FISH CULTURE, or PISCICULTURE, the artificial propagation, fertilization, breeding, rearing, training and protecting of fishes, par ticularly food-fish. The art or industry was known in the early ages in China, and later in Germany and Sweden. In 1350, a monk, Dom Pinchon, hatched fish eggs by an artificial proc ess, but the honor of introducing the modern plan of propagation is generally conceded to Stephen I.. Jacobi, a Prussian soldier of West phalia, who, in 1763, devised the process now in use in Europe and the United States, of strip ping the ova from the female fish and mixing them with milt taken from the male. Fifty years after Jacobi's discovery, Joseph Remy, a fisherman of the Vosges Mountains, made the further discoveries upon which the culture de pends — that the impregnation of fish eggs dif fers from that of all other oviparous animals in taking place after all eggs have left the body of the creature and can therefore be performed as well artificially as by the animals them selves.
The first government fish culture station was established in 1850 at Hilningen, Alsace, and the following year a similar institution was estab lished on the Tay in Great Britain. The proc ess was introduced in the United States in 1865, when Dr. Garlick of Cold Springs, N. H., imported salmon eggs from Canada to hatch in the waters of his trout ponds. The process was also introduced in other sections of the country. The United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries, established by Congress 9 Feb. 1871, embraced in the scope of its work "the propa gation of useful food-fishes, including lobsters, oysters and other shellfish, and their distribu tion to suitable waters."• Technically, the process now in use consists in taking the ripe eggs from the female fishes and the milt from the male, mixing them arti ficially and leaving them until impregnation has been effected, after which the eggs separate of themselves and are placed in water, washed and treated in different ways according to the spe cies or variety of the fish. Those of the sal mon are placed in a filter-box or trough, through which passes a stream of pure water and left to hatch into Gfry,l) which process takes from 35 to 70 days. The advantage of piscicul
ture consists in the saving of multitudes of eggs which would otherwise be lost, the pro tection of the young fish from the dangers incident to their exposed condition and the transplantation of species and varieties to other localities, where they soon become naturalized.
The operation for obtaining the ova and milt consists simply in pressing the body of the fish from the head toward the tail and in col lecting the excluded particles in a common ves sel; the contents are occasionally put in motion in order to prevent the growth of parasites upon the eggs, which are very sure to destroy them. A low temperature and even desicca tion is not necessarily fatal, so that many kinds in a nearly mature state may be transported for considerable distances. It has been estimated that 1,000,000 trout may be raised in this way at a cost of less than $200. Fish readily adapt themselves to new localities. Pickerel were easily introduced into ponds in Berkshire County, Mass., and the great pike of the north era lakes have been transplanted to the Con necticut River. The salt water smelt lives con tentedly in ponds at Jamaica, Mass., and the tantog has found a new home in Massachusetts Bay. The expense of fish culture is small and the labor slight. There have been numerous inventions to aid the fish culturist, among them McDonald's fish-hatching jar which keeps the eggs in motion and automatically separates the dead fish from the living.
The United States government has estab lished large salmon-breeding establishments in California and in Maine. It operates 34 hatch eries in various localities, owns four railroad cars for transporting eggs and young fish and a steamer, the Fishkawk, is under its supervision. The vessel is in reality a floating hatchery. Western waters have been stocked with Eastern fish and exhausted streams have been restored with a new supply. In 1901 the government handled either as eggs, fry, fingerlings, year lings or adults 3,863,000,000 in United States waters. Of this number nearly one-fifth were shad and one-fourth whitefish.