Art. LXI.—The Portobello Marine Fish-hatchery and Biological Station.
[Read before the Otago Institute, 15th November, 1905.]
ON the 8th October, 1895, the author, who had previously been in correspondence with Dr. Fulton, Scientific Superintendent of the Scotch Fishery Board on the subject, read a paper before the Otago Institute on “New Zealand Fisheries, and the Desirability of introducing New Species of Sea-fish.” In this paper the possibility of introducing the cod, the herring, the turbot, and the edible crab of Britain was considered, and the cost and style of the requisite buildings for a hatchery were outlined. After the subject had been discussed the desirability of establishing such a hatchery was affirmed, and a committee, consisting of Messrs. A. Hamilton, J. S. Tennant, and the author, was appointed to report on the best site for the proposed station. The committee handed in their recommendations at a meeting of the Institute held on the 12th May,
1896. It was considered that any place within Otago Harbour would be unsuitable and undesirable for the station, because “the whole area inside the Heads is systematically fished by seine nets and lines, and is liable to constant disturbance by traffic and harbour-works.” Accordingly, attention was directed to the various inlets and bays near Dunedin, but outside the Heads, and Purakanui was selected as realising nearly all the conditions required. The report met with the hearty approval of the Institute, which appointed a committee, consisting of “Mr. A. Hamilton, Professor Parker, Dr. Don, Mr. F. R. Chapman, and Mr. Geo. M. Thomson, to confer with a committee of the Otago Acclimatisation Society and with members of both Houses of the Legislature, with a view to taking such steps as will lead to the establishment of a marine fish-hatchery at Purakanui.”
On the 3rd June, 1896, a meeting of those referred to was held in the Town Hall, and was attended by the Hon. W. D. Stewart, M.L.C., the Hon. W. M. Bolt, M.L.C., the Hon. John MacGregor, M.L.C., James Allen, M.H.R.; Messrs. A. C. Begg and James Edgar, representing the Otago Acclimatisation Society; and Messrs. A. Hamilton and Geo. M. Thomson, representing the Otago Institute. It was felt that before the Government could be approached, more definite information on the scheme was required. The committee accordingly entered into communication with the American Fish Commission, and with Dr. Fulton of the Scotch Fishery Board, and the latter gentleman undertook to carry out experiments at the Dunbar Fish-hatchery with the object of ascertaining how long it would be possible to retard the hatching-out of the eggs of sea-fishes. The Otago Institute voted a sum of £10 to cover the expenses to be incurred in these experiments. Owing, however, to the transference of the Scotch Board's operations from Dunbar to the Bay of Nigg, near Aberdeen, these experiments were never carried out.
The whole question of the fish-hatchery was again brought up by the author in more definite form before the Institute and the Acclimatisation Society early in the following year (1897), and each of these bodies voted £250 towards the establishment of the station, conditional on the Government granting a similar sum for construction, and undertaking to carry on the station for a term of, say, ten years. It was felt that any work of the kind, though undertaken locally, was really a colonial matter, and deserved colonial assistance, hence the latter condition. About the same time Mr. G. M. Barr, C.E., kindly went down to Purakanui with the members of the committee and marked off the site suggested for the station.
In bringing this matter before the Government, the Hon. W. M. Bolt, M.L.C., and Mr. J. A. Millar, M.H.R., acted in co-operation with the committee, and during the session of 1897 the sum of £750 was placed on the estimates “and voted for fish-hatcheries and expenses of Expert Ayson to Canada and America.” But in the letter sent to the author by the Marine Department it was added “that nothing will be done by the Government in the matter of establishing hatcheries pending the return of the expert.”
The author wrote to the Marine Department on the 9th February, 1898, suggesting that the site marked out by Mr. Barr for the station should be set apart as a reserve, and accordingly in the Gazette of the 23rd September, 1898, there appeared a Proclamation setting aside “6½ acres in Purakanui Inlet as a reserve for a fish-hatchery.” An additional sum of £250 was also placed on the estimates for “fish-hatcheries.”
Mr. Ayson returned from his European and American trip early in 1899, and in the month of April came south to examine the site at Purakanui, and to report on the scheme. No doubt a report was sent in to the Department, but nothing definite was ascertained about it till, in reply to a question asked in the House by Mr. Millar, who moved for information as to the proposals of the Government, it was stated that “observations as to the summer and winter temperatures of the water at Purakanui were required before the scheme could be gone on with, and that steps for obtaining these were being taken.” As a matter of fact, nothing was done in this matter, nor could anything of the kind have been undertaken without a very considerable expenditure, as there was no apparatus available, and no one on the spot to take observations.
Meanwhile, in December, 1899, Mr. Ayson came down again to Dunedin, and on the 8th met representatives of the Otago Institute and of the Acclimatisation Society in conference. The members present were Professor Benham, Messrs. A. Hamilton and Geo. M. Thomson, representing the Institute; Messrs. J. P. Maitland, T. Brown, A. C. Begg, and D. Russell, representing the Acclimatisation Society; and Messrs. J. F. Ayson (Inspector of Fisheries) and D. H. Hastings (local Inspector), representing the Government. The history of the movement from its inception up to the date of the conference was narrated by Mr. Thomson, who further stated the objects and requirements of the proposed station, as follows:-
Objects of the Establishment—(1.) To institute scientific investigations on the marine fish fauna: (a) Physical—viz., temperature and density of the sea at various seasons, depths, &c., currents, &c.; (b) biological—viz., study of the develop-
ment and life-history of the fishes, their food-supply, &c., also of the marine invertebrate fauna. (2.) To collect and hatch out eggs of various local marine fishes and to distribute them. (3.) To introduce and rear desirable species of foreign fishes, as well as lobsters and crabs.
Buildings required.—(a.) One or more tidal ponds in which to place any fish, native or introduced, while under observation and investigation; (b) spawning-pond for ripe fish; (c) a building to serve as a fattening and spawn-collecting chamber; (d) a hatching-house containing boxes, &c., in which the ova were to be hatched out; (e) tank-house fitted with boiler, engine, and pump; (f) laboratory. The estimated cost of these buildings, erected on the same scale as those of the Scotch Fishery Board at their Dunbar establishment, was £550. A curator's house, with rooms added in which students and experts who were engaged in research work could be accommodated, would also be required.
Control.—It was suggested that the Professor of Biology for the time being in the University of Otago be appointed by the Government as the honorary scientific director of the establishment, and that he be aided by a Board of, say, six members—two nominated by the Government, two by the Otago Institute, and two by the Acclimatisation Society—such Board to be elected annually or for such periods as the Government may decide, and to report annually to the Minister at the head of the Marine Department.
