United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries
Annual Reports 1871-1903

In 1871, the U.S. Congress empaneled and funded a federal Commission of Fish and Fisheries, (commonly known as the United States Fish Commission) directing it to investigate: " the causes of decrease in the supply of useful food-fishes of the United States, and of the various factors entering into the problem; and (2) " the determination and employment of such active measures as may seem best calculated to stock or restock the waters of the rivers, lakes and the sea."

For the next thirty years, the Commission deployed its research vessels on the nation's rivers, lakes and oceans, trained fishery agents to document the catches landed in American and Canadian fishing ports, actively corresponded with scientists, fisherman and naturalists around the world, set up large scale salmon hatcheries in New England and the Pacific Northwest, used a floating hatchery to replenish shad in East Coast rivers and considered the effect on fish and other marine life of the new petroleum pollution.

For the first time, a detailed description emerged of the ecology, distribution and abundance of North America's wild fishes, shellfish, plankton and marine mammals, and of the impact on them of the extensive, intensive commercial fishing, whaling and sealing of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

How To Read These Documents:
Each year's report is available (1) broken into seperate 'Articles' in individual pdf files, and (2) as a single large pdf file of each annual report.

1871-72 Articles * Report
1872-73 Articles * Report
1874-75 Articles * Report
1877 Articles * Report
1878 Articles * Report
1879 Articles * Report
1880 Articles * Report
1881 Articles * Report
1882 Articles * Report
1883 Articles * Report
1884 Articles * Report
1885 Articles * Report
1886 Articles * Report
1887 Articles * Report
1888 Articles * Report
1889-91 Articles * Report

These lengthy reports (800 - 1,200 pages each, including plates and photographs) are essential reading for anyone interested in the ecology of our rivers lakes and oceans before chemical pollution, habitat destruction and mechanized trawl fisheries degraded our marine and freshwater ecology.

1892 Articles * Report
1893 Articles * Report
1894 Articles * Report
1895 Articles * Report
1896 Articles * Report
1897 Articles * Report
1898 Articles * Report
1899 Articles * Report
1900 Articles * Report
1901 Articles * Report
1902 Articles * Report
1903 Articles * Report