Fishponds On Farms: Methods Employed by the Bureau of Fisheries in the Distribution of Fish
Fishponds On Farms: Methods Employed by the Bureau of Fisheries in the Distribution of Fish the Bureau of Fisheries will undertake to furnish fish to individuals for stocking public and private waters.
Blanks upon which to submit formal application will be supplied on request. Assignments of fish are made large enough to form the nucleus for a brood stock for a given area of water and are delivered at the applicant’s railroad station free of charge.
From the information given in these applications the Bureau decides as to the suitability of the waters for the fish asked for and reserves the right to substitute for other species if in its judgment the applicant’s selection is ill chosen or it is impossible, with its limited facilities, to supply the species specified within a reasonable length of time.
None of the pond fishes recommended in the foregoing pages will be furnished by the Bureau for stocking lakes or streams in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, or the western portions of Wyoming or Montana, as it is believed their introduction into such waters might prove detrimental to the important salmon and trout fisheries of the Pacific coast.
Basses, crappie, and sunfishes are propagated at 13 of the Bureau’s stations, ranging in location from Vermont to South Carolina and from Texas to Iowa. However, the facilities at these stations are entirely inadequate to fill the rapidly growing demands, and the Bureau has for some years supplemented its supplies by collecting young fish of the species named from the overflow waters of certain rivers in the Mississippi Valley, where they are indigenous.
No source of supply can be relied upon. A sudden change in temperature during the spawning season may cause a year’s failure at an important pond-culture station, and, unfortunately, this critical period occurs at a time when sudden climatic changes are natural.
The success attained in collecting young fish from overflow waters depends upon favorable water stages, not only at spawning time but throughout the collecting season as widely varying water stages are encountered from week to week and from year to year, the results of a season’s work cannot be foretold with any degree of certainty.
It is the policy of the Bureau to fill in applications, as far as practicable, in the order of their receipt, and the allotments are as liberal as circumstances will permit. Aside from the uncertainty as to the stock of fish available for distribution, there are other factors governing the size of allotments and the time of delivery that are not understood.
On account of the greater value of fingerlings than fry for stocking purposes and the proportionate difficulty and expense of producing the larger fish, it is of course impossible to supply them except in comparatively limited numbers.
It has been estimated that 350 fish 1 inch 44 long are of value more than 1,000 fry, and that 25 fish 6 inches long are the equivalent of 100 only half as long. This is the ratio of decrease experienced in rearing fingerling fish at the Bureau’s stations, and allotments to applicants are governed accordingly.
The distribution operations of the Bureau of Fisheries close with the fiscal year ending June 30. At the opening of the new fiscal year all applications on hand are listed and arrangements are made to supply the fish assigned thereon before the following winter so far as the stock available will permit.
Applications received after the opening of the fiscal year cannot be filled in the same calendar year. unless there happens to be a surplus stock after deliveries have been made on all listed applications.
There are two distinct periods of distribution—one of fry in the late spring months, the shipments being forwarded in charge of messengers direct from the stations where the fish are propagated, and the other by the Bureau’s cars, which extends from early in July until late in the fall.
The later distribution is of fingerling fish, their size increasing as the work progresses.
The distributions are arranged to cover the country by States or groups of States, and individual trips are routed in such a way as to most effectively and economically supply all applicants of a particular section of a State.
The Bureau does not carry at all times a supply of fish that can be delivered on demand. Fish reproduce only once a year, and when the supply for any one year is exhausted it is necessary to wait another year, or until the next breeding season, before another supply can be obtained.
Rarely is a second trip made over a route in the course of a year, and if for any reason an applicant fails to meet the Bureau’s messenger and receive his consignment, the application is held for another attempt the following year. Only in extraordinarily good seasons can the entire area of the United States be covered.
Each section is supplied in turn, as far as practicable, priority being given to the older applications on file. Applicants are notified from 30 to 60 days in advance of the contemplated shipments of their fish, and a second notice, specifying the exact time of arrival, is sent by the messenger while enroute.
The Bureau takes every precaution to avoid misunderstandings, and it is essential that applicants follow all the instructions they may receive.
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