After considerable discussion Mr. Thomson's memorandum was unanimously agreed to, and Mr. Ayson expressed the opinion that the Government would do everything in its power to help the two contributing bodies in the movement towards the establishment of the hatchery and biological station.
Up to this point the Purakanui site alone was under discussion and consideration; but, apart from the difficulty which was experienced in getting to and from the spot and the time involved in visiting it, a serious drawback was noted which caused the abandonment of the project as far as this site was concerned. It was found that after periods of heavy rainfall the salinity of the water, especially on the ebb tide, was so very much reduced that it might prove fatal to any stock of fish—particularly deep-sea fish—which might be kept in confinement there. Accordingly a further examination of the coast was made for a new site, and in spite of the original objection urged against any spot inside the Heads the site at Quarry Point, Portobello, was ultimately fixed upon.
Nothing was done towards advancing the movement during the early part of 1900, for Mr. Ayson and some members of the
local committee were occupied for a considerable time with an experimental trawling cruise in the small chartered steam-trawler “Doto.” The coast round Stewart Island, along the east coast of both Islands as far north as Hauraki Gulf, and through Cook Strait to Nelson, was more or less examined. On this cruise three members of the committee gave scientific assistance—viz., Messrs. Hamilton, Thomson, and Professor Benham. But correspondence was carried on between the author and the Marine Department, the latter being very slow to make any forward move.
In reply to a question asked in the House of Representatives on the 17th August by Mr. J. A. Millar, the Minister of Marine stated that the £500 voted by the Government was available for the building if the Otago Institute and the Acclimatisation Society liked to go on with the work. Mr. Millar pointed out that this could not be done, as these bodies would be saddled with the cost of maintenance, which he contended would be unjust, seeing that the work was a national one. The Minister added that the Government proposed now to place £500 on the estimates for the building, with the addition of £250 a year for five years for the maintenance of the hatchery.
Meanwhile negotiations were commenced to secure the land required at Quarry Point, this being part of a reserve granted for a term of years to a Library Trust, and leased to Mr. A. Porterfield.
Difficulties also arose as to the purity of the water at the site selected, but these were set at rest by analyses made by Mr. W. Montgomery, which showed that it was practically as pure as ocean water.
The Minister also objected to the control passing from the hands of the Government to a nominated Board, seeing that the maintenance of the station was [ unclear: ] be provided by the Government. This matter of control still formed the subject of discussion, and led to continued delay right on through 1901. Meanwhile the Government asked for, and received on the 15th June, plans and sketches of the buildings, &c., suggested as necessary. These plans were, of course, only approximations, as their shape and position would necessarily depend on the ground available, some of which had to be cut down and filled in.
In the beginning of September Mr. Ayson came down to Dunedin, and in company with Professor Benham and the author (representing the Institute), and Messrs. A. Stronach and D. Russell (representing the Acclimatisation Society), the location of the various buildings required at the Portobello site was agreed upon.
The following extract from a letter written by the author to the Secretary of the Marine Department on the 7th September, 1901, shows the unsatisfactory position of those who were urging this matter on the Government: “There is one important detail which I desire again to bring under your notice. None of those who interested themselves in this business have any status whatever. We come and go at our own expense, we advise as to work, plans, &c., but we have no authority to do anything. If the Minister would form a Board, as suggested, with as many Government nominees as is thought desirable, we would know exactly where we stand; at present we are only so many private individuals who are consulted by courtesy of the Minister and the Marine Department.”
The proposals submitted to the Minister were sent down to the Public Works Department, Dunedin, and, after the site had been carefully surveyed, the District Engineer reported to Mr. Ayson that he found “that the works are entirely beyond your means. To give effect to your proposals will cost between £2,500 and £3,000.” This was in October, 1901, and a little later a detailed estimate was prepared by the District Engineer giving the cost of construction at £3,000. This seemed to put a stop to the whole scheme, but the author was so satisfied that this was excessive that when Mr. Ayson came down to Dunedin in January, 1902, he went over the details with him, and got approximate estimates from outsiders showing that, even on the plans submitted, the work could probably be done for £1,500. Further, by reducing the scale of the work to be undertaken, it was estimated that the cost of construction might be brought down to £1,135.
This view of the matter was pressed upon the Minister of Marine, and practically accepted by him, as the following extract of a letter from the Department, dated the 13th March, 1902, shows: “I have the honour, by direction of the Minister of Marine, to state that there is no authority at present to appoint a Board of management with a legal standing, but it is proposed to set up an honorary advisory Board for the purpose of advising the Department upon any matters concerning the hatchery, it being clearly understood that the cost of establishing the hatchery in working-order must not exceed £1,100, and that the annual working-expenses must not exceed £250. The Board will advise the Department as to the expenditure of the above amounts, but will not incur expenditure until authorised by the Department. It is proposed that the Board shall consist of one member nominated by the Otago Institute, one member nominated by the Otago Acclimatisation Society, the Collector of Customs, the Chief Surveyor, and the District
Engineer of the Public Works Department. I am to ask you to be good enough to express your opinion on these proposals.”
This suggestion did not quite meet the views of the contributing bodies, and further correspondence ensued. Indeed, the Acclimatisation Society took such an adverse view of the attitude of the Minister that, at a meeting held on the 25th April, 1902, it was decided “to withdraw the Society's offer of £250 towards the cost of the proposed hatchery.” This difficulty was eventually got over, and the vote reinstated.
On the 24th April the Otago Institute nominated the author as its representative on the proposed Board; on the 22nd May the Acclimatisation Society nominated Mr. Robert Chisholm; and on the 9th June the Board was gazetted, its members being: Mr. David Barron, Chief Surveyor; Mr. Charles W. S. Chamberlain, Collector of Customs; Mr. Robert Chisholm; Mr. Charles E. W. Fleming, Superintendent of Mercantile Marine; and Mr. George M. Thomson.
The first meeting of the Board was held on the 24th June, when Mr. George M. Thomson was appointed chairman, Mr. Chamberlain undertaking to act as honorary secretary and treasurer. The Board got to business at once, and proceeded to make arrangements for the works required, calling in the assistance of Mr. J. Blair Mason, C.E., as consulting and supervising engineer. The necessary excavations and filling-in for tanks, ponds, &c., was executed by Mr. George Morrison, contractor, Dunedin, and the erection of the caretaker's residence and hatchery building by Messrs. R. Bauchop and Co., of Port Chalmers. Progress was very slow for a long time, as all plans, tenders, &c., had to be submitted to Wellington before they could be undertaken, and it was not till the beginning of July, 1903, that matters were sufficiently well advanced to necessitate the appointment of a clerk of works to supervise the construction. Out of nineteen applicants for the position, Mr. T. Anderton was selected.
