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400Mil BC
Scientists in 2006 reported that an armored fish from this time called Dunkleosteus terreli grew up to 30 feet, weighed as much as 4 tons, and used its powerful toothless jaws to tear food apart.
Links: Fish, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
400Mil BC
Fossil remains of coelacanth fish have been identified in deposits dating back nearly 400 million years. The fish has a rostral organ in its skull, a feature similar to one that sharks use to detect the weak electric fields given off by their prey. Living specimens in 1938 were caught off the coast of East Africa and in 1998 were caught in Indonesian waters. The females were found to bear live young following internal fertilization.
Links: Fish, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
385Mil BC
A fish species later called Panderichthys lived about this time.
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383Mil BC
In 2004 paleontologists found fossils of a primitive fish, named Tiktaalik roseae, on Ellesmere Island in Canada’s Nunavut territory that dated to about this time. The fossils showed evidence of ribs, neck, rudimentary ear bones and primitive limbs.

Links: Canada, Fish, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
380Mil BC
In 2008 scientists traced the origin of fingers and toes to fish-like creatures that roamed the seas about this time. In 1839 Swiss scientist Louis Agassiz described a fossil fish that had been found in Permian marl slate near Durham, northern England. He named it coelocanthus. Over the decades similar fossils were found dating from around 380 million to 70 million years ago.
Links: Fish, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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380Mil BC
In 2009 Scientists from Australia and Britain studying 380 million-year-old fossils of the armored placoderm fish, or Incisoscutum richiei, said embryos in the fish indicated that sex as we know it, fertilization of eggs while they are still inside a female, took place as much as 30 million years earlier than previously thought. They originally thought the fish laid their eggs before fertilization.
Links: Australia, Sex, Fish, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
375Mil BC
In 2006 scientists reported the discovery of a predator fossil fish dating to this time in on Canada’s Ellesmere Island in the High Arctic. It was later named Tiktaalik roseae and further analysis found it to have developed a mobile neck, an important development for living on land. The fish displayed bones at the ends of its fins suggestive of developing fingers and toes.
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360Mil BC
By late Devonian time some bony fish not only undoubtedly had lungs, but also had stumpy or lobed fins, the antecedents of legs. The 2-foot long ichthyostega from eastern Greenland was among the 1st fish to move on land.
Links: Fish, Greenland, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
300Mil BC
In 2009 researchers in Kansas found the fossilized brain of an iniopterygian fish dating to about this time. The fish is a relative of modern ratfishes, also known as ghost sharks.
Links: Kansas, Fish, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
300Mil BC
A shark from the Edestus genus swam the seas over what later came to be known as Kentucky, USA. A fossilized black jawbone, believed to be from the shark, was found in 2011 in a central Kentucky mine.
Links: Kentucky, Fish, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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290Mil BC
A fish called Acanthodes bronni, part of the acanthodian group of fish, which included the earliest vertebrate animals with jaws, lived about this time. This fish was among the first to split from sharks, whose bones are made of cartilage, to evolve into a line of tough-boned species that later included everything from bony fish to human beings.
Links: Fish, Evolution, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
55Mil BC
Bony fish, initially fresh water creatures, took to the sea about this time.
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7000 BC
In 2012 a group of Swedish marine archeologists said they have found what they believe could be the world's oldest stationary fishing traps on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, with the most ancient dating back about this time.
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1686
The British Royal Society published “Historia Piscium” by John Ray and Francis Willughby. The expense of the high quality illustrations almost bankrupted the academy.
Links: Britain, Fish, Books     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1808
A 56-foot oarfish washed ashore in Scotland. This was the first documented sighting of the rare fish.
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1839
Swiss scientist Louis Agassiz described a fossil fish that had been found in Permian marl slate near Durham, northern England. He named it coelacanthus. Over the decades similar fossils were found dating from around 380 million to 70 million years ago.
Links: Britain, Switzerland, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1844
John Fremont discovered Pyramid Lake in Nevada. For a number of reasons the lake’s native trout went extinct in the 1940s. Federal officials in 2006 began restocking the lake with the native Lahontan cutthroat found near Pilot Peak and the trout fluorished.
Links: USA, Nevada, Fish, Extinction     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1853 May
The first public aquarium was opened in the London Zoo. It was the brainchild of English naturalist Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888). The "Fish House", as it came to be known, was constructed much like a greenhouse.
