself, by reason of its greatly reduced numbers, will be very valuable for seeding purposes and
every effort should be made to allow all the fish to reach the spawning-beds.
As the late Dr. Gilbert wrote in 1919, " AVhen the experience of a series of years indicates
unmistakably that the productivity of a stream is declining to a lower level, the common-sense
treatment of the situation is to modify favourably the only frtctor over which we exercise control.
We should increase the spawning reserve and thus seek to augment the egg production. Egg
production must, after all, be fundamentally most important. As a constant factor, in the long
run it will dominate the situation." Unless the taking of sockeye in the Nass River is prohibited
-in the year 1933 we can look for nothing but complete annihilation of the run which occurs in
the five-year cycle, 1923-28-33-38.
As for the run of 1929, we make no prediction. We will simply state that in the past the
packs of this five-year cycle have been consistently large, as the following figures show: 1909,
28,246 cases ; 1914, 31,327 cases; 1919, 28,259 cases ; 1924, 33,590 cases. Consequently we await
next year's return with unusual interest. G 36 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
In former years the late Dr. Gilbert pointed out on several occasions that large runs in the
Skeena and Rivers Inlet seemed to be intimately associated with large percentages of five-year-
old fish. It is interesting to note that in this cycle of the Nass the four-year-old component
of the runs is very small. We have no figure for 1909, but in 1914 the four-year-olds constituted
only 4 per cent, of the run; in 1919, 7 per cent.; and in 1924, 4 per cent.; while over a period
of seventeen years the general average of this group is 11-12 per cent. Not only is the brood-
year pack of 1919 larger, but, in addition, in that year Inspector Hickman reported the spawning-
beds more extensively seeded than usual. In any other river system, except the Nass, these facts
would indicate a very good return in 1929.
(2.) Age-groups.
The analysis of the run of 1928 is based upon 1,760 samples gathered every three or four
days beginning on June 23rd and continuing through August 16th. Only seven of the usual eight
age-groups are present. These are enumerated in Tables XXIV. and XXVI. The 7 class has
not been regarded as an important component of the run because it has never been represented
except by a very small number of individuals. Consequently it is no surprise to find a year
without a single representative. Of the principal age-groups, 30 per cent, are 42's; 6 per cent,
belong to the 5o's;   61 per cent, to the 5 's;   and 3 per cent, to the 63's (Table XXII.).
A comparison of these percentages and those of other years shows an unusual abundance
of 4 's. This is readily explained when one remembers that these fish are descendants of the
run of 1924, which was one of the most extensive runs known to the Nass. It is to be hoped that
the remainder of the progeny which will mature in 1929 will return in equal strength. Just as
the 4 's have returned in greater numbers than usual, sb the dominant class, the 5 's, has fallen
below its usual average. The percentages of 5, 's and 6 's are not unlike those of 1927 and the
five-year period 1922-26 (Table XXIIL).
(3.) Lengths and Weights.
A study of Tables XXV. and XXVII. shows that a slight lowering of the general average
lengths and weights has taken place in each year-class and, in general, in both sexes. It is
particularly noticeable in the 5 's and 6 's. In the past, maintenance of size from year to year
has been regarded as a racial characteristic. At the present time we regard the size reduction
of 1928 more as a peculiarity of the year than as an indication of a tendency likely to be
exhibited in the runs of the future. In the past the late Dr. Gilbert frequently made the suggestion that there seemed to be a definite correlation between general size reduction and a small
run.    The facts of this year's run to the Nass certainly substantiate his suggestion.
Tables XXVIII. to XXX. are included to give additional data on another racial characteristic—namely, that age and size are closely associated. The relation is this: that the smallest
fish are the youngest and, conversely, the largest fish are of the greatest age. In the other river
systems the factor determining the size does not seem to be age, but the number of years spent
on the sea-feeding grounds. For example, the Fraser, Skeena, and Rivers Inlet fish which have
lived three years in the ocean are all practically the same size irregardless of the age at which
they left the fresh water. Table XXVIII. illustrates this point. The Fraser figures for 1928
do not conform with those of past years. Their sequence suggests a correlation between age
and size as in the Nass. This, however, is probably not the case. A scrutiny of the table shows
both that the lengths of the sea-types (3 's and 4 's) are considerably below the averages of
former years, and also that the lengths of the 6 's are appreciably greater than usual. The
explanation of these differences presumably lies in the fact that these age-classes are not well
represented numerically. In small groups of individuals there is always a danger that all
variations will be in one direction, either toward largeness or smallness. In such cases the
average falls above or below the normal mean of a much larger number of the same individuals.
(4.)   Seasonal Changes during the Run.
One feature of the Nass run, the seasonal succession of the age-groups, shows no variation
from year to year. As stated previously, the 5 's are the dominant group and appear with
varying degrees of strength throughout the entire run. On the one hand, the sea-types, those
fish which go to sea without spending one or more years in fresh water, are present early in the
run.    On the other hand, the oldest fish, the 6's, run late.    The 4 's and 5 's are found during
2 2' LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
G 37
the whole run, but reach their maximum numbers in the second and third weeks of July
(Table XXXI.).
(5.)  The Meziadin and Bowser Lake Sockeye Colonies.
The discussion of these colonies is of necessity omitted this year. It has been the custom
of Inspector Hickman to collect scales and take measurements of sockeyes during his annual
visit to the spawning-grounds of the Nass River watershed. This year, however, the fish were
so scarce that he could not procure sufficient specimens from which to obtain material.
Table XXII.—Percentages of Principal Age-groups present in the Nass River Sockeye Run
from 1912 to 1928.
Year.
Percentage of Individuals that spent
One Year in Lake.
Four Years
old.
Five Years
old.
Two Years in Lake.
Five Years
old.
Six Years
old.
1912 (36,037 cases)
1913 (23,574 cases)
1914 (31,327 cases)
1915 (39,349 cases)
1916 (31,411 cases)
1917 (22,188 cases)
1918 (21,816 cases)
1919 (28,259 cases)
1920 (16,740 cases)
1921 (9,364 cases) ..
1'922 (31,277 eases)
1923 (17,821 cases)
1924 (33,590 cases)
1925 (18,945 cases)
1926 (15,929 cases)
1927 (12,026 eases)
1928 (5,540 cases)...
8
15
4
19
9
10
30
7
8
10
6
11
4
23
12
8
30
27
12
41
14
17
15
16
22
14
7
2
6
12
7
6
63
71
45
59
66
71
45
65
72
75
91
77
91
67
63
81
61
2
2
10
4
9
6
6
8
1
6
2
2
13
4
3
Table XXIII.—Percentage of Principal Age-groups in Nass River Soekeye Run
from 1912 to 1926 combined into Five-year Periods.
One Year
IN Lake.
Two Years in Lake.
Four Years
old.
Five Years
old.
Five Years
old.
Six Years
old.
1912-16	
11
13
11
22
15
7
62
65
77
1917-21	
7
1922-26 _	
5 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
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& «i LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
G 39
Table XXV.—Nass River Sockeyes, Average Lengths of Principal Classes
from 1912 to 1928.
Year.
4
2
5
2
5
3
6
3
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
1912 (inches)	
24.6
24.1
24.6
24.0
24.5
23.4
25.0
24.9
24.0
24.3
24.2
24.3
24.7
24.4
24.9
24.9
24.3
23.3
23.5
22.7
23.5
23.3
23.2
24.3
24.1
23.4
23.5
23.4
23.7
23.8
23.8
24.1
24.2
23.5
26.5
25.6
26.1
25.9
26.4
25.5
25.7
26.2
26.3
25.5
25.6
25.9
26.2
25.9
26.1
25.3
26.0
25.1
24.8
25.1
25.2
25.0
24.7
24.7
25.2
25.0
24.3
24.6
25.3
24.9
24.7
25.3
25.2
25.1
26.2
26.0
26.3
26.5
26.5
25.3
25.9
26.5
26.7
26.2
25.7
26.2
26.3
25.9
26.1
26.3
25.5
25.4
25.2
25.5
25.9
25.6
24.7
25.0
25.8
25.9
25.6
25.0
25.5
25.4
25.0
25.3
25.9
24.6
27.0
26.0
26.9
26.6
27.9
26.5
27.2
27.9
27.4
27.9
28.0
27.2
28.0
26.9
27.9
27.6
28.1
25.6
1913        „        	
26.6
1914       „        	
25.6
1915        „        	
25.3
1916       „        	
25.7
1917        „        	
25.5
1918       „         '....
25.2
1919       „        .... . 	
26.7
1920       „        	
25.9
1921        	
26.2
1922        „        	
25.9
1923        „        	
26.5
1924       „        	
25.4
1925        „        	
25.4
1926       „        	
27.0
1927        „        	
26.5
1928        „        	
26.2 G 40
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
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r- LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
G 41
Table XXVII.—Nass River Sockeyes, Average Weights of Principal Classes
from 1914 lo 1928.
Year.
4
2
5
2
5
3
6
3
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
6.2
5.6
6.0
5.3
6.3
6.0
5.6
6.0
5.9
5.8
5.9
5.9
6.0
6.2
5.6
5.0
5.2
5.3
5.3
■5.8
5.5
5.2
5.4
5.4
5.2
5.4
5.4
5.4
5.8
5.0
7.4
6.9
7.2
6.8
7.2
6.6
7.4
6.9
6.8
6.7
7.2
6.8
6.9
7.1
7.0
6.5
6.4
6.3
6.2
6.3
■5.9
6.3
6.1
6.2
6.1
6.1
6.1
6.2
6.3
6.2
7.2
7.0
7.2
6.3
7.2
6.7
7.4
6.9
6.8
6.6
6.8
6.7
6.7
6.9
6.2
6.5
6.6
6.2
5.8
6.4
6.1
6.7
6.3
6.3
6.0
6.1
6.0
6.0
6.2
5.5
7.9
7.2
8.1
7.3
8.3
7.8
7.9
7.7
8.1
7.2
8.0
7.4
7.8
7.8
8.1
6.8
1915                          	
6.5
1916                        	
6.4
1917        „        	
6.4
i9ie	
6.7
1919         „        	
6.7
1920         „        	
7.0
1921         „        	
6.6
1922                              	
6 6
1923                   	
6 8
1924                  	
6 5
1925         „        	
6 3
1926         „        	
7 1
1927         „            	
7 0
1928                              	
6 6
Table XXVIII.—Nass, Fraser, and Skeena Rivers and Rivers Inlet Sockeyes, 1923, 1926, 1921,
and 1928, grouped by Number of Years spent on the Sea-feeding Grounds.
Age.
Nass.
Fraser.*
Skeena.
Eivees Inlet.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
M.
F.
3
Year 1923.
Three years at sea—
Inches.
23.1
24.3
26.2
25.5
25.9
27.2
Inches.
22.4
23.7
25.5
24.3
25.3
26.5
Inches.
23.3
24.3
24.2
25.2
25.8
26.3
Inches.
22.7
23.3
22.9
24.1
24.8
24.9
Inches.
23.7
23.9
25.5
25.6
Inches.
23.1
23.2
24.5
24.4
Inches.
22.4
23.0
24.6
Inches.
4
5
4
One-year-in-lake type	
Two-years-in-lake type
Four years at sea—
22.3
23.0
24.1
6
Two-years-in-lake type
3
Year 1926.
Three years at sea—
23.7
24.9
26.1
24.5
26.1
27.9
22.3
24.1
25.3
24.0
25.3
27.0
23.4
22.6
23.2
25.4
24.6
25.5
22.5
22.3
22.4
24.6
24.0
23.7
23.8
24.6
25.6
26.0
23.4
23.8
24.8
25.0
22.8
22.9
25.1
25.6
4
22.9
5
4
Two-years-in-lake type
Four years at sea—■
23.1
24.6
6
Two-years-in-lake type
26.8
3
Year 1927.
Three years at sea—
23.4
24,9
'26.3
25.6
26.3
27.6
23.'5
•24.2
25.9
24.1
25.2
26.5
23.4
24.1
21.7
25.1
26.1
25.3
22.2
23.1
22.0
24.5
24.6
24.6
'23.9
24.1
25.7
25.2
23.3
23.5
24.8
24.9
22.1
22.5
24.6
4
5
4
One-year-in-lake type	
Two-years-in-lake type
Four years at sea—
22.4
23.2
'5
24.2
6
Two-years-in-lake type
24.3
3
Year 1928.
Three years at sea—
23.7
24.3
25.5
25.1
26.0
28.1
22.4
23.5
24.6
23.6
25.1
26.2
19.1
23.4
24.2
19.8
25.5
27.1
18.7
23.0
23.4
24.7
26.0
23.3
23.5
25.3
25.6
22.8
22.8
24.7
24.7
22.3
22.8
'   26.1
27.2
4
One-year-in-lake type	
22.8
5
4
Two-years-in-lake type
Four years at sea—•
23.0
5
25.2
6
Two-years-in-lake type
25.5
* The figures formerly recorded in this table as those of 1923 were in reality those of 1922.
has been corrected In this report.
The mistake G 42
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
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© LIFE-HISTORY OF SOCKEYE SALMON.
G 43
Table XXXI.—Number of Individuals of each Glass of Nass River Sockeyes running at
Different Dates in 1928.
Date.
4
2
5
2
5s
6s
6,
\
\
4
l
Number of
Individuals
examined.
June 23	
June 26	
June 29	
July 3    	
25
28
34
41
31
33
52
50
49
59
37
36
22
18
3
6
6
10
12
4
6
12
10
8
5
6
1
K
3
2
44
46
63
72
85
74
51
62
64
53
69
78
87
50
30
85
2
1
2
1
1
7
1
2
3
9
5
7
3
2
4
1
1
1
2
1
1
15
14
2
1
20
12
7
1
1
110
112
119
120
July 6 .    	
124
July 9 	
121
July 13     	
121
July 16	
121
July 20	
121
July 24 	
121
July 28	
119
July 31	
122
Aug. 4	
Aug. 8	
121
75
35
Aug. 16	
98
524
93
1,013
50
7
32
41
1,760 G 44 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
THE SPAWNING-BEDS OF THE PKASEE EIVEE.
Hon. S. L. Howe,
Commissioner of Fisheries, Victoria, B.C.
Sie,—I have the honour to submit the following report of my twenty-sixth yearly inspection
of the salmon fishing and spawning areas of the Fraser River, made during the year 1928:—
The Catch in the Fraser River System.—The catch of all species of salmon in Provincial
waters of the Fraser River system this year produced a pack of 258,224 cases, as against 284,378
cases in 1927, 274,951 cases in 1926, 276,855 cases in 1925, and 212,059 cases in 1924.
The pack consisted of 29,299 cases of sockeye, 5,082 cases of springs, 27,061 cases cohoes,
2,881 cases pinks, and 193,106 cases of chums.
