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TRENDS OF FISHERY TRADE

IN MILLIONS OF POUNDS OR CENTS PER POUND
VESSEL LANDINGS - BOSTON, GLOUCESTER & PORTLAND

RECEIPTS OF FRESH & FROZEN FISH
ALL FRESH FISH

WHOLESALE MARKET 50

CHICAGO

11

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(Expressed in Thousands of Pounds)

do

Same month
Item

Month Latest month

a year ago

Previous month
FRESH FISH LANDINGS
Boston, Mass.

March 14,326

13,186

9,792
Gloucester, Mass.

do
9,902
8,142

5,546
Portland, Maine

do
735
1,256

833
Boston, Gloucester, and Portland:
Cod ....

do 7,003

5,052

3,077 Haddock

do 9,958

8,491

7,557 Pollock

do 1,608

778

· 663 Rosefish

do 4,711

6,670

3,532
FISH RECEIPTS, CHICAGOJ/
Salt-water fish

do 1,489

1,299

1,875
Fresh-water fish

do
4,463
3,691

3,654
Shellfish, etc.

do
501
344

514
By truck

do 1,329

1,166

1,265
By express

1,653
1,886

1,736
By freight

do 3,471

2,282

3,041
COLD-STORAGE HOLDINGS2/
New York, N. Y.:
Salt-water fish

March 4,515

1,928

5,968 Fresh-water fish

do 1,342

1,054

1,565
Shellfish, etc.

do
988

545

1,735
Boston, Mass.:
Salt-water fish

do 4,941

1,823

6,292
Fresh-water fish

do
27

9

34 Shellfish, etc.

do 1,002

215

1,265
Chicago, Ill.:
Salt-water fish

do 2,070

1,564

2,570 Fresh-water fish

do 4,411

1,286

3,895
Shellfish, etc.

do
527
390

390
Unclassified

do

175

479
United States:
Cod fillets

April 2,090

434

1,736 Haddock fillets

do 1,578

1,285

1,975
Halibut

do
993
1,510

2,344
Mackerel (except Spanish)

do 1,568

2,014

3,003
Croakers ..

do
342

88

615
Rosefish fillets,

do
934

686

1,341 Salmon

do 2,725

1,698

4,765 Whiting

do 2,051

2,672

4,280 Shrimp

do 3,958

1,938

6,449 New England, all species ...

do 7,580

3,946 10,902 Middle Atlantic, all species ..

do 11,805

5,676 16,607
South Atlantic, all species ..

do
2,317
1,346

3,453
North Central East, all species

do
13,207

7,584 16,195
North Central West, all species

do
4,805
2,206

6,006
South Central, all species

do 3,146

1,788

3,419 Pacific, all species

do 9,926

6,672 11,609
1 Includes all arrivals as reported by express and rail terminals, and truck receipts as

reported by wholesale dealers including smokers.
2) Data for individual cities are as of the last Thursday of the month, except those for

Boston which are for the last Wednesday of the month. Data on United States holdings
by various species and by geographical areas are as of the first of the month.

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NI 1.6 1.6

FISHERY MARKET NEWS

JUNE 1944
CONTENTS

Page

2

28 16 16 18 24 25 31 33 37

9 26 29 31 31 33 33 35 35

OBSERVATIONS ON THE SHARK FISHERY IN THE CENTRAL PART OF THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA
"ITH RECORDS OF VITAMIN POTENCY OF LIVER OILS AND WITH KEYS TO THE IDENTIFICATION
OF COMMERCIALLY IMPORTANT SHARKS, by Lionel A. Walford
FEDERAL ORDERS, PURCHASES, AND REGULATIONS:

OCF--Large pack of Maine sardine expected
OPA--Correction made to Amd t. 30, MPR-418
Region VIII issues price controls on local species
And t. 4 to MPR-507 effective May 25
Amdt. 17 to MPR-364 issued May 1
And t. 18 to MPR-364, effective May 20
Canned fish flake prices increased
Canned fish trade point values suspended ........
Fish meal prices revised May 22 ...
Selective Service System--Revises orders affecting occupational classifications
WA--Seasonal cold-storage freezer space peak passed

