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COMPENSATION OF CANADIAN FISHERMEN.
Q. Do you know how the business is conducted in the Dominion between the fishermen and the people who employ them?-A. I know in a general way. The bankers especially come in and land their fish; the fish are not weighed as they are taken out and cured; the men keep fishing the whole season, and their families keep drawing from the stores. So that before those fish are marketed and the voyage is ready to be settled the men are ready to start again, and by that time the store account has used up pretty much everything the men have earned.
Q. So that in substance they get store pay only?-A. Yes. sir. I suppose they get money enough to pay for what they actually have to have in the way of fuel and a few things like that, but practically they take the whole of it from the store. Here the codfish are landed and weighed in two hours from the time they are landed, and immediately every man goes in and takes his check.
COMPENSATION OF AMERICAN FISHERMEN. Q. And about what do your crews make per year, taking a ten years' average ?A. The different kinds of fish share a little differently, but I should think it might make an average of $300 for the twelve months.
EXPORTATION OF FISH TO CANADA.
By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. Where do you sell your fish principally, in this market?–A. No, sir. We buy largely outside. Our shipping business is a prominent feature of our trade.
Q. Do you sell to other countries?-A. No, sir; we market in the United States.
Q. Do you ship none to Canada?-A. We never ship any to Canada. There is a little trade with the border towns, but it is very small, and we have never done any of it.
COMPARATIVE COST OF AMERICAN AND CANADIAN VESSELS.
By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. You have been in this business so long I would like for you to state a little more in detail the elements of the cost of Canadian outfits, wages, the profit to be made out of it by the Canadian fishermen, the cost of vessels, wages, supplies, taxes, etc., as compared with the like elements on our side. Make, in as condensed a way as you can, a comparative statement of the conditions that enter into that part of the problem.-A. Of course the first item is the cost of the vessel itself, which is about onethird less in Canada than here. Then there is a very large proportion of everything that we put on board the vessel that is dutiable. We did have a drawback on our salt. Of course in a series of years the duty makes a large difference in the expense of running the business. Then their system with their men makes a great difference.
Q. Take the articles that enter into shipbuilding--your cordage or manila; is that rope made in this country?–A. Yes, sir; it is manufactured here, but the raw material is imported with quite a large duty.
Senator EDMUNDS. If it is real manila hemp it must be.
Q. When you speak of duties you assume that the price is increased on account of there being a duty on iron and iron manufactures?--A. Yes, sir.
Q. But if the manufacture of iron in this country had reached a point where the market was fully supplied or oversupplied, as it is with codfish, then why would not the duty drop out of consideration with reference to fish?—A. It would. It is only a question whether we have to pay more. The theory of the thing I don't care for.
Q. If you were to-day about to fit out a ship, and sent to Liverpool or London to buy your cordage, and there was no duty on it, how much less could you get it for than you can now?-A. I really couldn't tell you the difference. I know about what the duty is, and we simply claim that if the average duty on what we use is to be taken we feel that we ought to be classed with the rest in a general way.
Q. That I agree to entirely, but I am getting at the statistical fact of the prices. Now take the bolts, spikes, anchors, and everything that enters into the ironwork of a vessel. Do you know whether the same sort of things and of the same quality could be bought any cheaper in London than they can in New York or Philadelphia?A. There are some things I don't know and some I do. For instance, I know a few years ago we bought our fishhooks-not a very large item in amount-from Scotland. I think the duty was then about 45 per cent ad valorem, and yet the Scotchmen shipped them over to us, and they cost us duty paid less than the price we could buy them for here. But in the articles you mention—a good many of them—I am not able to say whether the duty makes much difference in the price or not.
Q. We make fish hooks, do we not?-A. We made them then, but now we have stopped the importation.
Q. Now you can go on with what you were saying about the other items of comparison
ELEMENTS OF INCREASED COST OF AMERICAN VESSELS.