Links: Britain, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1854
English naturalist Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888) published “The Aquarium” and set off a mid-Victorian craze for household aquariums.
Links: Britain, Fish, Books     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1859
The London Fish House unveiled 4 seahorses, long believed to mythical creatures. Seahorses are the only species in which the males become pregnant, providing the young with food and oxygen before giving birth to up to 1,000 babies, each the size of a flea.
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1875
The first US sardine cannery opened in Maine, when a New York businessman set up the Eagle Preserved Fish Co. in Eastport. In 2010 the Stinson Seafood plant in eastern Maine, shut down after a century in operation. It was the last sardine cannery not just in Maine, but in the United States.
Links: USA, Maine, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1885
The National Aquarium first opened to visitors in Washington DC. On Sep 30, 2013, it closed its operations at the US Dept. of Commerce building due to renovations.
Links: USA, DC, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1888
In Spain the fishing company Grupo Viera SA was founded.
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1913
In Washington state the 105-foot Elwha Dam came on line. Fish passage facilities were required, but none were ever built. In 2011 it became part of a $324.7 million, 3-year dam-removal project.
Links: USA, Environment, Washington, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1917
D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson (1860-1948), Scottish classicist, mathematician and biologist, produced his work "On Growth and Form," the first formal attempt to analyze patterns and shapes in nature. His work also included "A Glossary of Greek Birds" and "A Glossary of Greek Fishes."
Links: Scotland, Biology, Fish, Books, Birds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1918
The Copco 1 Dam was constructed on the Klamath River in northern California. It permanently blocked access to more than 75 miles of salmon and steelhead habitat in the main stem of the upper Klamath and its tributaries. [see 1925]
Links: USA, California, Environment, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1925
The Copco 2 dam was constructed on the Klamath River in northern California just a quarter-mile downstream of the original dam. [see 1918]
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1927
In Washington state the 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River came on line. Fish passage facilities were required, but none were ever built. In 2011 it became part of a $324.7 million, 3-year dam-removal project.
Links: USA, Environment, Washington, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1930 May 1
Anton J. Anderson, a Sausalito fisherman, returned to port in SF, Ca., towing 2 boats and carrying the bodies of Allen Curry (29), a deputy fish and game warden, and James Burke (48), a former game warden. Anderson himself was wounded and explained that he had shot the 2 men in self defense after they tried to confiscate his nets. Anderson was not indicted and returned to fishing. He died mysteriously 3 years later off the Mendocino shore.
Links: USA, California, SF Bay Area, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1932
1968
The Chisso Corporation, located in Kumamoto Japan, dumped an estimated 27 tons of mercury compounds into Minamata Bay. Thousands of people whose normal diet included fish from the bay, unexpectedly developed symptoms of methyl mercury poisoning.
Links: Japan, Environment, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1933
In Pennsylvania the Pymatuning Dam impounded the Pymatuning Reservoir. It was constructed to regulate the flow of the Shenango and Beaver rivers. The reservoir later became a major attraction for tourists, who came to feed the local carp.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1935
In Japan the Tsukji fish market opened in Tokyo. It grew to become the largest fish market in the world. In 2004 Ted Bestor authored “Tsukji: The Fish market at the Center of the World.”
Links: Japan, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1938 Dec
A South African fishing trawler brought up in its nets a coelacanth fish, long thought to be extinct. The fish was identified by naturalist Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer. She sent a sketch of the fish to Prof. J.L.B. Smith who properly identified it as a new species of coelacanth and named it Latimeria chalumnae. It was later mounted and is now on display in the East London Museum.
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1939
The California state Division of Fish and Game, concerned about dead fish near Redding, launched a study and found a creek downstream from Iron Mountain getting 2,876 pounds of copper a day. The state told mine operators to reduce metals and acid drainage.
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1940
1949
During the 1940s the Associated Sportsmen of California repeatedly warned of damage to the salmon population near Redding and urged the government to release water from Shasta Lake to dilute the poisons from Iron Mountain.
Links: USA, California, Environment, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1942
Construction began on the new Friant Dam near Fresno, Ca. Completion of the dam in 1944 ended the salmon run on the San Joaquin River. Legislation in 2008 hoped to restore the river’s salmon run.
Links: USA, California, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1944
California state officials blamed the pollution from Iron Mountain, near Redding, for killing a third of the salmon run before they could spawn.
