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Q. Is not that fresh-fish consumption increasing very rapidly?–A. I think it is increasing very fast; it is going to be a large business in the future. I think the fisheries in future will be the great business.
Q. As you understand, the fresh fish come in free and are frozen?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you want duty on fresh fish as well as salt?—A. I should think it would be very desirable. When a large quantity of fresh fish comes in they are put into houses and frozen, and they come in here very largely in the spring of the year. All down about the Bay of St. Lawrence and the Bay of Chaleur there are establishments that put up fish and send them into our markets—Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and all the business centers—in a frozen state. Those fish are purchased, and increase to some extent the market, and are displacing salt fish.
RENEWAL OF THE TREATY OF 1870.
Q. Taking into consideration the greatly increased consumption of fresh fish and the improved means of preserving them fresh, what, in your opinion, would be the influence upon the fishery business of the United States of a renewal of the treaty of 1870 for ten or fifteen years to come?-A. I think that the renewal of the treaty would be very discouraging and very disastrous to our business. Canadian vessels wear out a good deal quicker than ours. After the treaty of 1855 expired their fleet almost went out of existence. They built more vessels afterwards for the fishing business. These they have now will soon wear out. If the business continues with a treaty, they will build up a larger fleet, and the consequence will be that ours will decrease in the same proportion that theirs will increase. This is what is shown by statistics.
Q. And the result will be that they will get the benefit of increased consumption and increased markets, instead of us getting it?--A. Yes, sir. I think their cheaper labor will do the business in the future with free markets. A good many fishing towns in this country went out of business, finding it impracticable to carry it on under the treaty of Washington.
DEPRESSED PRICES. By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. Is the very low price of fish now attributable, in your opinion, to the fact that less fish product is consumed in the United States than in former years, or to the fact that there is an excess of supply beyond demand for consumption?-A. I think the fresh fish has partly taken the place of salt fish, and then the large amount that has been put on the market is another element. There has been a large supply. Then perhaps there are some other influences, among which may be named the general depression of the business of the country. That, I think, would point towards a cause for the difference.
WAGES VS. LAY.
By Senator FRYE: Q. At Provincetown and some other points we find on inquiry that the fishermen have demanded wages when for some years before they had been going on a lay. Whether or not the tendency of competition with Canada and a free market here will not be generally to cause the fishermen to demand monthly wages instead of a lay?A. In the Bank fishing I don't think we could run our business except on the lay principle; the men must be partners in the voyage to make it successful.
Q. I was not asking as to the owners; I was asking whether or not the tendency of a free market for Canada and free and open competition with her would not make the business of fishing so uncertain that it would have a tendency to make the sailors demand wages instead of lay?-A. I think if the low prices continue as they are now they will have to have wages or else go out of the business.
Q. I want to go one step further: If the result is that the fishermen will demand wages instead of a lay, what will be the influence of that upon the owners of vessels?— A. We shall have to get out of the business.
Senator FRYE. That is what I supposed.
THE CASE OF THE D. J. ADAMS.
The WITNESS. I would like to make one little statement in regard to the Adams. While the Adams was tied to my wharf there was also a Nova Scotia schooner tied to the same wharf. We had had the Nova Scotia man's fish several years under the old
treaty, and he had come for such supplies and bait as he wanted. In the spring of the year we have our frozen bait, and our bankers take their supply of bait; and there was quite a number of Nova Scotia vessels came across here to get their bait for their Bank voyages.
While he was taking his bait here and such supplies as he wanted the Adams lay to the same wharf—my wharf. Very naturally, when the Adams went away on her next trip, her captain had the impression that he was entitled to the same privileges down there that the Nova Scotia vessels had here. Having seen the Nova Scotia vessel take bait and other supplies here, he went down into that port and took some small amount of bait there. In the early part of the year it was the general impression that our vessels were entitled to that privilege. Afterwards they learned differently and have kept away from there, and have had no cause to go there. The Adams had no need to go there, but that was one of the places she had been frequenting for bait, and the captain, of course, thought he might as well go there for bait as anywhere else; he didn't know of any restrictions; he thought it was a mere matter of trade; that it was not fishing; and as several of their vessels had been in our port here he thought he had the same right to go there.
Q. As a matter of fact, whenever we have obtained bait there we have bought it; we have not undertaken to catch it?-A. Yes, sir; we always buy bait in Newfoundland and Grand Manan.
Q. About this herring fishery, have our vessels for the last ten years engaged in that at all?–A. Not in the salt herring fishery; not to catch them, but to buy them, that is all. I don't think there are any vessels go from this port, unless it is in the fall of the year. The boats off the harbor catch them here. But the business of going into the provincial waters for herring is not pursued here.
Q. It is not pursued in the United States anywhere, is it?-A. No, sir. In 1854 and 1855 we used to go to the Magdalens for herring. I have been several voyages. But that was a poor quality of fish, and of late years there hasn't been any of that kind of fishing done.
