Seth Green (fish farming)

Seth Green (March 19, 1817 – August 18, 1888) Was an American pioneer in fish farming ( pisciculture and aquaculture ). He established the first fish hatchery in Caledonia , New York. He was also a successful commercial fisherman, operating a large and profitable fish and game market in Rochester, New York , and fishing in Lake Ontario.

After many years of operation in Caledonia, it became part of the New York State Fish Commission and eventually became the Superintendent of Fisheries for the state of New York. Seth Green pioneering efforts to raise fish stocks and restore fish populations for sporting purposes. He also planted American Shad in California rivers near Sacramento. He is commonly referred to as “Father of fish culture in North America.”

Early life

Seth Green was born in 1817 in Rochester, New York , the son of farmer Adonijah Green and his wife Betsy Bronson. [2] [3] He had one brother and two sisters. He grew up as an outdoor enthusiast in the small village of Carthage along the Genesee River near Rochester, learning fishing skills from his father and the local Seneca people . His formal schooling was limited to finishing fifth or sixth grade at a local Carthage district school.

When the financial Panic of 1837 severely affected the economy of Carthage, Green left home and decided to take commercial fishing along the Genesee River . In 1848 he married Helen Cooke, a local Rochester girl. They established a fish and game market in downtown Rochester, which he operated with his brother and partner, Monroe Green. By 1857 the market employed more than 100 people. [4] It was one of the largest and most prosperous fish markets in the region. [2] To get his market, Green traveled the shores of Lake Ontarioover the years for fish. He and his fishermen are surviving many storms and hardships on Lake Ontario to supply the market with 0.5 to 3 short tones (450 to 2.720 kg) daily. Early in fishing business trading his, he Observed Atlantic salmon spawning near Cobourg, Ontario and Conceived the idea of Propagating His Own stocks of fish, not only for market aim to restock streams for sports fishing. [2]

Caledonia Fish Hatchery

Caledonia Fish Hatchery circa 1879 [5]

Based on his own observations, an earlier work on fish culture, and his experimentation along the Genesee River, Green pioneered a new method of fertilization called “dry impregnation”. In 1864 he set up a small hatchery in Caledonia, New York along with spring creek . [6] Green hatchery was first in the Western Hemisphere. Atlantic salmon and brook trout for market. [7] [8]Later, he expanded his techniques to other species, including shad , rainbow and brown trout. In 1867-1869 he experimented and pioneered methods to successfully propagate American shad in the Connecticut River near Holyoke, Massachusetts . Restocking the river with shad fry, resulted in an 1870 harvest that was 60% larger than the largest recorded in 1811. [2]

Government service

From an early age, Seth Green recognized that fish were not limitlessly resourceful and would have depleted rivers, lakes and streams of fish. In 1868, working with like-minded New York sportsmen, especially Robert B. Roosevelt and former governor Horatio Seymour , he encouraged the state legislature to form a fishing commission. Green, Roosevelt and Seymour have been appointed as the first fish commissioners and reviewers in New York State. Their annual budget was $ 1,000. [2]

Between 1868 and 1875, the commission established a regular stocking program in the state’s rivers and lakes, being supplied by Seth Green’s hatchery in Caledonia. During this period, Seth Green sold the hatchery to AS Collins, a friend and partner. In 1870, Green resigned his position as fish commissioner and the governor appointed Superintendent of Fisheries. In 1875, the state bought the Caledonia hatchery. It has continued to operate in New York in the 21st century. [9]

Although Green represented New York State, he was promoting his propagation and stocking methods throughout the east coast. He is credited with reestablishing American Shad populations in coastal rivers as Savannah River in Georgia.


In early 1871, at the request of the California Fish Commission, Green moved more than 12,000 American Shad Fry to Sacramento, California to plant in the Sacramento River . In June 1871, after arrived in Albany, New York, Green arrived with some 10,000 shad fry. They were stocked in the river near the town of Tehama, California . The project was a complete success, and in 1873 the state of Pacific ocean tributaries. They paid the reward on May 10, 1873. The fish was caught in a tributary of San Francisco Bay. The shad was a male fish 1 year, 9 months, and 12 days old. It was 17 inches (43 cm) long and weighed 3 pounds (1.4 kg). [2]American shad were the first non-native fish introduced into California waters. [10]

Recognition and honors

By the early 1870s, Seth Green was an internationally recognized expert on fish culture. He corresponds regularly with fisheries authorities around the world, especially in Germany, France and New Zealand. He wrote extensively about fish culture, publishing his first work Trout Culture in 1870 and his most comprehensive work, Home Fishing in Home Waters-A Practical Treatise in Fish Culture , in 1888. For many years he was the editor of the sports department of American Angler .

