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Fisheries Heritage Collections

U.S. Fish Commission Annual Reports


The United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries (more commonly known as the U. S. Fish Commission) was established in 1871 as an independent agency. In 1903, it became part of the Department of Commerce and Labor, and its name was changed to the Bureau of Fisheries. On July 1, 1939, the Bureau of Fisheries was transferred to the Department of the Interior. On June 30, 1940, it was consolidated with the Department's Bureau of Biological Survey to form the Fish and Wildlife Service. In 1970, it was transferred to NOAA and became the National Marine Fisheries Service.

During the transition from war to peace, from July 1946 to June 30, 1948, a series of quarterly reports were issued. The fourth quarterly report (April to June) contained a summary of biological investigations conducted by the Division of Fishery Biology as well as a general summary of the Division's activities for the fiscal year. The last annual report of the Division of Fishery Biology was issued for fiscal year 1957.

The Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 created the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries and the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife within the Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior. The Report of the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries for the Calendar Year 1957 was the first report issued by that Bureau and reviewed, in detail, the organization of the Bureau, the history of fishery administration and the operation of the Bureau's predecessor organizations, the U.S. Fish Commission and the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries.

The Report of the National Marine Fisheries Service for Calendar Years 1970 and 1971 covers the period of transition of the Federal fisheries agency from the Department of the Interior to the newly formed NOAA in the Department of Commerce.


Scope of Coverage

These annual reports present a comprehensive overview of the activities of the U.S. Fish Commission (and subsequent agencies) for each year. This site provides access to the annual reports from 1871 to 1979. No reports were issued from 1941 to 1946. Missing from this collection are the annual reports for 1876 and 1950.


How to Locate Issues of the Annual Reports

To display an annual report, click on the drop-down list located within the table to choose the year, then click the "View Report" button. Articles are in PDF format and require the free Adobe Reader.

Publication Years Publication Info Annual Reports
1871-1872 Report of the Condition of the Sea Fisheries of the South Coast of New England in 1871 and 1872 by Spencer F. Baird, Commissioner
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1872-1903 Report of the Commissioner
1904 Report of the Bureau of Fisheries
1905-1925 >Report of the Commissioner of Fisheries
1926-1940 Report of the United States Commissioner of Fisheries
1947-1957 Annual Report for the Fiscal Year 19__, Branch of Fishery Biology (The last issue is for fiscal year 1957.)
1957-1969 Report of the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (The first issue is for the calendar year 1957.)
1970-1979 Report of the National Marine Fisheries Service