Friday, September 26, 2014

Michigan's Forgotten Fish

I posted this on Facebook today: "FISH QUIZ: Reading a 1878-1888 Michigan Fish Commissioners report. See if you can guess the fish: "This fish is to Michigan the fish of fishes. Its consumption by our people is larger than that of any other species. And commercially, it is to Michigan of more value than any other variety found in our lakes..." The legislature commanded the Fish Commission to breed this specific fish, the only one so named. Which one?"
To my amazement, no one could guess this fish, evidence of an erosion of historical memory. That fascinates me, how a dominant animal can just...fade away in another age's public consciousness. I thought I'd post the original whitefish section from the 1877-1888 biennial Fish Commissions' report. It shows the tens of thousands of whitefish fry that the Commission stocked all over the state, including Washtenaw County (3 lakes).

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