His work and contributions to fish culture were recognized by both the US and abroad. In 1872 and 1875 the Imperiale of Acclimatization of France awarded Green solid gold medals for his work in fish farming. In 1876, the US Centennial Commission gave Seth Green a certificate of award at the International Exhibition held at Philadelphia. In 1880, the German Fishing Society in Berlin awarded a gold medal for his work in fish culture. [2]


In 1882 Robert Barnwell, Robert Barnwell. During the trip he contracted typhoid pneumonia . He never fully recovered from this disease. Although still able to function, he suffered a decline in his physical and mental health. In January 1888, Green and his son were traveling to a museum when their carriage overturned. Green severely injured his back in the accident, an injury that confined him to his house for the remainder of his life. At the age of 71, senile and bed-ridden, Green died on August 18, 1888 in Rochester, New York. [2]


Green and his Caledonia Fish Hatchery are credited with the introduction of rainbow trout into non-native waters of the continental divide, [11] brook trout into the west, [8] [11] and brown trout throughout the US [12] Rochester , New York named Seth Green Drive and the Seth Green Trail along the Genesee River, near the train rental of Carthage, in his honor. [13] The Rochester, New York chapter of Trout Unlimited is named after Green. [14] The New York State Department of Environmental Conservationoperates a 46 foot (14 m), 50 short tones (45 t) research vessel on Lake Ontario named Seth Green . [15] In 1987, the Fish Culture Hall of Fame, an institution of the American Fisheries Society, enshrined Seth Green as the “Father of Fish Culture in North America.” [16]

The Caledonia Fish Hatchery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015. [17]


  • Green, Seth (1870). Trout Culture (pdf) . Rochester, NY: Seth Green and AS Collins.
  • Roosevelt, Robert B .; Green, Seth (1879). Fish Hatching and Fish Catching (pdf) . Rochester, NY: Union and Advertisers Book and Job Print.
  • Green, Seth (1888). Home Fishing in Home Waters-A Practical Treatise on Fish Culture (pdf) . New York: O. Judd Co.


  1. Jump up^ Green, Seth (1870). Trout Culture (pdf) . Rochester, NY: Seth Green and AS Collins.
  2. ^ Jump up to:h Black, Sylvia R. (July 1944). “Seth Green Father of Fish Culture” (pdf) . Rochester History . Rochester Public Library . Retrieved 2014-08-19 .
  3. Jump up^ Mark C. Carnes, ed. (2005). American National Biography, Supplement 2 . New York: Oxford University Press. p. 213. ISBN  9780195222029 .
  4. Jump up^ Spaulding, John (Autumn 2014). “Seth Green Fish Hatchery Turns 150 Years Old”. Fly Tyer : 7-13.
  5. Jump up^ Roosevelt, Robert B .; Green, Seth (1879). Fish Hatching and Fish Catching (pdf) . Rochester, NY: Union and Advertisers Book and Job Print. p. 39.
  6. Jump up^ “State Hatchery-Caledonia” . . Retrieved 2014-08-19 .
  7. Jump up^ Caledonia Fish Hatchery
  8. ^ Jump up to:b Karas, Nick (2002). Brook Trout: A Thorough Look at North America ‘s Great Native Trout – Its History, Biology, and Angling Possibilities, Revised Edition . NY: Lyons Press. p. 75. ISBN  978-1-58574-733-7 .
  9. Jump up^ “Fish Hatcheries” . New York State Department of Environmental Conservation . Retrieved 28 August 2014 .
  10. Jump up^ William A. Dill; Almo J. Cordone (1997). “History and Status of Introduced Fishes In California, 1871-1996” . California Department of Fish and Game . Retrieved 2014-08-19 .
  11. ^ Jump up to:b Halverson, Anders (2010). An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How to Rainbow Beguiled Truth America and Overran the World . New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. pp. 32-34. ISBN  978-0-300-14088-0 . OCLC  440281085 .
  12. Jump up^ Newton, Chris (2013). The Trout’s Tale – The Fish That Conquered an Empire . Ellesmere, Shropshire: Medlar Press. pp. 115-116. ISBN  978-1-907110-44-3 .
  13. Jump up^ “Seth Green Trail” . Footprint Press . Retrieved 2014-08-19 .
  14. Jump up^ “Green Seth Chapter Trout Unlimited” . Retrieved 2014-08-20 .
  15. Jump up^ “DEC Fisheries Research Vessel Seth Green” . New York Department of Environmental Conservation . Retrieved 2014-08-20 .
  16. Jump up^ “Fish Culture Hall of Fame” . American Fisheries Society . Retrieved 2014-08-20 .
  17. Jump up^ “National Register of Historic Places” . Weekly List of Shares Taken on Properties: 2/23/15 through 2/27/15 . National Park Service. 2015-03-06.

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