The pack of 29,299 cases of sockeye was the second smallest recorded in Provincial waters
of the system. It was 32,094 cases less than in 1927, 56,390 cases less than in 1926, and 10,444
cases less than in its brood-year, 1924. The pack of chums, 193,106 cases, was the largest made
in Provincial waters of the Fraser. It was 83,611 cases greater than the former record high
pack of 109,495 cases made in 1924. The pack of pinks—it was not a " pink " year—was but
2,881 cases. It was 29,375 cases less than the pack in its brood-year, 1926. The cohoe-pack of
27,061 cases was 9,656 cases less than in its brood-year, 1925.
The catch of sockeye in the State of Washington waters of the Fraser River system in 1928
produced a pack of 61,044 cases. It was 8,325 cases less than the pack in the preceding fourth
year.
The combined pack of sockeye in the Fraser River system totalled 90,343 cases. It was
18,769 cases less than in its brood-year, 1924. It was 32,029 cases less than the average of the
preceding eight years. There was no late run this year to correspond with the late runs in
1926 and 1927.
The Spawning Areas of the Fraser River Basin.—As in the preceding twenty-five years, the
inspection of the sockeye-salmon spawning areas of the Fraser basin was made in August,
September, and October. In addition to the information gained from personal inspection, I am
greatly under obligation to Major J. A. Motherwell, Dominion Chief Inspector of Fisheries in the
Province, for furnishing me copies of spawning-bed reports made him by his many assistants
stationed at important points, and am also indebted to members of the Provincial Police and to
many white and Indian residents on the Fraser and its tributaries. The information so gained
enabled me to form a more comprehensive view of conditions than was possible from my own
personal observation.
Sockeye in numbers made their appearance in Hell's Gate Canyon, in the Fraser above Yale,
in July. A few fish were seen there in May. The July and August runs were the largest this
year, but the number seen there in September and October was smaller than in recent years.
Throughout the season water conditions appeared to be more favourable than usual. The July
and August fish were exceptionally large, as was the case with those caught in the traps in
Juan de Fuca Strait and in the Lower Fraser in July and early August. They were typical
up-river fish. Later reports indicate that they spawned in the Chilcotin and North Thompson
Rivers.   Very few of them were reported from any other section.
Reports made to Major Motherwell show that sockeye salmon made their first appearance
at the canyon in the Fraser above the mouth of Bridge River on July 21st, and remained in
evidence until August 10th; they increased in number between the 10th and 21st. A small
number passed daily in September and a few were noted October 7th and 8th. The fish were
large, averaging 25 inches in length. Water conditions were unusually favourable up to
September 13th.    The Indians fishing at the canyon caught 2,724 sockeye and 1,092 springs.
Sockeye in numbers entered the Chilcotin River on July 25th and ran until August 8th.
Another school entered the river August 19th and ran until August 21st. Both consisted of large
fish. During the runs the Chilcotin Indians, at their fishing-station^ at Fish Canyon and at
Indian Bridge, caught upwards of 1,900 large-sized sockeye. Their catch this year was three or
four times greater than that made in any one of the past twelve years. Their fishing was closely
watched by Dominion Fishery Guardian Harvey, who later on visited Chilko Lake, where he
states he observed upwards of 20,000 sockeye in the reaches of the rivers, a few miles below the
lake itself. This is the first time in twelve years that sockeye in numbers have been seen there.
So few sockeye have reached Chilko Lake in recent years that some observers have been led to
conclude that Chilko Lake had never been frequented by any considerable number of sockeye
and that the spawning-beds of that lake had never been an important factor in contributing to a big year's run of fish to the Fraser. The contrary is true, as the records abundantly show.
No other tributary of the Fraser basin, not even excepting the Quesnel and Shuswap sections,
was formerly more abundantly seeded than Chilko. It was one of the greatest tributaries to the
runs of the big year in the entire Fraser basin.
From the known facts in the life-history of the sockeye it must be assumed that the runs
of from 20,000 to 30,000 sockeye to the Chilcotin-Chilko Rivers this year were the product of fish
which spawned in that area four years ago. But the records do not show that any considerable
number of sockeye were noted in that section that year. The run this year is as difficult to
account for as the October runs of sockeye to Adams and Little Rivers in 1926 and 1927. It only
goes to show how little reliance can be placed on the inspection of spawning areas. The areas
are so vast, the points where accurate estimates can be made so few, and the runs of sockeye
that have entered the mouth of the Fraser in recent yeajs so small that it has been and is most
difficult to form an opinion as to the approximate number which reached many sections.
In no other tributary of the Fraser, above the mouth of Bridge River, which includes Quesnel
and Stuart Lakes, were sockeye in numbers reported this season.
The run of sockeye to the Thompson River, Shuswap section, this year, while larger than in
average years, was not up to that of the two previous years. There was a run in August.
Instead of proceeding to Shuswap Lake they passed up the North Thompson River. The
majority appear to have spawned in Raft River and Finn Creek; Fishery Officer Shotton saw
them there. It is the first time in many years, he stated, when any considerable number of
sockeye have been seen in that section. The Indians who flocked to the section appear to have
taTten a large number.
Officer Shotton further reported that approximately 10,000 sockeye spawned in Little River
in October. The majority of the fish observed were of the small variety of sockeye. The Indians
caught a considerable number. The run was very much smaller than the runs in October of
1926 and 1927. They appear to have spawned largely in Little River; very few entered Adams
River.
Very few sockeye entered Seton-Anderson Lakes this year.
The run of sockeye that reached the Birkenhead River, at the head of the Harrison-Lillooet
Lakes section, this year, while up to the average, was considerably less than the run in their
brood-year 1924. The fish were rather late in arriving. The sockeye-egg collection from the
Birkenhead totalled 35,010,000.
The run of sockeye to Cultus Lake was intercepted at the entrance to the lake, in accordance
with the experiments conducted there by the Biological Board of Canada. The number of fish
taken in the traps totalled 14,899, of which 11,205 were females and 3.694 males, a most exceptional ratio of three females to each male. The fish taken were stripped and eggs placed in
the hatcheries.   The number taken totalled 28,114,000.
From the foregoing it will be appreciated that a small return is all that can be anticipated
from this year's seeding of the spawning-beds of the Fraser River.
I am indebted to Major Motherwell for the following statement giving the egg collection at
the hatcheries on the Fraser River and other streams this year:—
Salmon-egg Collections, British Columbia Hatcheries, 1928.
Hatchery.                                                                      Sockeye Salmon. Spring Salmon.
Anderson Lake, V.I       8,799,000 	
Babine Lake, Skeena      9,144.000 	
Cowichan Lake, V.I  1,670,000
Cultus Lake, Fraser      28,114,000 	
Kennedy Lake, V.I      2,819,600 	
Pemberton, Fraser      35,010,000 	
Pitt Lake, Fraser        5,550,000 	
Rivers Inlet      14,060,500 	
Skeena River       5,525,000 	
Totals   109,022,100 1,670,000
Respectfully submitted. _ _
John Pease Babcock,
Victoria, December 1st, 1928. Assistant to the Commissioner. THE SPAWNING BEDS OP EIVEES INLET.
Hon. S. L. Howe,
Commissioner of Fisheries, Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—In pursuance of instructions from the Department, I have the honour to submit my
report upon the inspection of the spawning-grounds at Rivers Inlet for the year 1928.
It was anticipated that the exceptionally fine run of sockeye experienced at the commencement of the fishing season would, if continued, result in a big pack being put up by the canneries,
but as the season progressed it fell off to such an extent that little more than half a big-year
pack was obtained. This failure was generally attributed to the cold, wet season combined with
the large number of power-boats operating on the inlet, causing the fish to swim deep, thus
avoiding the nets and passing through to the spawning-grounds; but, as it turned out, such was
not the case, because conditions on the spawning-grounds were anything but satisfactory. The
failure was due to a poor run of fish.
In the brood-years 1923-24 the reports show that the spawning-beds with one or two exceptions contained a big run, and had conditions during the spawning been favourable the return
of mature sockeye this year would have shown up much more favourably. In the late fall of
1924 an abnormal downfall of rain, lasting for several days, caused such extreme " freshets "
that the rivers and creeks, one and all, were literally scoured out, undoubtedly causing untold
damage to the eggs, and to this I have every reason to believe the failure to be attributable.
It was not until October 4th that I was available to make the inspection; consequently it
was not possible to see the condition of the head-rivers when the fish were at the height of
spawning. I am, however, indebted to Mr. Frank Tingley, Superintendent of the Hatchery, and
Mr. James Boyd, Dominion Fishery Overseer, for valuable information. They had visited the
spawning-beds at the Indian, Cheo, and Washwash Rivers three weeks prior to my visit and
were in a position to give me first-hand information. All the rivers contained a big run of
sockeye and compared very favourably with the fine showing experienced last year. The exceptional size of the sockeye was especially noted, indicating a big return of five-year fish. Mr.
Boyd informed me that in the Washwash River the run of sockeye was composed of 60 per cent,
of five-year and 40 per cent, of four-year fish, which indicates a big run of four-year sockeye
entered this stream. He also noted a big run of spring salmon. It is apparent from their
report that the " freshet " had not affected these early-running streams like those which receive
the later runs.
Leaving the cannery at Rivers Inlet on October 4th, we proceeded through the rapids to the
Owikeno Lake. On the way up cohoe and spring salmon were breaking water in all directions.
At the Old Town Rancheries, situated near the mouth of the lake, the Indians informed me that
few sockeye were spawning here, but anticipated that a big run of fish would drop back from
the lake later. On reaching Quap River I made camp and, as very few sockeye had shown up,
crossed over and inspected the Dalley River, situated directly opposite. Proceeding up through
the rapids to the headwaters, a very fair run of sockeye could be seen spawning in the clear
water above each riffle. It did not reach the proportions of the brood-years 1923-24 by 20 per
cent., but in size they represented a high average, the males outnumbering the females two to
one.    No log-jams or other obstructions interfered with the movement of the fish up-stream.
An examination of the Asklum River, situated about 16 miles from the mouth of the lake and
generally considered one of the most prolific spawning-streams on the lake, was very disappointing. There was no evidence of sockeye in the lower portion near the entrance, or out in the lake,
but a very fair run had taken possession of the spawning-beds farther up and were much in
evidence right up to the rough water. Large and small sockeye were about equally represented,
the males predominating in the proportion of two to one over the females. The river was clear
of obstructions, but showed signs of the havoc caused by the "freshets." In comparing the run
of sockeye to this tributary with the vast numbers which returned in the brood-years 1923-24,
it falls short by at least 50 per cent.
Making camp at Jeneesee Creek, the inspection of the tributaries at this section was made.
Jeneesee Creek contained a fair run of sockeye and at the time of my visit they were coming in
from the lake in large numbers. Small three-year sockeye were much in evidence above the
hatchery fence. The hatcherymen had made a fair collection of eggs, but the fish were too
green for spawning purposes and many had to be thrown back. The run did not compare in
any way with the dense masses seen during the brood-years.    In size the fish were above the average and no doubt derived from the 1923 brood. On my return from the head of the lake
I again visited this creek, but no improvement was shown.
The low stage of the Machmell River permitted an uninterrupted view of the spawning-beds
right up to the canyon, but the thick, muddy condition of the water prevented an accurate
estimate of the run. A few sockeye cast up on the bars were noted, and in the shallow water
above each riffle a few could be seen spawning. In size they were above the average, males
outnumbering the females two to one.
The Nookins (or Nechants, as it is sometimes termed), tributary to the Machmell, ranks
with the best of the spawning-streams on the lake, but this year fell far below expectations.
Passing up through the rapids a few sockeye were observed close inshore, and in the side-streams
adjacent others spawned, but taking the entire run on the whole it was very poor and one of
the smallest seen in years. In size the fish represented a high average, the males outnumbering
the females two to one.
The inspection of Sheemahant River was next undertaken. It is one of the most difficult
rivers to negotiate, extending up to the falls 18 miles distant. Above the falls spawning-beds of
the finest description extend again 20 miles in to the mountains. Proceeding up through the
various rapids, sockeye in fair numbers were seen spawning on the gravel-beds above each riffle,
while many others were observed making their way up-stream close inshore. The water was
very milky, so that it was difficult to estimate the run, but sufficient numbers were spawning on
the beds to ensure a fair run of fish from the seed deposited. There was a fair run of sockeye
in the small creek 10 miles up, large and small fish being about equally represented. The run is
similar in numbers to that which returned in 1924. Two or three log-jams obstructed portions
of the river, but did not interfere with the movement of the sockeye up-stream. Males and
females were about equally divided.
There were a few sockeye and cohoe salmon spawning on the beds at the " Narrows," close
to the Indian smoke-house, and also at Sunday Creek, but in each case the run fell far short of
the return in the brood-years.
Making camp at the head of the lake, the three tributaries, Indian, Cheo, and Washwash,
were next inspected. It was of course too late to observe the extent of the run, but indications
showed that a big run of sockeye entered these streams a month prior to my visit, and which
Mr. Tingley and Mr. Boyd commented so favourably upon. In the Indian River, lying over on
the extreme left of the lake, carcasses in hundreds littered the bars, creating a most offensive
odour. Small patches of half-eaten fish along the banks showed that the bears were not slow
in taking advantage of the opportunity to have a big feast. A few spent sockeye were noted
even at this late stage in the lower portion near the entrance. The run was composed of sockeye
above the average size, females outnumbering the males two to one.
Passing up through to the headwaters of the Cheo River, hundreds of dead fish covered the
bars, and especially was this so between the log-jam and the falls; sockeye in the last stages of
spawning could be seen in the clear water swimming around near the entrance. The run here
was composed of large sockeye similar to the Indian River, males and females being about
equally divided. With the exception of the big log-jam 3% miles up the river, no other obstructions impeded the movement of the sockeye up-stream.
The Washwash River, lying over on the extreme right of the lake, was again a great scene
of chaos; log-jams scattered all over the bars near the entrance had split up the main river into
several small ones. Each of these small streams contained hundreds of carcasses of sockeye,
indicating a very big run earlier in the spawning season. Some in the last stages of exhaustion
were swimming around at the entrance. There appeared to be a greater proportion of small
sockeye in the Washwash than had been noted in any of the other rivers previously examined,
although the large sockeye were in the majority.    Males outnumbered the females two to one.
Returning from the head of the lake, a visit was again paid to Quap River, where the
hatcherymen were busy collecting eggs for the hatchery. About half the hatchery had been
filled at this time, and it was anticipated that a big run of sockeye would enter later with the
rise of the lake. Indications, however, did not look very promising, since the dense masses of
fish which in the last few years had invaded Quap River appeared to be entirely absent this
year. Usually, when a big run of fish is on, the water outside in the bay is continually disturbed
by fish breaking water, but this was noticeably absent. The run is composed of sockeye ranging
from 6 to 10 lb. in weight, reminding me of the very high average of the big-year runs. Males
were in greater proportion to the females by at least two to one. G 48 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
The small creek adjoining the hatchery was full of sockeye and showed up in great contrast
to the poor showing in some of the other streams. The run is composed of sockeye of exceptional
size.