By the beginning of 1904 the work was so much advanced, though far from being ready to commence operations, that the opportunity of the visit of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science to Dunedin was taken to formally open the hatchery. A large party of the members visited the site on the 13th January, and the station was formally opened by Professor T. W. Edgeworth David, F.R.S., President of the Association. At the meeting of the general council of the Association held on the previous day, a committee, consisting of Messrs. C. W. Chamberlain, D. Barron, and G. M. Thomson, was appointed “to investigate the local conditions affecting the food supply of food fishes of New Zealand seas at the fish-hatchery
at Portobello.” Mr. Thomson was appointed secretary and convener, and a grant of £30 was placed at their disposal. This amount was supplemented later by the sum of £10—portion of an unexpended vote for marine biological research granted at the Hobart meeting.
At a meeting of the Board held on the 8th February, 1904, Mr. T. Anderton was appointed curator of the station, and the Board has had every reason since to congratulate itself on the appointment. The maintenance grant of £250 a year from the Government came into effect on the 1st April of the same year.
The total cost of the excavations, buildings, and fittings up to November, 1904, was £1,448. Towards this total the Government contributed £850, having voted £250 as a special grant over and above the £600 formerly promised; the two local societies each contributed £250; and calls were made on nearly all the acclimatisation societies of the colony for assistance. The following alone responded: Waitaki and Waimate Acclimatisation Society, £50; and the Hawke's Bay Acclimatisation Society, £25. The Canterbury Society expressed its readiness to assist with a donation as soon as the Board undertook the introduction of food fishes; and the Ashburton Society has also promised to give a sum pro rata as the other societies in Canterbury give. Financial assistance may be expected from several of the other societies when once the objects of the station are more fully understood, and the importance of the work undertaken is better appreciated.
The only remaining point to note in connection with the history of this movement is that Captain Fleming resigned his position on the Board in July, 1905, on his removal to Auckland, and that Captain Norman Beaumont, who succeeded him as Superintendent of Mercantile Marine, was appointed to the vacant position on the Board.
The site selected for the fish-hatchery is at the north-west extremity of Quarry Point, the peninsula which projects half-way across Otago Harbour from Portobello. At no very remote date the upper and lower harbours were probably entirely separated from one another by an elevated rocky barrier, through which subsequently three channels have been formed, leaving Quarantine Island and Goat Island as the connecting-links which unite the Portobello side with Port Chalmers. A glance at the sketch-map (Plate LVII) shows the relative position of the headlands, islands, and dividing channels.
While the whole area of the harbour is probably undergoing silting-up, in large part due to the elevation of the east coast of
Otago, which appears to be still in progress, there is still a great extent of surface in the upper harbour over which the ebb and flow of the tide act. An immense body of water is thus continually passing to and fro through the three channels which separate the two main basins, and the scour keeps these channels relatively deep. The conformation of the land also causes the prevalent winds to blow with considerable force through these gaps in the dividing barrier, and when a strong south-west wind is blowing it drives through with immense force.
The position of the hatchery is just at the most easterly of these channels. The site covers 2½ acres, but the coast-line is of considerable length, owing to its deep indentations. The bays on the north-west and north sides are extremely well sheltered from the prevailing south-west winds by the high ground out of which they are hollowed, and two of these bays have been enclosed as retaining-ponds, and for the main hatchery buildings.
The depth of water immediately outside the main embankment at low water is a about 18 in., and at high water from 6ft. 6 in. at ordinary to 8ft. 6in. at high spring tides. The bottom is soft mud and sand, and deepens very slowly for a distance of about 500ft., where from 12ft. to 20ft. is obtained in the channel between the hatchery and the sandbank, which extends practically to the Maori kaik, a distance of about four miles. This bank causes the flood tide for about the first two hours to flow from the main channel at Quarantine Island in a north-easterly direction towards Otago Heads. To the west of the hatchery the water in the channel is much deeper, and a great body of water is continually passing up and down at every tide, with a flow like a wide river.
Operations were commenced in July, 1903, for the construction of the hatchery, by enclosing a large bay on the northern side of the site, having a width of about 100ft. and a length of 80ft. An embankment, 14ft. in width on the top, and pitched on the outside with large rough stones, was thrown across the entrance; and a similar embankment or platform, 30ft. in width, was formed within this enclosure, just under the high ground to the west, for the erection of the hatchery buildings, engine-house, &c. A concrete wall, 10ft. high, 2ft. 6in. at the base and 1 ft. thick at the top, was then built on the inside of the embankment, and a similar wall built across the middle, dividing the enclosure into two ponds of the following dimensions: length, 65 ft.; width, 30 ft.; depth, 4 ft. 6 in. to 7 ft.; and capacity, 60,000 gallons. These are controlled by means of screw-valves fitted into 9 in. earthenware pipes connecting with the outside water. The embankment has since been planted with suitable native shrubs and sown in grass.
The third pond has been constructed by enclosing and deepening a small rocky cleft on the north-west corner. The dimensions of this pond are—length, 50 ft.; width, 26 ft.; depth, 7 ft.; and capacity, 50,000 gallons. This pond has a rough rocky bottom and sides, with large crevices and overhanging rocky shelves, and should prove very suitable for its intended purpose—for the introduction of lobsters and crabs.
The supply-tank for the hatchery has been built in the solid rock immediately behind and about 20ft. above the level of the embankment. The walls of this tank are of concrete, 1 ft. thick. The dimensions are— length, 33 ft.; width, 11 ft.; depth, 8 ft.; and capacity, 17,000 gallons. The tank is covered with a corrugated-iron roof. The water is led from this tank to the observation-tanks and hatching-boxes by 2 in. black-iron pipes, fitted with ⅜ in. gun-metal cocks where required. The hatching-house, tank-room, and laboratory are all under on roof, the building being 49 ft. long by 21 ft. wide.
The hatching-house, 25 ft. by 21 ft., is fitted with two sets of Macdonald Patent Tidal hatching-boxes, six boxes to each set, and capable of dealing with from two to three million marine fish-eggs at one time. Provision in the way of tables and cocks is also made for using the Macdonald hatching-jars, of which the station has a good supply. The tank-room is 21 ft. by 10 ft., and in this have been built two glass observation-tanks, one 5 ft. by 5 ft., and the other 5 ft. by 2 ft. 6 in. The bottoms and stands have been built of concrete; the legs are 6 in. by 8 in., and the table of concrete is 4 in. in thickness. The glass is ⅝ in. thick, and is fitted into a frame of 2½ in. angle-iron, which which is let into a groove in the concrete table. Brass overflows are fitted, which are adjustable to any height by means of a rubber stuffing-box. In addition to the four windows it has been found necessary to fit four skylights in the roof of this room, and it is intended to do the same to the hatching-room. The floor of both these rooms is made of asphalt.
