The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981 Page: 169

Wildlife Conservation in Late Nineteenth-
Century Texas: The Carp Experiment
al initiative, skill, and productivity was directed at taming the
wilderness by exploiting bountiful mineral, forest, soil, and wildlife
resources. Beginning in the 185os, however, increasing numbers of
people became aware that a growing and industrializing society was
blighting the nation's landscapes and interfering with many complex
relationships in the natural world. Citizens knowledgeable about tim-
ber, fish, and other products began to call for restraints. Public figures
and scientists tended to argue, however, for the husbandry and "cul-
ture" of certain wildlife: that is, for the reorganization of production
rather than the prohibition of traditional patterns of exploitation.,
The history of Cyprinus carpio (Linnaeus), commonly called the "Ger-
man" carp, illustrates this approach to animal utilization; and Texas
residents were eager to undertake carp rearing to supplement poultry
and livestock production and to offset dwindling supplies of native fish.
In December, 1870, a group of wealthy, educated New Englanders,
who had experimented with techniques of fish reproduction and man-
agement and who made a hobby of transplanting fish species and intro-
ducing them to new waters, formed the American Fish Culturists'
Association. Shortly after the establishment of the American Fish Cul-
turists-on February 9, 1871-the United States Congress took official
note of the fish problems and authorized the appointment of a com-
missioner of fish and fisheries (at no pay). According to the commis-
*Robin W. Doughty is associate professor of geography at the University of Texas,
Austin. He appreciates the aid he received from the University Research Institute, Uni-
versity of Texas, Austin; helpful comments made by Dr. Clark Hubbs, Department of
Zoology, University of Texas, Austin; and the assistance of Kay Montgomery and Joan
1Susan L. Flader, "Scientific Resource Management: An Historical Perspective," Trans-
actions: Forty-first North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, ed. Ken-
neth Sabol (Washington, D.C., 1976), 17-30o.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981, periodical, 1980/1981; Austin, Texas. ( accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.