On my return to the Indian rancheries at the head of the Owikeno River, the Indians were
not able to give me a very favourable account of the spawning. Many had been out spending
all day in trying to get sufficient sockeye for their winter's need—where in other years no
difficulty was found in filling the nets in one haul. The sockeye also were small fish, and no
doubt the result of the 1924 brood. Passing down through the rapids chum salmon in large
numbers were observed.
In summing up the results of the inspection of the Rivers Inlet watershed, I am of the
opinion that a moderate run only may be expected from the result of the spawning this season.
With the exception of the Indian, Cheo, and Washwash Rivers, all showed a marked falling-off,
which I estimate to be 40 per cent, lower than the total runs which returned in the brood-years
1923-24. There is no doubt that great damage was done to the eggs in the late fall of 1924 by
the extreme freshet, which probably accounts for the lack of small fish. The run of big sockeye
was apparently not so affected, since they predominated the run not only on the fishing-grounds,
but on the spawning-beds. Humpback salmon were very scarce in this district, but cohoe and
chum salmon were in great abundance.
In conclusion, I wish to express my appreciation for courtesies extended by Mr. Frank
Tingley, Superintendent of the Dominion Hatchery, and the men at the various spawning camps.
Respectfully submitted.
A. W. Stone,
Provincial Fisheries Overseer.
Rivers Inlet, B.C., November 19th, 1928. THE SPAWNING-BEDS OP SMITH INLET.
Hon. S. L. Howe,
Commissioner of Fisheries, Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit my report upon the inspection of the spawning-grounds
of Smith Inlet for the year 1928.
The run of sockeye which returned to Smith Inlet this year was derived from the eggs
spawned in 1923-24. In 1923 the spawning-beds were exceptionally well seeded, but in 1924
were not so satisfactory; this, however, may have been due to the early inspection, and that
the main run of fish were late in leaving the lake-waters for the spawning-beds, due note of
which was recorded in my report for that year. Looking back over the records of the packs
put up during the " lean " years prior to 1920, it will be seen that the Dominion Department of
Fisheries made no mistake when they curtailed the activities of the seine-nets in Qualla Creek.
Not only did the packers put up a record for a " lean " year, of 33,000 cases of sockeye, but
sufficient numbers escaped to the spawning-beds to ensure a big return four and five years hence,
subject of course to climatic conditions not having affected the spawn. From the remarkable
size of the sockeye it is evident that the run was composed mainly of five-year fish.
On account of the delay in the inspection of the spawning-beds at Rivers Inlet, it was later
than usual that the inspection was made at Smith Inlet. Reaching the vicinity of the spawning-
beds on October 28th, I made camp at the mouth of the lake, and examined the Docee River (the
overflow to the lake) first. Spring salmon, all in an advanced stage of spawning, filled the
entire river and provided one of the biggest runs of this species of salmon known in years.
Cohoe salmon intermingled with the springs in very large numbers, and were busy spawning not
only in the river, but along the shore-line at the mouth of the lake.
Proceeding up the lake to Quay Creek, 7 miles distant, a few spent sockeye were swimming
around on spawning-beds outside, but, as this is an early-running stream, it was not possible to
estimate the extent of the run, which had arrived three weeks prior to my visit.
Arriving at the Geluch (or Smoke-house Creek, as it is generally termed), camp was made
and an inspection of the spawning-beds undertaken. Passing up through the various rapids,
thousands of sockeye lined the beds, all in the last stages of spawning, while dead fish covered
the bars in all directions; hundreds had been left high and dry on the banks during high water,
not having spawned. All the mountain streams adjacent to the river were full of spawned-out
sockeye, representing large and small fish in about equal numbers. Males and females were
evenly distributed. The scene in this river is a repetition of the remarkable run which returned
in 1923. No log-jams or other obstructions interfered with the movement of the salmon upstream.
The Delabah River, lying about 2 miles from the head of the lake, was again a scene of
unparalleled activity. No sockeye were to be seen outside in the lake, but from the entrance
right up to the falls thousands upon thousands of fish, all in the last stages of exhaustion, covered
the beds, while carcasses littered the bars in every direction, the stench being overpowering.
Big fish formed the majority of the run, indicating that it was from eggs spawned in 1923, or
composed mainly of five-year sockeye.
Returning down the lake, cohoe salmon were to be seen breaking water in all directions,
while in the Docee River they were coming in to spawn in ever-increasing numbers.
A very poor run of humpback salmon this year was the report received from all quarters,
but chum salmon, on the other hand, were exceptionally prolific, representing one of the biggest
runs known in years, while cohoe salmon were plentiful.
In summing up the results of the spawning for this year, I am of the opinion that we can
look forward to a big run of sockeye from this year's seeding, four and five years hence.
Respectfully submitted.
A. W. Stone,
Fishery Overseer.
Rivers Inlet, B.C., November 19th, 1928. THE SPAWNING-BEDS OP THE SKEENA EIVEK.
Hon. S. L. Howe,
Commissioner of Fisheries, Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—In obedience to your instructions, I beg to submit the following report on the spawning-
beds of the Skeena River for the year 1928:—
I left Prince Rupert on September 7th and arrived at Burns Lake early the following
morning. After outfitting I set out again and reached Donald's Landing, on Babine Lake, on the
evening of the 9th.
Babine Lake is due north from Burns Lake, about 25 miles distant, and is reached by a fair
wagon-road. Babine Lake was at about its average low level for late summer and was therefore favourable for natural propagation purposes. At the outset, I may say, I was not very
optimistic of finding well stocked and seeded sockeye-creeks, as the sockeye-pack on the Skeena
River this year was much below the average. I was agreeably surprised, however, as the
following report will show.
The first creek visited was 15-Mile Creek, near the head of the lake, which is one of the best
all-round spawning-creeks on the Babine watershed. At the mouth of the creek six Stuart Lake
Indian families were encamped in smoke-houses and were catching sockeye with nets in the lake
near the mouth of the creek. The total catch each night up to the time of my visit would
average about sixty sockeye. The nets are not used during the day owing to the water being
very clear, and of course not used during the weekly closed season. A Dominion Fishery
Guardian is stationed at this creek during the sockeye run to prevent the Indians fishing during
the close season and also to stop any interference with the spawning-beds. 15-Mile Creek is a
fairly long creek, but it has only about half a mile of good spawning-grounds. The spawning-
grounds stretch from the mouth of the creek and are ideal for the purpose, having not a rock
or boulder in the half-mile stretch. This area was one teeming mass of sockeye. Although
I have been inspecting the spawning-grounds of Babine Lake since 1920, I have never before
seen so many sockeye in this creek. I made a trip beyond the usual spawning-grounds farther
up the creek and noticed many sockeye utilizing to the best advantage the few gravelly patches
here and there between the boulders. The Fishery Guardian informed me that the first sockeye
were seen in this creek on August 8th and the first run two days later. The males and females
appeared to be evenly distributed and of a good average size. There were again many " runts "
or grilse to be seen, but their numbers did not appear to be in excess of previous years.
On September 12th I visited Pierre Creek, another good sockeye-creek on Babine Lake.
Babine Lake, I may say, is about 113 miles long and Pierre Creek enters it about midway. This
creek has about 2 miles of good spawning-ground, beginning, like 15-Mile Creek, right at the
mouth of the creek. Mr. Crawford, Superintendent of Stuart Lake Hatchery, was busily engaged
at the time in spawning operations and had obtained approximately 5,000,000 sockeye-eggs for
Stuart Lake Hatchery. There was also a fine showing of sockeye in this creek, being far ahead
of any former year that I have seen. The females were slightly in excess of the males in number
and both sexes were of a good average size. It was pleasing to note that few runts were to be
seen here. Although Pierre is considered to be an early-spawning creek, many sockeye were still
to be seen in the lake at the mouth of the creek, indicating that the sockeye were still running.
On September 13th I visited Fulton River, the largest creek flowing into Babine Lake. This
creek flows from Fulton Lake, about 5 miles distant, and is a real angler's paradise, as far as
big rainbow trout are concerned. The sockeye do not spawn in the lower stretches of Fulton
River as the first half-mile resembles a slough, in that it has a muddy bottom. Two falls close
to Fulton Lake, the largest having a sheer drop of 40 feet, prevent the sockeye entering Fulton
Lake. Many fine specimens were seen in the large pools at the foot of the first falls. The
sockeye were plentiful in this creek and could be plainly seen in large numbers on all the
gravelly patches. The males and females appeared to be evenly balanced, but the runts were
more numerous than in former years. Fulton River is one of the later-spawning creeks of
Babine and many sockeye could be seen breaking water at the mouth of the creek. Five Babine
Indian families were fishing near the mouth of the creek and, judging by the sockeye in their
smoke-houses, had done very well. Fulton River will be well seeded and will compare favourably with any previous good year. Leaving Fulton River I arrived at Babine village the same night. The following morning
I made the usual trip down the 12-mile stretch of the Babine River. This is the only outlet of
Babine Lake. This stretch is fairly wide, with very little current, and it is the scene of much
activity during the months of August and September. Thirty smoke-houses of a permanent
nature are located on this stretch and they are occupied by some sixty-five Babine Indian
families. Every evening except Saturday, during the sockeye run, these sixty-five families set
their nets, about 195 in number, for the night. The nets are taken in again in the morning
and hung up to dry; meanwhile all hands attend to the catch of fish, cleaning and smoking, etc.
Each family is supplied with a gill-net every second year by the Dominion authorities. These
nets are 200 feet long, 25-mesh deep, with 5^-inch extension measure. The smoke-houses visited
were found well stocked with sockeye and few complaints were heard as to lack of fish. A few
good-sized spring salmon were seen in the smoke-houses and many pinks on the racks at the
lower end of this stretch. In the narrow part beyond this stretch the river was swarming with
pinks. A Fishery Guardian patrols this 12-mile stretch, and to him I am indebted for the
following information: Sockeye were first seen and caught entering Babine Lake on July 9th.
Fair run on July 24th and running strong on July 29th. Ten families were fishing on August
10th and the whole sixty-five families fishing by August 28th. On the following dates big runs
of sockeye were reported entering the lake: August 10th, 13th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, 27th, 28th, 29th,
and 31st; September 4th, 5th, 6th, 12th, and 13th. On August 30th there was a big run of pinks
below the fishing-grounds on Babine River. With the sockeye the males appeared to be in excess
of the females by about three to one. The runts were also very much in evidence here and are
undoubtedly on the increase. In regard to the pinks, it is interesting to note that, although the
pack of this variety was a big one on the Skeena this year, the run to Babine was not as good
as last year.
Leaving Babine village I arrived at the Dominion Government Hatchery on September 15th.
The hatchery is located at the head of Hatchery Creek and is about 3 miles from Babine Lake.
Hatchery Creek in turn flows out of Morrison Lake, which is about 12 miles long. The trail
from Babine Lake to the hatchery is close to the creek, and all the way up continuous splashing
was heard, indicating the presence of many sockeye. I met Mr. Eaton, the Hatchery Superintendent, who had just started to collect his quota of 8,000,000 sockeye-eggs for the hatchery.
The " pens " erected at the head of the creek, close to the hatchery, were full of sockeye, which
ensured a full hatchery. Hatchery Creek has long been noted for its steady run of sockeye and
also the large size of the fish. This year was no exception, but unfortunately there was an
extraordinary number of runts among them. This is the first year that I have noticed so many
runts in this creek. -The first sockeye were seen in Hatchery Creek on July 27th, which is a
little later than usual. The males and females were about even in number. While I was at
the hatchery word was received that 6,000,000 sockeye-eggs collected by Mr. Crawford from
Pierre Creek and 3,000,000 from 15-Mile Creek, originally intended for Stuart Lake Hatchery,
were to be brought to Babine Hatchery. On receipt of this information all pens and fences in
the creek were immediately removed, allowing the sockeye to go where they desired and spawn
naturally. In this regard it was interesting to note that, although the majority that were near
the lake passed on through, and many would certainly spawn in the creek at the head of
Morrison Lake, a good number returned to Hatchery Creek. Mr. Eaton informed me that the
biggest cohoe run known on Hatchery Creek and Morrison Lake took place last year. While
spawning, Mr. Eaton had obtained an adult female sockeye having the adipose fin cut. This
fish was so marked at the hatchery four or five years ago, and I was fortunate in obtaining
the data, which were forwarded to Dr. Clemens at Nanaimo.
I returned to Donald's Landing, but was unable to visit Grizzly Creek, at the head of the
lake, owing to stormy weather. I did, however, visit 15-Mile Creek again, which I found in even
better condition. The fences had all been removed and the Indians had returned to Stuart Lake,
from all accounts well satisfied with their catch.
A delay in transportation facilities necessitated a stop of two days at Donald's Landing and
I reached Burns Lake on September 25th.
In summing up the Babine area, I can say with confidence that this area will be exceptionally
well seeded this year. From a canneryman's point of view this may be difficult to understand,
owing to the poor sockeye-fishing this year. Undoubtedly there will be good reasons advanced
as to why this is so, but I think that the most important reason, and the most logical one, was G 52
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
the enforced additional twelve hours of a " close season " throughout sockeye-fishing. A distressing feature, however, was the big increase seen in the number of runts. These runts are undersized but fully matured three-year-old sockeye, properly called grilse, and are practically all
males.    Some measure should be taken to eliminate them, at least to some extent.
On September 26th I visited Moricetown Falls, on the Bulkley River. In accounting for
ten fish going over the falls, five were cohoes, three were sockeye, and two were large steelheads.
An old Indian, with a safety-rope around his waist in Alpine fashion, was catching one of these
three varieties every five minutes with the aid of a long pole with gaff-hook attached.
I visited Agwillgate Canyon the same day, but found little to be seen there. I was assured,
however, that there had been a good run of sockeye up the Bulkley River.
Kispiox River was again up to expectations in regard to the pinks, the river being literally
swarming with this variety.
On September 28th I visited Lakelse Lake and met Mr. Hearne, the Superintendent at the
Dominion Hatchery. Lakelse Lake is the first important sockeye-spawning area and the earliest
of the Skeena watershed. It is 12 miles from Terrace and is reached by a good automobile-road.
The lake is about 5 miles long and is becoming famous for its cut-throat and rainbow trout.
Excellent fly-fishing can be had, and this, coupled with the added attraction of a well-equipped
hot springs and hotel, is yearly drawing an increasing number of anglers and tourists.