Requests offers of canned Pacific mackerel and Horse mackerel
Asks salmon canners to order their V-2 sleeves
Case specifications relaxed for purchases of U. S. salmon
Foreign salted, smoked and pickled herring to be purchased
Restrictions on fish oil uses revised
Fats and oils quotas raised ....
Fish oil released for permitted uses
Sperm oil order amended
Restrictions on fatty acid inventories revised
Fatty acids order clarified
Asks for offers of vitamin A oil and concentrates
Specifications for vitamin capsules reissued

Pays $678,000 for fishery products in April
WMC--Fishing boat engineer classed as critical occupation
Food and ice handling given special rating

Manpower recruited for the salmon industry
WPB--Steel drum regulation amended
Places controls on work gloves
Can conservation order amended ...
Glass containers permitted for clam broth
Restrictions on inventories of V-boxes defined
Vitamin A licitation order amended May 15

Control of Vitamin A oils for feeding transferred to WFA'.
SECTIONAL MARKETING REVIEWS

Fisheries of Washington and Oregon
FRESH FISH TRADE

Three port landings in April show increase over April 1943 .
New Bedford landings still on increase
Chicago receipts drop sharply in April
Unusually heavy receipts crowd New York market in April
Seattle receipts continue to decline through April
Production in Gulf hampered by inclement weather

36 36 36

39 40 42 8 9 9 10

ܐܐ

29 29 31

11

11 12 13 14 15 15

Contents continued on page 42

ISSUED BY THE

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

WASHINGTON

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

HAROLD L. ICKES, Secretary

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

IRA N. GABRIELSON, Director

ENT OF THE

WILDLIFE

AND

FISHERY MARKET NEWS

INTI

ERIOR

FISH

SERVICE

A REVIEW OF CONDITIONS AND TRENDS OF THE COMMERCIAL FISHERIES
PREPARED IN THE DIVISION OF FISHERY INDUSTRIES

A. W. Anderson, Editor

C. R. Lucas, Associate Editor
TECHNOLOGY

W. H. Dumont

MARKET NEWS
STATISTICS

R. A. Kahn

MARKETING

J. M. Lemon
E. A. Power

Applications for FISHERY MARKET NEWS, which is mailed free to members of the fishery industry and allied interests, should be addressed

to the Director, Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Department of the Interior, Washington 25, D. C.

The Service assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of material from outside sources.

June 1944

Washington 25, D. C.

Vol. 6, No. 6

OBSERVATIONS ON THE SHARK FISHERY IN THE CENTRAL PART OF THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA

with
RECORDS OF VITAMIN POTENCY OF LIVER OILS

and with
KEYS TO THE IDENTIFICATION OF COMMERCIALLY IMPORTANT SHARKS

By Lionel A. Walford*

In recent years, the fisheries for sharks on the west coast of Mexico have changed character and purpose.

Whereas, formerly shark oil was utilized only locally for the manufacture of soap and for processing leather, since about 1938, 1t has found a new market in the United States because of its Vitamin A content. The fishery has consequently grown to large proportions, Catch figures are not available, but some notion of the volume may be obtained from the fact that 385,000 pounds of livers were produced in the Mazatlan Consular Area alone in 1942 up to July 31 (Fishery Market News, 1942, s 1).

Published knowledge is almost totally lacking as to the kinds of sharks caught, as to their geographic and seasonal distribution, and as to the magnitude of Vitamin A potencies of their livers. To arrive at such knowledge would require observations at many places, so as to sample adequately the entire geographic range of all species during all seasons.

An opportunity to make observations and collections at San Marcos Island, Lower California, was offered by Mr. J. A. McCarthy, through Mr. Otis Small of the Pacific Portland Cement Company, which in normal times utilizes the output of a gypsum mine there and encourages a local shark fishery. Accordingly, the writer spent from September 16 to October 12, 1942, of which one week was in Guaymas, the remainder at San Marcos Island, taking full advantage of the generously offered facilities of the Pacific Portland Cement Company. The following information was obtained from data collected there, and from conversations with American buyers, Mexican dealers and fishermen.

The shark fisheries of the Pacific Coast of Mexico is a peculiarly diffuse industry. There is hardly a bay or sheltering island in the Gulf of California or on the open coast that does not support one or more shark fishing camps. Though individually the se are small enterprises, the sum of their effort is impressive.

