National Geographic : 1915 Feb
Photo by Walter L. Beasley PROBABLY THE LARGEST LOBSTERS EVER CAUGHT These two lobsters weighed, when caught, 28 and 34 pounds respectively. They were taken off the Highlands of New Jersey and are now mounted in the American Museum of Natural History. They utilized the enormous strength of their jaws and sawlike teeth in cutting holes and robbing the traps of all the bait, as their bodies were too large to get inside. Finally they were hauled up to the surface clinging to a trap. The giant specimen showed many scars, evidently from savage combats. The length of its life is estimated to have been fifty years, as the average age of a ten and twelve inch lobster is thirty years. several instances the actual destiny of na tions and the fate of their monarchs ap pear to have been involved in the herring fishery." (See NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, pages 701-735, August, 1909.) Dr. Smith reminds us that the founda tions of Amsterdam were laid on herring bones, and that the prowess of the Dutch navy in the days when it triumphed over Britannia's banner was due directly to the herring fisheries and the herring fishers who manned it. The annual catch of herring in the North Sea amounts to nearly 800,ooo tons a year. That means the taking of some six billion herring alone from the comparatively small area of its fishing grounds. Yet in spite of this terrific toll they still come in undiminished number. In the matter of solid formations, un broken phalanxes, and inexhaustible num bers, the herrings have no rival. It is conservatively estimated that each mature female herring lays 20,000 eggs. Of these, 19,998 must never produce spawning females; for if any more of them did, speaking in averages, the North Sea itself would become a solid mass of herring in a comparatively few years. Huxley once observed that man is but one of a vast society of herring-catchers, of which a thousand enemies in the sea are the other members. If man took none at all, he would simply swell the dividends of the other members, and the herring would fare no better thereby.