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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/206

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

off shore to well-known fishing reefs, which, by the way, are often in very deep water, and return during the afternoon with a varied haul. If successful, their home-coming is spectacular—they chant in chorus and push their heavy boat through the water, sometimes skulled by as many as a dozen oars, at the rate of a young steam launch, the boat garnished at the prow, and the crew wearing fillets and loin cloths of scarlet. It happens, fortunately, that the fishery is carried on principally by hand trawls, for it is clear that when such a line, which is sometimes a mile in length and with thousands of dependent hooks, is pulled up again, even if fish are not taken, there will surely be entangled a varied collection of objects—sponges, echinoderms and rock fragments, the last often richly stocked with brachiopods, worm tubes, corals, bryozoa. Happily, too, the collector of the station, Kuma Aoki, is an ex-fisherman, for, knowing the townspeople, he serves as a diplomat, suggesting regions which should be fished, and often accompanying the expeditions. To be mentioned in this connection is the skill with which the fisher people are able to locate accurately fishing grounds. By the use of a system of cross ranges, a master of the craft like Kuma can return to a spot where he has lost a valuable fishing line, and can secure it on a following day—a result which seems the more remarkable to the novice when he reflects that the line may have been lost in 400 fathoms of water.

While the trawl line is the customary apparatus of the fishermen, numerous devices are also employed in special fisheries, an account of which has been given recently by a Russian ichthyologist (ef. Dr. P. Schmidt, MT. d. Deutschen Seefischerei-Vereins, No. 2, p. 31, 1903). I might mention particularly the use of earthenware urns which are fastened together by straw rope, and sunken in the coves in the neighborhood of the station. These are constantly used by octopus as places of retreat during bright daylight, and to secure them the urns have merely to be overhauled from time to time. Shell fish are often taken in the usual eastern way by the use of a water glass and a dart-pointed bamboo pole, or, without a water glass, the fisherman may simply thrust his head below the surface of the water. Especially useful to the collector are the numerous divers of Misaki, who are, I may add, so skilful that they use no apparatus, not even weights for rapid descent, but will swim down duck fashion, to a depth of twenty or thirty feet. They hunt especially Haliotis, examining the rocks deliberately, and often remaining below several minutes. I may mention that one of the familiar sounds which one hears when rowing in the neighborhood of the station is the diver's peculiar whistle, by which he expands his lungs before descending.

One need hardly review the fauna in the region of Misaki. It is enough, perhaps, f<> say Hint bore focus many Favorable conditions for