The laboratory is 21 ft. by 10 ft., and is well lighted by three windows facing the north, along which side a wide working-bench runs the full length of the room. A supply of fresh water is also laid on to this room. The room is fitted with Leitz compound and simple microscopes, preserving, dissecting, and mounting apparatus, a large stock of glassware, and a small library. This latter includes sets of the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute,” of the United States American Fish Commissioner's Reports, and of the Scotch Fishery Board Reports, all presented to the station, and a number of other works dealing with biological and especially piscicultural subjects.
The roof of the whole building is of white-pine, covered with ruberoid.
The engine and pump house, situated on the same embankment, is built of corrugated iron. The pump, a 4 in. centrifugal, is driven by a 2½-brake-horse-power Hornsby-Ackroyd oil-engine, and is capable of throwing 8,000 gallons of water per hour into the supply-tank, and also, by means of 4 in. earthen ware pipes and wooden chutes, into any of the three ponds.
A four-roomed cottage with outhhouses, placed on the top of the promontory point, and surrounded with a stake fence, completes the buildings of the station. Provision is made whereby any resident biologist, research student, or interested visitor can obtain board and lodging at a moderate rate. Application for this privilege has to be made to the Board.
A rain-gauge, supplied by the Meteorological Department, is placed in a suitable locality near the cottage, and daily readings are taken at the same time as the temperature records are made.
The scientific work done at a station like that at Portobello can only be of a very modest character as long as it depends entirely upon voluntary effort. Research on the development of almost any form of the local fauna requires much time as well as the requisite skill and knowledge. As an adjunct to the local University the station may ultimately prove of considerable advantage to the biological department, but until research scholarships are instituted this opening is not likely to be made much use of.
From the date of his appointment as curator, Mr. T. Anderton has made observations on the fauna of the neighbouring sea, and on the spawning of certain fishes. He has also recorded the hatching-out of these forms, and reared them for a longer or shorter time, preserving specimens at various stages, and making drawings of many of them. The same has been done with regard to certain species of Crustacea. These records are given under the different species referred to later on. He has also kept records of the temperature of the air, the water of the ponds, and of the bay outside the hatchery since the 1st January of this year. Since the 1st March of the present year he has kept a register of the rainfall, the Meteorological Office in Wellington having forwarded a rain-gauge to the station. These returns are appended to this report. Working as he does at present, single-handed, the curator has been, quite unable to overtake the question of the salinity of the water—a thing which it is very desirable to ascertain.
In connection with the rearing of fry, and keeping any forms of life in confinement in tanks and jars, the usual difficulty was met with where the water-supply was stored in a concrete tank. It was fully a year from the completion of its construction before the water of the storage-tank was sufficiently free from lime-salts to be of any use. Very few organisms could live in it. This necessitated constant renewal of the various receptacles by fresh sea-water carried in from the bay. Such limitations hampered all the work of the kind undertaken, and indeed made continuous experiments almost impossible. These difficulties have now been overcome, and hatching during this last spring was done in the ordinary boxes with the overhead tank-water.
The Board recognises the desirability of having a complete list of the local marine fauna made out, and of having the life-histories worked out of those forms which have an important bearing on the rearing and feeding of fishes. But this is a work of time. In this report an approximately accurate catalogue of the fishes met with in Otago Harbour is given. But whole groups of organisms, some of them of great biological and economic importance, have never been looked into yet, and it will probably be long before systematic work is done upon them.
The station is fitted for research by any one competent and desirous to undertake it. The Board provides free accommodation for two such research naturalists, and board at a small cost can be arranged for. The only one who has so far taken advantage of this opportunity is Professor Chilton, D.Sc., of Canterbury College, who spent some time at the station last summer. The following papers, published in vol. xxxvii of the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute,” were the outcome of this visit: “Note on the Function of the Last Pair of Thoracic Legs in the Whale-feed (Grimotha gregaria),” and “On the Occurrence of a Species of Cercaria in the Cockle.”
The author has worked with Mr. Anderton, the curator, and is responsible with him for the following notes and records.
Two species of flounder are commonly obtained together in the harbour and along the coast, Rhombosolea plebeia, Richardson, and R. tapirina, Gunther, the latter being somewhat easily distinguished by the elongated snout-like upper lip.
On the 24th July, 1904, Mr. Anderton was out on the steam-trawler “Express,” and noted that all the flounders taken were males, and they were ripe, the milt flowing readily
when the fish were gently pressed. No female fish were taken in the trawl-nets on the occasion. He also noted at the same time that no mature fish were obtainable in the harbour.
On the 19th May, 1905, a stock of flounders was obtained in the harbour by seine-netting on the edge of the banks at low water, and these were transferred to one of the ponds. These shallow-water fish were from 8½ to 12 in. in length, and were not in a sexually far-advanced condition; there were about three male to each female fish. It was noticed that they lay about the deep end of the pond half buried in the mud, but on the beginning of the flood tide they always commenced to be more active. Towards evening also they moved about more freely, and food thrown into the pond and neglected during the day was always gone by the morning.
On the 5th June the temperature of the water in the ponds fell to o°C., but the cold did not seem to trouble the fish. On the 7th June, with the temperature of the water at 1·2°, they were feeding quite freely.
On the 26th June 104 fish were in the ponds, all taken in rather shallow water; they averaged about 9 in. to 10 in. in length, and the females—even a few 12 in. or 13 in. fish—were not nearly ripe. On the same day, while netting in from 10 to 15 fathoms in the channel between Quarantine and Goat Islands, four large females were taken, and were found to be nearly ripe.
On the 20th July two 9 in. mature males and a 9 in. mature female were placed in the observation-tank, the latter fish being the only small mature female of its size noticed. They were kept in confinement for forty-two days, being returned to the pond again on the 31st August. During all that time the female fish ate no food at all, while the males ate voraciously every day. No ova were obtained.
The surface of the pond was tow-netted every morning, but no ova were obtained till the 3rd October, when about a thousand were secured. More were obtained pretty well every day till the end of the month, the total number secured being about 180,000.
