OFFICE OF COORDINATORC F FISHERIES
For Release TO PM's, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13, 1944.
Fish Is today one of the least known and most promising assets of the South,
according to a publication on the f$shery reeources of that region just iesued by
the Interior Department's Office of the Coordinator of Fisheries.
The pamphlet is titled "Fish and Shellfiah of the South Atlantic and Gulf
Coasts" and was written by Rachel L. Carson, an aquatic biologist on the
Coordinator of Fisheries' staff. It is the third in a regional eeries of bulletins
by the same author dealing with the fisheries of the Unlted States.
Describing what the southern states have already done in building up their
fisherie's, the bulletin points out that at the present time "the South supplies
the United States with practically all of its shrimp, a third of its crabs, a
fourth of its' oysters, and a number of choice fishes that are not taken anywhere
else in abundance, like the red snapper, the Spanieh mackerel, and the pompano."
Although~fiah~and shellfish have been caught along the southern coasts ever
since the first settlements were made' in the region, "the ,fisheries of the South
Atl&ic &d Qulf coasts have by no means completed their development," accordi%
to Miss C&son. 'With a coastl.ine more than 2,500 mile@ long aa the crow flies,
the region produces only a little more than half a billion pounds of fishery
products -- 14 per cent of the total yield of the United States and:,Alaska."
Southern.coastal watere support a'greater variety of fish tid shellfish than
are found anywhere else in the country, but as yet only five major fisheries have
been developed -- those for menhaden, shrimpl mullet, .crabs, and oysters.
Describing the southern fisheries as. "a fertile field for exploration which
will reveal wh6ther they may in time yield &I, even larger and more valuable sea-food
harvest," the bulletin cites lack of sc'lentific exploration a8 one of the
reafsons for the slow development of the south~s.sea.-food resouroes, Comparatively
little is known either'of'the oceanography of the region or of the distrfbution
or habits of the fishes, With few exceptions, fishing operationa are confined to
waters close inshore.‘ .
Studies tie' needed; :t ls'pointsd o&, to fipd the areas where fieh may
congregate offshore, or whether such'areas exist. In addition to such explora-tions,
new methods of handling the catch would permit fuller use of apeciea known
to be abundant; T
Annual~landlngs of fish and shellfish in the states fro& North Carolina to
Texas total about'575,000,000 pounds, coneisting of come 85 different species.
The menh&en alone, 8; Iar@ member c$ the herrUg family, is 80 lnrpotia+t in tie
southern fishcries that It @&en up more thag half the total catch, and supports
the largest fishery of North Carolina, FlorMa, &d. M4aeie~13ppi, and the moet
valuable fishery of North Carolina, Menhaden Is an ?.xaportant source of meal end
oil umxl in enlmal fscidlnp; ma of oil .for bdustr~al wea.
The catch of shrimp ranl& next to 8lonhade.n in vo&x& and cxcounte for Q
quarter of the total landings, Shr%p fiehing $6 t&e principal aquatic industry
fra Georgja, Alobcma, Louisiana, end Texa#, and thw most valuable fiehery 18 most
Mullet is the prinoigal food fieh of the eou$h, ylaldlng an aanua.S catch of
35 t0 40 miil:!~ppould~. Laxgeet cat&e@ are mads on the weat coast of Florida
and ic~ the vicinity of Beaufort, J?orth Carol&a, the peak of the eeaeon coming in
the fall md ea;rly winter.
Mullet, crabs, and oysters epoch make up 3 ts 6 per cent of the total catch
of the region, all other *8pecle8 boiw caught in quantities of left@ than
Differing greatly in the prodxxctivlty of thair fl.sherios, the eouthern state
are led by Florida which, with tts long coast Ilne, contributesl a third of the
total yield. North CerolJaa.1~1 a close eooond, with 30 per cent of the total,
$nd xlotisiana la thS.rd, with 22 par cent,
Geographically, the producte of the southern fleherles (excl~~alve of the -'
canned pack) are dletrlbuted chiefly in the area bowed by the MLssiesippi River
on the west and the Ohio RiPer on the north, Certain speoios, however, have a
much wider dietribution, Probably shrimp and red snapper are 'chipped to more
distant cities than any other southern 80~ foode,
Can~@ng of sea food producta In the South ia XlmJ.tod almostenH.r&yto ehr'lmp
and oystera, The pator part of the &rimp &MI been canned in the past, but
there is now a strong-treti toward freezing more shrimp and cenning leers,
PractlcaUy all; the oyster cannw In the Un$ted Statee in done in the south, and
Blloxi, M&M., carrs more oysters than any .other city in the world,
Mc?t of the-fieh lasded. at southern ports entera the fresh-fish markets, ,&t
present the necessary shore facllitfce'for packa@% and frcoz?.ng .t& catch by the
meet modern hiboaf3 4827im3 tea in the South, The skQled.labor neceesarg to
operate such plants Is almost unobtainable u&x- war ponditions,
The new bulletin, whfch le bol3.cved3o be the first ~~bl,lshed account of the
fishery re8ourcea of the entire eouthern coast, contain@ Information on Bpproxi-mtely
29 different kinds pf fish and &oLljFl6h, In.cludln& many .of the lees known
and under utilized epecies of tht.region,
Copies of 'F3.ah and Shellfish of the south Atlantic and Gulf Coasts," Iu-mm
ae Conservation Bulletin 37 of the Department of the Interior, mayfbe obtained
from:tho Superintendent of Documents, Government PrIntiw OffQcs, Wash$n&on,
I>, C, for 10 cents each, 03: from membe$s of Congress on request,
P.N. 50033 2
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.