Shark Pishing camps are composed of several men, sometimes with their families, equipped with sailing dugouts or skiffs and necessary fishing gear. Two to several men operate one boat. Boats and gear may be owned by the fishermen themselves, or wholly or in part by investors living a shore. Fishermen put to sea daily, weather permitting, leaving early in the morning and returning in mid-afternoon with their fare of liver, flanks, and fins of sharks. These are salted, the liver stored in cans, the flanks baled, the fins piled or sacked. From time to time, the collected products are hauled by burros or sailed in canoes to various ports visited by freight boats or served by railroads. At the larger ports, like Mazátlan, Mansanillo, Topolobampo, and Guaymas are refrigeration facilities. Fishermen operating from these ports land livers fresh, which are then iced, frozen or chemically-treated for shipment to the United States.

Aquatic Biologist, Division of Fishery Biology.

Several Mexican wholesale companies deal in shark livers; also several American companies or individuals buy livers outright or act as agents for Mexican dealers. Activity of these is in a constant state of flux, depending on the United States' demand for Vitamin A.

Over forty species of sharks occur along the west coast of Mexico. These vary greatly in potency of Vitamin A in their livers from those that are worthless in this respect to those that, at times, run up into the high potency brackets. Moreover, each species varies as to potency of liver. Large sharks are said to be more potent than smaller ones; males more potent than females; those living in deep water more potent than those living in shallow water. A considerable variety of species are caught for livers, with a wide range of potencies.

There is a great variation from place to place and from season to season in species available, in their sizes, and in sex ratio. Consequently, observations made at any one locality can apply only to that locality and for the time of year the observation was made. Thus, any significant biological study of Mexican sharks should make ample provision for observations over a large area and over a considerable period of time.

In the region of San Marcos Island and Guaymas, most sharks are caught with a gear called the "zimbra," which is merely a long set line. It consists of an anchor line, at San Marcos typically 600 meters long, with a buoy at its upper end, and anchor at the lower, followed by about 150 meters of additional line. To the latter length are fastened short lines at intervals of about three meters, Each of the se consists of a length of rope about one meter long, followed in order by a swivel, a chain about one-half meter long; and to this is attached a large hook, with a shaft about 20 centimeters long. The lines are of about one-half inch rope. The hooks are baited with fish eight to ten inches in length, the bait at San Marcos at this time being mostly Haemulids (Haemulidae--the Grunts). This gear is set for as long as three days at a time, and since the water is cold at the depths fished there is no danger of spoiling bait or catch in this interval, The zimbra is hauled in by hand, old bait replaced, the catch removed and the line reset. Fishermen usually butcher the sharks in the boat, if there is room, and throw the remaining carcasses on to beaches, preferably well away from their camps.

Some additional sharks are caught with other geer. Boats usually carry a spear or two, for harpooning any sharks seen near the surface. This is particularly useful for capturing hammerheads. Gill nets are used by some fishermen, but have not been markedly successful in the past, being unsuitable for the very large sharks that abound in Mexico. A gill net set and pulled daily at San l'arcos Island caught nothing important during the period of observation. On two occasions, it was badly torn by big fish that had escaped. Also, since it had to be set in relatively shallow, hence warm, water, fish caught tended to spoil. Since the se observations were made, however, it has been reported thet gill nets have recently been used with some success in areas southward of Guaymas.

The biological data collected during the two and a half weeks at San Marcos Island consisted in the examination of 36 specimens. Among the se, seven species were distinguished. A sample of liver was taken from each fish examined, preserved in a soda ash-formaldehyde solution, and sent to the technological laboratory of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Seattle, The assays are given in Table I. It is to be observed that three-fourths of the specimens were of the genus Eulamia, of which more than half were Eulamia lamiella. Among scores of carcasses examined on beaches, at least 90 percent seemed to be E. lamiella, the remainder mostly hammerheads (Sphyrna diplana). Thus, it appears that the most important sharks at San l'arcos during the whole year are the two latter species. Fortunately, these are two of the richest in Vitamin A.

While it is impossible to judge of the abundance of sharks from observations made during this short stay at one point of the Gulf of California, fishermen and dealers uniformly expressed the opinion that the supply of lexican sharks is exceedingly large. There seems no reason to doubt that the population is large, but to form a reliable estimate would take a vastly extensive survey.

The Mexican sharks are not very well known to science. Owing to their large size, they are poorly represented in museums, and then only by immature specimens. Many of the different species look very much alike, and are difficult to identify. Doubtless, several have yet to be described and named, as is attested by the frequency and consistency with which fishermen described sharks which they scitetimes catch, and which are not familiar to the writer.

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