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The Fish and Wildlife Service operated 11 weirs in salmon streams for the purpose of determining the ratio of escapement to the commercial catch and for scientific purposes.
STATISTICS OF THE FISHERIES In 1944, 24,665 persons were employed in the commercial fisheries of Alaska, an increase of 954 over 1943. Products of the Alaska fisheries as prepared for market totaled 331,135,017 pounds having a wholesale value of $63,270,100, a reduction from 332,719,560 pounds valued at $66,516,317 the previous year.
Salmon The commercial catch of salmon was 72,429,162, consisting of 2,394,093 cohos, 10,474,482 chums, 38,886,142 pinks, 506,239 kings and 20,168,206 reds. The value of the catch of salmon to the fishermen is estimated at $14,527,257. By districts the catch increased 5 percent in southeastern Alaska and decreased 25 percent and 27 percent in central and western Alaska respectively, a total decrease of 16.6 percent for the entire Territory. Traps took about 41 percent of the catch, seines about 35 percent, gill nets 23 percent, lines and wheels the remaining 1 percent.
Of the principal types of gear operated in taking salmon, there were 397 traps, 672 purse seines, 73 beach seines, 3,108 gill nets and 3,651 troll lines.
The canned salmon pack in 1944 was nearly 12 percent under the average for the previous 5 years, amounting to 4,893,059 standard cases of forty-eight one-pound cans, valued at $51,196,140. There were 93 salmon canneries operated, 10 more than in 1943, but employment of persons dropped from 19,143 in 1943 to 19,079 in 1944.
Production of various types of cured salmon was considerably below normal. Only 2,374,558 pounds of mild-cured salmon were produced and 109,950 pounds of pickled salmon. Dried salmon for food and for animal feed on fur farms amounted to 385,155 pounds. Total production of cured salmon was 3,769,663 pounds valued at $915,488.
Although the poundage of fresh salmon for market in 1944 was about a half million less than in 1943, there was an increase of more than a million pounds of frozen salmon. Production of fresh salmon was 1,360,794 pounds valued at $203,068 and frozen salmon, 10,854,098 pounds valued at $1,478,089.
Salmon by products maintained about the same level of production as in recent years except that 34,175 pounds of salmon eggs were shipped from the Territory for preparation as caviar. Oil and meal products amounted to 1,583,700 pounds valued at $80,986.
Herring Herring products totaling 39,628,460 pounds valued at $2,458,170 represented an increase of more than 22 percent in quantity and more than 34 percent in value over 1943. There was a significantly large increase in the output of oil and meal, which increased 27 percent and 40 percent, respectively, from the previous year.
Seventeen plants were operated for herring, 11 in southeastern and 6 in central Alaska. Catches of 300,000 barrels in the Kodiak area, 200,000 barrels in the Prince William Sound area, and 200,000 barrels in southeastern Alaska, on the basis of 250 pounds to a barrel, were permitted under the quota system of limiting the total commercial catch, exclusive of fishing for bait. '
The herring industry gave employment to 710 persons, although 237 of these were engaged primarily in other fishery operations.
Halibut April 16 was the opening date established by the International Fisheries Commission for the North Pacific halibut fishery. The catch quota was increased by 500,000 pounds, making a total of 23,500,000 pounds for area 2, which extends from Willapa Harbor north to Cape Spencer, and 27,500,000 pounds for area 3, which extends from Cape Spencer westerly to Unimak Pass.
A halibut allocation system was put into effect by the Coordinator of Fisheries to assure orderly processing and distribution of the fish. The industry was somewhat upset by price ceilings which had the unusual effect of diverting a large percentage of the catch from Seattle and Prince Rupert to southeastern Alaska ports, particularly Ketchikan.
The Alaska halibut fleet, the fares of which included some landings at British Columbia ports, produced 29,209,837 pounds of fresh, frozen and canned halibut and halibut livers and viscera valued at $4,656,817. There were 935 fishermen engaged in the fishery, of whom 113 were engaged primarily in other fisheries.