Q. Our vessels simply go up there and purchase their bait?--A. They simply go on trading voyages.
Q. Do we have the same kind of herring in our waters that they have?-A. I don't know any difference. Sometimes on the Labrador coast they get fat herring. I don't know much about the salt herring, for I haven't had much to do with it.
RATIO OF FISH CAUGHT IN AMERICAN WATERS TO THOSE CAUGHT IN CANADIAN WATERS:
By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. You attribute the decline in the price of fish partly to the sale of fresh fish in our markets. What proportion of these fresh fish that are sold in our markets are caught in American waters, and what in British watery?-A. I haven't got much means of knowing, because their fresh fish go to the Western cities and New York and Philadelphia, and I don't know much about the quantity that goes there. We have but few here. We have had some few halibut trips landed here and sold to the dealers here, but otherwise I couldn't tell much about the proportion. I know at certain times of the year we have large quantities of fish come in from across the Lakes and New Brunswick, but I have no statistics as to the quantity.
Q. Do you know what proportion of the fish caught in American waters are sold as fresh fish?-A. No, I haven't any statistics on that; I couldn't say.
EXPORTATION OF FISH TO CANADA.
Q. You are engaged in the fish business; do you ever ship any fish to Canada?--A. I never did.
Q. Do you know whether or not there are any quantities shipped irom the United States to Canada?-A. I shouldn't suppose there was. Some fish may be shipped up into Canada west; some of the Boston people may ship some there, but I shouldn't suppose to a very large extent. I don't kuow in regard to that.
EXTENT OF GLOUCESTER'S TRADE.
Q. What proportion of the fleet at this place is engaged in the mackerel fishery, as compared with the whole?-A. I should think about one-third.
Q. And the residue?-A. Thai is engaged in cod-fishing and catching Bank halibut. I should say that there are some forty or tifty sail in the halibut fishery on the Georges and other Banks.
PROVINCIAL COMPETITION. Q. Do the fisheries of the provinces that are brought into competition with us apply to all kinds of fish, or simply to codfish and mackerel?-A. I think to all kinds. They send in a good many halibut, which they land on their shores and send by steamer to Boston. Last spring there was quite a large amount of fresh fish sent that way. I know at one time quite a large quantity.
Q. Is there any considerable proportion of your vessels engaged in winter fishing?A. Most of my vessels are engaged in winter business on Georges Bank and up there. They take their bait here and go to the banks and back without making port.
THE RATTLER. By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. Do you know anything about the schooner Rattler that had some trouble up there? In the papers I have here she is said to belong to Gloucester.-A. I know the vessel and captain. I don't know any of the facts.
Q. Is the captain here?—A. I think not. Most of our mackerel captains are away.
THE HOWARD HOLBROOK.
Q. Is the schooner Howard Holbrook of this place?–A. She belongs to Howard & McKenzie of this place.
Q. She is not here?-A. She is not here.
THE HIGHLAND LIGHT.
Q. Do you know the Highland Light?-A. That belongs on Cape Cod somewhere. Senator EDMUNDS. I see now; she belongs to Wellfleet.
TIIE A. R. CRITTENDEN.
Q. Then there is the A. R. Crittenden that is said to be of this port.-A. That belongs to Captain Chisholm.
Senator EDMUNDS. He did not tell us about that. Are any of the people present who were on board of her?
Captain CHISHOLM. The agent is here.
NUMBER OF GLOUCESTER VESSELS ENGAGED IN FISHING.
By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. What is the number of vessels sailing from this port engaged in this business?— A. The whole number is about 140.
TESTIMONY OF SYLVESTER CUNNINGHAM.
GLOUCESTER, Mass., October 4, 1886. SYLVESTER CUNNINGHAM sworn and examined.
By Senator EDMUNDS:
Q. What kind of fishing are they engaged in?-A. They are engaged in the Georges
Q. Your information about where the fish are caught, and all that, is derived from the reports of your captains, I suppose?--A. Entirely.
Q. Taking the mackerel fishery to begin with, during the time you have been in the business where have they been caught?-A. Until this year about all our mackerel have been caught on this shore. Whenever our vessels have been in provincial waters it has been very discouraging business; there have been no mackerel there of any amount, and, as a rule, what they caught were of very poor quality indeed. We have made a loss every year by sending vessels to the provincial waters. This year's catch on our shore has been almost a total failure, and our vessels have fished almost altogether in provincial waters since spring.
Q. Whereabouts in provincial waters were those trips made which were failures before?-A. On very nearly the same ground they are fishing this year-Prince Edward Island and the Magdalens.
Q. They are fishing this year outside the provincial maritime line, of course?-A.
THREAT OF SEIZURE.
Q. Have any of your vessels experienced any difficulties or unfair treatment?-A. No, we haven't had any reported at all. As a sample of what we have to contend with there I will state that I had a letter the other day from a man saying that if I didn't send him some $12 or $15 he should report one of our vessels for having landed a man, and have her seized.