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1947
1971
In southern California Montrose Chemical Co. manufactured DDT during this period and released about 2,000 tons of the pesticide into sewers that flowed to the ocean. In 2007 fish caught off Los Angeles County's coast still contained high levels of DDT, banned since 1972, decades after a manufacturer dumped tons of the pesticide into sewers, creating a toxic plume on the ocean bottom.
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1955
A large number of dead fingerling salmon and several hundred thousand king salmon were killed in a few hours. Many swallows were reported dead by the river in northern California near Iron Mountain.
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1956
Dr. J.L.B. Smith (1897-1968), South African ichthyologist, authored “Old Fourlegs: The Story of the Coelacanth.”
Links: South Africa, Fish, Books     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1959
The US Fish and Wildlife Service recommended that Iron Mountain mine owners seal mine tunnels or collect mine drainage in a reservoir to halt the killing of salmon in northern California.
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1964
Leicester Hemingway, brother of Ernest Hemingway, put together floating platforms off the west coast of Jamaica and called it the Republic of New Atlantis. He hoped to create a marine research society and help protect Jamaican fishing.
Links: Jamaica, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1965
A Navy dolphin named Tuffy carried tools and messages to Sealab II divers off the coast of La Jolla, Ca.
Links: USA, Technology, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1966 Oct 15
US Congress passed the Endangered Species Preservation Act. It was expanded in 1973 as the Endangered Species Act. The Devils Hole Pupfish of Death Valley were among the first species protected. By 1972 only 124 remained. By 2007 only 42 were left. The count reached 75 in 2013.
Links: USA, Environment, Animal, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1968
Charles C.G. Chaplin and James Bohlke co-authored “Fishes of the Bahamas and Adjacent Tropical Waters.”
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1968
Floating fish-processing factories took in a combined catch of 810,000 tons of cod off the eastern banks of North America. During the next decade there was a steady drop cod population.
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1969
In California some 1,600 fish, mostly adult and yearling salmon, died After a heavy rain of copper poisoning below the Kewick Dam.
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1969
Fish and wildlife officials in New York and Vermont banned fish shooting. In 1970 the Vermont Legislature re-instated the sport.
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1969
The International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas entered into force. ICCAT, with headquarters based in Madrid, Spain, was established at a Conference of Plenipotentiaries, which prepared and adopted the convention, signed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1966.
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1969
Hugh Fish (d.1999 at 76) environmental engineer, was named chief purification officer of the Thames Conservancy and set about to restore fish to the Thames River. An angler caught the first prize salmon in 1985.
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1971
In Kenya the Norwegian government designed a fish processing plant at Lake Turkana to provide jobs to the nomadic Turkana people. The plant was completed and soon shut down due to high operating costs for the freezers in the desert.
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1971
Bonaire, Netherland Antilles, outlawed spearfishing off the island.
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1972 Aug 17
The International Tribunal in The Hague pronounced that the Icelanders did not have sovereignty over the areas between 12 and 50 miles. The Icelandic government protested and decided to take no notice of this decree.
Links: Netherlands, Iceland, Fish     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972
The jellyfish population in the Black Sea exploded following the completion of a dam in a section of the Danube that runs between Serbia and Romania.
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1972
1973
El Nino currents led to the collapse of the Peruvian anchovy industry. The annual catch had peaked at 12 million tons.
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1974
Libby Dam, a hydroelectric facility in Montana run by the Army Corps of Engineers, was built to serve power markets in the Pacific Northwest. When the dam went up it stopped periodic flooding of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, and the high water flows that triggered local sturgeon to move upriver and spawn.
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1975 Oct 15
Iceland moved its intl. boundary for fishing rights from 50 to 200 miles.
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1976 Jun 2
Great-Britain & Iceland terminated their codfish war. It was agreed that only 24 British vessels would be allowed in the 200 mile zone and four conservation areas would be completely closed to the British.
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1976
Norman Maclean (1902-1990) published "A River Runs Through It and Other Stories." It was a story about fly fishing in Montana. Recorded books put out a cassette version in 1993 with other stories that included "Logging and Pimping and ‘Your Pal, Jim’," and "USFS 1919: The Ranger, the Cook, and a Hole in the Sky."
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1976
US Congress passed the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act. It extended US territorial waters to 200 miles offshore.
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