With the start of the new year, it’s an appropriate time to make a resolution and mine is to invite more voices to participate in helping to write about the history of the development of fisheries and fisheries science in the Pacific Northwest.
I’m really pleased that Charles R. (Bob) Hitz is writing about his career as a federal government biologist and his encounters with the Soviet fleet off the Northwest coast in the 1960s. The Soviets were catching Sebastes alutus, which has a lot of names on this blog, including Pacific Ocean Perch, POP, rosefish, rosies, and, just to make it more confusing, redfish). The important thing to know is that they were overfished in the 1960s and the stocks have not rebuilt.
I started this blog five years ago with the intent that it would help me understand the development of fishing on the West coast. I’m writing a book about these events, but I’m also starting to construct some curriculum for a class a class I’m hoping to teach next year, on the development of fishing off Oregon, and the development of fisheries science at Oregon State University.
Fishing and fisheries science developed in tandem. As Oregon fishermen pioneered new fisheries during the 1930s, for pilchards and albacore tuna, the Oregon Fish Commission responded by creating a research division and assigning scientists to investigate. I’ve written about the start of the pilchard fishery here. And an Oregon pilchard is basically a California sardine, in case you were wondering.
There are many voices threaded through the blog posts over the years; the scientists I’ve talked with, such Jergen Westrheim. And then there are the memoirs, by scientist Lee Alverson, but also by Astoria trawler George Moskovita, Living off the Pacific Ocean Floor.
Over the next year, I’ll be putting a curriculum together; when I do, I’ll publish it and invite suggestions for improving it. But in the meantime, if you’re interested in contributing to this public history project, Bob and I would welcome your contribution.