There are four sockeye-creeks on Lakelse Lake—namely, AVilliams, Schullabuchan, Granite,
and Hot Springs. Owing to the late date I did not visit the last three named creeks, but did
visit AVilliams Creek as the sockeye were still running there. Heavy rains had discoloured the
water and swollen the creek considerably, so that other than an occasional sockeye breaking
water it was impossible to determine the extent of the run. Fences and pens for spawning
purposes were erected at AVilliams Creek on July 22nd. Spawning commenced on August 4th,
but the pens and fences were washed out on August 9th, allowing between 3,000 and 4,000 sockeye
to pass through. Mr. Hearne informed me that when spawning first began the males predominated to the extent of fifteen to one, but gradually lessened off and later on the sexes were about
equal in number. In contrast to Babine there were very few runts at Lakelse, the sockeye being
big in average. Mr. Hearne had obtained 5,400,000 sockeye-eggs and, but for the difficulty
experienced with the high water and loss of fences, could have obtained at least 10,000,000. He
was, however, hopeful of securing a few more thousands.
The run to Granite and Hot Springs Creeks this year was only fair, but the run to Schullabuchan was good. Sockeye were first noticed in the lake on June 14th, which is about the usual
time. Arery few net-scarred fish were seen this year. An unusual incident was noticed by
Mr. Hearne—a female pink spawning with a male sockeye. This female chased the males of its
own species away in order to spawn with the sockeye. At the time there was no scarcity of male
pinks or female sockeye.
AVhile at the hatchery I saw the retaining-ponds, where excellent results of artificial
propagation were seen. The young fry were large in size and thriving well, being in good
shape for their long journey seaward.
In summing up the Lakelse spawning area as regards the sockeye, I may say that the run
this year was disappointing, not being as good as previous years. The run of pinks, however,
was well up to former good years, Lakelse River in particular being one teeming mass of this
variety.
This being the last point of interest, I returned to Terrace and arrived at Prince Rupert
on October 1st.
I wish to express my appreciation to the Hatchery Superintendents and Fishery Guardians
for hospitality shown and information supplied.
I have, etc.,
Robert Gibson,
Fishery Overseer.
Prince Rupert, B.C., October 30th, 1928. THE SPAWNING-BEDS OP THE NASS EIVER.
Hon. S. L. Howe,
Commissioner of Fisheries, Victoria, B.C.
Sir,—In response to instructions to inspect the salmon-spawning areas of the Meziadin Lake
watershed of the Nass River, I have the honour to submit the following report:—•
Leaving Victoria on August 29th, I arrived at the town of Stewart on September 1st, there
meeting Mr. A. E. Young, Dominion Fishery Officer. As in the past, we joined forces on this trip
of inspection. Upon my arrival Mr. Young informed me that the new canvas canoe being
supplied by the Dominion Fisheries Department had not arrived, and a few days later received
a telegram from Mr. A. Mackie, Inspector of Dominion Fisheries, Prince Rupert, to the effect
that the canoe would arrive on Monday, September 10th. In the meantime we engaged two
assistant packers and had our outfit in readiness to start. The delay was unfortunate as we
missed some fine weather. The canoe arrived on the night of the 10th and we left Stewart on
the 11th, raining hard. AVe made American Creek and stayed there for the night. The weather
was very wet on the journey into Meziadin Lake, arriving there on September 14th after having
trouble in fording Beaver and Surprise Rivers. On September 15th we assembled the new
" King " canoe and made an inspection of the sockeye-spawning grounds at the head of the lake,
down the southerly shore to 5-Mile Point, thence across the lake to the northerly shore to its
head. In making this examination we did not see twenty spawning sockeye on the beds where
they are usually to be observed. Conditions at this particular part of the district were poorer
than I have found for many years, the last very poor showing being in 1923.
On Sunday, September 16th, we made the trip down the lake in the canoe. No salmon
were to be seen disporting themselves in the lake or at the mouths of McLeod Creek and Hanna
River. On leaving the lake we entered the Meziadin River and waded the canoe through the
McBride Rapids, which were running high.    We arrived at the Falls Cabin at 6.30 p.m.
September 17th was a very wet day. We inspected the fishway, also upper and lower falls.
There were very few sockeye to be seen passing through the fishway, and only a small number
were observed in the resting-places below both falls. The salmon assembled were about equally
divided between sockeye and cohoe, this species just commencing to arrive. During our stay at
the falls until September 27th sockeye conditions did not improve, but the run gradually declined,
and at the time of our departure all had passed up-stream. In past years the large white-nosed
variety of sockeye have been noticeable.    There were none to be seen this year.
Upon opening six sockeye caught below the falls, two of them were infested with thin
thread-like worms in the abdominal cavity. The blood in the dorsal aorta, which extends along
the lower surface of the backbone, was of a pale-slate colour. The specimen in general had not
the appearance of being in a healthy condition.
The cohoe run improved for a few days, reaching its peak about the 25th, when they
commenced to diminish. It is possible that there may be a later run to this district, but from
observations the cohoe situation was not as good as in former years.
On September 18th we hung the net and fished it in the main Nass River above the Meziadin,
fishing the net continually until the evening of the 26th. The water in the Nass was high and
discoloured during that time. Our operations with the net were most discouraging as we did
not take a single sockeye. In past years we have always taken about an equal number of
sockeye and cohoe. It is evident that no sockeye were passing up the main river as we had a
splendid set with the net. The total results of the net-fishing was twenty-one cohoe and four
steelhead. AVhile this was the first time that we have failed to obtain specimens of sockeye, it
was also the first time that we have taken steelhead.
On September 21st we inspected the spring-salmon spawning-beds at the lower end of
McBride Rapids in the Meziadin River. There was very little sign of dead spent fish, only a
few undersized females were seen;  also the remaining springs on the spawning-beds were scarce.
The fishwa'y is in good condition. There was a considerable growth of vegetation and brush
around the crib-work and sides, which we removed. There is no sign of crumbling or decay in
the cement-work. One piece of slate rock had sloughed off into the uppermost basin, which we
could not displace. This rock will be of no hindrance to the passage of fish providing no further
dislodgment occurs. After completing our work at the falls we started on our return journey on September 27th.
On the way up the lake some cohoe were observed at the mouth of the Hanna River. AVe arrived
back in Stewart in the evening of October 1st after experiencing wet and broken weather for
the entire time that we were in the field.
Summary.—A summary of spawning conditions in the Meziadin watershed of the Nass River
basin this year shows that very few sockeye were to be found in any section—far less than have
been found there in any one of the last four years in which I have inspected this district.
Neither in Meziadin Lake or at the fishway at the falls below were sockeye in numbers to be
seen. Sockeye were so few in numbers that we were unable to obtain sufficient specimens from
which to collect scales, and in consequence no scales were collected. The net we set in the Nass
River above its junction with the Meziadin failed to catch any sockeye, though the water was
greatly discoloured and the net most favourably located. The fishway at the falls is in excellent
condition.
Respectfully submitted.
C. P. Hickman.
Inspector of Fisheries. SALMON RECLAMATION PROJECT. G 55
A CANADIAN-AMERICAN  SALMON RECLAMATION PROJECT.*
By John Pease Babcock.
The sockeye-salmon fishery of the Fraser River System was once the most productive salmon-
fishery in which Canadian and American fishermen engaged. No other salmon-fishery was so
speedily developed. No other reached such a wealth of production. No other was so speedily
destroyed. No other affords so promising a field for exploitation. The restoration of that
fishery is the greatest reclamation project in which Canada and the United States can jointly
engage.
The history of the development and the destruction of the sockeye-salmon fishery of the
Fraser River System is one of the most calamitous fish stories ever told. Notwithstanding that
the story is hackneyed, no version of it has appeared in the Proceedings of the American
Fisheries Society.   It is the purpose of this paper to fill that void.
The sockeye-fishery of the Fraser River System was and is an international fishery. The
term " Fraser River System " includes all the waters in British Columbia and the State of
AArashington which are frequented by sockeye salmon. The term " Fraser River System " includes
all the waters of Juan de Fuca, Rosario, and Haro Straits, the Gulf of Georgia, and the channels
of the Fraser River frequented by sockeye salmon in their migrations.
The history of the sockeye-fishery of the Fraser River System has been faithfully recorded.
The records of no other fishery are as complete.
The Annual Reports of the British Columbia Fisheries Department since 1901, and those of
three International Commissions which investigated conditions in 1905, 1908, and 1918, demonstrate that the sockeye salmon that formerly frequented the waters of the Fraser River System
in vast numbers were hatched in the Fraser River watershed in British Columbia, lived for their
first year or more in its lake-waters, then migrated to sea, where they remained until the
summer of their fourth year and then sought to return through Canadian and United States
waters to that river to spawn, and after spawning died.
Because all the sockeye caught in the Fraser River System have been canned, the pack
records afford an accurate measure of abundance. The outstanding fact in the pack records,
other than that of depletion, is the former four-year periodicity in abundance. From the beginning up to and including 1913, the pack records show an astonishingly large pack every fourth
year—known as the " big year "; and relatively small packs in each of the three following years
—known as the " small years "—a condition that had no counterpart in any other waters. The
periodicity in abundance is made plain by reference to the packs in the " big years " and in the
" small years." In the big years 1897, 1901, 1905, 1909, and 1913 the pack averaged 1,777,585
cases. The packs in small years in the period 1894-1900—a period before depletion was manifest
in the small years—produced an average pack of 542,597 cases.
Commercial fishing for sockeye began in a small way in Canadian waters in 1876, with a
pack of less than 10,000 cases. Fishing was confined to the channels of the Fraser River up to
1890 and gill-nets alone were employed. Gill-net fishing was extended to the discoloured salt
waters off the mouths of the river in 1890. Up to that year only the Canadian fleet was engaged,
the market was limited, and the catch in any one season did not produce a pack in excess of
183,000 cases.
Commercial fishing for sockeye began in the State of AVashington waters of the system in
1891, with the installation of traps in the vicinity of Point Roberts. Proving most effective, the
number of traps employed increased rapidly and became the leading factor in 1897. Purse-seines
came into use in American waters in 1901 and have since that year been extensively used. Since
1901, with one or two minor exceptions, the yearly catch in American waters of the system has
been in excess of 60 per cent, of the total catch.
Production in the system in the big years of each four-year cycle reached its height in 1913
with a total pack of 2,392,895 eases, containing the edible portion of over 25,000,000 individual
sockeye. In 1917, the big year following the record high pack of 1913, the pack fell to 559,702
cases, a drop of close to 77 per cent. Since 1917 the packs in the big years of each four-year
cycle have not exceeded 148,000 cases and can no longer be distinguished by their size from the
packs of the three small years. There has been no periodicity in abundance since 1917. The
glory of the Fraser has been destroyed.
* Read at meeting of the American Fisheries Society, Seattle, Washington, August 30th, 1928. G 56 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
The catches in the small years of each cycle up to the period 1898, 1899, and 1900 display no
evidence of depletion. In each of those small years the pack averaged 648,912 cases. .From
then on the packs in the small years rapidly declined. In each of the last eight years the total
pack in any one year has not exceeded 159,000 cases, and in one year—1923—it fell to 79,057
cases. The pack in the last eight years has averaged but 123,372 cases. Furthermore, the bulk
of the pack in recent years has consisted of late-running fish—runs that were not drawn upon
prior to 1914.
The factors that so speedily destroyed the sockeye run to the Fraser River System are easily
determined. In 1901 the Fisheries Department of the British Columbia Government inaugurated
a system of inspecting the entire spawning areas of the Fraser River. An annual inspection
has been made and reports published. Year after year, since 1901, these reports have called
attention to the significant fact that the greater proportion of the vast spawning-beds of the
Fraser basin were but lightly seeded in each of the small years and in all the big years since
1909. The late Dr. Gilbert, the cleverest of all fishery investigators, in one of his classic
" Contributions to the Life-history of the Sockeye Salmon," published in the reports of the
British Columbia Fisheries Department, states that: " The history of the Fraser River sockeye
shows unmistakably that the three small years of each cycle were overfished early in the
industry. During the early years, when fishing was confined to the region about the mouths of
the river and drift-nets alone were employed, no evidence exists of overfishing. The last cycle
in' which these conditions obtained was 1894-96. During each of the small years of that cycle
there were packed approximately 350,000 cases on the Fraser River and about 60,000 cases in
Puget Sound. During each of those years, therefore, about 5,000,000 sockeye were taken from
the spawning run. . . . Apparently, however, a third of a million cases a year could be safely
taken, for the following cycle shows no decrease. . . . During the following period of four
years (1897-1900) the traps in Puget Sound became an important matter. AVhile 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 catches during the three off-years of that cycle nearly doubled
those of the preceding cycle and exacted an average toll of about 10,000,000 fish from the spawning
runs of 1897-1900.    The total pack of the three small years of that cycle was over 2,000,000 cases.
" The result was quickly apparent. . . . 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 run of the
Fraser. 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.
" 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."
Turning now to the decline in the runs in the big years: The records are equally clear. As
already stated, the sockeye runs in the big years 1897, 1901, 1905, 1909, and 1913 produced an
average pack of 1,777,585 cases, and it should be noted that the catches on both sides of the line
in 1901 and 1905 exceeded the canning capacity and several millions of fish were wasted.
Up to and including 1913 the packs in the big year show no evidence of an overdrain on the
spawning-runs. The British Columbia Fisheries Report for 1913 shows that the escapement that
year was as great, if not greater than in the preceding big year, 1909—the brood-year of the
1913 run. But that report shows that the escapment in 1913 met with disaster and that comparatively few sockeye reached the spawning-beds that year, with the result that four years
later—1917—the pack fell to 559,732 cases, or close to 77 per cent, less than in 1913, and in 1921
it dropped to 142,598 cases, a drop in eight years of 2,250,297 cases.
The escapement in 1913 did not reach the spawning-beds for the reason that the river's:
channel above Yale—known as Hell's Gate Canyon—was virtually closed to the passage of fish
by a great rock-slide. Millions of fish that had escaped capture and reached the obstruction in
Hell's Gate Canyon were unable to pass over it, notwithstanding that strenuous efforts were
made to enable them to do so. After frantic and continuous efforts to overcome the obstruction
the fish became exhausted and were swept down-stream, where they died without spawning.
The Report of the British Columbia Fisheries Department for 1913 deals exhaustively, in both
text and illustration, with the disaster to .the escapement in 1913.    That report shows that the SALMON RECLAMATION PROJECT. G 57
number of sockeye that reached the spawning-beds above Hell's Gate Canyon in 1913 was less
than an eighth of the number that reached the beds in 1909. This is made manifest by brief
reference to the spawning-bed reports for 1909 and 1913. In 1909 4,000,000 adult sockeye were
counted as they entered Quesnel Lake, one of the great lakes in the Fraser basin above Hell's
Gate. In 1913 a similar count records that only 550,000 entered that lake. The spawning report
of the British Columbia Fisheries Department for 1913 concludes with the following words:
" The foregoing statements warrant the conclusion that the number of sockeye that spawned in
the Fraser watershed this year was not sufficient to make the run four years hence even approximate the runs of 1905, 1909, or 1913." The accuracy of that forecast and the disastrous effects
of the 1913 blockade were made manifest on the fishing-grounds in 1917. Notwithstanding that
far more fishermen and more fishing-gear were employed and a much higher price paid for the
fish on both sides of the line in 1917, the total catch produced a pack of but 559,732 cases, as
against 2,392,895 cases in 1913.
