« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
Q. Take it for codfish.-A. The prices of codfish, both wholesale and retail, have been very much less this year than last.
PRICES AFFECTED BY DUTY. Q. Was there any observable immediate change in the prices on the 1st of July, 1885, when the duty was put on?—A. Prices were lower after that; the market seemed to be dull.
Q. But your market, here, so far as you know, was not affected immediately by that fact?-A. No, sir; we would have been very glad to take the old prices.
COMPENSATION OF FISHERMEN. Q. I suppose your vessels are all alike here, on the same lay that has been described by the other witnesses?-A. Yes, sir; I have only one vessel where part of the men were hired for wages.
By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. You can state what you like on the question of a close season.-A. It is the general impression, I suppose, that it is more desirable for the fishermen to have a close season than not to have it. But if it is for their interest, it is certainly for iine. I have looked into the question pretty carefully-perhaps no more so than masters of vessels-and it is my impression that it is not going to be for our advantage.
In the first place, our vessels perhaps will want to start earlier than the 1st of June, and I know of no reason why they can not if they wish. If they start before the 1st of June they are liable to catch mackerel. Suppose those mackerel are landed on the 15th of June, how is anyone going to prove that they were caught before the 1st of June? Suppose Gloucester will send out 100 vessels mackerel fishing. That is perhaps what they have sent South nearly every year for the past seven or eight years, and it may be more than that. They have taken almost entirely fresh mackerel, so that there has been no opportunity for accumulation of stock more than a few days at a time. I would say that up to the 1st of June, possibly, there are 5,000 barrels landed each year, and have been for the past few years; I think not so many this past year.
Q. Are you speaking now of salt or fresh mackerel?--A. Of salt mackerel. Where they get fresh fish, of course they take that chance of getting a big fare with some one or two or three trips. On the whole, the southern fishing business has been disastrous, and I think I have been engaged in it as much as any firm. I have had four or five vessels engaged in it--and they probably have been as fortunate as any—and yet I do not consider that the voyage South has been especially fayorable. On the contrary, there has been this disadvantage: I think the mackerel are liable to be salted and taken on or before the 1st day of June. If a vessel should happen to be in southern water about the 25th of May, so as to be prepared to take them on the 1st of June, if they saw a school on the 25th of May they would be liable to take them if they thought nobody saw them. The result will be that by the 15th of June usually, perhaps, we should have 5,000 barrels of mackerel landed, and probably a large portion of them consumed. We are quite likely to have by the 15th of June 20,000 or 30,000 barrels of poor mackerel; they are of very little value—it is only a small portion of the country that takes them, any way and we should accumulate a stock.
I understand the object of a close season is to prevent taking the mackerel in the spawning season; but they do not spawn until after the 1st of June.
The object is also, as I understand, to keep a poor quality of mackerel out of the market. Very few mackerel, I think, are taken during the month of June, because they are spawning.
Q. Where do they begin to spawn South? You find them off Hatteras in March?A. I don't know where they spawn. You find spawn in them. I believe the fishermen don't pretend to know.
Q. Your ditliculty about the close season, if I understand you correctly, is that you look at the difficulty of its enforcement, and that instead of these fish that are caught before that time being disposed of, they will be packed in barrels in part?--A. I I am afraid it will be that way, and certainly it will be impossible to tell, if the mackerel were landed about the 15th of June, that they were caught about the 25th of May. And then I don't see anything to prevent the danger of shipment from all over the Provinces about the 15th of June. The mackerel strike their shores from the 15th of May, and they can catch those fish at that time and salt them and keep them until the middle of June and keep them from our markets; whereas, if we are kept to the strict letter of the law, we won't be able to take many fish until after the ist of July, and the Canadians will be able to get the advantage of the bare market.
Q. If the close season were on down here, you could go north and fish where the Canadians do--in the Gulf?--A. We might do that, I suppose. But the fish seenı to
Ι follow the shore, and more fish are taken in traps and weirs on the Nova Scotia shores than are taken outside.
Q. So you think that this early fishing would not amount to anything up there outside of the three-mile limits?-A. No, sir.
Q. And that at that early time in the year it is the boats, etc., that take them?A. Yes, sir. Our vessels have been there every year. A few vessels leave the southern fisheries about the 15th or 20th of May and go north, hoping to take fish on their passage to the North Bay; but there are many more failures than there are successful voyages. Last year I think there were thirty to forty vessels went there, and I guess not more than seven or eight caught trips.
MACKEREL AT SPAWNING TIME.
By Senator FRYE: Q. These mackerel are carrying spawn nearly all the time from March up to June, are they not?-A. I don't know how early, but I presume they are.
Q. When they are actually spawning they do not make their appearance on the surface, but go deep?-A. I don't know that, but I presume that is the case.
Q. That is the reason you do not take them in the month of June with your netsbecause they were on the bottom?--A. I presume so.
Q. While these fish are carrying spawn do you think they are good?-A. No, sir;
Q. They are very poor, are they not?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. After they have spawned in June they very rapidly recover their condition, do they not?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. They feed on little red insect?-A. That is their natural food.
If you will allow me, I think there is no doubt but if we could prevent their being taken before the 1st or 10th of July it would be a good idea.
