Legislative Branch

Guide to Senate Records: Chapter 7 Fisheries

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Chapter 7. Records of the Committee on Commerce and Related Committees, 1816-1968

Records of Committees Relating to Commerce, 1816-1988 from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States

Committee records discussed in this chapter:
Records of the Committee on Fisheries, 1884-1921

7.48 Creation of a committee on fisheries was called for when the Senate revised its rules in January 1884. The Committee on Fisheries, originally called the Committee on Fish and Fisheries, was established and its first members appointed on February 5, 1884, by Senate resolution. The records include committee papers, 1886-1918 (1 ft.), and petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures referred to the committee, 1884-1907 (2 in.). The committee papers consist of legislative case files, 1886-1901, and executive communications from the U.S. Commission on Fish and Fisheries and other agencies.

7.49 While there are few papers of the committee, there are some outstanding records. One such file consists of papers relating to an investigation of Alaska salmon fisheries in 1889 by Dr. Tarleton H. Bean, an ichthyologist employed by the U.S. Commission on Fish and Fisheries. The records include Commissioner Marshall McDonald's letter to the Senate, June 9, 1890, transmitting and summarizing Bean's report, 28 accompanying captioned photographs taken by Bean of Karluk, Alaska, and other parts of Kodiak Island, and several drawings of the fish his party observed (51A-F11). A legislative case file on S. 1730, 53d Cong., a bill for the protection of salmon, trout, and fish in the streams and tidewaters of Alaska, includes transcripts of eyewitness accounts of fishing practices in Alaska (53A-F10). The committee papers also include original hearings on S. 227 and H.R. 5538, 49th Cong. (1886), which concern protection of fisheries on the Atlantic coast and mackerel spawning areas, respectively (49A-E11). After 1901, the committee papers measure only 1 inch, but legislative case files, 1901-21, are in the series of papers supporting specific bills and resolutions.

7.50 Petitions and memorials referred to the committee relate to protection of fisheries and the establishment of fish hatcheries, with the largest number favoring or opposing restrictions on menhaden fishing on the Atlantic coast (49A-H10). There are no petitions for several Congresses between 1889 and 1914, and none for any Congress thereafter despite the continued existence of the committee until 1921, when it was terminated during a major reform of the committee system.

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Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-42). By Robert W. Coren, Mary Rephlo, David Kepley, and Charles South. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.