From then on conditions became even worse. Had the 6,000,000 of individual sockeye that
went to make up the pack of 1917 been permitted to reach and seed the spawning-beds in that
year, some of the loss occasioned by the 1913 blockade could have been recovered. But such was
not the case. The authorities, the fishermen, and the canners on both sides of the line did not
heed the warning in the reports of 1913. No additional protective measures were enacted and
the fishermen and the canners spared no efforts to capture every last sockeye in the run of 1917,
with the inevitable result that the escapement of that year was no greater than it had been in
recent small years and in consequence the spawning-beds produced no greater returns. The catch
four years later—1921—produced a pack of but 142,598 cases.
The sockeye-salmon fisheries of the Fraser River System were not destroyed by the parties
in interest without vigorous protest from fishery authorities on both sides of the line. As early
as 1905 a joint commission, representing Canada and the State of AVashington, after a full
investigation of conditions, unanimously recommended the cessation of all sockeye-fishing in the
system in the small years 1906 and 1908. The commission expressed the opinion that by so doing
the runs in the following cycle-years would be materially inceased. The closing was to be an
experiment; the runs at that period had not been reduced to a low level. The Government of
Canada accepted the suggestion and passed the necessary enabling Act. A similar Act was
denied passage by the Legislature of the State of AArashington and Canada repealed her Act;
and every one concerned went after the fish harder than ever.
In 1908 an international commission was created to study conditions. Following its unanimous report and recommendation, Canada and the United States drafted a treaty providing for
the preservation and propagation of sockeye in the Fraser River System. The Government of
Canada ratified the treaty. The President transmitted the treaty to the United States Senate.
After two years' delay the Senate refused to concur and the treaty was withdrawn.
Then came the disaster of 1913 and renewed efforts to secure international intervention. In
1918 Canada and the United States again appointed a second international commission, headed
by the Chief Justice of New Brunswick and the Secretary of Commerce of the United States.
In accordance with the unanimous recommendations of that commission a second treaty was
drawn, which provided for " the times, seasons, and methods of sockeye-fishing in the Fraser
River System" and " for the conduct of investigations into the life-history of the salmon,
hatchery methods, spawning-ground conditions, and other relative matter."
That treaty was promptly approved by the Government of Canada. The United States
Senate again refused to concur and the President withdrew it.
Nothing has since been accomplished. The pitiful remnants of the former abundant runs
to the Fraser are still being preyed upon by Canadian and United States fishermen, and the vast
spawning areas of the Fraser basin remain unseeded and unproductive.
The Fraser River basin contains 1,514,000 acres of spawning area. That area has not been
lessened or contaminated. It is as extensive and as suitable for the propagation of sockeye as
formerly. The vast lake-waters of the Fraser are as rich in the natural foods of young sockeye
as ever. The channels of the river are open and free to the passage of such fish as are permitted
to enter them. All that is required to produce the abundant runs of former years is a sufficient
number of fish to seed them as abundantly as they were seeded in those years. No other waters
afford so alluring a field for exploitation.
The restoration of the sockeye-salmon fisheries of the Fraser River System is the greatest
reclamation project in which Canada and the United States can jointly engage. G 58 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
REPORT OP THE INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES COMMISSION APPOINTED
UNDER THE NORTHERN PACIFIC HALIBUT TREATY.
The treaty between Canada and the United States for the preservation of the halibut-fishery
of the northern Pacific Ocean, including Behring Sea, was ratified on October 21st, 1924. It is
remarkable from the double standpoint that it is the first treaty entered into by Canada as a
nation and that it is the first effective one anywhere having for its object the conservation of a
threatened high-seas fishery. It, therefore, serves as a precedent for international co-operative
control of sea-fisheries, where such is necessary. This forms an important additional reason why
success should be achieved under it.
The treaty provides an entire cessation of halibut-fishing for three months each year. This
was regarded, at the time it was entered into, as an essential minimum of protection. It also
provided for the appointment of an International Fisheries Commission, the duties of which are
to make recommendations regarding the need for modification of the close season, to make a
thorough investigation into the life-history of the Pacific halibut, and to make recommendations
as to the regulation of the fishery that may be deemed desirable for its preservation and development.    The specific provisions of the convention dealing with these phases follow:—
" The nationals and inhabitants and the fishing vessels and boats of the Dominion of Canada
and of the United States, respectively, are hereby prohibited from fishing for halibut (Ilippo-
glos-sus) both in the territorial waters and in the high seas off the western coast of the Dominion
of Canada and of the United States, including Behring Sea, from the 16th day of November next
after the date of the exchange of ratifications of this convention, to the 15th day of the following
February, both days inclusive, and within the same period yearly thereafter, provided that upon
the recommendation of the International Fisheries Commission hereinafter described this close
season may be modified or suspended at any time after the expiration of three such seasons, by
a special agreement concluded and duly ratified by the High Contracting Parties.
" The High Contracting Parties agree to. appoint within two months after the exchange of
ratifications of this convention, a commission to be known as the International Fisheries Commission, consisting of four members, two to be appointed by each party. This commission shall
continue to exist so long as this convention shall remain in force. Each party shall pay the
salaries and expenses of its own members and joint expenses incurred by the commission shall
be paid by the two High Contracting Parties in equal moieties.
" The commission shall make a thorough investigation into the life-history of the Pacific
halibut, and such investigation shall be undertaken as soon as practicable. The commission
shall report the results of its investigation to the two Governments and shall make recommendations as to the regulation of the halibut-fishery of the North Pacific Ocean, including the Behring
Sea, which may seem desirable for its preservation and development."
The undersigned, having been appointed commissioners under the treaty by their respective
Governments, undertook their duties without delay. At the outset they decided to employ a
competent man as director of investigations, in which capacity the services of AV. F. Thompson
were secured. He not only brought to the work the needed training and ability, but the experience and knowledge that resulted from three seasons' investigations in the Pacific halibut-fishery,
which he had undertaken some years previously on behalf of the Provincial Government of
British Columbia. A competent staff of young energetic scientists to assist him was also employed.
The commision further arranged for the appointment of an honorary scientific council, with which
not only the commission but the director of investigations icould consult, and to which has been
submitted the plans of investigations to be undertaken from time to time. This council consists
of two representatives from each country:—
Professor John N. Cobb, Dean of the College of Fisheries of the University of Washington, Seattle.
Mr. N. B. Scofield, Head of the Department of Commercial Fisheries of the Fish and
Game Commission of California.
Dr. C. McLean Fraser, Professor of Zoology in the University of British Columbia, and
formerly Director of the Marine Biological Station at Nanaimo, B.C.
Dr. W. A. Clemens, present Director of the aforesaid station. Plate IV.
Live halibut ready for liberation with numbered tag on cheek-bone.  The director and staff have from time to time presented reports on the progress of the
investigation and on their findings to the commission, and to the scientific council. These
findings are used in the formulation of the present recommendations. The scientific results are,
however, not inserted in this report, but will be published later in more detailed form than is
practicable here.
The task with which the commission found itself to be charged is one of great magnitude
and difficulty. The fishery covers a coast-line of about 1,800 miles in length. The halibut can
only be studied at sea and under difficult conditions. Hence it has not been possible in the three
years during which the commission has been at work to cover the whole field exhaustively.
What has been accomplished has, however, been done (with care and the information obtained
is sufficient to satisfy the commission as to the necessity of certain main lines of action, if the
fishery is to be preserved.
Though the investigation has been highly scientific in character, the commission determined
at the outset that it would be carried out along practical lines, with close adherence to facts and
avoidance of unsupported theory. Its aim has been to establish beyond doubt the actual condition of the fishery at present and the history of its trend to that condition. It has sought to
define the remedial measures which should be adopted to save the fishery and to build it up, as
well as the conditions that would have to be met in applying such measures.
Statistics have formed an indispensable part of the facts gathered. They have included not
only complete records of landings, but of operations at sea. Through 'the splendid co-operation
of the fishing-vessel captains, the commission has secured extensive records of the individual
catches, from which the yield per unit of fishing effort, the " skate," has been ascertained for each
section of the coast.    These cover every season and are for years as far back as 1906.
Even more important have been the biological studies. These have included the rates of
growth according to localityy, the migrations, the " races " existent, and the spawning habits.
Material has been collected by the staff, not merely from voyages on fishing-vessels, but through
the operations of vessels chartered for the purpose. Thousands of halibut have been caught and
released with numbered tags attached, and have been recovered from fishermen through rewards
offered. From the records thus furnished it has been possible to determine the migrations of the
halibut. Extensive studies of the physical characteristics and the growth of the different
" races " have confirmed such findings. The drift of the eggs and larva? in the open ocean have
been studied by means of fine-meshed silk nets and by observation of the currents. The results
of these biological studies, in conjunction with those from the statistics, form the basis for the
conclusions reached in this report.
IMPORTANCE OF FISHERY.
Fisheries for halibut are prosecuted in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic Oceans, and
yield about 90,000,000 lb. annually. The Pacific halibut-fishery, which is covered by the terms of
this convention, is the greatest in the world. The annual catch exceeds 50,000,000 lb., which
represents about 60 per cent, of the world's catch. Of the remainder about 30,000,000 are
credited to European countries and 6,000,000 to the Atlantic Coast of this continent. The value
of the Pacific halibut-catch to the fishermen is about $7,000,000 annually, and it is consequently
one of the most important fisheries in North American waters. The Pacific halibut is, therefore,
one of the most important species of food-fishes indigenous to the waters of the North American
Continent. The halibut-fishery banks of the Eastern Pacific are shown in Plates Nos. I. to III.*
The division into areas shown thereon is for statistical purposes and should not be confused
with those referred to in the commission's recommendations, which will be submitted later on.
CONDITION OF FISHERY.
The Pacific halibut-fishery originated soon after the first railway communication was established between the two coasts of the United States. It is, therefore, comparatively young. It
had its inception in 1888 near Cape Flattery, at the entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait. The!
fishery expanded rapidly and by 1910 it had extended to grounds off Cape Ommaney, Baranof
Island, 600 miles to the north. Subsequent expansion has extended the fishery until it now
covers about 1,800 miles of coast. Formerly as many fish were taken from the 600-mile stretch
as are now procured from the entire area of 1,800 miles.    The banks on the eastern side of the
*Not reproduced in this reprint of report. G 60
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928. INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES COMMISSION.                                    G 61
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Plate VIII.
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Catch of halibut from Hecate Strait and Dixon Entrance, by two-week periods, as
hailed in Prince Rupert. Unbroken line before, and broken line after, the closure
of the winter season, November 16th to February 15th. INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES COMMISSION.
G 63
Plate IX.
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The rise in landings from the westward banks, including Portlock, contrasted with
the decliue in those from other regions.    Prince Rupert, 1921 to 1926. Gulf of Alaska, which yield spawning fish, were first exploited in 1913. In 1926 the larger boats
made by far the greater part of their catches in the vicinity of Kodiak Island, on the western
side of the Gulf of Alaska, about 1,200 miles beyond the original fishery. The catch on the older
grounds south of Cape Ommaney has decreased from a total in excess of 50,000,000 lb. in 1910
to about 21,000,000 in 1926, and much greater effort was exerted in making the catch in the latter
year. It is evident that the present level of production has been maintained by extending
fishing operations to new areas, as the catch on the older grounds decreased, and by increasing
the intensity of the fishing effort.
The amount of gear now used on the older banks is about two and one-half times the
quantity formerly used, yet the present catch is only about 40 per cent, of the former yield from
these grounds. Under the stress of this great intensification of fishing effort the abundance of
fish on the older banks has fallen enormously, to 16 per cent, of the abundance in 1906. AA7here
in 1906 the catch per set of a unit of fishing-gear was nearly 300 lb., in 1926 it was below 50 lb.
Expressed in another way, it required six units of gear to catch as many fish as one unit caught
in 1906. The decline has gone on at an even rate and shows no tendency to slacken. Accompanying this fall in abundance there has been a decrease in the average size of the fish landed
and a great increase in the percentage of undersized fish. For example, between 1919 and 1926
the percentage of undersized fish from the older banks increased from 20 to 30 per cent.
The more recently exploited banks to the westward show the same trend, the catch having
fallen from 100 lb. per unit of gear in 1923 to 100 lb. in 1926, and was still lower in 1927, while
at the same time there was an increase in the number of fish under 11% lb.
The rapidity of decline is regarded as especially serious because of the very slow rate of
growth of the halibut, an adult being from 12 to 25 years, or over, in age. Hence the present
decline has taken place within the life-span of one halibut of ordinarily large size. As nearly
all the fish which are being caught now were spawned eight or ten years ago, the abundance of
the younger fish, which will annually be available for capture in the next ten years, has already
been established. If these are greatly reduced in numbers and the intensity of the fishery is
maintained, the outlook for a future stock of spawning fish sufficient to maintain the supply
presents a hopeless picture. In fact, the commission's investigations indicate that relatively
few mature halibut are now found on the older banks.
These illustrations demonstrate beyond a doubt that the fishery is in a very serious condition, and that the banks cannot stand the intensity of fishing to which they are subjected. The
commission is fully convinced that the conditions are so serious that no delay should be permitted in the adoption of additional conservation measures. In the light of the investigations
made, such action is essential to the maintenance of the fishery.
RECOMMENDATIONS.
The commission recommends certain additional measures of conservation, which are here
summarized and are dealt with in detail in pages following.
It is recommended that power be given proper governmental authorities:—
1. (a.) To establish areas, within each of which, if deemed necessary for the preservation
of the fishery there, the total catch of halibut may be reduced by a predetermined percentage
annually, commencing not less than one year after the putting into force of this recommendation,
until the fishery therein shall reach a state of stability of yield.
(b.) To determine upon the amount of this percentage reduction, and to revise the same
from time to time as may be found necessary, the intent being to restrain any increase in the
amount of fishing within such area.
2. To close permanently to all fishing the two areas herewith defined, and known to be
populated by small immature halibut, and to close such other grounds as may be found by the
commission to be populated by a similar class of fish.
3. To prevent the use of any fishing-gear deemed unduly destructive.
4. To extend the present closed season by two weeks at its beginning, making the closure
for all fishing in all areas from November 1st to February 15th, both dates inclusive, and to
facilitate future alterations in the length of close season.
