Lapas attēli

Q. Is it very considerable or very little. That is the object of my inquiry. We do not want to pry into your private affairs.-A. It is a large amount.

Q. Where do you sell your fish that you deal in?
The WITNESS. "Where do they go?
Senator EDMUNDS. Yes.
A. All over the United States, the West Indies, and Cuba.
Q. What kind of salted fish come to this market to the greatest extent?—A.
Mackerel enter largely, I should say.

Q. Are there more tons of mackerel than of codfish, or haddock, or pollock?A. I should say so now; it must be the case, though when figures come along they often surprise us.

Q. And the mackerel are substantially now all taken in nets?—A. In seines.


Q. So that, as you understand it, as to the largest proportion of the fishing, or at least in one kind of fishing, the bait question would not arise at all?-A. No, sir.

Q. Because they do not use bait?-A. I should say that it does come in a little, because they war bait from us; they have been to Portland this year and bought thousands of barrels of bait.

Q. But not for mackerel ?-A. I think they used it for both mackerel and codfish, but principally for codfish.


[ocr errors]

The WITNESS. I would like, if there is no objection, to make some reply to what has been said by Mr. Wrightington.

Senator EDMUNDS. State anything you wish.

The WITNESS. I took some notes of Mr. Wrightington's remarks; he says, “I was rather glad that trouble came up.".

Mr. WRIGHTINGTON. No; you misunderstood me entirely. I am very sorry that any troubles have come up.

The Witness. I understood you to say that you were glad that troubles came up to settle this matter.

Mr. WRIGHTINGTON. Oh, no; I said that the only way that we seemed to be able to get at any settlement of it was just from the troubles.

The WITNESS. That is a little milder way of putting it.
Mr. WRIGHTINGTON. That is the way I did put it.
The WITNESS. Then I will assume that.
Senator EDMUNDS. Yes; that is what he said.

Mr. WRIGHTINGTON. It was perfectly useless to talk about the thing on any other basis. I said that it seemed to me that the committee that went to Washington were treated in such a way that it appeared to me that the thing was all cut and dried the other way, and that it was only other troubles to come, and which we knew must come, that would bring the matter under discussion in a way to settle it. That was

The WITNESS. I think that parties here knew that they were going, and I have no doubt egged it on.

Senator EDMUNDS. Never mind about that; that is of no consequence. Any considerations you wish to present on the general question we shall be glad to hear.

my idea.


The WITNESS. There is one question that I take considerable interest in, and have, and that is this southern fishing question, which I am glad to see Mr. Wrightington and I agree upon.

Senator EDMUNDS. I forgot to ask you about that. I would like your views upon that question.

The WITNESS. He says he canned those mackerel. They are a very poor fish. He would not eat them, and neither would you or I. That premature catching of mackerel is a question that is going to be presented to Congress, and I think it will enter somewhat into the consideration of the reciprocity question. When I was at Washington I stated to the committee that it had been said, rather jocosely, that the menhaden left the coast because of the restrictions that had been put upon them, and that it would probably be so with the mackerel. I stated that menhaden were becoming so scarce on the Maine coast that parties interested were taking measures to remedy the difficulty, and that a law had been passed by the Maine legislature looking in that direction, but that it was too late, I said." I stated that what we

[ocr errors]

wanted to do in regard to this southern fishing was to stop that before we were also too late on the mackerel question, and that from the outlook at that time, which was in the spring, I began to fear that we were a little late as it was. The result has shown that we are too late; that is, to prevent the thing: The thing has happened. The mackerel coming on our coast have been taken and driven away. Some Senator asked me if the ocean was not wide-wide enough for them to go to another point when driven from one place. That may be when the fish are feeding, but not when they go to the spawning grounds. They have regular spawning grounds, which are narrow and restricted, and if they are driven or frightened from there, the number continues to get legs and less every year, and finally they cease altogether. This is the bearing that it has upon the questions before you, that it drives away the fish from our shore. It does not affect the Nova Scotia catch so much, for the reason that, so far as is known, the bodies of mackerel on the whole Atlantic coast do not come up by Hatteras and Block Island and along our shore, but they come in as far down as Sable Island at about the same time they strike in here. So it is thought, and it is generally believed, that there are bodies of mackerel north in the edge of the Gulf Stream during the winter, where the water is warm, because they strike in on the southern coast at the same time they do here. But there is no question about that school that we depend upon, nor when or how they will come. The time of their coming hardly varies three days year after year at Cape Cod.

