Saturday, December 10, 2011


Article from the August 8th 1891 issue of the newspaper PEOPLE.
A unique Industry on the Delaware River
That Lasts Three Months
Down along the shores of Delaware Bay, on both the New Jersey and Delaware sides, there is a thriving industry which is seldom heard of and still more seldom seen in operation or has fewpeople stop to inquire into it.
It is the King Crab fishery and last year 1,674,00 of the ha shelled crustaceous fellows were taken from their native element, while past years the yield has reached 5.000,000. The season lasts three months.
Thfishery for the king crab, while nit primarily intended to provide a food product does furnish one of the best fertilizers known.
A trip down the bay proves the industry to be flourishing condition and seems to center on the Jersey side, between Cape May Point and Heislerville, twenty mile above and seven/eights of the entire catch is made between Dennisville and Fishing Creek. At Goshen, Dias Creek and Green Creek the catch was between 335,000, 410,000 and 411,000 crabs respectively.
Two forms of appatatus are in common use along the Jersey Shore, one resembles a type of 'pound net', but the the other is unlike and thing used in waters of the United States and is designed especially for this fishery.
The wood stakes that form the frame for the 'pound' are 8 to 10 feet long and 4 to 6 inches diameter, pleaced 4 to 6 feet apart. To the bottom of the stakes, called the 'hedge' , one inch boards are nailed on, one foot or slightly higher. This forms the 'bowl'. The door to the first bowl is 18 or 24 inch wide and the door to the second bowl is in narrower to prevent too many crabs to enter. Netting is either twine or chicken wire.
Then there is the 'weir or stake net as it is called here, and is different than the pound net. It has poles driven into the muddy or sandy bottom so as to form a 'hedge', wings, bowl or pound . The poles are placed about 3 inches apart to allow the sea to flow through them. This bowl is semicircular in shape, the extremies of the brushwork is about midway the pound. The capacity is controled by the leader door to the pound and is the most important feature of the apparatus. It consist of a wedge shaped platform, five foot long, and is inclined at a gentle angle, not too smooth, otherwise the crabs canot walk upon it. There is a floor to the pound, made from cheap boards, so that the crabs will not scratch hols in the mud or sand, loosening the frameiing poles.
This story was told by Hugh M. Smith of the United States Fishery Commission.

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