5. To license all vessels fishing for halibut in treaty waters, under such terms as are
necessary for the purpose of the treaty, including statistical returns, and for clearance to
regulated waters. INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES COMMISSION. G 65
First Recommendation.
Establishment of Areas and Limitation of Catch therein.
The commission is unable, after careful (scrutiny, to recognize in the close season as now
constituted any contribution to the preservation of 'the halibut-fishery. From its study of the
effects of the closure and of the fishery in general, it has reached the conclusion that to render
any regulations beneficial from this aspect, they must be framed so as to distribute their effects
according to the needs of the different banks or areas, and that on each of the badly depleted
areas the amount of fish taken must be reduced.    The present measure is not thus framed.
Its investigations have shown that the banks along the Pacific Coast are inhabited by stocks
of halibut which are largely independent. Extensive tagging experiments have been carried on,
with careful examination of physical characteristics and rates of growth. The fish below
spawning size have thus been shown to be well differentiated according to bank, and to move
but little in comparison with the great extent of the grounds. The fish of mature size are
perhaps less limited in range, but are -still sufficiently localized to render generally ineffective
regulations of local application. In accord with these findings, and in checking them, the
various banks have been found to be very unevenly depleted. A relative abundance exists on
the more distant banks, with a marked degree of depletion on the nearer, the degree of depletion
being dependent upon the distance of the banks from the markets. The proportion of spawners
is high on the more distant, but almost non-existent on the near-by banks. There appears to be
no such active interchange as would render regulations applied to one bank effective on all.
It has, therefore, become of paramount importance to discover how far the effects of regulation are localized, for each area must bear the burden of its own regeneration. The commission
has, therefore, carefully and laboriously collected statistics regarding the effect of the close
season on the several main areas of the fishery. The closure being from November 16th to the
following February 15th, it has affected directly the fisheries at that time taking place. These
were along the eastern side of the Gulf of Alaska, between Cape St. Elias and Cape Spencer.
Here there has been prevented a very considerable fall, winter, and spring catch of mature fish.
In contrast to this, the fishery on the older, more depleted banks south of Dixon Entrance has
for years been a summer fishery, and, accordingly, the amount of the catch eliminated has been
very small. At the time of adoption of the present treaty, the newer, less depleted banks to the
farther west of the Gulf of Alaska did not have a fishery of any magnitude, but since then a
very considerable summer, or open season, fishery has been developed. The close season has
mainly affected, therefore, one area—that on the eastern side of the Gulf of Alaska.
Examination of catches on these affected grounds has shown that the fish protected were
largely fish collected there for spawning, which is well known. It is, therefore, evident from
these facts that the close season has been operative almost entirely upon the fish of a given
region, and upon a single category of these fish, facts which should be considered in connection
with the independence of the various stocks of halibut.
The commission finds that the fish thus protected by the closure were exposed to fishing that
was increased in intensity during the open season, and consequently the abundance on the banks
has undergone a further decline due to progressive depletion.
Tagging experiments with the spawning fish on the banks thus most affected—those on the
eastern side of the Gulf of Alaska—showed that considerable migration occurred to the westward
as far as Portlock bank, where many of the tags were recovered. There fishing during the open
season has increased enormously during the three years that have elapsed since the close season
has been in effect, sufficient to more than offset the decline in the winter fishery on the other
banks. But this increase has not been due to any increase in numbers of fish, for the intensification of the Portlock fishery has led to a rapid fall in yield per unit of gear ifished, from 160 to
100 lb. per " skate," and these western banks are not " holding up." If further proof were
required that this enormous increase of the fishery on Portlock is not due to the presence of
more fish there, it will be remembered that halibut are on the average considerably more than
5 years of age when they first come into the commercial size, and that the great increase in catch
was, therefore, from the pre-existing stock.
The same increase in the open season total catch is obvious on the banks referred to as most
affected.    This increase, too, was due to the more intensive fishing and not to an increase in the
5 .
-
G 66
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
Plate VII.
w   nr
Y      W     W
JZ      I       IT     M
Catch of halibut from the eastern side of the Gulf of Alaska, between Cape Spencer
and Cape St. Elias, by two-week periods, as hailed in Prince Rupert. Unbroken
line before, and broken line after, the closure of the winter season, November 16th
to February 15th. INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES COMMISSION. G 67
abundance of fish. Had there been an increase in abundance, there would have inevitably been
an instant increase in fishing, sufficient to destroy the increase in abundance before it progressed
far—it could not escape the notice of the fleet.
On the older banks, as has been said, the effect of the closure was very small, and during
each month of the open season there was a decrease in the total-taken, due to the progressing
depletion of the banks. Yet this decline did not suffice to balance the increase on the other
banks.
In accord with this, the absence of marked effects beneficial to the perpetuation of the
fishery is shown by the fact that there has been no reduction in the total annual catch. On the
contrary, there has been an increase, as is shown by the following statistics of landings for the
five-year average preceding the close season and for the four years the close season has been
operative:— LD.
Five-year average, 1919 to 1923  51,595,000
1924  57,691,000
1925 '.  53,170,000
1926  56,278,000
1927  56,899,000
The close season, therefore, has merely shortened the period within which the catch has been
taken.
The reasons for this increased intensity of fishing, which has more than balanced the effects
of the close season, are not far to seek. The economic advantages of the closure are sufficiently
great to explain the lack of decline in total catch. The season of the year during which fishing
is prevented, was the most expensive because of the bad weather, the consequent loss of gear
and of time, and the severe effect on the morale of the men. AArith the elimination of the three
winter months the work during the remainder of the year has become more efficient, and the
losses and delays inherent in fishing .operations have been greatly reduced. Moreover, the
vessel-owners at present spend part of the close season in overhauling their gear and boats. A
certain part of it is used en route to and from the fishing areas. The market for frozen fish is
steadier, giving better prices for frozen fish according to general opinion. Furthermore, the
grade of fish taken during the summer months is said to be superior to that formerly1 taken
during the winter. The closure thus being of benefit from an economic standpoint, it follows
that as long as the fishery continues to pay well, .as it has in the past, there is no limit to the
expansion it will undergo, beyond the satisfaction of the demand. The close season could not
be expected to restrict, without adverse economic effects.
It is, moreover, true that in the past there has been a general and rapid increase in intensity
of fishing sufficient to counterbalance the effect of the closure. Thus on the older banks the
amount of gear fished is about two and one-half times that employed in 1910. This great and
rapid increase in intensity has gone on unchecked during the nine most important months of the
year. So great has it been that it has sufficed to maintain the total catch despite a fall in
returns per unit of gear fished, and despite the fact that the new grounds exploited have yielded
at their maximum but a third the abundance of fish found originally on the older southern
grounds. Some measure of the effect of the closure in relation to this increased intensity can be
gained by comparing the amount of catch formerly taken on the grounds along the eastern side
of the Gulf of Alaska with the effect of the fall in abundance from year to year. It is estimated
that not more than 6,000,000 Pr 7,000,000 lb. came from these grounds before the closure, or about
10 or 12 per cent, of the total for the coast. The loss of this could not exceed that annually lost
through a failing supply, since on the older grounds the fall in abundance was approximately
10 per cent, yearly, and on the newer grounds even greater.
It is evident that the close season has met ,a complexity of conditions which destroys its
uniformity of operation, and that in its application to one subordinate portion of the fishery it
has left abundant opportunity for all supposed benefits to be eliminated. A stream cannot be
controlled by throwing a dam half across its course. The result is nothing more than an
increased rate of flow in the other half.
The commission has been unable to devise any general measure for the whole fishery which
would properly meet the needs of the various areas. G 68 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
Artificial propagation of the halibut is, for technical and scientific reasons, impracticable.
The numbers of young that could be thus produced would be a minute part of those hatched
under natural conditions. Their culture would be expensive and the young fish could not be
kept long after hatching. Hence it is evident that the natural supply is overwhelmingly the most
important, and that it must be cared for. The only adequate manner of meeting the present
situation is to preserve in each area a sufficient number of young to produce spawning adults,
and to leave enough of the latter to produce an adequate amount of spawn under natural
conditions.
It becomes evident, upon the first study of the halibut-fishery, that regulations designed to
produce and protect such a spawning reserve must be adapted to very different conditions in the
various areas. The state of depletion varies from area to area, and the need forr regulation
varies accordingly. Certain of the banks have been resorted to for many years, while others
are undergoing their first exploitation. In accord therewith the yield and abundance of fish
varies. Moreover, the initial returns from any bank reflect the abundance thereon under
natural conditions, and the newer, more westerly banks are much less productive naturally
than the older southern banks—about a third in fact. In agreement with the state of
depletion, the percentage of mature fish varies from a very small one on the southern banks
to a high one on the western, and there is, therefore, a fishery for spawning-age fish on some
banks and a fishery for immature fish on others. The fish on the banks vary not merely in
their natural abundance, but in their rates of growth and physical characteristics. Thus the
trade terms applied to fish according to size have a very different meaning and do not indicate
their age .or their need of protection. The seasons of the fishery vary also, dn accord with the
biology of the fish and the geographical location of each bank. In agreement with all this, the
same complexity is found reflected in the fleet, the fishery on various banks being carried on by
different types of fishing-vessels, with different sea-going ability, different methods of fishing to
some extent, and different landing-ports. No uniform protection of a single class of fish, such
as the spawners, tio close season, no size limit or limit on gear, will be found to apply equally
and efficiently.
The commission, therefore, finds itself forced by the aforesaid conditions to a consideration
of the treatment of each individual area according to its needs. In thus acting it sees two
alternatives.
One of these is to follow the method used in adopting the present close season, and on the
basis of an exact and intimate knowledge of the fishery in each area, to close such seasons,
protect such classes of fish, or prohibit such gear, as will reduce the amount of fish caught to
the amount which the species is able to replace. This alternative has the same faults as has the
present close season. It is necessary to look forward to a compensating intensity of the fishery
on those classes not protected or upon all classes during the open season. The degree of this
reaction of the fishery is an economic matter, for as long as the fishery pays 4here is no doubt
but that it will increase gear and vessels to supply the demand. The restriction cannot be
effective unless it so raises the expense of the fishery, the costs of operation, as to prevent this
increase. In that sense the restrictions become, if successful, economic handicaps adjusted to
limit to the required extent the fleet and the amount of fish removed. The results of the present
closure, the complicated conditions to be met, the extensive and arbitrary powers which would
Be necessary to meet unforeseen changes in the economic world, and the wide knowledge necessary, discourage the adoption of this alternative.
The commission feels that the effect of regulations so varied would be difficult to forecast,
and that in many cases the results would be harmful rather than good. The manner in which
the fishery compensates itself for the protection of a single category of fish, such as spawners
or young, has already been referred to in the discussion of the close season, and will be further
discussed when dealing with the closure of small-fish grounds. The biological conditions underlying the principle of protecting spawning, mature, or young halibut are still unknown, and it is
impossible to be certain that the shifting of the strain to any one of these classes rather than
another is actually beneficial. Great fisheries exist which make exclusive use of one or the
other. Many regulations, particularly those regarding gear, may be handicaps in the development of efficiency, or become causes of high cost of operation, which limit the output per man
and prevent the sale of the catch at reasonable prices. Failure to dispose of the catch causes a
surplus.    The existence of the surplus creates a demand for further restriction of the catch per INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES COMMISSION. G 69
man or per vessel, with still higher costs of operation, so that the evil may be intensified instead
of relieved.
The commission is fully aware of the care which must be used in undertaking a task of
this character. It has given careful consideration to the determination of the minimum reduction consistent with the perpetuation of the fishery, having in mind the last possible harm to
the industry.
There has been, without restrictions, a decrease in the total catch from the older areas.
The banks south of Cape Ommaney yielded, in 1910, more than 50,000,000 lb.; whereas at
present there are not more than 21,000,000 taken. Since the amount of fishing which produced
these totals is and has been too great for the banks in their present state, this decrease must
be taken into account, and the restriction imposed must be sufficient to more than cover this
decline, or it would be meaningless.
This declining total yield is secured by means of an increasing amount of gear. In other
words, the intensity of the fishery has become greater, and a constantly higher proportion of
the stock is taken.    Six units of gear are set now for the same result that one formerly yielded.
This increase in the amount of gear and vessels is not in the best interests of either the
fishermen or the halibut, and it is the .greatest danger to which the fishery is subjected. The
increased proportion of the stock taken lowers the abundance of fish on the banks progressively
until a very minimum is produced, not merely for the effort involved, but in total. Therefore,
if stability of return from the fishery is sought, the intensity of the fishery should not be
continually increased.
AVithout positive restriction, the investment in gear and vessels already existent will face a
decline in returns of fish, in accord with the decline in yield per set of a standard unit of gear,
the " skate." This yield reflects the abundance of halibut on the banks, and its changes; and a
certain number of sets of such skates should on the average take a definite proportion of the total
stock on the banks. So that to maintain the present rate of removal, or proportion of the
existing supply taken annually, the total catch allowed from a given area must be diminished
at a rate at least equal to the rate of this decline in returns of the gear in present use.
But knowing that the present proportion of the supply captured is too great a strain upon
the species, what hope can be held forth that the retention of that rate of removal would bring
stability or permanence to the yield? The proportion taken is already in excess of the rate of
replacement. AVe know that with the total yield as it is, this abundance—as measured by the
yield per unit of gear—is still declining. Is there any ground for believing that this decline
would stop?
Hopefulness lies in the fact that the rate of replacement varies with the condition of the
fishery. It is a well-recognized biological law that under a state of nature a maximum population brings about a decline in the rate of reproduction until replacement just balances mortality.
This is self-evident, since species cannot go on increasing indefinitely without overpopulating the
world, which none of them do. But where, from one cause or another, the maximum population
is not present, the rate of reproduction is much higher than the mortality, and up to a certain
point becomes increasingly so. This has been observed in many organisms, ranging from man,
and the various species of birds introduced into America, to transplanted species of fish such as
the shad, and various insect pests. Among indigenous species this phenomenon must hold true,
in order that they may recover from disastrous years. AVhether this is caused by a greater
abundance of food for the fewer individuals, or by some other factor, it would seem to be a
general rule that the rate of replacement is higher when the species is below its maximum in
numbers. Hence, if the decline has not gone too far, it is to be expected that in response to
steadiness of the mortality rate the numbers of the species will decline only until the thereby
increased rate of replacement is sufficient to balance the mortality.
With the data at hand, evidence of this increased productivity in the halibut is available.
The abundance has fallen on the grounds south of Cape Ommaney in sixteen years to about
25 per cent, of its original amount, but the total catch seems to have fallen to about 40 per cent.,
therefore not as fast. Such a calculation cannot in the nature of things be exact, yet it errs
on the conservative side, as, for reasons that cannot be detailed here, the fall in abundance may
have been greater than this, possibly to such a degree that the present abundance is but 15 per
cent, of its original amount.   In this case the contrast with the decrease in total catch is still G 70
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
more marked. The lower level of abundance seems to have produced in recent years a higher
catch in proportion, although not in total figures.