Q. Where do you think they come from?–A. From the south; how far south we do not know.

Q. Do you think as far south as Hatteras?-A. Oh, yes; because they are caught there, and they have been followed up.

Q. The fishing fleet that begins at Hatteras follows the school northward along the coast until they get up around Cape Cod?-A. Yes, and come into our bay. There is a school that first strikes Cape Cod that does not come into our bay usually. That strikes the Nova Scotia shore at about Barrington. But as regards the southern fishing it can be shown conclusively that that enters into this question before you to-day, that it is driving the fish away from our coast and putting us more and more into the hands of the Nova Scotia people.

Senator EDMUNDS. But you must consider that the coast of the Carolinas about Hatteras is as much our coast as the coast of Massachusetts Bay; so that would not seem to be much of a point.

The WITNESS. I do not understand you exactly.

Senator EDMUNDS. You say that the catching of these fish down at Cape Hatteras 80 early prevents their coming up to Cape Cod.


Senator EDMUNDS. What if it does? The fish that are caught there are used by our people.

The WITNESS. In the first place, they are good for nothing.
Senator EDMUNDS. That is another question.

The WITNESS. And in the next place it prevents the fish coming in here in the summer time when they are feeding, and when they would be good tish. The case is so plain to me that it may be that I do not elaborate it sufficiently. The proposed law restricting the catch of fish names the 1st of June as the limit. As far as I am concerned, I should have preferred the 1st of July as the limit. The argument was brought up by Mr.Miller of New York, before the committee, and also by Mr. Benjamin that we were very anxious to have them stop catching until the 1st of June, and then we could catch them in June when we knew that they had not all spawned and were equally poor. But I should have preferred to have the close season up to the 1st of July.

Q. Are they good for anything immediately after they have got through spawning?-A. They recover in ten days so as to be quite passable.


Q. About when is the spawning season?-A. About the last of June.

Q. When they are engaged in the performance of that function they are not within reach of the nets?-A. Not when they are spawning; they are then usually on the bottom.


Mr. Wrightington said that he thought that mackerel were high on account of the duty, and that two or three years ago they were $4 or $5 lower. If I had the tables here you would see that two years ago we had a very large catch of very poor mackerel, and there was not a demand for so many of so poor a quality. That was what AMERICAN FISHERY INTERESTS.

affected the price largely. At the same time it can not be denied that the scarcity of fish this year has been an element in determining prices, although the prices are not excessive. The rise that has taken place in the last six or eight weeks is not altogether by any means owing to the scarcity so much as to the quality. The quality has improved, and therefore the price has also improved; at the same time it is improved some on account of the scarcity.

Q. Do you think the general quality of this whole fishing season has been better than that of two years ago?-A. The general quality has been, although some were a great deal better and some a great deal poorer than this year, so far. The best mackerel are caught on our coast, when we catch any; and we have always caught them before this year. The Nova Scotia mackerel are not particularly good tish this season; they are of fair quality, but nothing remarkable.

Q. How late are the mackerel caught on this coast?-A. I have known them to be here until the middle of September, though sometimes they leave the latter part of October.

Q. There are great quantities down about Vineyard Sound and Gay Head?—A. Yes; small mackerel.

Q. Following immense shoals of herring?-A. Yes.

Q. Please give us the various names that you give to the different kinds of mackerel, and the different numbers, describing the quality of each kind, from the poorest to the best.-A. The inspection law of Massachusetts—like all laws, it is rather ambiguous-speaks of No. 1 mackerel, the best mackerel, that are 13 inches and over; those are the best and fattest. No. 2 is the next quality of fat mackerel, and that is from 11 to 13 inches. The next lower quality is No. 3, from 10 to 11 inches, and the rest are No. 4's. I don't think that the law of Massachusetts specifies any other kinds.

Q. Except Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4?-A. Yes.
Q. And No. 4's are all below 11?-A. No; below 10.

Q. Does that grade really, in the trade or under the law, come down to mere “tinkers," as you call them?-A. Yes, sir.

Q. All below 10 inches are tinkers?-A. Yes, sir.

Q. As a fact, do they pack in salt a fish that is under 8 inches long?-A. I have seen them pretty small. I have had them this year 1,400 to a barrel. Now, as to the trade, there are many qualities of mackerel-more so than of any other fish, I think. The trade has an extra mess, a bloater mess, a large mess, and then a mess. Then they have a bloater No.1, and extra large No. 1, and an extra No. 1; and then they have extra No. 2's, shore No. 2's, and bay No. 2's.