Q. From your knowledge and observation in this business, how do you regard the value to Americans of fishing inshore, as compared with the value to Canadians of free fish, both salt and fresh?-A. It has no value essentially. It would be a convenience to do away with all these restrictions, but they have got nothing to offer us for free fish that has a cash value. They can only offer us what would be a convenience.
Q. You do not regard the inshore fishery as of any practical consequence?-A. It is nothing we should be willing to pay anything for.
Q. How is it in respect to the question of bait?—A. The privilege of buying bait there is something we can do away with entirely. We have been in the habit more or less of running our halibut vessels into Nova Scotia and taking bait, but they can just as well take their bait from here; that is a mere custom, and not a necessity.
HALIBUT. Q. Where is the halibut fishing chiefly conducted?-A. In what we call the Western Banks and the Grand Banks. All the halibut are caught perhaps from 80 to 100 miles from any shore, and sometimes several hundred miles. It is deep-sea fishing, or, rather, it is on the Banks a long distance from shore.
Q. Now we will come to the cod fishery. Where are the cod that you have operated in caught chiefly?-A. They are caught on Georges Banks; that is a fishery that Gloucester has practically a monopoly of; that is about 130 miles from our Cape here.
Q. How many miles is it to the Grand Banks?-A. To the western edge of the Grand Banks it is about 750 miles, I think, and to the eastern edge it is about 900.
Q. Take your Canadian Banks, the Grand Banks, and all the banks that are off those British Provinces, and that are a long way from here; what is the necessity for fishing vessels having any right to enter the ports of Newfoundland? Is there any necessity, and if so, what is it, for your vessels on the Grand Banks to go to the nearest British ports of Newfoundland, or wherever, otherwise than in case of storm or disaster, or to get wood and water?-A. Our Grand Banks fishermen during the last ten years have made a number of trips to Newfoundland for bait only, small herring or something of the kind, and it has been a disputed question for us whether it has not been an expensive business for us. It takes a great deal of time, and it causes a delay sometimes of three weeks, and sometimes they don't get bait; and they spend longer time than they need to sometimes, and we don't see that they get any more fish than those vessels that lie on the bank and fish with other bait. So that we had about come to the conclusion before the expiration of this treaty that it was much better for our vessels to avoid going in for fresh bait. We think there is no necessity for it whatever.
Q. Do you get any squid on the Grand Banks?-A. Yes, sir; but at certain times the squid fail. A vessel arrived here a few days ago that didn't take any bait with her when she sailed from here, but she caught her squid there and caught her fish, and made a very short trip and a very good one; she made no delay at all.
Q. Is it usual for your vessels to go out without any bait at all? —A. No; but this vessel relied on squid and found plenty of them.
Q. She took that chance?-A. Yes, sir. The bait question would settle itself very quickly. We could very soon find a way to bait our vessels without any Canadian help whatever.
Q. Was there any rise in prices when the duty went on on the 1st of July, 1885, as a consequence of the expiration of the treaty?-A. There was a decline immediately and has been a gradual decline from that time to the present. The price of fish is so low now that if we should allow Canadian fish to come in free our vessels would not sail. The price is very low,
Q. We must hope that this is exceptional. What we want to get at is a broader period of time, so as to calculate the average.-A. There has been a very low price, for codfish especially, ever since the abrogation of the treaty, extremely low. Mackerel are very high this year, but that is casily accounted for. The catch of mackerel to date is 56,000 barrels against, I think it was, 280,000 barrels last year and 330,000 barrels the year previous. So that accounts for the prices of mackerel.
COST OF VESSELS AND OUTFIT.
Q. How many vessels are you connected with in one way and another?-A. We only own ten. Of course, we handle the fish of a great many others; we buy a great
Q. Take those vessels that you own to begin with, what is their cost?
A. The vessels would cost about $7,500 to $8,000, and it would cost about $2,500 more to fit them.
Q. They are about 75-ton vessels on an average?-A. About that, yes.
CREWS AND THEIR NATIONALITY.
Q. What is the composition of their crews and about how many men to a vessel?A. They will average fourteen.
Q. What is the nationality of the crews?-A. Of course, I have no statistics.
Q. I mean your general idea; you see the men more or less.-A. I should think they were about one-half native born and about one-fourth naturalized.
Q. And the other one-fourth foreigners of one sort and another?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Of what nationality are the foreigners mostly?-A. We have quite a large number of Scandinavians; then we have quite a proportion from the Dominion, all along from Newfoundland up; and there are a few, not so many, Portuguese who come to the Georges fisheries. The south of Europe furnishes them.
Q. The Scandinavians have their homes here?-A. Yes, sir. The Dominion people also have homes here; it is the younger and more adventurous of them who come here, because they can have the handling of their own money and have a good time, but part of the time they go back home in the winter. It is only a question of a very few years before they are permanent citizens here. Of course no man can go as master until he is naturalized, so that is a constant incentive to them to become naturalized. And taking those that are masters, with those who want to become masters and have been masters, it makes a very large number of American citizens.
Q. Like candidates for office?-A. Yes, sir. So that a large proportion become naturalized citizens in a short time.