A. The difference between our methods and theirs, I think, makes more difference in the cost than the duties. If we had the privilege of taking our crews and letting them live from our outfitting stores for six months of the year until the account was about to be squared, selling goods to them at our own prices and all that sort of thing, we could carry on that sort of business and let the vessels lose and still have a profit on our whole business,
Then, again, the local taxes. Here in Gloucester we have a very heavy tax-about 2 per cent-whereas I think I am correct in saying that the Canadians do not tax their vessels at all.
I think since the duty went into effect the total amount of their bounties is in the vicinity of $2,000,000. The bounty is not very large per vessel, but still in the aggregate $2,000,000 in a series of years is a great help to a small industry. France gives 10 francs on every quintal exported.
Q. The taxes paid here go to support schools and all the departments of a wellordered city-water, police, etc.—which the families of your crews who live here enjoy?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. And your school money is entirely raised on property?-A. Entirely. It makes it very expensive, because in a town like Gloucester, with a large population who pay no taxes and who have a large number of children, the school tax is high and becomes a very important matter.
Q. And that in the provinces is not a heavy tax at all?—A. I think they do not tax their vessels there at all.
By Senator SAULSBURY:
By Senator EDMUNDS:
Senator SAULSBURY. In my State a vessel is not taxed at all for State, county, or municipal purposes. Why can not the people of Gloucester be relieved from it as well as the people of Delaware? I know one gentleman who holds as part owner between thirty and forty vessels and has several hundred thousand dollars invested in coasting vessels, and he pays no State or county taxes upon those vessels.
Senator EDMUNDS. If the taxes are taken off vessels here, the other people who live in this town and subsist upon this fishing industry will have to raise just as much money, and the taxes would only have to be levied on something else.
Senator SAULSBURY. I think property of every character and description, investments in real estate, vessels, or bonds and mortgages, ought to be taxed.
The WITNESS. The valuation of the town is low. Gloucester is a poor town, and the proportion of vessel property is of course exceedingly large as compared with the other property. If they should not tax vessels no one could afford to live in the town, the taxes would be so exorbitant on everything else. The tax is now $19 on $1,000, I think, and if they were to take out the $3,000,000 of vessel property it would make a very exorbitant tax on everything else.
Q. (By Senator EDMUNDS.) I suppose these captains and their crews live in houses that they own, on land that they own, and all the taxes taken off personal property would fall back on real property, so that after all they would have to pay the taxes? A. Yes, sir.
Q. About what proportion of your local taxation is for school purposes?-A. I think about one-third.
TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM H. JORDAN.
GLOUCESTER, Mass., October 5, 1886. WILLIAM H. JORDAN sworn and examined.
By Senator EDMUNDS:
Q. How long have you been in the fishing business?-A. I have been in the business, as partner, nineteen years.
Q. Do you deal and operate in all classes of fish?--A. Yes, sir.
COST OF FISHING VESSELS.
Q. What do these fishing vessels cost?-A. They average in cost about $7,300 to $8,300 or $8,500.
By Senator FRYE: Q. That is about a hundred-ton vessel?—A. That is 100 tons, old measurement. By the new measurement (the Government measurement) they run from 65 to 95 and 100 tons, but more of them would be in the vicinity of 80 tons; that would be about the average.
COST OF OUTFIT.
By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. About what is the average cost of outfit?-A. For seining business, perhaps about $2,500, and for cod fishing and other parts of the business from $1,500 to $1,800 and $2,000.
Q. About how many men are carried on those vessels?—A. My vessels average about 15 men each.
NATIONALITY OF FISHERMEN.
Q. Of what nationality are these men?-A. I should think two-thirds of them, or in that vicinity, are American citizens, and perhaps 15 per cent of them are resident citizens.
Q. People who reside here, but are not naturalized?-A. Yes, sir.
CODFISH AND BAIT.
Q. Where do your vessels go for codfish?-A. They fish mostly the Grand Banks and the Georges Banks.
Q. Where do they get their bait?-A. They get their bait for Georges fishing along the American coast, and this year all of them have got it here.
Q. How was it during the ten years of the treaty of 1870-71?-A. A small proportion of the Grand Banks trawlers got it from Canadian ports.
Q. Is there any difficulty in American vessels, now that they are excluded, in fact, whether of right or not, from going into provincial ports to get bait, supplying themselves with bait otherwise?--A. No, sir. I have had less delay this year than on the average. Frequently the Grand Banks vessels are supplied with bait three to six weeks at a time.
Q. Along the Canadian shores when they were at liberty to do that?-A. Yes, sir. I think if the vessels made arrangements to take the bait on their own shores it would benefit an industry that has has not been fully developed.
Q. And result in equally successful catches of fish?-A. Yes, sir; and with much lesg delay. Then, again, the people fishing along our shores, those that have traps and weirs, are disposed to do all they can to make money; but among the Canadians a vessel will be allowed to lie a week without bait. The Canadians seem indifferent, and if they don't feel like fishing they won't.
Q. Just tell us what is your outfit of provisions for a vessel going to the Grand Banks on a cod fish trip, for instance. What is put on board for the food of the crew?-A. Flour, beef, pork, lard, butter, sugar, molasses, and canned goods of various kinds.
Q. Canned vegetables, you mean?-A. ('anned vegetables somewhat. Of course, different vessels vary in that respect to some extent; some carry prunes, most of them dried apples and condensed milk; in fact, almost all kinds of food one would have at home, only in preserved form. They also carry cabbages.
Q. What is the quality of the food that is put on?-A. The quality is good; the quality of the flour is the best; as to sugar, we sometimes send white sugar, but more frequently high-grade yellow. The molasses is of good quality, not the best always; and butter is of good quality.
Q. Pork?--A. Pork is of the best quality; we send mostly clear pork and pork shoulders, and the very best grade of plate beef we can buy; we also send pigs' feet and tripe somewhat. Q. So that the whole outfit of food is thoroughly good?—A. Yes, sir.
By Senator FRYE: Q. Coffee and tea?-A. Yes, sir; pure coffee, and a nice quality of tea that sells for about 40 to 45 cents a pound. Strictly pure coffee and extracts and spices of all kinds.
Q. In your codfish catching I suppose no question is ever raised in respect to the three-mile line?-A. No, sir.
Q. They are always caught offshore?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Then as to your cod-fishing vessels, is it of any practical consequence to you gentlemen engaged in this business, or to your crews, to have the right to go into their ports except for shelter and for wood and water?-A. It is not.
Q. Now we will come to the mackerel business. Where have your vessels during the last ten or fifteen years caught their mackerel?--A. During the last ten or fifteen years they have caught their mackerel almost entirely upon the American shores. Last year I had 5 to 8 or possibly 10 per cent taken in Canadian waters outside the three-mile limit, and last year mackerel were taken in the Canadian waters inside the three-mile limit.
Q. State your knowledge and information as to the proportion of mackerel taken inside the three-mile line.
The Witness. In ordinary years?
A. The proportion, in my estimation, would certainly not be over 5 per cent with the large vessels, and I should think even less than that.
Q. Take the whole of the Gloucester mackerel fleet, and take it for ten or fifteen years together.-A. The average taken inside the three-mile limit is not 5 per cent of the whole, taking the whole American fleet.
Q. It was so even during the time when they had the right to go inshore?-A. Yes, sir. It is very seldom that they are able to get the condition of bottom such that they can fish inside with safety. It has been tried, and they almost invariably tear their seines.
Q. How is it in respect to the location of the larger schools of fish; are they generally found more than 3 miles offshore?—A. Yes, sir; there are certain banks or places where they are located where they seem to meet more of them than they do inshore.
CASE OF THE GOLDEN HIND.
Q. Have any of your mackerel vessels been disturbed this year?–A. Yes, sir. The Golden lind was fishing in the North Bay and discovered that their water was about out. They had less than a barrel left, and they attempted to go in to replenish their water. At the entrance to the Bay of Chaleur they were met by one of the Canadian cutters-I think the one commanded by Captain Quigley, I am not sure and the cutter forbade him to enter the Bay. The Ilind informed the cutter that she wished to get water, but Captain Quigley said that he would not allow her to enter, and gave the Hind the written instructions of the Canadian Government, and indorsed
on them, “Don't enter the Bay of Chaleur.” He didn't sign his name, but only added his initials.*
So the captain didn't dare enter. He was in distress for water for eight days before he got back on the fishing grounds, and during that time the other vessels had started for home, so that it was a substantial loss to the Blind of one fare of fish,
Q. Where is that paper that was given you?-A. I have it at my office.
The WITNESS. I will do so. I will state that the collector of the port here made a statement of this case to Secretary Bayard, and made a demand on the English Government for indemnity.
Q. About what time did this occur?-A. I think nearly about the 1st of August.
Q. Do you know whereabouts it was that the vessel was stopped?-A. I have a record of where it was, but don't recall it now; it was at the entrance to the Bay of Chaleur.
Q. Do you know whether at that time the lind was within 3 miles of the shore?A. She was outside the 3 miles.
Q. Standing into the open bay?-A. Yes, sir. Q. How wide is that bay across from headland to headland?-A. I don't know. [A bystander said it was about 15 miles. ]
Senator EDMUNDS. I have understood that it was nearer 20.
THE CASE OF THE ANNA M. JORDAN,
The WITNESS. There was another vessel that had some difficulty.
Q. (By Senator FRYE.) What vessel?–A. The schooner Anna M. Jordan. I think she went first to Eastport, and then attempted to go to Grand Manan, but they wouldn't allow her to enter at the port of St. Andrews. The captain owns part of the vessel, and he went ashore and asked permission to enter. They told him no; that fishermen had no business to enter, and if he came in he would be seized.
Q. That was at the custom-house at St. Andrews?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are those the only vessels of yours that have had any trouble this year?-A. I think so.
Q. Take the mackerel fishery; what, if any, substantial value to the American fishing interest do you regarvi the right to catch mackerel within 3 miles of the Canadian shores?-A. I consider it of no value.
Q. And I understand from what you have said that your opinion is, from your knowledge and experience, that it has never been of any substantial value as a means of catching fish?--A. Yes, sir; for some years past I have had my vessels going up for mackerel, and until this year they have always lost by going there; if they had remained home and fished as late as this year, if there had been any chance, they would have done much better.
Q. Have you any information as to whether any other American vessels have been excluded from the Bay of Chaleur this year?-A. I don't recall any special case. 1 have heard the matter spoken of in general once or twice.
Q. Do you understand that all have been kept out?—A. I understand that when the cutter Terror has been there it has not allowed any vessel to enter.
Q. What papers had your vessel?--A. She had a permit to touch and trade; all my vessels had that.
Q. But she had no particular clearance for any particular Canadian port?-A.
WHOLESALE AND RETAIL PRICES.
Q. How are the prices of fish this year?-A. The prices of codfish are lower than they have been for many years; the prices of mackerel are higher for certain grades. The catch of No. 1 mackerel this year has been smaller than it was last year. The catch has been probably in the vicinity of 12,000 barrels No. 1's, and last year it was 20,000 barrels. The price last year at this season was $18, and this year it is $17 and $17.25, with perhaps only two-thirds of the catch, and of course with very much smaller proportion of other grades in mackerel. No. 1 mackerel have been less this year, with a smaller catch.
* The warning here spoken of is identically the same as the one a copy of which Senator Edmunds has from Mr. Bayard, except the indorsement in pencil, “Don't enter the Bay of Chaleur. M.S."