AUGUST, 1923. 


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SCOTT C. BONE, Governor. 

Ex-officio Chairman. 


J. R. HECKMAN, Ketchikan. 

Vice-Chairman and Executive Manager. 




H. E. ELLSWORTH, Seward. 






Superintendent of Hatcheries. 


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[From his last speech, delivered at Seattle, Friday, July 27, on 

his return from his tour of Alaska.] 


The greatest Alaskan industry stands in an entirely different 

relation than either gold or copper. I refer to the fisheries, which 

in present wealth-producing potency far exceed the mines. In fact, 

the fisheries product is now in value more than double that of all 

metals and minerals. It is too great for the good of the Territory, 

for if it shall continue without more general and effective regula- 

tion than is now imposed, it will presumably exhaust the fish, and 

leave no basis for the industry. 


One must know the natural history of the salmon, the supremely 

important Alaskan fish, to appraise the fisheries problem. We do 

not need to enlighten Pacific Coast people, who understand the sub- 

ect, but many others lack understanding.  The salmon normally 

begins and ends his life in fresh water, but grows and lives in the 

ocean. A school of small fish, hatched in a particular stream, go 

out to sea, and are lost for a period of years. In that same time 

they grow into the magnificent creatures, we all know. Then they 

return, with seemingly unerring instinct, to the very stream in 

which they were hatched, to reproduce their kind, and then to die. 

They congregate on their way back into great schools, plowing 

their way up to the streams of their nativity. Full grown and 

perfectly conditioned, they are now ripe for the enterprise of the 

fisherman and the canner. Their habit of traveling in schools is 

their undoing; for the fishermen with their nets and traps literally 

scoop entire schools into their gear, and thus gradually exterminate 

the entire fish population of a particular small stream.  There- 

after, that stream will be barren, unless a sufficient proportion of 

the school is permitted to escape to spawn and perpetuate it. Too 

often this does not happen, as is proved by the history of both 

our Atlantic and Pacific coast salmon fisheries, and the record 

of fisheries elsewhere which depend on fish with similar life habits. 


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The progressive disappearance of salmon along our coasts from 

California northward is a story whose repetition ought to warn us 

to protect it in Alaska before it is too late. The salmon pack not 

only represents nine-tenths of the output of Alaska's commercial 

fisheries, but it an important contribution to our national food 



It is vastly more easy to declare for protection and conserva- 

tion of such a resource than to formulate a practicable and equit- 

able program. Fish hatcheries have been established to re-stock 

streams, but the results are still conjectural and controversial. Argu- 

ment is advanced for the abolition of one method of fishing in 

one spot, the condemnation of another type in another, and so on, 

until there is confusion of local controversies which no specific 

and exclusive prohibition will solve. Even in his cruder pursuit of 

the fish industry, the Indian seeks for himself the device which 

he would have denied to the canner. But there is encouragement 

in the almost unanimous agreement in Alaska that regulation must 

and shall be enforced, and we must apply a practical wisdom to 

the varied situations as the salvage of the industry demands. 

Against any kind of prohibition, it is urged that the immense in- 

vestment in Alaska's fisheries and canneries would be greatly in- 

jured by such a reduction of the catch. To this it may well be re- 

plied that the canneries would better have their catches restricted 

by government regulation for a time than exterminated in a few 

years through their own excesses.  By the establishment of re- 

serves along sections of the coast we have already accomplished 

much. More restriction is necessary, and urgent. The conservation 

must be affected. If Congress can not agree upon a program of 

helpful legislation, the reservations and their regulations will be 

further extended by executive order. There is an obligation to the 

native Alaskan Indian, which conscience demands us to fulfill. More- 

over, the salvation of the industry is no blow at vested interests; 

it is a step toward protected investment and promoted public wel- 

fare. We have invited co-operation and in the great majority of 

cases it has been cordially and intelligently extended. If there is 

defiance, it is better to destroy the defiant investor than to de- 

molish a national resource, which needs only guarding against greed 

to remain a permanent asset of incalculable value. Moreover, we 

have ever to guard against the appeal of the demagogue, whose 

play on popular preudice for political advantage has no place in 

the solution of the great problems of national conservation. 