Both species of Rhombosolea being together in the ponds, it was not possible to distinguish the two kinds of ova. In one case the egg averages 0·82 mm. in diameter, and has only one relatively large oil-globule. The egg of the other species is distinctly smaller, averaging 0·65 mm. in diameter, and is furnished with from eight to thirteen small oil-globules. The two kinds are quite readily distinguished from one another, but unfortunately it was impossible to separate the eggs, or to determine the species to which they belonged. This can be done
again when the stocks of flounders kept in the ponds are strictly separated. In connection with the occurrence of the oil-globules in these eggs, attention may be drawn to a hypothesis advanced by Dr. J. T. Cunningham in the “Journal of the British Marine Biological Association” (vol. i, p. 48), in which he seeks to trace a connection between the occurrence of oil-globules in the yolk of the egg and the presence of much or little oily matter in the tissues of the parent fishes. This point also can be looked into when the species have been worked out separately.
In about four days after the ova were obtained and fertilised the larvæ began to hatch out, and they were kept in the boxes for about fourteen days and then liberated. Specimens of these larvæ were preserved and mounted every day, and drawings were made by Mr. Anderton, but until the identity of the species is established it is thought undesirable to reproduce these, or to publish any notes on them.
We have reason to believe that the fish in the ponds either cannot get rid of their ova without difficulty, or do not do so for some unexplained reason, in the shallow water. Some two hundred fish in all were kept in the pond, of which over one-fourth were mature females, yet only a very few appear to have liberated their eggs. The mature fish taken in June of this year were obtained only in deep water, while last year no females were got at all in the trawl-nets on the trip of the 24th July. It seems as if the fish moved out into deep water at spawning-time, but whether this is connected with the more effective distribution of the species, or whether the greater pressure of the water in any way facilitates the extrusion of the ova, is problematical. It may be only a question of temperature; while the pond water frequently cooled down sometimes as low as 5° C., that of the ocean at the same time probably never fell below 10°.
Another piece of knowledge gained is the hardiness of both species of Rhombosolea. They seemed to be unaffected by the low temperatures which prevailed in the ponds during the winter months, except perhaps in the retardation of their sexual maturity.
During October it was noticed that several of the fish in the ponds were showing sores. These were found on both the upper and under sides, but appeared most commonly on or near the base of the pectoral fins, and seemed to pass into ulcers which ate down to the bone, in some cases proving fatal to the fish. They were not confined to the fish in the pond, though rather frequent among them, but were found in the fish taken in the bay with seine nets. The cause is obscure, but the mature
females with distended ovaries which had not discharged their eggs appeared to suffer most from the trouble. The tissue removed from the ulcers showed under the microscope at least two forms of ciliated infusorians, but whether these were the cause or only an accompanying result of the disease is not known. It is interesting to record that Mr. Anderton took out some of the diseased fish, and touched the sores with weak solution of corrosive sublimate before returning them to the pond. The cautery seemed to be effective, and the sores healed in several cases. Probably a second application would have completed the cure in all.
In November most of the fish were allowed to escape into the bay, as it is always possible to obtain abundance of both species just before spawning-time.
The Brill (Caulopsetta scapha).
The fish known by this name is occasionally taken by the trawlers outside Otago Heads. Its erratic occurrence, like that of many other species, is probably due to the alterations in the temperature of the water along the coast; but until these have been carefully studied it is impossible to do more than surmise this to be the case. On the 24th July, 1904, Mr. Anderton obtained ova from large female fish taken on the trawler; unfortunately no male fish were taken, so that the eggs could not be fertilised.
The Lemon Sole (Ammotretis rostratus).
This fish is popularly known as the lemon sole, to distinguish it from Peltorhamphus novœ-zealandiœ, Gunther, which the local fishermen call the English sole. The names are somewhat unfortunate, seeing that they are applied to totally different species in Britain.
Some experimental work was carried out with regard to Ammotretis during the past two seasons. In July and August of last year Mr. Anderton was out in the trawler on several occasions, and obtained a stock of fish for the ponds. These were kept in confinement till the end of October, but it was soon found that all were more or less bruised by the crushing to which they had been subjected in the trawl-net, and they never recovered from this. Numbers died, and all got into poor condition and became affected with sores on various parts of the body. It was noted at the same time, however, that fish taken in the bay in the seine nets were also more or less similarly affected.
No ova were obtained, though usually the fish seemed to liberate their eggs in August, and ultimately the remainder of the stock in the ponds were turned out again into the bay. Just
as in the case of the flounders, it seemed as if the fish were unable to extrude their ova in the shallow water of the ponds, or else that the low temperature of the pond-water affected them adversely.
On the 17th August of this year Mr. Anderton was out again in the trawler, and obtained several thousand ova. Many female fish taken were found to be spent, and ripe males were abundant. On this date, while the water at the hatching-ponds was at 5 ° C., that of the open sea at 18 fathoms depth was 10 ° C. More ova were obtained on the 20th August, and altogether about 250,000 eggs were got.
The egg of this species is about 0·8 mm. in diameter (Plate LV, figs. a-f), and contains from eight to eleven oil-globules. The minute structure was not studied.
About the fourth day after fertilisation the black pigment spots began to show, and by the following day the outline of the embryo was distinctly visible. On the seventh day the black and yellow spots of the young embryo were uniformly distributed, and the larvæ began to hatch out on the ninth day. The temperature all this time remained low, varying from 2·8 ° to 4·8 ° C. These larvæ were reared till their tenth day, by which time the yolk-sac was nearly absorbed, and they were then turned out into the harbour. Altogether about 168,000 were liberated. These results are very small and fragmentary, but it has to be borne in mind that they were achieved by one worker, who was daily occupied with all the ordinary routine duties of the station, and who had had no previous experience of the work.
Blue-cod (Parapercis colias, Forster).
Eggs of this species were obtained from some fish in the ponds about the end of October and beginning of November, 1904. The egg is a floating one, having a diameter of 1·05 mm.
The eggs hatched out in about three days, and the larvæ were reared till about a week old, by which time the yolk-sac was almost completely absorbed, and the fry were swimming about freely and feeding. At that time the store-tank water was unusable on account of the lime present in it, and thus it was extremely difficult to keep experimental jars and small tanks going, hence no further attempt was made to study the development of these few larvæ. The approximate date of spawning and the length of time taken to hatch out being ascertained, it was realised that the experiment could be resumed with more prospect of success on a future occasion.
A very interesting experiment was made in connection with these fish. About three dozen were obtained on the 11th October last year, in about 30 fathoms of water off Cape Saunders, and
were transferred to one of the ponds. A dead specimen examined at the same time was found to have the stomach quite full of seaweed. But in the pond they were regularly fed on cut-up fish, cockles, &c., and they fed freely, becoming so tame that they came about the edge of the pond whenever visitors went to see them, and they would take food out of the hand, and allow themselves to be stroked. About a month after they were confined some of them became affected by a whitish film which grew over one or both eyes, and it looked as if they would become blind. But by the end of summer this had quite disappeared, and the fish were in very fine plump condition. A few of them also showed greyish patches, apparently of diseased tissue, on the back, but this condition did not affect many, and was not closely examined into.
