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TABLE 11.-New England landings of haddock by grounds and years, 1931-46 [In thousands of pounds]
TABLE 12.-New England landings 1 of rosefish by grounds and years, 1931–46
1 Landings at New Bedford and the Cape Cod areas are also included in the 1946 data. The area of capture of rosefish landed at Boston was determined by interviewing the vessels during the period 1936-46. Area of capture of fish landed at Portland was estimated by the statistical agent at the port over the entire period. Area of capture of fish landed at Gloucester was estimated by the statistical agent at the port from 1936–41. Since 1942 area of capture has been determined by the interview method.
TABLE 13.—New England landings of cod by grounds and years, 1931–46
TABLE 14.-New England landings of halibut by grounds and years, 1931-46
STATEMENT OF MILTON C. JAMES, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF THE FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE CONCERNING THE NEED FOR RATIFICATION OF INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS WITH MEXICO AND COSTA RICA TO PROVIDE FOR SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION OF THE TUNA RESOURCES OF THE PACIFIC
Mr. Chairman, I should like to speak in favor of the ratification of two international agreements concluded this year to provide for the scientific investigation of the tuna resources which were concluded on January 22 and March 23, 1949. They provide a basis for providing knowledge about the complex resources that support one of America's most valuable fishery resources.
TUNAS A WORLD RESOURCE
The tunas are a world resource, ranging over vast distances and migrating across oceans; and they are the object of important fisheries in many countries. United States citizens have a large stake in this marine wealth, for tunas support a canning industry in this country second in value only to that of salmon, and they are of great recreational value to thousands of anglers.
On the Pacific coast of the United States tuna fishermen have landed an average of about 158 million pounds of fish a year, on the average, during the past few years. Virtually the entire quantity was utilized by the canning industry to produce 60 million pounds of canned fish. In addition, the "waste" was made into about 20 million pounds of meal and 1.5 million pounds of fish oil. The livers are used for the manufacture of high-potency vitamin oils. Besides their use in industry, the tunas are a favorite quarry of western sportsmen. Four kinds of Pacific fishes landed in the United States are permitted to be sold as tuna: The bluefin, the yellowfin, the albacore, and the skipjack. The bonito, which like tuna, is a member of the mackerel family, and the yellowtail are put up in a tunastyle pack, but may not be labeled "tuna."
In spite of the great value and antiquity of tuna fisheries, very little is known about these fishes. Our knowledge of tunas in the Pacific is particularly negative. We don't know where or when the Pacific tunas spawn or the size or age that they must attain before first spawning. We don't know how large any of the populations of tuna are, or what fraction of them is being exploited. Certainly the rate of exploitation has been greatly increased within the past few years, and it will probably further increase in the future. We know little about the migrations of tunas except that, in general, they are oceanic fishes not limited to the continental shelf. Since they occur in the high seas and pass in and out of the territorial waters of many countries, the tunas are truly a world resource. There are indications that albacore may migrate across the Pacific, bluefin across the Atlantic. It seems likely that the yellowfin and skipjack travel similarly vast distances. Thus an intense fishery in remote regions might adversely affect our own fishing if the tunas belong, even in part, to populations shared by many nations. What effect, for example, did the rapidly expanding prewar Japanese tuna fishery have on our own? Until some of these problems are solved, no intelligent conservation program can be initiated. Any program to be effective must be on a large scale and must not be restricted to any local area; indeed, it must cover the entire range of the distribution of each species.
MUST KNOW TUNA BIOLOGY FOR SOUND CONSERVATION
To conserve the tuna resource of the Pacific, minimum and maximum size limits are placed on tunas in California. These have an economic rather than a conservation basis, since the industry finds it unprofitable to handle very small or very large fish. To protect sport-fishing interests, some areas in southern California have been closed to commercial tuna fishing. No sound measures of conservation can be effected, however, without knowledge of tunas' biology. No truly effective means of insuring the income from these valuable resources can be instituted without the full collaboration of all the countries that share in them.
