wonderful works resulted from a study undertaken in the 1880's by
George Brown Goode, Deputy Commissioner of the United States Commission
of Fish and Fisheries. The purpose of this study was to capture the
state of the American fisheries at that time and to use the knowledge
gained as a base line for future studies. Goode admirably succeeded
in this, but at the same time he also captured an interesting segment
of Nineteenth Century Americana and helped describe a significant
part of the marine environment.
The two atlases
of illustrations had 532 etchings between them that illustrated
the various species of marine mammals, fish, and shellfish that
were considered to be of economic value at that time and also illustrated
the state of fishing vessels, fishing gear, fishing methods, and
fish processing. Many of these etchings are beautiful works of art
that transcend the original purpose of describing a species or capturing
the fishing technology of the times. In fact, it is worthwhile to
view many of the high resolution photographs by clicking below the
700-pixel wide image to grasp the level of detail, time, and care
associated with producing many of the plates in the two atlases.
Come join the
National Marine Fisheries Service, descendant of the old "Fish Commission",
in thumbing through this family album of the American Fisheries.