Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/792

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

They let fish enter the river from the sea and settle there quietly for the winter sojourn. All possible means are used to secure for the fish an unrestricted passage to the upper parts of the river, but not beyond Uralsk, where a railing is constructed across the river to prevent the larger fish going farther up. Owing to this arrangement the lower part of the river from this railing to the mouth forms a large natural fish pond (three hundred and thirty miles in length) where the fish are carefully watched by a great many fishwardens until the regular time for

PSM V43 D792 Waiting for the signal to fish on the ural river in the fall.jpg
Fig. 5.—Fall Fishing on the Ural River. Waiting for the Cannon-shot Signal.

fishing, which is fixed by general consent of the community. It is easy to understand what a thorough organization is necessary to conduct successfully this complicated plan for the distance of three hundred and thirty miles, and which has to deal with more than ten thousand fishermen. It is indeed a complete organization. The central administration, residing in Uralsk, controls all this business, assisted by numbers of local agents through the whole country. A steam cruiser, steam launch, and a number of sailboats constantly watch the mouth of the river and the neighboring banks and protect them from poachers. It should be mentioned that the river, with its fishing grounds and part of the Caspian Sea, belong to this entire community, consisting of a hundred and ten thousand people. There is no private property belonging to individuals or villages adjacent to the river, and an elaborate and detailed general plan must exist to regulate all this immense business in such a manner that the interest and rights of every member of the community shall be properly protected.