I have attached to this statement an appendix that contains a brief résumé of the biology and statistical material on the principal species that comprise_the tuna fishery and on the bait resources which are an indispensable adjunct. Permission to insert them in the record is requested.
TUNA INDUSTRY CENTERED ON PACIFIC COAST
The tuna industry of the Pacific coast, which is most heavily concentrated in southern California, has been maintained by a continuous expansion of the fleets and of the range of operations which now extend as far southward as the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. The tuna fleets are greatly dependent for bait supplies on the resources that occur in and immediately adjacent to the shores of Mexico and the Central American Republics. These fisheries, then, are of international interest and concern even though the bulk of the products enter the United States in American bottoms for processing in American plants.
The Congress, about 2 years ago, recognized the need for investigation and exploration of the high-seas fisheries in the Pacific by passing an authorization bill and providing funds for the development and maintenance of a long-term
research program based in Hawaii. However, since these fisheries are international, there should be international cooperation at least in the investigation of the vast tuna area along the coasts of the Pacific Coast States, Mexico, Central and South America.
SIGNS OF DEPLETION
The decreasing catches per unit of fishing effort experienced by the fishing industry, the observed scarcity of tunas and bait in formerly producing areas, and other casual observations in themselves cannot be used as the basis for fishery regulations. Only a knowledge of the fishery and the factors that affect it can be the determinant as to whether and what kinds of regulations may be needed to conserve and maintain the fishery.
HALIBUT AND SALMON CONSERVATIONS AS EXAMPLES
The international agreements with Canada for the protection of the halibut fishery and for the sockeye salmon fishery of the Fraser River System provided initially for Commissions vested with investigative powers only. After the research activities of the Commissions have proven the need for regulations, the Commissions were given regulatory authority. This same pattern has been followed in the two tuna agreements we are considering today.
As examples of but some of the subjects that should be encompassed by the tuna investigations conducted pursuant to plans formulated by the Commissions, I may venture the following:
Distribution and systematics.-This heading sounds like the conventional taxonomic faunal survey but is intended to include much larger and much different content. The distribution studies would be pursued in conjunction with, or better still, take place after oceanographic surveys to distinguish chemical attributes, plankton content, and drift patterns. They would pay particular attention to the life-cycle stages encountered and their relation to characteristics of the water masses. The systematics, which would be developed along with distribution, would be the study of populations and subpopulations whether distinguishable from morphological characters, from growth rates, or from habits or reactions. The whole Pacific cannot be explored every month to find out where the tuna are in that month, but if it is known from observations here and there, what kind of water they inhabit and further know the general pattern of oceanic circulation and oceanic seasons, their further presence in unexplored areas may be hypothecated and so narrow the search.
It is this phase of the program that may be of most immediate material benefit to the industry. Unless it is developed intelligently and on a large scale and perhaps unless it enjoys some lucky breaks, there will be few early results of any value to industry. There is every indication that the industry is disposed to explore aggressively at the present time. But if there are costly failures and if these should coincide with any economic recession, development might be arrested for years. Anything we can find out to help this exploration may make the difference between success or failure in developing these fisheries.
Schooling habits.—More should be known about schooling habits as such. Direct observations are not likely to give any more or any better information on the subject than the fishermen already have. This subject has been avoided by fishery biologists and probably greatly to the detriment of progress in our pelagic fishery investigations. The key to understanding probably lies in parallel study by the experimental method, perhaps employed on noncommercial fishes more adaptable to aquarium life, and by the observational method wherein the conditions of environment are measured at the site of schooling activities. The success of commercial fishing of tuna, pilchard, mackerel, etc. depends on schooling and if we could understand how and why schools form, break up and reunite, etc., the information cannot help but be of practical use to the fishery. More important in the long run is that this information is needed in order to know how to combine our samples to reconstitute something more nearly resembling the commercial stock than anything now in use.