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U. S. S. Henderson, Sitka, Alaska, 

July 23. 1923. 


Governor Scott C. Bone, 

Juneau, Alaska: 


In accordance with our discussions I have furnished you 

today a memorandum concerning the handling of the Alaskan 

salmon fisheries question. 


In the matter of an advisory board it is my idea that such 

a board should embrace the membership of the Territorial 

Fish Commission in order that we may have co-ordination in 

all efforts and that such a board should function under your 

chairmanship in order that we may bring the government of 

Alaska another step closer to her own people. 


In formulating these suggestions I feel that I am doing 

so in accordance with your own well considered view. 


I wish to again thank you for the many instances of your 

consideration on our most pleasant journey throughout Alaska. 




Statement of Secretary Hoover, of the 

Department of Commerce 


I have now had an opportunity of consulting with scores of 

people in Alaska on the fisheries question—with fishermen, can- 

ners, public officials, business men and experts, in public hearings 

and otherwise. There has not been a single dissent from the con- 

clusion that there must be strong and immediate restrictions on 

salmon fishing, if we are to preserve the industry from the same 

destruction that has ruined many of our national fisheries else- 

where. In fact, it should have been undertaken in Alaska years 

ago. Moreover, through Western Alaska, where actual measures 


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have been taken, I have found unanimous support of the Depart- 

ment's policy of reserves and other methods for the immediate limit- 

ing of the amount of fish taken pending action by Congress. 


The need for conservation in Alaska has been recognized for 

over ten years and has been a constant subject of debate and dis 

cussion, and I am greatly pleased to see the large measure of sup- 

port given the Administration for having substituted action for pious  

discussion. Restriction on activities naturally causes sacrifice and 

trouble. I regret that the purpose of the reserves has been de- 

liberately misrepresented to the people in Western Alaska and else- 

where, not only as to purpose, but as to the actual methods in- 

stalled. However, the working of the reserves for a season has 

demonstrated to these people the untruth of these statements. 


It is to be hoped that Congress will take immediate action to 

give more constructive authority. In the meantime this Administra- 

tion does not intend to sit idly by denying responsibility under 

the authority already available, but to use it to the fullest effect. 

This is the largest of Alaska's industries. More than halt her popu- 

lation and more than half her Territorial revenues are dependent 

upon it. It can in time be built up to much larger dimensions than 

at present. If nothing is done, it will be lost in a few years. It 

is of vital importance to the whole American people as a source of 

national food supply. New legislation in order to be effective must 

be of the broadest possible order, because of the different topo- 

graphical and biological problems of each locality, together with 

the differing rate of depletion of different species, and many other 

factors. The method of regulation must vary with each locality, if 

we would serve the primary purpose of securing a rebuilding of the 

fish supply and at the same time do justice to the canners and the 

fishermen in maintaining the industry and in the end gradually 

build a permanent Alaskan population devoted to the fisheries. There 

are no universal panaceas for this whole problem in Alaska. Neither 

seasonal restrictions, nor limitations of pack, limitation of any 

particular gear or its location, are universally applicable. 


Every District is a problem to itself. The complete suppression 

of canning -upon the Yukon has already increased the supplies for 

natives, whites and dogs throughout the Interior, where before the 

supply was insufficient and there was even actual starvation among 

Indians and work dogs. In other places regulations have reduced 

the pack of red salmon which is the most depleted, and a reduction 

in the amount of gear that can be used by each cannery on every 

species should tend to make the total pack less in proportion to 

the total run and therefore permit a larger proportion of escape- 

ment to the spawning grounds.  As examples of variation of 

methods, on Bristol Bay, the regulations abolished the whole of 


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the existing traps. In Cook’s Inlet, on the other hand, the inde- 

pendent fishermen, as well as the canners, support the necessity of 

the great majority of the take being by traps. This is due to the 

physical character of the bays as well as to other factors. 


