Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

with great unanimity, to terminate it; and the experience of the United States, under such so-called reciprocity as was provided for by the treaty of 1871, was such as to lead both Houses, with very great unanimity, to terminate that. Each of these instances continued long enough to show fully the general working of the arrangement. The great balance of gain and advantage appeared to be in favor of the Canadians, while the great balance of loss and disadvantage fell on the people of the United States.

Indeed the treaty of 1871, so far as it related to the fisheries, etc., was based upon the idea that the right of American fishermen to fish within 3 miles of the Dominion shores was of some considerable value, which the United States thought would be fully compensated by admitting Dominion fishermen to the waters of the United States and admitting their fish free of duty. Notwithstanding this, by the methods and results of settling the balance of pecuniary advantages by the Halifax Commission, the United States paid on the award of that commission (waiving the serious question of its irregularity) $5,500,000. So strong was the opinion of the United States, even at that time, that this award was wholly unjust in fact that it is understood that steps were taken to invite the British Government to terminate the fisheries clauses of the treaty of 1871 immediately and before the positive period of ten years had expired, but it could not be accomplished.

From the investigations made by the committee during the last summer and fall, and as the result of the great mass of testimony taken by it and herewith returned, the committee believe it to be clear beyond all dispute that the right to fish within 3 miles of the Dominion shores is of no practical advantage whatever to American fishermen. The cod and halibut fishing has been for many years almost entirely carried on at long distances from the shores, in the deep waters, on banks, etc., and it is believed that were there absolute liberty for Americans to fish without restriction or regulation of any kind within 3 miles of the Dominion shores no such fisherman would ever think of going there for the purpose of catching cod or halibut.

As regards the obtaining of bait for this class of fishing, the testimony taken by the committee in its inquiries clearly demonstrates that there is no necessity whatever for American tishermen to resort to Canadian waters for that purpose. Clam bait is found in immense quantities in our own waters, and there have been instances, so frequent and continuous as to amount to a habit, of the Canadians themselves resorting to American waters or ports for the purpose of obtaining it. The squid bait is found on the very banks where the tishing goes on, so that the instances would be extremely rare when any American fishing vessel would wish to resort to a Dominion port for the purpose of buying bait for this kind of fishing.

It was also proved before the committee that, with the rarest exception, it would be absolutely injurious to the pecuniary interests of all concerned for American vessels to resort to Dominion ports or waters, except in need or distress, for the time taken in such departures from the cod and halibut grounds, or from direct sailing to and from them, is so great that, with or without the difference of port expenses, time and money are both lost in such visits.

In respect of the mackerel fishery the committee finds, as will be seen from the evidence referred to, that its course and methods have of late years entirely changed. While it used to be carried on by vessels fishing with book and line, and sometimes near the shores, it is now almost entirely carried on by the use of immense seines, called purse seines, of great length and descending many fathoms into the water. This gear is very expensive, and a fishing vessel does not usually carry more than one or two. The danger of fishing near the shore with such seines is so great, on account of striking rocks and reefs, that it is regarded as extremely hazardous ever to undertake it. Besides this, the large schools of mackerel, to the taking of which this great apparatus is best adapted, are almost always found more than 3 miles from land, either in great bays and gulfs or entirely out at sea.

There will be found accompanying this report (see Appendix) statements showing the total catch of mackerel during certain years and the parts of the seas where they have been taken; and it will also be seen from the evidence that in general the mackerel fisheries by Americans in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and in the Bay of Chaleur have not been remunerative.

In view of all these facts, well known to the great body of the citizens of the United States engaged in fisheries and embracing every variety of interest connected therewith, from the wholesale dealer, vessel owner, and outfitter, to that portion of the crew who receive the smallest share of the venture, it must be considered as conclusively established that there would be no material value whatever in the grant by the British Government to American fishermen of absolutely free fishing; and in this conclusion it will be seen, by a reference to the testimony, that all these interests fully concur.

It will also be noticed, on reference to the evidence, that it appears to show that when by force of the treaty of 1871 Canadian fish, both salt and fresh, were admitted to the markets of the United States free of duty, no fall of prices to the consumer took place, and that the abrogation of the duty simply redounded to the advantage of the foreign fishermen or the foreign dealers in fish exporting the same to the United States; and that when, on the 1st of July, 1885, the duty on salt fish was revived, no part of this duty was borne by the consumers in the United States and that the cost of fish in the United States was not at all affected. It would follow that the sums received into the Treasury from these fish duties were paid and borne by the Canadians alone. A parallel instance is also found, on reference to the testimony, in the statements of gentlemen engaged in exporting salt fish from the United States to other countries where duties are imposed, these gentlemen stating that the duty thus imposed upon fish came out of their pockets and not out of the pockets of the foreign consumers.

