National Geographic : 1916 Jun
A GOVERNMENT SPAWN-GATHERER AT WORK ON A GLOUCESTER FISHING SMACK While most of the spawn used in government cod propagation comes from fish kept for breeding purposes, this has to be supplemented by that gathered from fish caught by the commercial fishermen. should be a staple food, has for years been a luxury, and every season the price to the retail consumer becomes more pro hibitive. The reasons for the diminishing sup ply are well known and may be summed up in a few words: disregard for the future, neglect of natural laws, and in discriminate fishing. The situation de mands radical action on the part of the States, and the welfare of the general public must be placed ahead of the tem porary gain of fishermen. The mollusks which figure most promi nently in the fisheries and enter most largely into our dietary are the hard-shell clam, or quahog, known as the "little neck" when young; the soft-shell clam, or maninose, extensively used as bait in the New England line fisheries, in addi tion to being a highly prized food; the small and the giant scallops ; the sea-mus sel; the abalone, peculiar to the Pacific coast and more valuable for its brilliantly colored nacre than as an article of diet for occidentals; the squids, eaten by Asiatics and by the people of southern Europe, but used mostly for bait in line fishing, and, most important of all, the oysters of the eastern and western sea boards. Throughout a vast area in the interior of the country there occur numerous spe cies of mussels, or fresh-water clams, which have no utility as food, but because of their pearly nacre are in great demand for their shells. A very extensive indus try, of comparatively recent origin in the United States, is based on the utilization of these shells for making buttons (see p. 563). These same mussels produce the only valuable pearls found in our waters.