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Table 3 - Price Ranges and Weighted Averages for 10 Species of Fish, New York City:
March - June, 1944 and 1942
(Expressed in cents per lb.)
"Te ih ted Average Species
1944 1942 1944 1942 1944 1942 Increase or Decrease Controlled Cod (Steak)
4.4 Yellowtail 7-14 3-10
7 11.3 5.7
0.5 Shrimp 36-38 20-291
12.2 Uncontrolled Mackerel
6 -36 6-18
-0.1 Scup (Porgy)
7 - 25 74-15
14 18.9 15.2
3.7 1 Unweighted weekly average of selected daily prices (see pg. 2) weighted by total weekly receipts of
specified fish, 2) Prices for 1944 are of "15 to 20" shrimp, and for 1942 of "22" or "22 to 25." It is believed that
this is a case of up-grading and that these are essentially the same size.
had hardly made any headway when in late June, the dealers thought they were paying too much for whiting, and told the fishermen so. Boston dealers led the way by reducing the price to the boats, dropping frou the generous OPA ceilings of $4.25 per 100 pounds, down to $3.75, and from there it went even lower, until it struck bottom at $2.00. Gloucester followed suit, and whiting fishermen in both ports groaned, claiming they would starve at the low price. Meetings were held, and out of it came the result that whiting boats limited their catches to 20,000 pounds whiting per trip. Dealers returned to the ceiling price, temporarily as they announced."
Thus, while whiting, according to this study, seemed to resemble the uncontrolled fish more than the controlled in its price movements, this statement is evidence that it is the "exception that proves the rule." The ceiling had been higher than the market warranted and it was only after a struggle between fishermen and dealers, that the fishermen would sell at less than ceiling price,
when fishermen demand and get ex-vessel ceilings from primary wholesalers, each wholesaler along the way also demands his ceiling price. Many wholesalers in New York, where the supply situation is always tight, consider willing payment of ceiling prices, even when there is a plentiful supply, an investment in the good will of the shippers which will pay dividends during the winter when fish is scarce.
In addition to the foregoing reasons, there al so seems to be evidence of a purely psychological factor of importance. People tend to look at the price ceiling as their legitimate and expected price, as in the whiting ca se cited above. Besides, it is easier for the dealer to quote the ceiling than to decide what price the market situation calls for. Because the seller is in a more strategic position than the buyer in setting the price, there must be a pretty big glut before the buyer can demand less than the ceiling price.
If ceilings tend to maintain prices of fish under them at higher than normal levels during certain times of the year, the following question could well be asked: Does the gap between the ceiling price and the normal price during the glut period equal the difference between ceiling prices and possible inflationary prices which would be demanded during times of scarcity, giving due consideration to the fact that more fish would be sold at the lower price? Provided there is no serious meat shortage, this writer is inclined to believe that if some ceiling prices on fish were removed, consumers may pay more for out-of-season fish, but their total annual expenditure would be less.
By Glenn C. Bucher and Kathryn L. Osterhaug*
Although much technological and biological information has been accumulated on the shallow-water species of fish, those varieties which live in the deeper waters below 100 fathoms, are not well known. Only rarely are they encountered in normal fishing operations and only a few specimens so taken are saved in good condition for examination by a trained scientist.
The scarcity of accurate data concerning the inhabitants of deep waters and the high cost of the necessary fishing gear, have discouraged extensive conmercial operations below the 100-fathom level. However, since at some future tine, it may be desirable to exploit these species, it is of importance to learn the potential value of the deep-water fishes. Therefore, the Fish and Wildlife Service laboratories are ready and willing to examine unusual specimens of fish, especially those which are usually found in deep waters. Both commercial fishermen and sportsmen are urged to bring such rare fish to the laboratories for study.
Recently, a ragfish, Acrotus willoughbyi, one of at least three deep-water fishes by the same common name, was made available by a commercial fisherman operating a purse seine about 60 miles SSW of Tatoosh Island off the coast of Washington. How a fish of this type happened to be caught in a surface net cannot be explained.
This specimen, which weighed about 35 pounds, was four feet long, three inches thick, and twelve inches deep at the dorsal fin. The skin and the lining of the intestinal wall were thin and black. The flesh was watery-white in color and had a somewhat gelatinous texture. The backbone also was of a gelatinous na ture.
Probably the most unusual feature of the flesh of this species was the low protein content which amounted to only 7 percent. This is less than half the usual values found for fish and much less than that of any species hitherto encountered. The moisture content of the flesh was 90 percent and the oil content was 2 percent. A portion of the liver from this fish had been removed before delivery at the laboratory, but a sufficient amount remained for an analysis. An oil content of about 9 percent was found in the liver, while the amount of vitamin À was insignificant, being less than 100 units per gram of oil.