Much experience will be required to evolve the most success- 

ful method of balancing the factors and securing the recuperation 

of the fish supply. Therefore all talk of definite laws universally 

applicable is nonsense. There must be variable and constructive 

regulation under broad authority.  Furthermore, In dealing with 

problems of so wide human and property interest there should be 

established under such legislation an appropriate method of appeal 

to some independent commission or authority. 


The experience gained under the reserves will be of great value 

in working out constructive legislation, and the Administration has 

earnestly desired and received a great deal of constructive sug- 

gestion from the people involved in the industry. In order that 

there shall be definite machinery for recruiting such expression and 

to secure the advice and co-operation of the various- elements of the 

industry and the public at large in Alaska in the temporary meas- 

ures now being applied, I shall, with the approval of the President, 

create a Board in Alaska, to consider and advise with the Depart- 

ment as to the regulations under the Reserves.  This Advisory 

Board will be able to advise upon methods and grievances and 

will, I am confident, not only reinforce constructive work, but give 

full voice to the Alaskan people and make impossible the deliberate 

misrepresentation which has hitherto been current. 


Our primary purpose is to restore this industry. The responsi- 

bility rests on the officials who have the authority to translate it 

into action.  Pious statements, scientific discussion, and political 

oratory will not spawn salmon.  Conservation cannot be carried 

out without a temporary reducton in the amount of fish taken on 

the one hand and without constructive measures for enlarged pro- 

pagation on the other. These are not agreeable duties but they are 

part of the responsibility of public office and I am confident that 

they will receive the support of the well-thinking men and women 

of Alaska who treasure their country, not alone for themselves, but 

also for their children. 




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(From the Governor's Annual Report, 1922.) 


Conservation of the fisheries is most urgent and can take prac- 

tical form and be best brought about through regulation of the 

yearly catch and closer supervision of the packing and canning 

industry. In its own interest, no less than to safeguard the fish 

supply of the future, the industry requires and should welcome regu- 

lation and supervision. The welfare of the natives and of native 

fishermen should, simultaneously, be protected. Overfishing during 

the war, under the spur of seeming necessity, demoralized the trade 

and apparently depleted the waters. Poor fishing seasons followed 

and widespread alarm was felt lest salmon and halibut be Hearing 

exhaustion. An unexpected and, in some waters, abnormal run dur- 

ing the season just closed found the canneries unprepared and the 

resultant waste of unmarketable fish dumped back into the sea 

was large.  Tens of thousands were thus destroyed.  Immediate 

facilities for canning and packing were lacking. 


Under normal conditions, year after year, the waste is heavy in 

the rejection of fish because of size or species. Wholesome fish food 

in quantity sufficient to meet the needs of great communities in 

populous centers, or suffering foreign lands, is annually cast to the 

depths. Failure to utilize by-products involves further waste. 


Developing in a haphazard way into collossal proportions, the 

fishing, canning, and packing industry in Alaska, for the sake of its 

perpetunity, stands in need of business coordination. 


Attention is constantly given by the authorities and Congress 

to collateral questions touching seines and traps to the exclusion of 

consideration of the larger commercial and economic aspects of the 

situation affecting not only Alaska but the country at large. 


Inspection of the canning and packing plants, with strict en- 

forcement of rules of health and sanitation, is urgently needed. 

Some canneries are models of cleanliness, but others are shocking 

to tourists and assuredly would never bear the scrutiny and receive 

the approval of vigilant sanitary and health officers. 


The Department of Commerce should have full authority over 

the fisheries of Alaska, with its Bureau of Fisheries adequately 

equipped and empowered to make and enforce rules and regula- 

tions limiting the catch and number of traps and curtailing fishing 

areas .and closing streams in the public good. If further reserves 

be necessary to augment government authority, they should be 

promptly ordered. The problems of the fisheries are general, not 

local, except in respect to the guaranteed rights of the natives, which 

must be respected and upheld. The Territorial fish commission is 

cooperating closely with the Federal Bureau of Fisheries. 


