"The nucleus of what may prove to be a very important industry in this county was started Thursday when hundreds of eastern lobsters were 'planted' at various points in our waters by an agent of the government, acting under instructions from the fish commission.
A carload of lobsters arrived on the Sound a few days ago direct from the coast of Maine, having been only seven days en route.
They were packed in seaweed and crated and came through from coast to coast in fine condition. They have been distributed at various points along the Sound where natural conditions seemed to be most favorable to their propagation. A great many have been placed in the waters of this county [San Juan] in well sheltered bays. They arrived on the steamer ISLANDER Thursday and were simply dumped overboard in varying numbers wherever the man in charge of them thought best. Some were 'planted' at Decatur Island, quite a number of crates of them were put in the water here [Friday Harbor, San Juan Is., WA.], and many were turned loose at various points along the shores of Lopez and Orcas islands. Little doubt is expressed by those in charge of the work that they will thrive and propagate rapidly.
Lobsters are the best known and most valuable for food of all the Crustacea. The lobster industry is an important one on the coast of Maine, centering chiefly at Portland and Eastport, and there are several hundred lobster canneries along the coasts of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. As long ago as 1889 nearly eleven million pounds of lobster were canned in Canada and nearly four thousand-tons were sold fresh; since then the industry has assumed much larger proportions.
Quite a number of years ago--about 1889 or 1890--a few lobsters were planted near Port Townsend, WA, but the experiment was not an extensive one, or very thoroughly made, and was not a sucess. It is said that some of the lobsters were soon afterward caught by Indians and sold in Port Townsend."
Above words from The San Juan Islander
1917: "Government Believes in Policy of Keeping at It"
A car load of live lobsters arrived over the Great Northern for distribution among the waters of the San Juan Islands. They left Booth Bay [Maine] last week and came through in fine condition with a loss of less than 2% enroute. There were 6,000 in the lot, packed in cartons with sea weed, wet straw, and ice to keep the temperature as near 42 degrees as possible. Capt. Halm of the National Fish and Game commission, personally conducted the crustacean colony on their Western tour and superintended the placing after their arrival. The State Fish and Game department came to Anacortes when the car arrived. The Coast Fish Co. cannery boat, the SOUND, was commandeered for use in distributing them. This is the fourth shipment that has been made from the east coast and from well authenticated stories it is believed that Puget Sound will soon have more lobsters than can be eaten. The lobster is a great traveler, however. Plant him here today and tomorrow he may be miles away. Southern California or China may benefit by the efforts of the commission, but here's hoping.
- Saltwater People Historical Society
- San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
- A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.
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