A steak cut from the fish was cooked by frying and then tasted, The flesh was very delicate and therefore difficult to handle during cooking. Though the texture was not pleasing When cooked by this method, the flavor was mild and good.
COLORFUL CEREMONY MARKS OPENING OF THE SHRIMP SEASON
In a colorful ceremony which originated centuries ago in Brittany, the shrimp fishery, largest seafood industry of the south, observed on September 3, the traditional blessing of the fleet in Berwick Bay, La. In addition to the Berwick Bay fleet, fishing boats from the surrounding sections canje in some numbers to receive the blessings of the clergy as the new si rimp sea son got under way.
The blessing of the fishing boats probably dates back to the ancient Breton custom of asking the benediction of the Church on any vessel about to make its maiden voyage. Later, many Bretons emigrated to Canada and then to Louisiana, bringing the tradition with them. The ceremony in Berwick Bay is the ninth annual celebration of the blessing of the shrimp fleet.
Although some shrimp are caught throughout the year, the fall season is the period of peak production and heavy catches are needed during the next few months to make up a deficit which now amounts to about 30 percent compared with last year. Shrimp production at the principal Gulf Coast ports in 1944 totaled 80,671 barrels by the end of July, compared with 117,026 barrels during the same period last year, according to figures released by the Office of the Coordinator of Fisheries. * Chemist and Technologist, respectively, Fishery Technological Laboratory, Seattle, Wash,
Canned shrimp will be more scarce than for many years, the OCF predicted, largely because of the trend toward marketing shrimp fresh or frozen. This year such a small percentage of the catch is being canned that the pack will probably be the smallest in at least 25 years,
The shrimp fishery furnishes annually about 150,000,000 pounds, and bringing a larger return to fishermen than any other fishery product of the area. Al though shrimp are caught commercially all the way from North Carolina to Texas, about 85 percent of the yield comes from the Gulf Coast and 66 percent from Louisiana alone. Texas is second in shrimp production, followed by Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida,
The shrimp, a small, lobster-like creature, has a short life cycle, probably not more than two years. Spawning takes place in ocean waters some distance from the shore, and the young shrimp hatch within the first day after the eggs are deposited. The baby shrimp develop quite rapidly; within a very short time they are able to swim about and find food. They are carried in by ocean currents to the coast-line, where they enter river estuaries and bays. By September, many of them have reached commercial size. Most shrimp fishing is carried on in bays, sounds, and other inside waters.
In the winter, most of the larger shrimp move out to sea again to find warmer water, and in the spring there is a general offshore movement of shrimp. The places where the large shrimp congregate off shore were discovered only a few years ago, as a result of explorations by the former Bureau of Fisheries, now the Fish and Wildlife Service. Soon after this discovery, a few commercial boats operating out of Morgan City began taking the "jumbo" shrimp, marking the beginning of the Louisiana offshore fishery which now brings in some 20,000,000 pounds annually.
Although the boats first used in the off shore fishery were small and of limited range, the fleet is now composed of about 200 diesel-powered trawlers from 50 to 65 feet long, capable of trawling from the Mississippi River to Texas and as far out as shrimp are found.
Since May 1943, the construction of more than 330 new shrimp trawlers has been authorized on the recommendation of the Office of the Coordinator of Fisheries, When the last of these boats are added to the fleet, it will consist of a larger percentage of new and wellequipped vessels than ever before.
CONSULTANTS: MEETING PLANNED BY OCF
A program for the reconversion of the nation's fisheries from their wartime status will be outlined on October 23 and 24 when representatives of the fishing industry meet in Washington at the invitation of Coordinator of Fisheries Harold L. Ickes.. Because of the favorable progress of the war in Europe and altered conditions at home since the last general conference of the fishing industry and Government officials last February, the fishery program of the Coordinator's Office may be revised. The conference to be held next week will review present Government controls and programs as they affect the fishing industry and will lay plans for maintaining, production at the required levels under current conditions and for assuring the stability of the industry during reconversion.
Members of the fishing industry have been associated with the Coordinator's Office in the capacity of consultants during the greater part of the war period and have been called to Wa shington on several occasions to aid in the solution of fishery problems. The consultants, 17 in number and representing all segments of the fishing industry, are:
For the Atlantic Coast: William P. Ballard,
Frederick McG Bundy, Ballard Fish & Oyster Co.,
Gorton Pew Fisheries Co., Norfolk, Va.
327 Maine Street,
Exchange Building, Fish Pier,
Dr. Colston Warne,