Food habits and bait supplies.—A special limitation on development of fisheries for the three tunas mentioned above is the availability of live bait. Also it is practically axiomatic among marine biologists that oceanic waters far from coasts have very sparse faunas. However, the existence of tuna far from land suggests some abundant oceanic food fish. Discovery of the oceanic foods of the tunas not only would be a material clue to what kinds of waters to explore for the tunas themselves but also might offer some hitherto overlooked bait potentialities that would be of signal importance to practice of the fishery in oceanic waters.
Oceanography.-The conventional form of oceanographic research in the Pacific will be invaluable, but a special form centered on deviations from normal or average patterns both in physical and biological oceanographic phenomena is needed to understand the fluctuations in outright abundance and fluctuations in availability of pelagic populations. While it may be expected that other institutions and agencies (on the Pacific coast) will pursue some oceanographic studies, their work will be almost exclusively physical oceanography. It will undoubtedly be necessary to have an oceanographic section in tuna research to collaborate with other oceanographic agencies and to pursue independently such studies of direct use to the tuna work as are not undertaken by, or through cooperation with, other agencies.
The actual cost of investigations of tuna and bait fishes to be conducted in accordance with plans to be formulated by the two proposed International Commissions will depend upon a number of factors. An annual operating budget in excess of $750,000 exclusive of capital investment in vessels or other facilities appears is currently required for the present Fish and Wildlife Service program in the Pacific, which is quite comparable in objectives. The actual cost of investigations to carry out the objectives of the tuna agreements will be conditioned to the degree that existing laboratory and office facilities, and the vessels of the Federal, State, and private organizations and institutions may be utilized in one manner or another in carrying out the program. The actual cost to the United States will also depend on the share of the costs borne by the other Governments who are parties to the convention.
The importance to the United States of the tuna resources and the industries they support is sufficiently great to justify the expenditure of adequate sums which will provide a basis for maintaining them. Knowledge of the sources of the raw material that maintains the tuna industry is fundamental.
RÉSUMÉ OF SOME OF THE TUNA AND LIVE BAIT FISHERIES OF THE WEST COAST OF NORTH AMERICA
PRESENT STATUS OF THE UNITED STATES WEST COAST TUNA FISHERY
A gradual increase in the tuna production can be noted during the years of the fishery from 1918 to date. During the war years, the Government recruited many of the long-range tuna vessels. Since these larger boats fished primarily for yellowfin and skipjack, it was the landings of these two species which suffered most heavily.
The case pack of 1942 was the lowest of any during the war years. Although there was a scarcity of boats and manpower during 1943, some fortuitous runs of fish increased the production to over 2,000,000 cases which was slightly above the 1942 case pack.
In 1944 and 1945, albacore sustained the output in spite of the reduced catch of yellowfin and skipjack. The total pack increased to nearly 3,000,000 cases in 1944 and to over 3,000,000 cases in 1945. The 1946 record of over 4,000,000 cases was attained by expenditure of effort far exceeding that of any other year. Both the fleet and the area scouted were larger. There was also an increase in the landings of seined fish and refrigeration of purse seiners for tuna fishing had become a common practice. The sharp increases in prices paid for tuna during the latter months of the year also stimulated the fishery. The 1947 and 1948 packs of nearly 6,000,000 and more than 7,000,000 cases, respectively, was established not as a result of an abundance of fish, but of a vast increase in fishing effort. The fleet was at an all-time high in both numbers and efficiency.
Of the 1,148,304,000 pounds of fish landed in the 5-year period from 1944 through the 1948 season, the percentage of the total catch contributed by each species was: yellowfin, 53 percent; skipjack, 19 percent; albacore, 17 percent; bluefin, 8 percent and bonito, 3 percent.
YELLOWFIN TUNA-Neothunnus macropterus (also called yellow-finned albacore, tuna)
This fish is usually found in warm waters from 60° F. to 80° F.; its range extends from Point Conception southward through the Gulf of California, off the coast of Central America, the coast of South America, and in the tropical Pacific in general. It is often found within a few miles of the mainland, around islands or over banks.