Shellfish The shellfish industry, producing clams, crabs, shrimp and oysters, employed 991 persons of whom 244 also were engaged in the salmon canning industry.
Razor, butter, and cookle clams were produced in southeastern and central Alaska as canned whole and minced, frozen, bottled as juice, and sold fresh in shell and as fresh meats. Production increased 19 percent in quantity and nearly 15 percent in value over the previous year with a total poundage of 947,210 valued at $576,607.
Twelve operators in southeastern and central Alaska increased the production of Dungeness and king crabs more than 60 percent over 1943, with a total output of 316,416 pounds valued at $252,206.
Although the output of 140,620 pounds of shrimp in 1944 was only slightly greater than that in 1943 when 114,120 pounds were produced, the 1944 value of $118,439 represented an increase of more than 100 percent. Four operators in the Wrangell-Petersburg district in southeastern Alaska were engaged in shrimp production, which was limited to cold-packed and frozen meats.
Oyster production was about the same as in recent years with sales of 4,248 pounds of fresh shucked meats having a value of $1,888.
Miscellaneous Miscellaneous fishery products, which are classified as miscellaneous only because most are taken to a large extent incidentally to other fisheries, and not because they are unimportant, amounted to 7,687,177 pounds valued at $1,289,061. They included cod, flounders, lingcod, rockfishes, sablefish, sharks, skates, trout and mixed livers, viscera and oil.
FISHERY PRODUCTS LABORATORY The Fishery Products Laboratory, operated at Ketchikan jointly by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Territorial Fisheries Experimental Commission, conducts studies, surveys, and experiments to develop new fishery products and processes.
During the 1945 fiscal year surveys were made to locate new shrimp fishing grounds in southeastern Alaska and to determine the commercial feasibility of constructing and operating cold-storage plants at fishing centers of central Alaska. Studies, experiments, and tests were conducted on improvement of cannery loaf from salmon cannery trimmings, a product previously developed, to determine the practicability of producing meal and oil from cannery wastes in certain areas, to develop uses for halibut heads, to determine the most suitable methods for packaging fish for freezing, to estimate commercial value of hair seal meat, blubber, liver and skin, on several procedures for salting herring, on methods for storing salmon cannery waste for subsequent reduction. A practical and simple alkali process for producing commercial salmon oil from cannery wastes was developed, a report prepared on the vitamin content of various samples of Alaskan fish, and analyses made of numerous samples of fish livers.
FUR-SEAL INDUSTRY The comparatively small take of 47,652 skins from surplus fur seals on the Pribilof Islands in 1944 was accomplished in the same period as resettlement of the natives in their homes after nearly 2 years in evacuation status in southeastern Alaska. The herd was computed to include 2,945,663 animals as of August 10, 1944, an increase of 8.77 percent over 1943.
During the fiscal year 1945, 2 public auction sales of fur-seal skins were held at St. Louis, Mo. At the sale of October 9, 1944, 22,393 dressed and dyed, and 169 unfinished skins were sold for $823,500.75. The April 9, 1945, sale of 22,682 dressed and dyed Pribilof Islands fur-seal skins and 4 confiscated sealskins grossed $811,993.25. In addition, there were sold at private sales for promotional purposes 399 dressed and dyed fur-seal skins for $16,312.50
Production of byproducts of the industry amounted to 484,776 pounds of meal and 247,320 pounds of oil. With the 1944 production, 350,694 pounds of meal produced in 1943 were sold through competitive bidding for $34,672.50. A ton of meal was delivered to the Experimental Fur Farm at Petersburg for animal feeding tests. Blubber and oil products were sold for $22,608.75.