Q. No. 2 is poorer than No. 1?-A. Not always; it may often be only difference in size, the quality being the same. Then there are medium No. 3's, and small 3's, tinkers, and No. 4's; then there are large 3's, large mediums, and large 2's. It takes all those distinctions to meet the demand that is made. Two or three years ago, under free trade, large 3's were sold to go to Haiti for $11 and $12 a barrel."

Q. How large would those fish be?-A. Thirteen inches and over. Afterwards the smaller fish were more abundant, in this time that Mr. Wrightington speaks ofand those were rather preferred-so they do not like large 3's now.


Under reciprocity, those large 3's sold for $11 and $12 a barrel, while now, under duty, they are selling for $8.50. So that I do not see that the duty has affected those much. It is only three years ago that they sold for $11 and $12.

Mr. WRIGHTINGton. Of course, the quantity has something to do with it as well as the demand. I claim that this must be so.

The WIT ESS. Now, he says that Nova Scotia people will have to go out of the business. Excuse me for quoting Mr. Wrightington. If duty is going to drive the Nova Scotia people out of the business, who live much more cheaply than our people can, what is going to result to our fishermen if we have free trade? It seems to me that we shall suffer as much under free trade certainly as Nova Scotia will under the duty. I do not see how he can argue any differently.

Mr. WRIGHTINGTON. With a large supply of fish, of course, until things get regulated all around, those people must get a low price; but eventually, of course, they must get a fair price, and we must get a fair price. The business must regulate itself on the basis of supply and demand. People will not go for tish unless there is a fair price awaiting them on their return. The ability of the West India market to consume fish affects our market, and the low price of fish has a bearing on the ability of those people to use these Nova Scotia fish.

Senator EDMUNDS. Ilas either of you gentlemen been down on the fishing coast of the British Provinces?

Mr. WRIGHTINGTON and Mr. Rich. No.

The WITNESS. I do not think Mr. Wrightington has answered this question in regard to the relative effects of duty and free trade to my satisfaction, but that is not for me to say.


As Mr. Wrightington states, codfish were never sold so cheap as they are now.


There is one question that arises there in regard to fish in bond. The construction put upon it by the Department is different from what it was a few years ago. Formerly we were allowed to pack codfish in bond, as also mackerel and alloways, although they came in bulk. If I recollect aright, the theory is that they can be put into packages, when required, for immediate preservation. The English Government always construes the law in favor of the merchant; our Government sometimes, nearly always, seems to construe the law against us. We were formerly allowed to pack codfish and other kinds in packages, where they came in bulk, for shipment in bond; but for the last few years that has been stopped. It has resulted in this, that the Nova Scotia people send their fish here in bond packed for shipment. That can be done. But they are very unreliable. In fact, all Nova Scotia packages are unreliable-codfish, mackerel, and herring. If the labor question enters into it, they get all the labor and get paid for it, and we get nothing; it simply passes through our hands. Whether any change will be made in that respect I do not know. It does not seem to me that it would affect our fishing interests here at all.


Q. What do you mean when you say that the Nova Scotia packing is unreliable?— A. I mean that no kind of fish that Nova Scotia puts up can be relied upon without a thorough examination.

Q. Relied upon how?-A. As to the quality and kind. I have seen a thousand barrels of herring landed here, and sold at one time, that had 300 barrels of them half full of eel grass, paving stones, etc. I have also had packages that were all right at each end, but were filled up with eel grass and the like in the middle.

Q. Do you open and repack these Nova Scotia packages before you put them upon the market?-A. Yes, as a general thing, or else we examine them thoroughly.


In the matter of herring, it is true that the herring we have on these shores are not fat; neither are the majority of Nova Scotia herring fat. We take nothing on these shores as poor as Georges Bay herring or Dalhousie; they are the poorest that can be put up.

Q. Do herring enter largely into the consumption of the United States?--A. Yes; quite largely.

Q. They are consumed chiefly in the large cities?-A. Yes.

Q. They do not get into the country stores?-A. They are consumed chiefly in the large cities, but they are sold all over the country; they are sold largely in Virginia and North Carolina and the West.

Q. Are they smoked?-A. Oh, no; pickled. They are sold largely in the extreme Northwest; also among the Norwegians, who have been accustomed to use herring at home. The best herring we get here are the Labrador herring, and their shore splits are very good.

