Bigelow & Schroeder's Fishes of the Gulf of Maine.  Henry Bryant Bigelow's noteworthy career as an oceanographer began in the first decade of the Twentieth Century under the tutelage of the legendary Alexander Agassiz, director of Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology.

In an article for Harvard Magazine, David Dobbs, author of The Great Gulf, a thorough and balanced treatment of the current state of Gulf of Maine fisheries, notes that Bigelow "sailed tens of thousands of miles, spent hundreds of nights at sea, made more than 10,000 net hauls to sample sea life, and released more than 1,000 drift bottles containing notes asking the finder to mail him the location of discovery."

Equally important, Bigelow believed that fishermen held important knowledge about fish locations and habits, and that a collaborative relationship between fishermen and scientists offered important long-term benefits in understanding the fishery resource in the Gulf of Maine. That conviction is borne out today with a robust program of collaborative fishery research that places scientists on fishing vessels to acquire knowledge about the current state of fisheries.

Fishes of the Gulf of Maine was originally published in 1925 with William Welsh, a Bureau of Fisheries scientist who often accompanied Bigelow on his research cruises. In the late 1920's, Bigelow began a long association with William C. Schroeder, publishing a number of papers and reports on fishes of the North Atlantic, including the first revision of Fishes of the Gulf of Maine, published in 1953. It is that 1953 edition that is reproduced here.

Bigelow also wrote a seminal report that contributed to the funding and launch of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he served as Director. Both a laboratory building at Woods Hole and the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, bear his name today.

About this Site.  We have watched with concern as Fishes of the Gulf of Maine, long out of print, has climbed in cost on the used-book market. The red-bound volume is an extremely important resource for anyone working in the field of Gulf of Maine fishes. As the book became less and less available, we thought about electronically publishing it as a public-domain document. In 2001, we crossed paths with Daniel Gayer, then a Junior at Cape Elizabeth High School. Looking for summer work, Dan inquired as to whether we might have any projects underway that could involve him. When we asked whether he had heard of Fishes of the Gulf of Maine, he sheepishly noted that he had the town library's reference copy out on extended loan. Being a devotee of the book and its value, Dan spent his summer at Kinko's, laboriously copying every paragraph, illustration, table and note. By the time September rolled around, Dan had demonstrated that Fishes of the Gulf of Maine could, indeed, be reproduced electronically.

Having demonstrated the capacity to re-create the volume online, we then sought funding to complete the task. Both the Island Foundation, based in Marion, MA, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (, stepped forward to support the full publication. Enter Thomas Fogie, Principal at Exhalation Studios (, and multimedia designer, producer, illustrator and programmer. Thom has programmed the components to a website that remains true to the original look-and-feel of Fishes of the Gulf of Maine. We hope you enjoy online access to this information.

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