FORESTS Alaska has two National Forests, administered by the U. S. Forest Service, which extend along the greater part of the coastal region between the Canadian boundary at Portland Canal on the south and Cook Inlet on the north, and cover about 5.5 percent of the total area of the Territory. The Tongass, almost coextensive with southeastern Alaska, has an area of 16,000,000 acres, and the Chugach, with 4,800,000 acres, embraces the lands around Prince William Sound, the eastern half of the Kenai Peninsula and Afognak Island.
Timber resources.--The timber fringes the shore of the mainland and the hundreds of adjacent islands, rarely extending inland over 4 or 5 miles, and consists of western hemlock and Sitka spruce with some western red cedar and Alaska cedar. The estimated stand is 78,500,000,000 feet board measure on the Tongass, and 6,260,000,000 feet board measure on the Chugach, and the average volume per acre of the commercial areas is about 26,000 board feet.
Stumpage is sold as needed to individuals and manufacturing industries. The logging is done under rules which insure the renewal of the forest crop on the cut-over areas. Rates now average about $1.50 per thousand board feet for spruce and cedar, and $1 for hemlock. Timber sold during the year totalled 72 million feet, much of which was used on military projects. A total of 774 million feet was cut during the year under the free use privilege by settlers, miners, other residents, and the military service.
Extensive forests of spruce and hemlock, cheap water power, an almost yearlong logging season, and full year-round water transportation for logs and finished products combine to make the manufacture of pulp and paper, particularly newsprint, the great potential forest industry of Alaska, capable, under proper management of timber stands, of producing in perpetuity more than one-fourth of the United States' present annual requirements of newsprint.
Much interest has recently been shown by servicemen and others in the opportunities for minor wood products in Alaska, such as millwork items and many wooden articles for everyday use, and the Forest Service has prepared a printed pamphlet which furnishes information on the subject.
Water power.—The potential water-power resources of the National Forest region extend to a total yearlong capacity of about 800,000 horsepower, of which only 22,000 horsepower has been developed and is now in use. The best power sites range from 5,000 to 30,000 horsepower in capacity, but in many cases power from a number of sites can be concentrated at a central point by means of short, inexpensive transmission lines, if so desired. Water power sites can be developed under leases provided for by the Federal Power Act.
Recreation.—Hundreds of miles of interconnected and sheltered ocean waterways, many winding, narrow fiords with rugged mountains rising abruptly from the water's edge, great glaciers and masses of floating ice, hundreds of lakes and streams, trout, salmon, mountain sheep, goats, moose, deer, caribou, black, grizzly and Alaska brown bears, all make the National Forests a great attraction to tourists and sportsmen. In many spots of particular beauty or with especially good fishing or hunting, the Forest Service has constructed shelter cabins, boats, roads and trails, picnic grounds, swimming beaches, community buildings and bath houses, rifle ranges, ski trails and jumps, ski cabins and skating facilities. An extensive development of tourist resorts by private interests is hoped for in the postwar era.
Lands.-Land most valuable for agriculture, mining, industrial purposes, and townsites can be patented for such uses, and land for fur farming, resorts, summer cottages and other special forms of occupancy may be leased. The Homesite Act of 1927 permits residents to purchase homesites of 5 acres or less at $2.50 per acre after 3 years of residence. Up to the present time 336 areas have been opened to homesteading; 295 areas have been eliminated from the National Forests for patenting as homesites and an additional 175 such areas are still in the first stages of use. Other special use permits in effect June 30, 1945, include 50 fur farms, 447 residences and summer homes, 26 fish canneries and salteries and 632 miscellaneous, a total of 1,320.
Receipts.—Total gross receipts on the Alaska National Forests for timber stumpage and for the several classes of land use during the last fiscal year were $101,522.05, 25 percent of which was transferred to the Territorial Government for the use of roads and schools. This amounted to $25,380.51 last fiscal year, and $686,144.17 has been turned over to the Territory for this use since 1909. In addition, 10 percent of all receipts are made available to the Forest Service for road