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Production Trends in the Northwest Fisheries IiNID I. MILUEE University of Washington, Seattle, Washington With their subsidiary and related industries, fisheries form an integral part of the natural economy of the Northwest. In Washington, British Columbia and Alaska the market value of fisheries products exceeds $100,000,000 a year. To this total salmon contributes 78%, halibut 15% and minor fisheries 7%. Begun in 1866 on the Columbia River, commercial salmon fishing has been pushed north and west to Bristol Bay. Although the older southern areas continue to contrib, ute to the total, the maximum catch now comes from Alaskan waters. With the exception of the Columbia River, long regulated jointly by Oregon and Washington, every major salmon area has been or is now being over-fished. In Washington and Alaska where a single governmental authority is in control, the danger of permanent depletion is not great. In the boundary waters of the Fraser River system there has been drastic depletion of eockeye salmon, Canadian-American treaty regulation on the Frazer began in 1918, but has not been altogether effective ; the new treaty of 1936 promises little more insurance against exploitation. The center of halibut fishing has also moved steadily west and north as nearby southern waters were depleted. Peak production, 63,000,000 pounds was reached 'in 19141915 , followed by a steady decline to about 40,000,000 pounds. To check overfishing and the taking of immature halibut, Canada and the United States organized a joint International Fisheries Commission in 1925. The Commission has made careful studies, defined regulatory areas, set aside nursery areas, and, imposed quotas and a closed season. The fishermen have cooperated voluntarily with rules designed to stabilize the industry and maintain steady employment. The annual take is now set at 47,000 ,000 pounds. Among the minor fisheries, whale, cod, herring, clams, oysters, shrimp, crab and pilchard yield the largest returns. Shellfish, especially Washington oysters, have shown the best gains in volume ard value during the past decade. Tho other fish products vary greatly from year to year. Among them, the most definite trend is the increasing proportion of the catch utilized for meal and fertilizer. Although certain of the minor fisheres are capable of moderate expansion, they will need careful regulation for permanency. Both the salmon and halibut industries have reached their maximum expansion ; at best they can only be maintained or very slightly increased . The present trend in all Northwest fisheries indicates (1) maintenance rather than increase, and (2) increasing regulation designed for long-time stabilization. CiU) ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1551-3211
Print ISSN
0066-9628
Pages
p. 22
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-01
Open Access
No
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