.Supervision of the canneries calls, also, for closer inspection of 

the alien labor brought to Alaska during the season and the living 

conditions under which such labor is employed.  Making due al- 

lowance for probable exaggeration and appreciating the difficulty 

of securing American fishermen, the type of imported labor and 

living conditions are most undesirable in some cases, if not an 

actual menace. The migratory character of the industry in certain 

districts reduces to the minimum its benefit to Alaska, save in taxa- 

tion imposed and paid.  Great fleets come into the waters pro- 

visioned for the shore season, with hordes of alien laborers, and 


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make their enormous catches and go out. Naturally there is not 

American labor sufficient and available in remote regions for fishing 

needs. As much of the land all along the coast is fertile and 

adaptable to 'gardening and small farming, fishing villages should 

spring up in course of time and it would seem the part of ultimate 

wisdom for the big packing companies to aid in establishing such 

permanent communities. 




(Comment of Governor Scott C. Bone on the 

Presidents Seattle Speech.) 


From the Alaska Daily Empire, July 28, 1923. 


I am gratified that the President spoke out unqualifiedly and 

in no compromising terms as to the fixed policy of the government 

to regulate the fisheries of Alaska. There will be regulation and 

strict supervision. Conservation of the fisheries is imperative. I 

have never favored the reserve system or idea, but in the absence 

of legislation it is today the only alternative. 


The reserves in the waters to the Westward have operated 

successfully during the past year. The outcry about fishermen being 

denied their rights is without basis in fact. For months I have 

sought a specific case of any man or set of men being injured by 

the establishment of fishing zones and have been unable to find a 

single instance. The curtailment of nets and other fishing gear 

during the season has approximated forty per cent. This means 



At Anchorage, Seward and Cordova Secretary Hoover held 

hearings and not a complaint was submitted to him.  It is im- 

probable that legislation by Congress, vesting full authority in the 

Department of Commerce, can be secured during the next short 

session. Extremists meet whenever a fisheries law is under con- 

sideration and equitable legislation is retarded and rendered well- 

nigh impossible. 


Conditions in the various fishing waters of Alaska are divergent 

and regulations cannot be made uniform. Under the direction of 

such a man as Herbert Hoover unquestionably all just rights will be 

protected and maintained and real conservation achieved in the 

interests, not only of Alaska, but the world at large. 


It is patent that the fisheries problem will not be rightly solved 

as a political issue and Alaskans may depend upon it that politics 

will not be permitted to stand in the way of essential regulations. 


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[H. B. 49] 


To supplement the fish laws of the United States applicable to 

Alaska; to conserve the salmon supply of Alaska; to provide for 

closed seasons for salmon fishing, and for other purposes, and 

declaring an emergency. 


Be it enacted by the Legislature of the Territory of Alaska: 


Section 1. That it shall be unlawful to take or fish for salmon 

for commercial purposes, except by trollers, in the waters of Alaska 

between the 57th and 60th degrees of north latitude and east of 

139th meridian west longitude from the tenth day of August to the 

first day of September in each year. 


Section 2. That it shall be unlawful to take or fish for salmon 

for commercial purposes, except by trollers, in the waters of Alaska 

south of the 57th degree of north latitude and east of 139th meridian 

from the 20th day of August to the 9th day of September in each 



Section 3. That any person, firm or corporation violating any 

of the provisions of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and 

upon conviction thereof for each and every offense be punished by 

a fine of not Jess than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor more than one 

thousand dollars ($1,000.00), or by imprisonment in jail for not less 

than ten days nor more than one year, or by both such fine and 

imprisonment, in the discretion of the court. 


Section 4. This Act shall not be so construed as in anywise 

to alter, amend, modify or repeal any of the fish laws of the 

United States applicable to Alaska, or any act of Congress whatso- 

ever relating to the fisheries of Alaska whether designed to regu- 

late the same or passed for any other purpose whatsoever, but all 

such laws and acts of Congress shall be and remain in full force 

and effect. The purpose of this Act is not to alter, amend, modify 

or repeal any of such laws, but to provide for further and addi- 

tional regulation of the fisheries with a view of giving additional 

protection to the salmon and insuring a future supply thereof, and 

this Act shall be construed so as to carry out the intention herein 

expressed and not otherwise. 


Section 5. An emergency is hereby declared to exist and this 

act shall be in effect immediately upon its passage and approval. 


Approved May 4, 1923.