There is, therefore, ground for believing that if the proportion taken does not increase, the
halibut-fishery on the older banks will ultimately come to a position of stability. This would
imply the reduction of the total catch at a rate equal to the fall in abundance of the stock of
fish. The latter can best be measured by the returns per set of a standard unit of gear. This
indicates that from 1906 to 1926 the fall has been at the rate of 10 per cent, a year. Such a
reduction in total catch is the minimum which could be considered for the purpose, and is
equivalent to the use of a fleet and gear the equal of that now employed.
It will be noted that the essential principle of the reduction in total catch is that it shall
proceed at a rate at least equal to that of the declining return from a definite amount of fishing.
Were this to be accomplished with precision, the reduction in catch would cease immediately with
the cessation of the decline in abundance; and with a definite amount of fishing the returns
would then be constant. It is the same principle upon which regulation of the salmon-fisheries
in Alaska and British Columbia is conducted—that a definite proportion of the fish shall be
allowed to pass the commercial fishermen.
The adoption of such a procedure must be made with full knowledge that it may not suffice.
The thinning-out of the population may have already gone so far as to have increased the rate
of replacement to its maximum. No further increase may be possible, so that the present degree
of intensity of fishing may suffice to continue the decline, or the present drain on the species may
exceed anything that even an increased rate of replacement may be able to care for. In such
case the only alternative would be to reduce the catch annually at a faster rate. That is for
the future to indicate.
On the other hand, it is well recognized by the fishermen that the banks are now but very
sparsely populated, and it is more than possible that the maximum rate of replacement was
reached long before the thinning-out had proceeded as far as it has. In that case a larger
population of halibut than now exists on the banks would give a proportionately larger total
replacement and a greater amount would be available for the fishery without harm to the species.
Therefore, once the halibut-fishery is brought to a stable condition, the question will undoubtedly
arise as to whether a further step to increase the " breeding stock " may not be advisable. This
distinct possibility of increase in totalyield would necessitate a temporarily greater restriction
than that which is here proposed.
The determination of the amount of the reduction in the total catch from any area must,
then, be guided by a study of the amount of fishing in relation to the returns. In making this
determination, the discretion of the regulatory powers must be relied upon in drawing conclusions
from the statistics obtainable. The latter should, however, be as accurate and comprehensive as
is possible. The information now in the hands of the commission is very extensive for recent,
but less so for the earlier years. It must serve as a basis for the initial reduction. For the
period 1906 to 1926 the rate of fall in abundance has been 10 per cent, a year, with minor
fluctuations of one to five years in duration, when there may or may not have been a continuous
fall. Further reductions should be based on accurate, comprehensive data as to men, boats, and
gear used, and the returns therefrom, so that the condition of the fishery may be measured in
as many ways and as correctly as possible. Upon this information the rate of reduction in total
catch should be revised at as frequent intervals as possible.
The frequent revision of this rate of reduction is necessary for several reasons. In case
the reduction reflects the changes in the abundance of fish, as shown by the catch of a given
amount of gear, unnecessary increases and decreases in fishing operations would be avoided.
Furthermore, in case the rate of decline in abundance slackens, the reduction in the catch
should be less, so that when the fishery becomes stable in yield, reduction will cease at once.
From present statistics, the initial total catch, from which the reduction should be made,
can only be estimated for the several regions. The information at hand is designed to be
representative only, and not comprehensive. It was obtained through voluntary returns, and
may not give results comparable with those from a more complete, legally enforceable system.
The commission regards it as necessary that the installation of a complete system of records be
made at once, so that the initial amount from which reduction is made shall have been obtained
by the same system and under the same conditions as those subsequently determined as limits.
For that reason no reduction should be made until complete returns are at hand for a full year. INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES COMMISSION. G 71
As has already been said, the reduction made in the total catch should vary with the needs
of the various areas. This implies the formation of such areas for administrative purposes.
In view of the fact that such control, if adopted, would be applied for the first time in the
history of deep-sea fisheries, it is the commission's opinion that they should be large enough to
render enforcement easily effective, and that they should correspond to a natural division of the
fleet. For this purpose the first division should be into two main areas—the banks south of
Cape Spencer and those north and west thereof. Later, when there has been more experience
with the matter, smaller areas may be chosen, if deemed necessary.
Second and Third Recommendations.
Permanent Closure of Small-fish Grounds; Prevention of Gear deemed Unduly Destructive.
In the halibut-fishery the sizes vary from 2 or 3 lb. to over 200 lb. The value of the very
small fish, if they are accepted at all, is very low. It is not until a size of 11% lb. is reached
that full price is obtained.
The small fish are everywhere the young, still rapidly growing, and are not a different race
of fish from the medium-sized, first-grade fish. The smallest fish, the so-called " baby chickens,"
are from 5 to 8 years of age, and during that period treble their weights. The next class of fish,
the " chickens," are from 8 to 11 years of age, on the average, and within the three years they
double their weight. These statements are, of course, approximate only, and pertain to halibut
from Hecate Strait. On the western banks the ages are greater because of the slower growth.
The mortality of these young fish is probably light, since even at their ages they are larger than
most of those fishes which are presumably their enemies.
It therefore appears economically desirable to protect these small fish until they are of
larger size. The gain in weight of the individual would be supplemented by the increased value,
pound for pound, so that the economic gain would very probably be considerable. The hearings
held by the commission indicate almost universal acceptance of this view, one which the commission endorses.
The commission believes it very evident, however, that if the small fish become more valuable
at a later stage of life, and that if the fishery thereby gains from an economic standpoint, the
intensity of the fishery will correspondingly increase. It is natural that the profit in a fishery
should govern its intensity, and the greater the profit in fishing the larger classes of fish, the
more they will be sought after. What would be saved in one part of the fishery would simply
be added to another part, and there is no economic reason why that part should not be fished just
as closely and to as low a level as before. This being so, it is unlikely that any considerable
part of the fish protected by regulation would survive the four or five years necessary to reach
spawning size after leaving the " baby chicken " stage. To retain for the fishery the benefits
that accrue from the protection of these small fish would involve restraint of the fishery within
the area concerned for other grades of fish as well.
Nor can the gain by such protection be in any way a substitute for general restriction of the
fishery. Even were there thus permanently withheld from the fishery some small fraction of
the total population, there would be serious doubt as to whether it could compare in magnitude
with the loss in abundance that is year by year incurred by the general increase in gear used.
It would, as was remarked in connection with the closure of the winter season, simply cause a
temporary set-back that would be offset by an increase in intensity of the fishery.
Furthermore, it is to be considered that protection has to some extent been afforded these
smaller sizes in the past, by trade usage and agreements with the dealers. The price obtainable
for them has always been low. The sentiment against " baby chickens " being landed was, and
still is, strong. They have constituted a third grade of fish, which were supposed to be destroyed
and not sold.   Yet the decline in the halibut-fishery has gone on.
The percentage of the smallest size of fish landed is not known, but that of " chickens " is
recorded. This should show the trend. There has been, for instance, a more or less steady
increase from 20 per cent, to 30 per cent, of the total landed at Prince Rupert from Hecate
Strait in the last seven years. There is little doubt that undersized fish are forming a continually larger share of the catches from the southern banks in general. Legal protection to
these small fish may prevent their use in the future to an increasing extent, but it can be
preventive only and not constructive.   It cannot apply to the factors which have caused the G 72 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
damage in the past unless there are sizes included which have in the past formed acceptable
parts of the market landings.
In considering the protection of these small fish, whatever sizes are included as such, their
distribution is important. They are found to a greater or less extent in all areas and form a
factor in all catches. But the smallest sizes are found in much greater proportion on certain
banks commonly called " nurseries." Whether the extent of these banks, or the number of small
fish thereon, has increased is difficult to say, as accurate observations have not yet been completed. Those " nurseries " which have been recognized for many years are on the old, more
southern banks; but when the western grounds are better known, " nurseries " will doubtlessly
be distinguished by fishermen there. At present little can be discovered statistically as to distribution or relative abundance in various areas. Aressels fishing on " nurseries " are reluctant
to admit the fact. Catches everywhere are mixed and are rarely made from one area. The
fishermen shake off the smaller sizes, frequently in great numbers, so that their catches do not
give a fair picture of the proportion of small fish. They reflect, more than anything else, the
market demand. But they also reflect the distance of the bank fished, since a catch of low-priced
fish is not likely to be brought from a great distance as long as there is any chance for first-grade
fish. Hence, although it is possible to say that certain " nurseries " actually exist, it is not
possible as yet to give an accurate picture of the distribution of young, nor of what the effect
of various restrictive measures on the various areas might be.
There have been three methods of protection for small fish suggested—namely, the imposition
of a size limit, the prohibition of the use of small hooks, and the closure of " nurseries " to all
fishing.
The use of a minimum size limit would involve a great destruction of undersize fish, much
more extensive than is now the case. The investigations of the commission during tagging
operations showed that more than 50 per cent, of the small fish are seriously injured by hooking
even when carefully handled. It is deemed highly probable that when such fish are handled as
roughly as is done in commercial fishing, when they are jerked off the hook, only a very small
part of the 50 per cent, are in good condition for survival. Yet, as previously explained, in all
commercial fishing, wherever the lines may be set, it is impossible to avoid the capture of a
certain percentage of these small fish, and occasionally a high percentage. If such catches were
to be discarded, great waste would be entailed.
To a certain extent fishing on " nurseries " or small-fish grounds would be penalized. Yet
when prices for fish are good it is probable that vessels would nevertheless use these grounds,
culling extensively, as is now frequently the case. It is therefore preferable to act directly in
the protection of these " nurseries," as is proposed below.
Another proposed method of protecting small fish is to prohibit the use of smaller-sized hooks
(other than the standard No. 6283), which are used with lighter lines. This matter was carefully investigated by the commission in a series of experiments. It was found that the small-
hook gear, supposed to catch an undue proportion of small fish, actually did not do so, but took
no larger nor smaller proportion of small fish than did the standard gear. On the other hand,
the small-hook gear was more efficient, catching as much as 60 per cent, more fish per unit of
gear set, whether large or small fish were considered. But the lighter lines are adapted to
fishing in shoaler water, where fishing conditions are easier and where there are now greater
quantities of small fish than formerly in proportion to large. In deep water, and for large
fish, the amount of breakage was found to be high. The prohibition of this gear therefore
becomes a possible means of penalizing the present fishery on the older grounds, where the
fish are mostly small.
At present the commission has not ascertained the efficient element in the combination,
which would have to be covered by a " blanket" prohibition. Heavier, less flexible lines would
have to be required on all grounds. Yet it is entirely possible that the efficient element could
be adapted for use in deep-water fishing for large fish, and the commission is loath to block the
development of efficiency for its own sake. If the shoaler grounds are to be fished at all, and
indeed if the halibut-fishery in general is to be carried on, it would seem the part of reason that
it should be done with efficiency, and that the amount taken should be limited in a direct fashion,
as has already been proposed.
The use of the small-hook gear is, moreover, a relatively recent matter. As with the
" nurseries," prohibition of its use is a preventive of future additional ills, and not for those INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES COMMISSION. G 73
which have already injured the fishery. Its prohibition cannot suffice in itself to meet all of
the existing conditions, the extent of its effect cannot easily be foretold, and the great increase
of the fishery could proceed unchecked along previous lines. It partakes of the disadvantages
of indirect economic restrictions, which must in the end be justified by the amount of restriction
in total catch they impose, a method regarded undesirable by the commission.
In all the circumstances the commission desires to defer its recommendation as to the use
of this gear, but provision should be made to prevent the use of any such gear deemed unduly
destructive in the light of future investigation.
The third alternative, the closure of the young-fish grounds, or " nurseries," remains to be
considered. On these areas the commission, by means of its own fishing operations, has found
that the fish are actually the younger classes only. They are populated by very few fish over
11 lb. in weight, the majority being well under 8, and some being as small as 3 lb. Their age,
on the average, is from 5 to 8 years.    No mature fish are found among them except as strays.
Closure of these areas would therefore be a clear-cut protection of young fish. Unlike a
size limit, it would not involve great waste of culled fish, but it would prevent the worst of what
now occurs. No hindrance would thereby be placed upon the use of what small fish are taken
on the banks in general in the course of ordinary fishing. There would be no penalty upon
efficiency of method. The economic benefits to be derived from the increase in weight and value
per pound would not be conditioned in any way by economic losses. If the protection of young
fish is desirable, then the closure of the nurseries must be.
But the area thus protected is very small, in comparison with the extent of the banks as
a whole. The some 50O or 600 square miles includes but a very small fraction of the general
halibut population, or indeed of the small fish in general. To that extent their closure could,
even if it completely removed these fish from the catch, be but of small effect compared to the
general increase in intensity of the fishery. Moreover, what effect is observable must be confined
to the general region in which these nurseries are located because of the slow migratory movements. For these reasons, the closure of nurseries being advisable, the principle should be
extended to all similar banks, in all parts of the grounds, as soon as definite information is at
hand.
In view of the present condition of our knowledge of marine fisheries, a word of caution in
regard to such closures may be added. The maximum productivity of a bank may not be served
by permitting overpopulation. Although it would seem unlikely that such would occur, nevertheless the condition of the " nurseries " should be under observation, and too implicit faith in
their efficiency should be withheld.
The commission, therefore, while it agrees with the universal sentiment for closure of these
grounds, regards the principal justification for closure as economic. The value of such action
for the perpetuation of the species must be conditioned upon the control of the remaining fishery,
and must at best be insufficient to stem the course of overfishing in general.
The areas that the commission recommends should now be closed are the so-called "nurseries " about Timbered Islands, Alaska, and Masset, British Columbia. Their description is as
follows:—•
Timbered Islands Nursery.—The waters off the coast of Alaska within the following
boundaries: From the north-west extremity of Cape Lynch, Hecate Island, south-west (magnetic) 18 miles to a point approximately latitude 55° 42' 21" north, longitude 134° 12' 20" west;
thence south-east (magnetic) 19 miles to a point approximately latitude 55° 24' north, longitude
134° 3' 42" west; thence approximately north-east (magnetic) 8.5 miles to the southern extremity
of Cape Addington, Noyes Island.
From the north-west extremity of Cape Lynch, Hecate Island, south-east three-fourths south
(magnetic) approximately 14.5 miles to a point on Noyes Island in range with the peak shown
on chart numbered 850 published by the Coast and Geodetic Survey, said point being approximately in west longitude 132° 39' 30".
