Rounding Up Fish Pirates: American Gunboat and Subchasers End Depredations Along the Pacific Coast, Daily Racing Form, 1919-12-11


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ROUNDING UP FISH PIRATES American Gunboat and Subchasers End Depredations Along- the Pacific Coast. Recently the gunboat Marblehead, returning to San Francisco with a relief expedition which had gone nortii to fight an epidemic of influenza among the Alaska Indians, received hurry up orders to sail again for the north to combat organized gangs of pirates, who were robbing on a most efficient scale the fisli traps of l the nortii Pacific. Thc:Marblet head proceeded Immediately to the vicinity- of Jtuieau, to which place three naval subchasers and a ,squadof volunteer ex-service men also were dis-. patched. War on the pirates along the coast was .iM-giin, and within a week the thieves were rounded up. Pirates have been a menace to these fisli traps for years. Fishing boats have brought down tales or their .hold depredations all along the coast from the rim of the Arctic as far south as Ketchikan. It evidently is now tlie governments determination to enil this piracy for once and all time. The siilmon runs begin early in July. The first run is followed by another around the middle of August. At every projection of the coast line a trap is located to catch- the silver horde as it swims with the Japanese current in search of suitable rivers in which to spawn. The salmon trap consists of poles or pilings driven in a line several hundred yards straight out into the water. At the outer end of the barrier, over which galvanized wire or cord netting is strung, is a series of pockets into which the salmon, seeking to swim round the barrier, enter and 1oe their way. From pocket to deeper pocket the fisli dart, finally entering a square inclosure through, an aperture which from within appears as a part of the entrapping wall. This -lust IWcket, the- one from which the fjsh an; taken, i equipped with a bailing net. which rests on the bottom, and is raised regularly every day to clear the pocket. Because of the large number of traps along the coast seldom more than one watchman can be maintained at each trap, and the bailing of the pocket is done by a boat and crew of men who have a string of a dozen to a score of traps to visit in the course of a days- work. These isolated watchmen often fall easy prey to the brazen pirates, wjio. under 1 he cover of darkness, steam up to a trap, overpower the watchman, lift the net and bail the pocket of its accumulated horde, then proceed to sea again, not to reappear until they find an opening for another "catch." ,

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