As regards commercial and other friendly business intercourse between ports and places in the Dominion and the United States, it is, of course, of much importance that regulations affecting the same should be mutually reasonable and fairly administered. If an American vessel should happen to have caught a cargo of fish at sea a hundred miles distant from some Canadian port, from which there is railway communication to the United States, and should be denied the privilege of landing and shipping its cargo therefrom to the United States, as the Canadians do, it would be of course a serious disadvantage, and there is, it is thought, nothing in the treaty of 1818 which

a

would warrant such an exclusion. But the Dominion laws may make such a distinction, and it is understood that in fact the privilege of so shipping fish from American vessels has been refused during the last year.

It is also inconvenient and injurious that American vessels of any character, whether engaged in fishing, or licensed to touch and trade, or purely mercantile vessels, should be unable in cases of occasional necessity to resort to Canadian ports for the purpose of buying supplies or any commodities that the ordinary laws of the Dominion allow to be exported at all. Several instances of such injurious and unfriendly action appear to have taken place.

The treaties between the United States and Great Britain on the subject of intercommunication and the rights of the citizens and subjects of the one in the ports and territories of the other have not included the British dominions of North America (with possibly certain exceptions as to intercourse by land), and such intercourse, strangely enough, still remains the subject of legislation merely in the two countries. Such legislation to be tolerable must be mutually friendly and reciprocal, and laws upon the subject must be administered fairly and generously, and not in a spirit of carping at small matters or in any other wise in an unfriendly way. The committee is pained to believe that such has not been the course of British legislation or of administrative practice.

In view of all that has taken place, the committee thinks it to be the duty of the United States, in a firm and just way, to proteet and defend the just and common rights of the people of the United States, whether fishermen, or traders, or travelers, or all, by all such measures as may be within our power. The measures the committee propose to this end rest upon a principle universally recognized as right and necessary in the intercourse of nations, and it has often been resorted to in one form or another by many nations.

It is recommended that the President of the United States be invested with the power, and that it be made his duty, whenever he shall be satisfied that unjust, unfair, or unfriendly conduct is practiced by the British Government in respect of our citizens and their property within the ports or waters of the British dominions in North America, to deny to the subjects of that Government in British North America and their property, or to any classes of them, such privileges in the waters and ports of the United States as he may think proper to name, and to suspend in respect of such vessels or classes of vessels or such property or classes of property of the subjects of such Government the right of entering or being brought within the waters or ports of the United States, so that he shall be able from time to time, as each emergency may arise, to preserve the intercourse between the United States and that Government in a state of fair equality. The committee therefore recommends the passage of the bill (S. 3173) herewith reported.

The committee also recommends that the papers, documents, and maps herewith returned be printed. All of which is respectfully submitted.

GEO. F. EDMUNDS,

For the Committee.

(Forty-ninth Congress, second session, S. 3173.) A BILL to authorize the President of the United States to protect and defend the rights of American

fishing vessels, American fishermen, American trading and other vessels, in certain cases, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That whenever the President of the United States shall be satisfied that American fishing vessels or American fishermen, visiting or being in th waters or at any ports or places of the British dominions of North America, are or then lately have been denied or abridged in the enjoyment of any rights secured to them by treaty or law, or are or then lately have been unjustly vexed or harassed in the enjoyment of such rights, or subjected to unreasonable restrictions, regulations, or requirements in respect of such rights; or whenever the President of the United States shall be satisfied that any such fishing vessels or fishermen, having a permit under the laws of the United States to touch and trade at any port or ports, place or places, in the British dominions of North America, are or then lately have been denied the privilege of entering such port or ports, place or places, in the same manner and under the same regulations as may exist therein applicable to trading vessels of the most favored nation, or shall be unjustly vexed or harassed in respect thereof, or shall be prevented from purchasing such supplies as may there be lawfully sold to trading vessels of the most favored nation; or whenever the President of the United States shall be satisfied that any other vessels of the United States, their masters or crews, so arriving at or being in such British waters or ports or places of the British dominions of North America, are or then lately have been denied any of the privileges therein accorded to the vessels, their masters or crews, of the most favored nation, or unjustly vexed or harassed in respect of the same, then, and in either or all of such cases it shall be lawful, and it shall be the duty of the President of the United States, in his discretion by proclamation to that effect, to deny vessels, their masters and crews, of the British dominions of North America, any entrance into the waters, ports or places of or within the United States (with such exceptions in regard to vessels in distress, stress of weather, or needing supplies as to the President shall seem proper), whether such vessels shall have come directly from said dominions on such destined voyage or by way of some port or place in such destined voyage elsewhere; and also, if he think proper, to deny entry into any port or place of the United States of fresh fish or salt fish or any other product of said dominions, or other goods coming from said dominions to the United States. The President may, in his discretion, apply such proclamation to any part or to all of the foregoing named subjects, and may qualify, limit, and renew such proclamation from time to time as he may deem necessary to the full and just execution of the purposes of this act. Every violation of any such proclamation, or any part thereof, is hereby declared illegal, and all vessels and goods so coming or being within the waters, ports, or places of the United States contrary to such proclamation shall be forfeited to the United States; and such forfeiture shall be enforced and proceeded upon in the same manner and with the same effect as in the case of vessels or goods whose importation or coming to or being in the waters or ports of the United States contrary to law may now be enforced and proceeded upon." Every person who shall violate any of the provisions of this act, or such proclamation of the President made in pursuance hereof, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.

a

AMERICAN FISHERY INTERESTS.

