The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981 Page: 196
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Federal authorities delivered a record 26,000 carp in the 1890-1891
season. Most of them were released in public waters of the Trinity,
Brazos, San Marcos, and Red rivers, and others were planted in ponds
belonging to the Pacific Railroad in Arlington, and elsewhere. How-
ever, the "Government fish," as fishermen called the carp in East Texas,
became less popular. In 1895-1896, applicants in Oklahoma and New
Mexico began to receive as many carp as those in Texas. Nevertheless,
in December, 1896, when the federal fish hatchery opened in San Mar-
cos, scale and mirror varieties were placed in the San Marcos ponds.66
In 1896 the U.S. Fish Commission decided to discontinue carp distri-
bution, and the young fish were propagated as food for other, more
desirable, fish species. Then, Illinois led the nation in carp production,
catching over 860,00o pounds per annum; Iowa was next with 203,000
pounds; and Utah and Missouri claimed a yield in excess of Ioo,ooo
pounds. Nationally, the carp fishery compared favorably with black
bass, sunfish, and wall-eyed pike.6' However, Texans, it seems, had
little use for the fish. In fact, attempts were made from time to time
to control or eradicate the fish in many Texas waters, but they were
singularly ineffectual."s Today the carp is established in most of the
state's waterways and major impoundments, where it has acquired the
stigma of a trash fish which many fishermen avoid.
66U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, Report of the Commissioner for the Year
Ending June 30o, 1897 (Washington, D.C., 1898), lxi-lxii.
67After Spencer F. Baird's death in 1887 a congressional act (Jan. 20, 1888) constituted
the fish commission "as a separate bureau of the Government . .. terminated those rela-
tions of cooperation which had been so happily maintained with the Smithsonian Insti-
tution and National Museum." U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, Report of the
Commissioner for x888 (Washington, D.C., 1892), ix.
As the carp fell into disrepute, federal authorities began to refuse to place carp in
waters suited to more desirable species; it came to regard carp as a coarse fish like gar,
pike, and bowfin. E. C. Fearriow, Stocking Interior Waters of the United States, Bureau
of Fisheries, Fishery Circulat VIII (Washington, D.C., 1931), 2, 16. In spite of this dis-
approval of the fish, the carp yield of such states as Illinois, Iowa, Utah, and Missouri
was still marketed for human consumption Hugh M. Smith, "Statistics of the Fisheries
of the Interior Waters of the United States," U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, Re-
port of the Commissioner for 1896, pp. 494-496.
68Some of the Texan attempts to eradicate the carp were described by E. G. Simmons,
Chief of Inland Fisheries Division, Texas Parks and Wildlife, to R. W. D. (interview),
Austin, Texas, March 21, 1979.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981, periodical, 1980/1981; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101225/m1/232/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.