Masset Nursery.—The waters off the north coast of Graham Island within the following
boundaries: From the north-west (magnetic) extremity of Wiah Point, Graham Island, true
north 5y2 miles to a point approximately latitude 54" 12' 20" north and longitude 132° 19' 18"
west; thence true east 25 miles to a point approximately latitude 54° 12' 40" north and longitude
131° 37' west; thence magnetic south to a point on Graham Island. G 74
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
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Proposed Masset Closed " Nursery." G 76
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928
Fourth Recommendation.
The Extension of the Present Close Season by Two Weeks, and the Facilitation of
Future Alterations.
Article I. of the present treaty provides a yearly closed season for all halibut-fishing in the
waters covered by the treaty from the 16th day of November to the 15th day of February following, both days inclusive. The economic advantages of this closure and the absence of effects
beneficial to the perpetuation of the fishery have been already commented upon. It is evident
that the close season has merely shortened the period within which the catch has been taken.
The commission is, however, satisfied that the adoption of the close season was a wise
measure, as it has obvious beneficial economic effects, as far as the whole fishery is concerned.
It eliminates the most expensive fishing part of the year, and one which is also full of hardship.
It stabilizes the price of frozen halibut, and this in turn has a favourable effect on the demand
for such frozen fish. The catches at that time of year are claimed to be of poor quality, and
frequently so great as to lower the selling-price below what is profitable. On account of these
conditions all branches of the industry and the commission are unanimous in their support of
maintaining the close season.
Indeed, with the exception of the owners of some of the large fishing-vessels, who feel that
their investment is too great to admit of a longer close season, the industry favours the lengthening of the closure by two weeks at both ends.
The commission is satisfied that lengthening the close season by two weeks at the beginning
would not be seriously detrimental to any interest, and would be economically beneficial to the
industry as a whole. Hence it recommends that by special agreement of the character provided
for in Article I. of the treaty the annual close season be lengthened so as to begin on the 1st
instead of the 16th of November in each year.
It is entirely conceivable, however, that under other circumstances the present length of the
close season would be too great and would lead to serious economic difficulties. Conditions in a
fishery are not so stable as to justify reliance upon their indefinite continuation. At the present
time prosperity would seem to render the maximum closure possible, but it does not follow that
this will be permanently true. There should, therefore, be provided means whereby the length
of the close season may be altered more readily than is now the case.
In concluding, the commissioners desire to respectfully urge upon their Governments the
very serious condition of this great fishery and the necessity for prompt action to rehabilitate it.
(Signed)    John Pease Babcock,
Chairman.
Wm. A. Found.
Miller Freeman.
Henry O'Mailey. PACK OF BRITISH COLUMBIA SALMON, 1928.
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REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
STATEMENT   SHOWING   THE   SALMON-PACK   OF   THE   PKOVINCE,   BY
DISTEICTS AND SPECIES, PEOM 1913 TO 1928, INCLUSIVE.
Fraser River.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
1921.
29,299
1,173
3,909
193,106
2,881
27,061
795
61,393
7,925
10,528
67,259
102,536
24,079
10,658
85,689
12,783
20,169
88,495
32,256
21,783
13,776
35,385
7,989
25,701
66,111
99,800
36,717
5,152
39,743
2,982
4,648
109,495
31,968
21,401
1,822
31,655
3,854
4,279
103,248
63,645
20,173 '
15
51,832
10,561
6,300
17,895
29,578
23,587
817
39,631
Springs, Red	
11,360
5,949
11,233
8,178
29,978
1,331
Bluebacks and Steelheads..
Totals 	
258,224
284,378
274,951
276,855
212,059
226,869
140,570
107,650
1920.
1919.
1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
1913.
48,399
10,691
4,432
23,884
12,839
22,934
4,522
38,854
14,519
4,296
15,718
39,363
39,253
15,941
19,697
15,192
24,853
86,215
18,388
40,111
4,395
148,164
10,197
18,916
59,973
134,442
25,895
4,951
32,146
17,673
11,430
30,934
840
31,330
3,129
91,130
23,228
5,392
18,919
138,305
43,514
31
198,183
11,209
15,300
74,826
6,272
43,504
719,796
3,573
49
22,220
20,773
16,018
Totals 	
136,661
167,944
208,857
402,538
127,472
320,519
349,204
782,4^9
Skeena River.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
1921.
34,559
6,420 .
17,716
209,579
30,194
241
298,709
83,996
19,038
19,006
38,768
26,326
582
82,360
30,594
63,527
210,081
30,208
754
81,146
23,445
74,308
130,079
39,168
713
144,747
12.028
25,588
181,313
26,968
214
131,731
12,247
16,527
145,973
31,967
418
96,277
14,176
39,758
301,655
24,699
1,050
41,018
21,766
1,993
124,457
45,033
Steelhead Trout	
498
Totals	
187,716
407,524
348,859
390,858
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338,863
477,915
234,765
1920.
1919.
1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
1913.
89,364
37,403
3,834
177,679
18,068
1,218
184,945
25,941
31,457
117,303
36,559
2,672
123,322
22,931
22,573
161,727
38,759
4,994
65,760
16,285
21,516
148,319
38,456
1,883
60,293
20,933
17,121
73,029
47,409
3,743
116,533
15,273
5,769
107,578
32,190
1,798
130,166
11,740
8,329
71,021
16,378
52,927
26,436
Pinks	
Cohoes	
Steelhead Trout	
66,045
18,647
Totals	
332,887
398,877
374,306
292,219
223,158
279,161
237,634
164,055 STATEMENT SHOWING SALMON-PACK OF THE PROVINCE.
G 81
STATEMENT   SHOWING   THE   SALMON-PACK   OF   THE   PEOVINCE,   BY
DISTEICTS AND SPECIES, FROM 1913 TO 1928, INCLUSIVE—Continued.
Rivers Inlet.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
1921.
60,044
468
3,594
16,546
868
7
65,269
608
1,122
671
'2,094
9
65,581
685
11,727
12,815
7,286
11
*192,323
496
11,510
8,625
4,946
94,891
545
4,924
15,105
1,980
116,850
599
3,242
10,057
1,526
53,584
323
311
24,292
1,120
82
48,615
364
173
5,303
Cohoes	
4,718
97
Totals	
81,527
69,773
98,105
217,900
117,445
132,274
79,712
59,272
1920.
1919.
1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
1913.
125,742
1,793
i;226
25,647
2,908
56,258
1,442
7,089
6,538
9,038
53,401
1,409
6,729
29,542
12,074
61,195
817
16,101
8,065
9,124
44,936
1,422
20,144
3,567
15,314
130,355
1,022
5,387
2,964
7,115
89,890
566
5,023
5,784
7,789
61,745
594
2,097
3,660
Totals	
133,248
80,367
103,155
95,302
85,383
146,838
109,052
68,096
Nass River.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
1921.
5,540
1,846
3,538
83,183
10,734
36
12,026
3,824
3,307
16,609
3,966
96
15,929
5,964
15,392
50,815
4,274
375
18,945
3,757
22,504
35,530
8,027
245
33,590
2,725
26,612
72,496
6,481
1,035
17,821
3,314
25,791
44,165
7,894
595
31,277
2,062
11,277
75,687
3,533
235
9,364
2,088
2,176
29,488
8,236
Steelhead Trout	
413
Totals	
104,877
39,828
92,749
89,008
142,939
99,580
124,071
51,765
1920.
1919.
1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
1913.
16,740
4,857
12,145
43,151
3,700
560
28,259
3,574
24,041
29,949
10,900
789
21,816
4,152
40,368
59,206
17,061
1,305
22,188
4,496
24,938
44,568
22,180
1,125
31,411
3,845
11,200
59,593
19,139
1,498
39,349
3,701
11,076
34.879
15,171
113
31,327
3,385
25,569
25,333
9,276
23,574
3,151
2,987
Pinks	
20,539
3,172
Totals	
81,153
97,512
143,908
119,495
126,686
104,289
94,890
53,423
1 Including 40,000 cases caught in Smith Inlet and 20,813 cases packed at Namu. G 82
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, 1928.
STATEMENT   SHOWING   THE   SALMON-PACK   OF   THE   PEOVINCE,   BY
DISTRICTS AND SPECIES, FROM 1913 TO 1928, INCLUSIVE—Continued.
Vancouver Island District.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
1921.
14,248
2,269
303,474
41,885
23,345
5,249
24,835
6,769
220,270
52,561
58,834
10,194
25,070
5,222
174,383
86,113
51,551
5,383
10,895
5,664
127,520
51,384
59,747
4,832
15,618
283
165,161
63,102
30,593
2,510
12,006
138
120,520
30,149
21,342
7,097
15,147
886
108,478
36,943
18,575
5,495
6,936
3,230
34,431
10,660
11,120
3,151
Totals 	
390,470
373,463
347,722
260,042
277,267
191,252
185,524
69,528
Queen Charlotte and other Districts.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
1921.
59,852
2,806
341,802
438,298
58,455
609
60,533
7,826
252,230
36,481
47,433
973
62,383*
3,650
348,682
380,243
47,183
973
49,962
5,002
305,256
120,747
40,269
1,520
40,926
4,245
195,357
141,878
26,031
497
24,584
2,711
148,727
146,943
29,142
732
47,107
4,988
80,485
113,824
31,331
409
18,350
4,995
21,412
14,818
18,203
Steelheads and Bluebacks..
2,790
Totals 	
901,822
405,476
844,114
522,756
408,934
352,839
278,144
80,568
1920.
1919.
1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
1913.
64,473
15,633
30,946
247,149
33,807
3,721
54,677
14,766
165,717
110,300
35,011
702
51,980
8,582
90,464
201,847
42,331
l,O09
32,902
6,056
112,364
112,209
30,201
865
45,373
11,423
160,812
143,615
70,431
712
98,600
9,488
40,849
83,626
48,966
985
87,130
7,108
70,727
111,930
43,254
149,336
7,246
52,758
Cohoes	
83,430
28,328
Totals 	
395,728
381,163
404,793
294,597
432,366
313,894
320,168
285,898
Total packed by Districts in 1913 to 1928, inclusive.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
1921.
258,224
298,709
81,527
104,877
390,470
901,822
284,378
187,716
69,773
39,828
373,463
405,476
274,951
407,524
98,105
92,749
347,722
844,139*
276,855
348,859
217,900
89,008
263,904
522,756
212,059
390,858
117,445
142,939
277,267
604,745
226,869
338,863
132,274
99,580
191,252
352,839
140,570
477,915
79,712
124,071
185,524
278,144
107,650
Skeena	
234,765
59,272
51,765
Vancouver Island...
Other Districts
69,528
80,568
Grand totals
2,035,629
1,360,634
2,065,190
1,719,282
1,745,313
1,341,677
1,285,946
603,548
1920.
1919.
1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
1913.
136,661
332,787
157,522
81,153
'84,170
395,223
167,944
398,877
80,367
97,512
'267,293
381,163
210,851
374,216
103,155
143,908
389,815
404,793
402,538
292,219
95,302
119,495
325,723
294,597
127,472
223,158
85,383
126,686
320,519
279,161
146,838
104,289
349,294
237,634
109,052
94,890
782,429
164,055
68,096
53,423
Skeena	
Vancouver Island...
Other Districts
432,366
313,894
320,169
285,898
Grand totals
1,187,616
1,393,156
1,626,738
1,557,485
995,065
1,164,701
1,111,039
1,353,901
* Including 17,921 cases of sockeye packed at Smith Inlet. STATEMENT SHOWING SALMON-PACK OF THE PROVINCE.
G 83
STATEMENT SHOWING THE SOCKEYE-PACK OF THE ENTIRE FRASER
RIVER SYSTEM FROM 1913 TO 1928, INCLUSIVE.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
1921.
29,299
61,044
61,393
97,594
85,689
44,673
35,385
112,023
39,743
69,369
31,655
47,402
51,832
48,566
39,631
State of Washington	
102,967
Totals	
90,343
158,987
130,362
147,408
109,112
79,057
100,398
142,598
1920.
1919.
1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
1913.
48,399
62,654
38,854
64,346
19,697
50,723
148,164
411,538
32,146
84,637
91,130
64,584
198,183
335,230
719,796
1,673,099
Totals	
111,053
103,200
70,420
559,702
116,783
155,714
533,413
2,392,895
STATEMENT SHOWING THE SOCKEYE-PACK OF THE PROVINCE,
BY DISTRICTS, 1913 TO 1928, INCLUSIVE.
1928.
1927.
1926.
1925.
1924.
1923.
1922.
1921.
29,299
34,559
60,044
5,540
14,248
59,852
61,393
83,996
65,269
12,026
24,835
60,533
85,689
82,360
65,581
15,929
25,070
62,383
35,385
81,146
192,323
18,945
14,757
49,962
39,743
144,747
94,891
33,590
15,618
41,014
31,655
131,731
116,850
17,821
12,006
24,584
51,832
96,277
53,584
31,277
15,147
47,107
39,631
41,018
48,615
9,364
Vancouver Island	
6,936
18,350
Totals	
203,542
308,052
337,012
392,518
369,603
334,647
295,224
163,914
1920.
1919.
1918.
1917.
1916.
1915.
1914.
1913.
48,399
89,064
125,742
16,740
6,987
64,473
38,854
184,945
56,258
28,259
6,452
54,677
19,697
123,322
53,401
21,816
6,243
51,980
148,164
65,760
61,195
22,188
9,639
32,902
32,146
60,923
44,936
31,411
9,223*
36,150
91,130
116,553
130,350
39,349
198,183
130,166
89,890
31,327
719,796
52,927
61,745
23,574
98,660
87,130
149,336
Totals	
351,405
369,445
276,459
339,848
214,789
476,042
536,696
972,178
* Vancouver Island's pack not previously segregated.
PRODUCTION OF FISH OIL AND MEAL, B.C., 1920-28.
Prom Pilchards.
Peom Herring.
From Whales.
Prom other
Sources.
Year.
Meal and
Fertilizer.
Oil.
Meal.
Oil.
Whalebone
and
Meal.
Fertilizer.
Oil.
Meal.
Oil.
1'9'20
Tons.
Gals.
Tons.
310
2,218
788
Gals.
Tons.
'503
326
485
'292
347
340
345
376
Tons.
1,035
230
910
926
835
'666
651
754
Gals.
604,070
Tons.
466
489
911
823
1,709
'2,468
1,752
1,948
3,205
Gals.
55,669
1921...
44,700
192'2	
283,314
706,'514
645,657
856,939
468,206
437,967
571,914
75,461
1923....
180,318
1924
241,376
192'o	
'2,083
'8,481
12,145
14,502
495,653
1,898,721
2,610,120
3,997,656
354,853
1926
1927
1928	
13,700
173,343
61,245
217,150
'250,811
3*87,276 VICTORIA,  B.C. :
Printed by Chables F.  Banfield, Printer to the King's Most Excellent  Majesty.
1929.
1825-629-6452

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