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Wisconsin. State Conservation Committee (1915-27) / Biennial report of the State Conservation Commission of Wisconsin for the years 1915 and 1916

Kalmbach, Albert
Paper read at meeting held with commercial fishermen at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, February 16, 1916,   pp. 38-42 PDF (1.0 MB)

Page 39

of a larger meaning of the word fisherman, and in this spirit we are men,
earning an honorable living by producing food for the people, just as honor-
able as farming, and let us put honor into the profession. In these waters
and this profession we have the means of making men, men we can be
proud of as citizens.
  In becoming fishermen in the larger meaning of the word, let us co6perate
with one another, for getting our selfish ideas such as arise in differing
interests as pound net men, and gill net men and hook men. Let us all
help each other, aim to get legislation that will get us more fish in years
  It does not take much of an observer to see we are playing a losing game.
A bare living or existence, with no gain, is the fare of most of the boys.
What does that experience teach us? It means there is something very
wrong, either in the way we catch fish or stock the waters, or both. You
have all seen tons and tons of immature fish caught. If a total of those
figures would confront you today you could scarcely believe your senses.
Suppose for instance ten or fifteen years ago we had all sat around a good-
fellowship club, had a good banquet and all had that Christmas felling
such as we have for our families, and the idea went around the room, what
can I do for each one of you? If you get each member of your family
something for Christmas it costs you something. Now we want to do
something for one another that costs an effort and sacrifice, and someone
suggests,-We will not catch any more immature fish,-what do you
suppose would have been the result today if such a suggestion were
carried out? Here is a conservative estimate. Take one thousand
pounds of No. 2 trout at a market price of three cents or thirty dollars.
That is the value the fisherman gets, and the end, the end, mind you, of
that thousand pounds. No other results from it to the fisherman.
  You leave those fish alone as this Christmas gift to one another and
what happens?
  Let them grow to be four or six pounders and they become four thousand
pounds, and at an average price of 72 cents and their value is what?
$300.00 or ten times as much as the 1000 pounds of immature. What else
do we get by leaving them a few years? These fish on maturing will spawn
and reproduce. A conservative estimate, you will agree with me would
be several hundred thousand eggs from this 4000 pounds of mature fish.
Most of the eggs in its turn becoming, in time, a fish, and by reason of
Christmas spirit we will let the fish grow to maturity, and it in turn leaves
thousands of eggs behind it. Just pencil this out and the results will
stagger the most vivid imagination among you. And mind you, we started
with one thousand pounds of immature fish as a gift to each other. A
small guess in eggs would be ten times as many fish reproduced, and put
to dollars and cents becomes $3,000.00. That would have been a wonderful
Christmas gift for us boys, now wouldn't it? To make that much for us
now, we sacrificed back there a few years ago, $30.00 of fish for such
wonderful results. Multiply such results many, many times for we have
caught and marketed hundreds of tons of immature fish.
  What would you think of a farmer who took crop after crop off his soil
and never put anything back on the farm? He would be committing busi-
ness suicide. And suppose that farmer couldn't wait for his stock to grow

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