Q. Did the price of Labrador herring rise immediately after the termination of the treaty?-A. They were never so low as this last winter and spring; they were very low. Here is the same argument as in the other matter, and that is there was an excessive catch, a very excessive one; they were sent here in large quantities, and the parties who managed the business managed it very unskillfully. They sent not only large quantities to the commission men, but to the men that like to make a large outlay, and consequently they damaged themselves and us, too. This season the Labrador catch so far has been an entire failure. I have not heard up to this day of a barrel of herring being caught on the Labrador coast. There were a few brought in yesterday that were caught on the other side of the Straits; consequently, there being none to speak of, they are high. They are worth $6 a barrel, instead of a year ago at this time, I should say, $4 or $4.50.

Q. That is, a barrel of 200 pounds?-A. Yes; but the duty was on them the same as now; and yet to-day Labrador herring would sell for $6 a barrel, just because they are scarce; they would sell for just as much as if they were free.

Q. Do you not think that your fish-bureau tables will show all these prices?-A. I hink so. Mr. WRIGHTINGTON. I think so.


Q. As a matter of information, we would like you to send us reports for three or four years, in order to get a general average.-A. If you go to Gloucester, there is also a fish bureau there, and you can compare our figures with theirs. I think those for Boston, however, will give closer prices.


By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. You refer to the spring catch of mackerel, and I understand you are in favor of restricting that?--A. Yes; I am, decidedly.

Q. They are caught on the Southern coast, from Hatteras northward?-A. Yes, sir.

Q. How long do the mackerel remain on the Southern coast?–A. We do not know where they go in the winter season. They leave these waters about the last of October, their leaving depending to some extent upon their feed, or, as Professor Baird says, the temperature of the water, or both. They leave from the last of October to the middle of December, which is very late.

Senator EDMUNDS. Mr. Saulsbury was asking you about the Southern coast.

The WITNESS. They leave here and go down the Southern coast and up by Hatteras, and we do not hear of them again until the next season.

Q. (By Senator SAULSBURY). How long does the fishing last on the Southern coast?-A. About the last of March they are found off Hatteras, and are followed by our vessels up the coast, getting up off New York the last of April or the first of May, and around into Massachusetts Bay by the middle of June. So they last about two months from Hatteras to Block Island.

Q. If these fishermen be deprived of the opportunity of catching fish during those seasons of the year, what other opportunity would they have?

The WITNESS. What fishermen?
Senator SAULSBURY. The men engaged there.
The Witness. By asking you a question I only want to get at what you want.

Q. You do not know where the fishermen are from who are engaged in those fisheries?--A. I am not aware that there are any fishermen on that coast. There are a few fishermen on the Jersey coast who fish in boats.


Now, I do not object to catching any of these mackerel with hook and line. It is catching them with deep-sea seines to which I object. With these seines you surround a body of mackerel of, maybe, 500 or 800 barrels; of those 500 or 800 barrels 200 or 300 are saved, and the rest are thrown away; those 200 or 300 barrels are brought in and half of them spoil and are thrown away. When I was before the committee in Washington the bill under consideration, I think, allowed fishing in rowboats on the New Jersey shore with hook and line of perhaps 25 feet. The Senator from New Jersey asked if I had any objection to hook and line. I said no, not if people chose to catch the fish that way and eat them, but what I did object to was going down there with seines, and the reason I gave was that seines frightened the fish and drove them away when they were on their way to their spawning grounds. The large vessels fishing with hook and line have bait ground as fine as can be, and that is thrown overboard and they fish alongside. The fish in that case are fat, and if anybody chooses to so catch them I have no objection. As our people here in New England and in the North are the only ones who fish exclusively with seines, I do not think I am asking anything against anyone South. I have said that our people are the only ones who fish exclusively with seines; I should make one solitary exception; he is in New York; and he is opposed to Southern fishing. Under these circumstances I do not think I am asking anything against anyone in the South. Do you think I am?

Senator SAULSBURY. I do not know, of course, where these fishermen live. I simply desire to know whether the fishermen who desire to fish on these shores would have any opportunity to catch on these shores again.

The WITNESS. Yes; every opportunity with hook and line.

Q. I understood you to say that these fish are on that shore from March to the first of May?-A. Yes; and off Block Island there is a seine that stays set all sum

It is not only the destruction of the fish and driving them away to which I object, but it is also our own fishing with seines that I wish to prevent.

Q. I suppose if there was a market down there the fishermen would have seines, and

many have them already?-A. From my knowledge of the business I should not suppose they would.


« iepriekšējāTurpināt »