During May of this year, when the weather was rather cold, the fish almost ceased to feed, and did not move about freely. Even cockles, of which they were extremely fond, had no temptations for them. On the 2nd June there was a little snow at intervals, and the pond-water was very much chilled. On the 3rd there were snow-showers during the day, and the pond-temperature registered 1·4 ° C. Heavy snow came on during the night, and on the morning of the 4th it lay 3 in. or 4 in. deep on the ground, while the temperature of the pond went down to 0·8 ° C. One of the cod was found dead, and five or six more were lying on their sides in a nearly dead condition. During the night the temperature fell still lower, that of the pond standing at 0 ° C., and on the morning of the 5th the rest of the fish were lying on their sides, all dead but five. An attempt was made to resuscitate these by keeping them in somewhat warmer water, but they all succumbed on the 6th.
It is worthy of note that while blue-cod are obtainable in Otago Harbour during the summer months, they appear to migrate out to deeper water on the approach of winter, and, further, that they do not take bait during cold weather.
This experience is of value as showing, among other things, the limitations to which experimental work is liable in shallow-water ponds.
Congiopodus leucopœcilus, Richardson.
This fish is popularly known as “pig-fish,” on account of the grunting noise it makes when taken out of the water and left to gasp for air. It is sometimes called “leather-jacket,” a name which, however, is more correctly applied to Monacanthus scaber, another very common fish in Otago Harbour.
On the 17th September of last year Mr. Anderton secured male and female mature specimens, and from these he obtained
eggs which he artificially fertilised. Being at the time extremely busy with other and more important work, he kept neither record nor drawings of these eggs. On the 16th October, the temperature of the water in the hatching-house being 6 ° C., some of the eggs were ready for hatching out, the larvæ showing in a well-developed condition, the eyes and pectoral fins being especially prominent (Plate LVI, fig. d). The specimen figured was just about to hatch, and the larvæ when liberated floated with the yolk-sac uppermost. By the sixth day the yolk-sac was nearly absorbed (fig. e.), and the little fish were swimming about freely, with much of the slow motion characteristic of the adult. The development could not be followed further on account of the numbers of other fry to be attended to.
Some experiments were made in regard to common forms of Crustacea, which may be placed on record here, though the results have not been worked out yet.
Heterograpsus sexdentatus, Milne-Edwards, is one of the commonest of shore-crabs, and is found under stones between tidemarks. A berried female kept in an aquarium jar spawned on the 28th August, 1904. The zoeæ swarmed in the water, and the parent crab immediately commenced to eat them up wholesale. The development was not followed out.
Petrolisthes elongatus, Milne-Edwards, is another extremely common form in similar localities. Berried females in an aquarium jar spawned from the 17th to the 23rd November. The zoeæ were watched from day to day, and a fairly complete series was obtained and preserved. There has not been time to work out the results as yet. The water of the bay was full of zoeæ for some weeks.
Palœmon affinis, A. Milne-Edwards: This is the common small prawn of the harbour. A single berried female liberated its ova—about three hundred—on the 15th January of this year. The larvæ were very active, darting about in all parts of the jar, but invariably seeking towards the light side. Their cannibal propensity was very marked from the first, a feature apparently of all larval Crustacea, as well as of a good many adult forms. If not liberally supplied with minced cockle, which they ate greedily, they at once attacked each other. The development was watched from the 15th January to the 22nd April, a period of ninety-seven days, during which they underwent eleven moults. The dates of these moults were as follows: First moult, 20th January; second moult, 26th January; third moult, 2nd February; fourth moult, 6th February; fifth moult, 11th February; sixth moult, 15th February;
seven moult, 21st February; eighth moult, 26th February; ninth moult, 5th March; tenth moult, 19th March; eleventh moult, 8th April. The adult from appeared to be reached at the tenth moult, the motion in swimming and the general appearance being different from what it was in the earlier stages. Fairly complete sets of these various stages have been preserved, and it is hoped to work them out during the coming year.
Munida subrugosa, Miers: An attempt was made to prove the identity of this species with Grimothea gregaria, the free swimming form known as “whale-feed,” which is so abundant in our seas, especially in the summer months. Owing to the nature of the tank-water and pressure of other work the experiment failed. While there seems little doubt as to the identity of these two forms, yet until Grimothea has been reared from the eggs of Munida the fact cannot be considered proved. This is the principal food material of a great many species of fish during a considerable part of the year, and the knowledge of its life-history is important and desirable.
Scientific Notes by Mr. Anderton.
The following notes made at various times by the curator are well worthy of being placed on record:—
(1.) I have never read of the yawning of fishes, but I have repeatedly seen blue-cod, flounders, and soles in the ponds having a decided yawn. The mouth is opened to its full extent, as also are the gill-covers. This is continued for a few seconds, when the mouth is shut with a snap. I have observed the same thing in the glass tanks in the case of spotties (Pseudolabrus bothryocosmus) and flounders. The phenomenon has been chiefly observed when the ponds were low, but the reason of this is not known. It may be that it was only that the fish were more easily observed.
(2.) The following fact is worth recording. On the 12th–13th October 1·4 in. of rain fell, and on the latter date 25,000 ova were collected from the surface of the pond. This is one of the heaviest rainfalls recorded, but it did not interfere with the collection of the ova, nor apparently with their condition after collection.
(3.) During the winter months there appears to be a general exodus of fish from the harbour. I think this is most noticeable in the case of the flounders. Perhaps the difference in temperature between the water of the bay and of the open sea, together with the supposition that they seek deeper water on account of the increased pressure to assist the extrusion of the eggs, may account to a great extent for this annual migration. The fol-
lowing table gives an approximate idea of the difference of temperature referred to. The ocean record was made by the engineer of the steam-trawler “Express” during two months of this year:—
[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]
|July 20||2·4||9·0||Aug. 11||2·8||10·0||" 28||3·8||11·0|
|" 23||3·2||10·0||" 14||3·4||8·4||Aug. 31||4·8||9·6|
|" 24||3·4||8·5||" 15||3·8||9·5||Sept. 1||5·8||9·6|
|" 25||3·2||8·8||" 17||5·2||9·5||" 6||5·6||9·6|
|" 26||3·4||8·8||" 20||3·6||9·5||" 7||5·4||9·2|
|" 27||3·2||9·2||" 21||3·8||11·0||" 11||5·8||12·0 (?)|
|" 8||4·4||9·8||" 22||4·4||9·8||" 12||6·2||9·8|
|" 9||4·2||9·8||" 24||3·2||9·4||" 13||5·8||7·0 (?)|
|" 10||2·8||9·0||" 27||4·0||10·2||" 15||5·4||9·0|
(4.) The Dog-fish.—The idea that these fish are the natural enemies of most of our edible fishes, excluding flat-fish, is generally accepted by the fishermen. Although, from the small numbers of these examined, and the short period of time during which the observations were made, I would not like to affirm absolutely that this is not so, I think it is worth recording that from January to May, 1905, I examined the contents of the stomach of between fifty and sixty spinous dog-fish (Cephaloscyllium laticeps) and smooth-hound (Galeus antarcticus.) Only one of these contained fish, and that appeared to be a piece of king-fish that had been cut with a knife. Their stomachs generally contained large crabs (Cancer novœ-zealandiœ) and other unrecognisable species, Grimothea gregaria, Munida subrugosa, and worms.
(5.) During such times as they are found in the bay Grimothea gregaria have been found in the stomachs of almost all the fish examined, including sea-trout, spotties, pig-fish, dog-fish, rock-cod, red-cod, blue-cod, barracouta, and Maori chief.
(6.) It is hoped that in future a closer observation of the tides may be made. The effects of the moon's north and south declination in apogee-perigee, of the effects of winds, high and low local barometer, &c. —all these need recording. The station is admirably situated for such study, which, carried on carefully through a number of years, would no doubt be of considerable scientific value.
(7.) Ocean Currents.—So far it has not been possible to make any observations of these currents. The Admiralty chart shows
a current off Cape Saunders setting in a northerly direction at a rate of from one to one and a half knots an hour. The captains of the trawlers and the line-fishermen affirm the accuracy of this statement, the latter stating that at times it is so strong as to prevent them from fishing, as they are unable to get their lines to the bottom. These currents must have considerable influence on the migration and food-supply of our sea-fishes, and in order to acquire a fuller knowledge of their spawning habits and grounds it is necessary to take this into consideration. For instance, identified pelagic fish-eggs of a known age—say, fifth day—taken in the tow-net off Otago Heads, with a current of two knots an hour setting to the northward, would have been shed about two hundred and forty miles south of the place at which they were taken.
List of Fishes which have been taken in Otago Harbour or in the Immediate Proximity.
Polyprion prognathus, Forster. The groper occurs outside the Heads all the year round, and occasionally comes into the harbour, keeping to the deeper parts.
Arripis trutta, Cuvier. The kahawai is an occasional summer visitor.
Pagrosomus auratus, Forster. The snapper is another occasional visitor, and also appears to come only in the summer months.
Haplodactylus meandratus, Solander. The granite trout is not infrequently met with in the harbour.
Chilodactylus macropterus, Forster. Recorded in Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xi, p. 381.
Latris ciliaris, Forster. The moki occurs all the year round, and is a common fish near the rocks, and especially among kelp.
Latris lineata, Forster. The trumpeter is not so common as it used to be. It is still met with at intervals, but used to occur in all the deeper channels, near rocks.
Latris ærosa, Hutton. The type of the species was taken at Otago Heads, and is in the Otago Museum.
Congiopodus leucopœcilus, Richardson. One of the commonest fishes in Otago Harbour, where it is known as “pig-fish,” or sometimes as “leather-jacket.”
Neophrynichthys latus, Hutton. Sometimes called “toad-fish.”
Genyagnus maculatus, Forster. The cat-fish or hard-head
Kathesostoma fluviatilis, Hutton. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxviii, p. 315.
Notothenia maoriensis, Haast. Commonly known as “Maori chief.”
Notothenia angustata, Hutton. The type is in the Otago Museum.
Notothenia cornucola, Richardson. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. v, p. 262.
Notothenia microlepidota, Hutton. Not uncommon outside the Heads, and sold as “black-cod.”
Parapercis colias, Forster. The blue-cod is common outside the Heads, in deep water near rocks.
Trachyichthys trailii, Hutton. Dunedin Harbour. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xvii, p. 162.
Lepidopus caudatus, Euphrasen. The frost-fish frequently comes into the harbour in winter-time, and gets stranded on the beaches and sandbanks.
Thyrsites atun, Euphrasen. The barracouta is an erratic visitor, sometimes occurring in immense numbers. The young are abundant in the harbour in the summer months.
Promethichthys prometheus, Webb and Berthel. The king-fish is met with not infrequently in the harbour, and is got occasionally in considerable quantity in the trawlers.
Caranx georgianus, Cuvier. The trevalli is a common fish in the harbour.
Trachurus trachurus, Linnæus. The horse-mackerel or scad.
Seriola lalandii, Cuvier. This fish, the “king-fish” of the North Island, appears to be an occasional visitor to these waters.
Evistius huttoni, Gunther. Dunedin. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. ix, p. 470.
Seriolella porosa, Guichen.
Seriolella brama, Gunther. (?) Warehou.
Cyttus novœ-zealandiœ, Arthur. Taken off Otago Heads. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xvii, p. 163.
Trigla kumu, Lesson. The gurnard is occasionally taken inside the Heads, and is also brought in by the trawlers from outside.
Tripterygion tripinne, Forster. Popularly known as the “cock-a-bulli” (perhaps a corruption of “kokopu”); abundant near the beach.
Agonostomus forsteri, Bloch. The sea-mullet or herring is one of the commonest fishes in the harbour, and occurs all the year round.
Diplocrepis puniceus, Richardson. The sucker; common in rock-pools.
Lophotes fiskei, Gunther. Taken at St. Clair. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxvi, p. 223.
Regalecus argenteus, Parker. Great ribbon-fish; caught near Portobello. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xx, p. 20.
Regalecus parkeri, Benham. Taken at Deborah Bay. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxxvi, p. 198.
Odax vittatus, Solander. Kelp-fish. Otago Heads and inside the harbour occasionally.
Pseudolabrus bothryocosmus, Richardson. Locally known as “butter-fish” or “spotty”; very common.
Pseudolabrus cinctus, Hutton. Not uncommon on the coast. The type is in the Otago Museum.
Caulopsetta scapha, Forster. Known as the “brill”; occasionally got in the trawl-nets.
Ammotretis rostratus, Gunther. Locally known as the “lemon sole.”
Rhombosolea plebeia, Richardson. Common flounder.
Rhombosolea flesoides, Gunther. Yellow-belly; not so common as the last.
Rhombosolea tapirina, Gunther. Common.
Peltorhamphus novœ-zealandiœ, Gunther. The common sole.
Physiculus bacchus, Forster. The red-cod is one of the most abundant fishes on the coast.
Pseudophycis breviusculus, Richardson. Occasionally taken, and locally known as “whiting.”
Merluccius grayi, Guichen. Locally known as “haddock.”
Genypterus blacodes, Forster. The ling occurs all the year round outside the Otago Heads.
Hemirhamphus intermedius, Cuvier. The garfish; occurs at intervals in the harbour.
Gonorhynchus greyi, Richardson. The sand-eel; not uncommon.
Clupea sagax, Jenyns. The pilchard or sardine occurs in immense shoals, which appear to pass up the coast in a northerly direction during the summer months.
Leptocephalus conger, Willoughby. The conger-eel.
Hippocampus abdominalis, Lesson. The sea-horse is very abundant in the harbour.
Stigmatophora longirostris, Hutton. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. viii, p. 216.
Ichthyocampus filum, Gunther. The pipe-fish; another very common fish in the harbour.
Monacanthus scaber, Forster. The leather-jacket; common in the harbour.
Mola mola, Linnæus. An occasional sun-fish has been taken in the harbour.
Callorhynchus antarcticus, Lacepede. The elephant-fish; a migratory species, occasionally occurring in large numbers.
Dasybatis brevicaudatus, Hutton. Stingaree; not uncommon.
Torpedo fusca, Parker. The type of this species was got at Purakanui. Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xvi, p. 281.
Astrape aysoni, Hamilton. Another species of torpedo ray; occasionally met with near Dunedin.
Raia nasuta, Solander. The skate; common.
Galeus antarcticus, Gunther. The smooth-hound; occasionally taken in the harbour.
Alopias vulpes, Gmelin. The thresher; an occasional visitor.
Cephaloscyllium laticeps, Dumeril. The dog-fish is very common.
Echinorhinus spinosus, Cuvier. The spinous shark has been taken off Otago Heads.
Heteropleuron hectori, Benham.
Introduction of Lobsters.
The desirability of introducing the European lobster (Homarus vulgaris) into these seas has been before the promoters of this station since its inception. It has been stated that there is no need to introduce this crustacean, seeing that the marine cray-fish (Palinurus) is so common, and is such an excellent article of food. While these facts are quite admitted, yet it is the case that the lobster has a much greater commercial value than the crayfish, and if once acclimatised in these waters would prove a very valuable addition to the wealth of our fisheries. Again, it has been objected that the chances of establishing a species which undergoes various metamorphoses in its early stages, when it passes through several free-swimming stages, when it cannot well be handled, are very great. But the hatching and rearing of lobsters, both H. vulgaris and H. americanus, have
been successfully accomplished at several stations in the Northern Hemisphere. Nowhere, indeed, has this work been more successfully carried out than at the biological station of the Comissioners of Inland Fisheries, Rhode Island, U.S.A.; and Dr. A. D. Mead, of Brown University, with his small floating laboratory, has been able there to rear vast numbers of these crustaceans to a stage when they ceased to swim, and could be liberated on a rocky bottom. All the available information on this subject has been kindly communicated to the local Board by Dr. Mead. It is also the case that the common shore crab of Britain (Carcinus mœnas) has been introduced into Australian waters within the last few years, and has spread round the shores of Port Philip. How it was brought out is not clear—perhaps in ballast, or attached in some way to ships' bottoms—but the occurrence is recorded by Mr. S. W. Fulton in the “Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria,” vol. xiv, p. 55.
The possibility of conveying live lobsters to the colony was solved by the Otago Acclimatisation Society in 1891, when nine specimens were brought out by Mr. Purvis, chief engineer of the s.s. “Ionic.” There being no suitable place in which to keep them, these specimens—which were in fine condition—were taken down to the mole at Otago Heads and liberated there. The locality is one exposed to all easterly weather, and is subject to continual strong tidal currents which carry shifting sands. It was therefore most unsuitable for lobsters, which, like other crustaceans, try to keep their gill-chambers as free as possible from sand. Nothing was ever heard of them again, and the experiment has not been repeated since.
During 1904 preparations were made at the hatchery for a lobster-pond, and a large natural cleft in the rocky promontory on which the hatchery is situated was deepened and cut off from the outer channel by a concrete wall and embankment, fitted with valve openings, &c. The pond is about 50 ft. long, 26 ft. broad, and can be filled by the pump to a depth of 9 ft., the ordinary depth at high water being from 6 ft. to 7 ft.
Advantage was taken of the visit of Mr. R. Chisholm, a member of the Board, to England during this last year to arrange for a trial shipment of lobsters. Communications were entered into with Dr. E. J. Allen, Director of the Marine Biological Association, Plymouth, who kindly undertook to procure the required crustaceans and forward them to London. The manager and other officials of the Shaw, Savill, and Albion Company also took up the scheme heartily, and commenced to make the necessary arrangements for the conveyance of the lobsters to New Zealand in one of their steamers leaving for Port Chalmers. When Mr. Chisholm left London everything seemed in train
for the forwarding of the first trial lot. But it was found that the expense of fitting up the necessary tanks on board the steamer was going to run into a great deal more money than was originally contemplated, and, pending further instructions, those who had the matter in hand at Home suspended operations till they got the necessary authority. After Mr. Chisholm's return to the colony he stated fully what he had attempted and accomplished, and the Board at once wrote to London asking that the preparations for forwarding the lobsters be again proceeded with. It is therefore anticipated that a shipment will reach Port Chalmers are long by one of the direct steamers.
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|July.||Rainfall in Inches.||Aug.||Rainfall in Inches.||Sept.||Rainfall in Inches.||Oct.||Rainfall in Inches.||Nov.||Rainfall in Inches.||Dec.||Rainfall in Inches.|
|Max||0·195 on 30th||0·185 on 20th||2·320 on 2nd||1·400 on 13th||0·605 on 15th|
|Number days rain||14||13||27||19||18|
Explanation Of Plates LV-LIX.
Development of lemon sole (Ammotretis rostratus). Figs. a-c × 16; d-j × 32.
Fig. a. Egg twenty hours after fertilisation.
Fig. b. " forty-eight ".
Fig. c. " fourth day after fertilisation.
Fig. d. " fifth day ".
Fig. e. " sixth day ".
Fig. f. " ninth day after fertilisation (just hatching).
Fig. g. Fry newly hatched out.
Fig. h. " second day, ventral aspect, yolk-sac uppermost.
Fig. i. " third "
Fig. j. " fifth "
Fig. a. Ammotretis rostratus, fry, eighth day after hatching
Fig. b. Blue-cod(Parapercis cohas,)egg; × 20.
Fig. c. " larva just hatched out.
Fig. d. Pig-fish (Congiopodus leucopœcilus), just before hatching.
Fig. e. " larva, eighth day.
Sketch-plan across Otago Harbour at Port Chalmers.
View of ponds, looking north-west to Port Chalmers.