TESTIMONY TAKEN BY A SUBCOMMITTEE (CONSI

NSISTING OF SENATORS EDMUNDS, FRYE, AND SAULSBURY) OF THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS, UNDER THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTIONS OF THE SENATE OF THE 25TH OF JULY, 1886:

"Resolved, That the Committee on Foreign Relations be, and it hereby is, instructed to inquire into the rights of American fishing vessels and merchant vessels within the North American possessions of the Queen of Great Britain, and whether any rights of such vessels have been violated, and, if so, to what extent; that said committee report upon the subject, and report whether any and what steps are necessary to be taken by Congress to insure the protection and vindication of the rights of citizens of the United States in the premises; and that said committee have power

to send for persons and papers, to employ a stenographer, and to sit during the recess of the Senate, either as a full committee or by any subcommittee thereof, and that any such subcommittee shall for the purposes of such investigation be a committee of the Senate to all intents and purposes.

Resolved, That the necessary expenses of said committee in said investigation be paid out of the appropriation for the miscellaneous items of the contingent fund of the Senate, upon vouchers to be approved by the chairman thereof."

TESTIMONY OF GEORGE H. WATTS.

Boston, Mass., September 30, 1886. GEORGE H. WATTS gworn and examined.

By Senator EDMUNDS:
Q. What is your age?-A. Forty-nine last April.
Q. Where do you reside?--A. In Charlestown, Mass.
Q. What is your occupation?—A. Wholesale fish dealer in Boston.

Q. How long have you been in that business?-A. It will be seventeen years the 1st of December coming; I think that is about the time.

FRESH FISH.

Q. Do you deal in both salt and fresh fish?—A. No, sir; exclusively in fresh fish.

Q. What kinds of fresh fish chiefly?-A. Cod, haddock, halibut, mackerel, bluefish, sword-fish, hake, cusk, pollock, and founders. Those are the principal tish we have. Of course we have eels and perch and all those small fishes, that we deal in to a small extent, as well as herring in the winter.

Q. About how many different vessels, in round numbers, come to deliver their catch to you in a season?

The WITNESS. That is, taking in all varieties of fish?
Senator EDMUNDS. All varieties.

A. I should say at least 400. You will understand, gentlemen, that I don't mean to say that they run continuously, but we have that many different vessels.

Q. About what would be the average number of persons employed on a vessel, including captain and all hands?-A. They will average, I should say, 15 men to a vessel ; some will not carry more than 12, while others might carry 20; I don't think the average would be far from 15.

Q. What portions of the seacoast-and by “coast” I mean all the Banks from the south to the extreme northeast-do all those vessels cover?-A. They cover all the fishing territory between the North Bay, Nova Scotia, and the Grand Banks, Georges, and all the intermediate fishing grounds to the south of us.

Q. How far south does that go?—A. They go as far as Pollock Rip and Cape Hatteras. Perhaps I may be in error about that; I refer, of course, to the southern border of the mackerel fishing.

Q. What is the southernmost trip taken by any vessel that comes to you here?-A. Cape Hatteras. Fishing is only of short duration in the spring.

EXTENT OF FISHERIES.

Q. About how many, should you think, of these different vessels fish at some time during the season in waters to the north and east of United States territory?-A. I should say at least two-thirds of the whole fleet during the year. Perhaps I can explain that a little further, so that you will understand it more readily. Some parts of that fleet will go in the winter after frozen herring; many of thein will go down to what is called Fortune Bay and Bay of Islands; others will go down to Grand Manan, opposite Eastport, Me.; then there are others that in the spring of the year will go off on some of those grounds adjacent, after codtish, on what is called the Cape Shore; Cape Negro is another point they make; and others, of course, will go on to the neutral grounds, the Banks. The mackerel fleet will go all along the northeast coast down as far as North Bay. I think that is about the terminus. They also catch some halibut in those waters.

FISHING SEASONS.

Q. What is the mackerel season in those waters?--A. Generally from about the 1st of July until the 1st of September; that what they call the mackerel season, but they often catch them later. They have caught them this year until the last part of September.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »