« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
catch them; they wouldn't allow us anywhere, even at St. Johns. We had a vessel that was nearly sunk, her cable was cut, and she intended to catch her bait; that was the Concord. They were told if they came ashore they would be murdered.
Q. If there was any advantage in going in there for bait, why did your vessels go in; or were they merely going to bring the herring back here to sell, or what?-Å. It is a matter of convenience perhaps on a voyage, a matter of habit. A man has been out to sea two or three months and he gets sort of tired and likes to run in and get the news from home, and get the papers, and take water, bait, and ice and water, and go off again.
By Senator FRYE: Q. As I understand, you had, at this time, the right to go in, under the terms of the treaty, to catch bait?—A. Yes,sir; but the experience we had will prevent us from attempting it again.
THREE-MILE LIMIT. By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. Taking your whole knowledge of the business, what do you say as to the value, to our mackerel fishermen, of the right to go within the three-mile limit to fish?-A. I don't think it is of any value at all. I think it is a damage to go in.
CANADIAN PORT CHARGES. By Senator FRYE: Q. Do you mean that those charges named in the bill you have exhibited to us are customary charges to the fishermen who run in there?-A. I never saw such a charge before this year. I think it was put on this year.
Q. During the time of the treaty they did not make those charges, did they?-A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know whether or not, under the laws, they have a right to make those charges?-A. No; I have no actual knowledge. I think it was said that this Mr. March named in that bill was a member of parliament there, and being a member of the legislature he had this privilege of making these charges, that being a special privilege.
Q. Do you know whether other vessels of ours have been compelled to pay such charges this year?-A. I don't know of any. I think but very few vessels have gone in there. I haven't heard of any others except ours.
Q. Do you know of anything that the Canadians can give us as an equivalent for allowing them a free market in this country for their fish?-A. Nothing:
Q. What would be, in your judgment, the effect on the market for the next twenty years if we were to give them that privilege?-A. It would transfer the headquarters of the fish business from our territory to theirs.
EFFECTS OF TREATIES.
Q. After the expiration of reciprocity, what was the effect?—A. Their business decreased.
Q. During the pendency of the treaty of 1870–71 did they make a heavy increase again?-A. Yes; from 1879 to 1882.
Q. Did they more than double their fleet?-A. Yes; doubled and trebled.
Q. What was the effect of that upon our fisheries?-A. It simply decreased our business very much and made it nonpaying.
FRESH AND SALT FISH.
Q. Has the market for fresh fish increased immensely the last ten years?-A. Yes; it has increased from year to year.
Q. Has that had any effect on the salt-fish market?—A. It interferes with sales and prices.
Q. Under the decision of the present Secretary of the Treasury, fresh fish for immediate consumption are admitted free of duty?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Suppose all fish, salt and fresh, should be admitted free of duty, and that the increase observed for the last five years in the Canadian exportations to this country should be maintained, would it, in your opinion, be destructive of our fishery fleets?A. Totally destructive. The business couldn't be carried on; it would be, I think, impossible; it would be simply a natural consequence.
DUTIES AND BOUNTIES. We pay taxes and duties upon everything we use. We have high labor, while they have no duties, low labor, and in addition to that a bounty is paid their fishermen out of the money that this Government was swindled out of. France pays a bounty of 10 francs per quintal exported to other countries. We have fish that we sell for $1.50 and $2.25, while the French Government pays nearly $2 a quintal as a bounty for all the fish exported to other countries. A French fisherman got astray in a dory from his vessel and was brought ashore in this vicinity, and the French Government sent a war vessel to bring him home. France can't spare even one man.
DUTIES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES.
Q. Do you know whether or not all the countries to which we export fish have duties?-$. The whole of them have.
Q. They do not open their markets?--A. No; their duties are absolutely prohibitory. The duty is very large in Spain and Portugal, as well as in the West India Islands; we can't send any fish there, and never could.
WAGES OF WOMEN IN GLOUCESTER.
Q. You are one of the proprietors whose places we visited this morning?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. I saw a number of women and girls at work there. What average wages do they get?-A. They get $6 a week.
WAGES OF MEN IN GLOUCESTER.
Q. I saw men at work there; what are their average wages?—A. They make about $10 a week.
Q. Do any of them get more than that?-A. Some get $13 and $14, and some get $8.
PRICES OF AMERICAN AND CANADIAN LABOR.
Q. When you land a cargo of fish and put it through the processes that we observed this morning, is there any labor connected with it for which you have to pay less than a dollar a day?-A. None whatever.
Q. It runs from that up to $2?-A. Yes, sir.
2. Do you know at what cost that same kind of labor is performed by the Canadian fishermen in their country?-A. About one-half. They do not follow the same methods of curing and marketing fish that we do, though they do follow them as fast as they learn them. All their methods of catching, curing, and marketing are learned from this country. Their best masters have gone in our vessels and got their education as fishermen, and then during this last reciprocity treaty they went home and went as masters of vessels. Frevious to that we used to have four or five skippers that belonged to Yarmouth and Shelburne, but they are all vessel owners now down there. They copy our vessels and gearing and boats, and in fact everything that is progressive in their whole fishing business they have learned from us here.
AMERICAN AND CANADIAN VESSELS.
Q. You spoke about the increased cost of our vessels over theirs on account of the increased cost of labor and the duties on certain materials. Is it not a fact that the American vessels cost a good deal more because they are better built vessels?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. And built of harder wood?-A. Yes, sir; we use oak timber in the construction of our vessels, where they largely use spruce. Senator EDMUNDS. The wages of shipwrights are higher with us?
The WITNESS. They average $2 a day upon most all American vessels, while with them the shipwrights only get from $1.25 to $1.50.
AMERICAN FISHERY INTERESTS.
PRICES OF FISH.
Senator FRYE. The average prices of fish of various grades during a series of years, if made up in tabular form, it seems to me might show that food is about as cheap as it is possible to be.
Senator EDMUNDS. Mr. Pew could give us a table covering a dozen years or so.
The WITNESS. I can do it. I have a knowledge of the prices, and I know that codfish of all kinds are cheaper this year than they ever have been before with the exception perhaps of one or two periods, say during the panic of 1857, and from 1860 to 1861, at the commencement of the war. When the duties went on a year ago last July the prices of mackerel, although they were $2 a barrel, went steadily down from $4 in June to $2.75 along about the 1st of August, and codfish just the same; they were $3.25 to $3.50 a quintal of 112 pounds, and they went right down in price notwithstanding the addition of the duty, and they are lower to-day than they have ever been in the history of the country-it is simply a question of supply and demand. There is an oversupply of codfish. We have enterprise and men enough to supply our own country with food products at very cheap prices.
By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. What might be called the height of the fishing business here?-A. I should say September to October; September ordinarily.
Q. Then will you furnish us a table showing the wholesale prices of these various kinds of fish, all that you call by the general name of cod tish, mackerel, halibut, and herring, in the month of September, taking the same date all around, so as to make an even comparison for ten to fifteen years back, and send it to us at your convenience?-A. I will.
To give you an illustration in regard to the duties on herring, Labrador herring are imported here, and last year they were sold as low as the duties on them. The duties were $2 a barrel, and they were sold at $2 a barrel. They had a most successful catch of them.
Q. On what part of the coast of Labrador are these herring taken?-A. South and cast, opposite Newfoundland. The prices this year are from $5 to $6.
Q. What part of them are taken on the Labrador coast where we are still entitled to fish?-A. I don't know.
By Senator FRYE:
Q. What do those largest, handsomest herring, that we saw this morning, sell for now?-A. All prepared and put up and salted for market, about $3 a barrel.
Q. About how many pounds?—A. Two hundred pounds always in a barrel.
Q. What do these smaller codfish sell for now per quintal?—A. For $2 to $2.25 per 112 pounds.
Q. They are nice fish?—A. Yes, sir; they are just as nice fish as are produced.
By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. Referring to Labrador herring, the treaty of 1818 provides for our right to fish from the west and southwest along to the Straits of Belleisle indefinitely northward; were any of those herring caught in the Straits of Belleisle?-A. I think they were.
TREATY WITII DENMARK.
The WITNESS. Did Mr. Jordan speak to you about the discovery this year of a treaty with Denmark?
Senator EDMUNDS. No.
The WITNESS. Something has come out this year in reference to a treaty with Denmark which provides that we can not navigate the water north of 60°, I think it is, and a war vessel destroyed his property this year and drove her home. She goes up on the coast of Greenland, and her voyage wis broken up by a Danish man-of-war, I think. I think it was stated-of course this knowledge is general—that a treaty existed between this country and Denmark, by which our vessels had no right to go up there at all. At any rate, the vessel landed her fish on shore, they were destroyed by the man-of-war, and she was driven home.
Q. You do not mean that any Danish vessel undertook to prevent one of our vessels from fishing north of 60°?-A. I think so; I think she was driven home.
Q. It might be one thing for her to fish in the open sea north of 60° and another thing to go within the 3-mile line.-A. I think they only went ashore simply to have less obstruction for the vessel when they went to clear the decks and such things, as they had always been in the habit of doing.
NEW ENGLAND FISHING INTERESTS.
By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. About what proportion of the fishing interest of New England is centered at Gloucester?-A. I think from a fourth to a third-I guess one-third would come nearer to it.
[A bystander stated that there were 1,600 fishing vessels in all, and 440 of them belonged to Gloucester.]
Q. To what do you attribute the decline of cod fishing this season?-A, It is owing to the quantity of the catch. The modern appliances for catching fish improve from year to year; they use larger vessels, send larger crews, and consequently we catch more fisk.
IMPORTATIONS OF FISH FROM CANADA.
Q. What proportion of the codfish brought to our markets are caught in provincial waters by provincial people?-A. I guess they brought none, or at any rate only a small percentage, this year. Since the treaty went out of operation they have brought very few.
Q. Then you do not attribute the decline in the prices of codfish to the importations from the Canadian provinces?-A. No, sir; it is simply due to the laws of supply and demand. Of course people thought that, with the expiration of this treaty, prices might improve, and so they caught a great many fish, and do now.
Q. I understand you to say that the price of mackerel has advanced this year?A. Yes; for certain kinds.
Q. Is that attributable to the same cause, there not being a supply?-A. Yes, sir; an insufficient supply.
LOCAL TAXATION OF VESSELS.
Q. You spoke of the cost of our vessels as compared with Canadian vessels, the materials entering into construction having, some of them, to pay duty, and the cost of labor also being greater.-A. All the timber that goes into American vessels except ship timber has to pay duties.
Q. Is not one of our disadvantages local taxation?-A. You might take that view of it. You might take it as a disadvantage or as an advantage. It would open up a pretty wide field for discussion.
Q. Can you compete with Canadians, who do not pay any local taxes on their vessels?-A. No, sir.
AMERICAN CAPITAL INVESTED IN FISIERIES.
Q. Have you ever made an estimate of the capital invested in the fishing business in this country in the way of boats and vessels?--A. There are statistics gotten up that give all that. It is a good many million dollars. It has been estimated, I think, that it gives employment to 500,000 people.
INFORMATION TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT.
Q. Have any of the interruptions and irritations that have existed on the part of these vessels been made known to the Secretary of State?-A. I think they have been. While Mr. Babson was collector of the port of Gloucester everything was reported, and I think they are to-day, although they are more important since the expiration of the treaty than they were before. They evidently make all the trouble that they possibly can.
Q. There were irritations before the expiration of the treaty?-A. None of any consequence.
By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. Except the Fortune Bay affair and things of that kind?-A. There were some little things like that, but they were of no consequence.
NUMBER OF VESSELS IN BRITISH WATERS.
Q. How many vessels altogether do you think have gone to those northeastern waters to fish for mackerel, cod, and halibut this year?
The WITNESS. Where do you mean?
Senator EDMUNDS. I mean the Gulf of St. Lawrence and along the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.
A. They don't go on that coast at all. The fleet that has gone into Nova Scotia waters are mackerel catchers, and occasionally they take a few halibut. The cod fishers don't go there.
Q. What I want to get at is the number of vessels that, if they had the free right to go in, as they had before, would have been in a situation where they might have used it.-A. It would depend altogether upon circumstances. Previous to this present year none would have gone if they had had the privilege.
[A bystander stated that there were 90 to 95 vessels from the port of Gloucester that had gone into the Canadian waters this year.]
HADDOCK, MACKEREL, AND HALIBUT. By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. Are haddock caught in our waters?—A. Yes, sir; and our vessels do not go up there for them. There is no fish they go there for except mackerel. The present year has been a marked exception. For fourteen years mackerel fishing was better on our shores, and it was a loss for them to go up there at all.
Q. Are haddock caught up there in their waters?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are they brought here by the Canadians?-A. I think not. They may be to a limited extent.
Q. Where are the halibut caught?--A. Sometimes 3 or 4 miles offshore; very rarely inshore. They are caught off the Georges and in waters that are open to the fishermen of all the world.
Q. Are halibut sent here by the Canadians?-A. Only very little. They don't follow that business at all.
Q. Then the only Canadian fish, as I understand it, that come in competition with yours, are the mackerel and codfish?-A. Mackerel and codfish. The Canadian ports are closed, substantially, six months in the year by ice, during which time all their fishing grounds are full of ice; you can't get within a hundred miles of them. If the American fisheries were destroyed you could not get a substitute for them from the Canadians, only to a limited extent, because, as I say, their fishing grounds are closed up by ice, and they can't get in there until June. Their waters are unnavigable for some four or five months on account of the ice, and their ports all along down are so far north that they are substantially closed in the winter time.
Senator EDMUNDS. There is a great deal of the time that the Strait of Northumberland is closed.
By Senator EDMUNDS:
SALT AND FRESH FISH.
By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. What proportion of the fish caught by our fishermen are fresh, and what proportion salt?-A. I should say that in value perhaps 25 per cent are fresh.
SOUTHERN MACKEREL FISHING.
Q. Do your vessels go down the Southern coast as far as Cape Hatteras?-A. Oh, yes; they go down there in the early spring, and follow along the coast during the summer and fish off the Georges.
Q. Does the whole fleet go there, or only a part?--A. Only a certain portion.