Q. They can be prevented from taking them during the month of June?-A. Yes, sir; but then the Canadians would get them, and in that way get the advantage of a bare market. You can't prevent this, I suppose, under the present tariff. Next year perhaps the first mackerel landed will be high priced.
Q. The theory of these other fishermen is all right, then, that the mackerel are poor and ought not to be taken, but that the law is liable to be violated ?-A. Yes, sir.
EARLY CATCH OF MACKEREL.
By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. Where are these fish that are caught in the Southern fisheries principally sold?-A. I suppose there is a small local trade in New York State and Pennsylvania, but I suppose their eventual destination is in some Southern market. The Southern markets demand a low-priced fish, which is necessarily a poor fish. Poor tish will keep better in a warm climate than fine fish. A poor No. 3 mackerel is a much better article for a warm climate than a good No. 1; they do not spoil so readily.
By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. Can you not keep any mackerel that are properly salted a great while in any climate?- A. They don't keep so well.
Q. They get rusty and musty ?-A. Yes, sir. The fat dries up and they get oily and strong; they are sort of soaked in oil.
By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. Is there not a large quantity of these fresh fish eaten by especially the poorer classes of people in New York, Philadelphia, and other Eastern places?-A. Yes, sir; there are a great many. They are very cheap at times; the market is overstocked with them and they sell at a very low price, but are usually a pretty good kind of fish for fresh fish-ihat is, when there is a large supply. When they are so cheap the poor ones are thrown away, and the others are sold at a pretty good rate. S, I'oc. 231, pt - 18
Q. Would not the effect, therefore, of breaking up this southern fishing be to deprive a large number of people who now want to buy cheap fresh fish of the opportunity to buy them?-A. I think it would deprive them of the opportunity to buy mackerel. I don't know but at that season of the year there is usually a large stock of fresh fish cheap-frozen herring and smelts, though of course smelts are not quite so cheap. And at different times there is most always an abundance of fresh fish.
TESTIMONY OF CHARLES H. PEW.
GLOUCESTER, Mass., October 5, 1886.
By Senator EDMUNDS:
Q. What is your occupation?—A. In the general fishing business; buying and sell-
RECIPROCITY. Q. Then you were in the business during the whole period of reciprocity under the treaty of 1854, and free fishery business under the treaty of 1870–71?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. What was the effect of the reciprocity treaty of 1854 upon the fishing interests here?—A. During the latter part of it it interfered with it very much, depressed it.
Q. Describe how; whether the Canailian vessels increased in number?-A. The Canadian fleet increased. During the inflation period after the war prices were very high, but for the last two or three years the business was depressed. Our high prices caused a marked increase in the Nova Scotia fisheries; the fish were about all marketed to this country at that time.
Q. Did large quantities of them come to this port?-A. They commenced to increase very materially during the latter part of the reciprocity treaty. We had gone through the panic of 1857, and at that time the increase was not material from 1857 to 1861. During the first years of the war, 1860 and 1861, the business was very dull, but after prices began to look up and business became more prosperous the market increased, and finally for three or four years it doubled every year.
COMPARATIVE COST OF UNITED STATES AND CANADIAN VESSELS AND OUTFITS.
Q. What are the elements, in your opinion, of the difference between the cost of a vessel, its rigging, outfit, etc., built by these Dominion people, and a Gloucester vessel?-A. It is principally a difference in the cost of labor and duties, and will amount to probably from $1,000 to $1,500.
Q. On each vessel?--A. On each vessel. In addition, there is a material difference in the running of the vessel from year to year. They have no duties nor taxes, and their labor is lower. That makes the running of the vessel very much less.
COMPENSATION OF FISHERMEN. Q. How soon do your fishermen who bring fish to this port in your vessels get their pay and profit out of a trip?-A. Just as soon as they land.
Q. How do you understand that course of business to be in the provinces?—A. It takes a long while before the fishermen get their money. As a general thing the fish have to be landed and marketed and the money received before the men are paid off. Sometimes it happens that they land their fish in the fall and do not receive a settlement in money until they are again ready to go the following year. Then, again, many of them take their compensation from the stores of the vessel owners on a running account, so that when the settlement comes it is substantially no settlement; their pay is all used up.
Q. Where do your cod-fishermen get their bait?--A. The larger part of them from Newport, around Block Island, and down as far as Portsmouth; and also down the coast of Maine, but not much. The larger part of the bait comes from Cape Cod.
Q. How has it been during the last ten years?-A. It has been the same.
Q. Your vessels, then, during that time have had very little, if any, occasion to go into Canadian ports for bait?-X. No, sir; they have not made a practice of doing it. It hasn't been common with them, though occasionally a vessel would do so. I think this year we have had only one or two out of our fleet of twenty vessels that have had occassion to call into Canadian ports at all, and then I don't think they had any object; it merely became convenient, perhaps, for them to go in.
THE CASE OF THE SHILOH.
Q. Did any of your vessels meet with any difficulty?-A. Those that went in did. One of the vessels upon the last trip, I think, went into Shelburne, and was going into harbor to make port, and was fired at by one of the English cutters. It was a stormy night.
Q. What was the name of the vessel?-A. The Shiloh.
Q. What time was that?—A. About the last of July or first of August. I think she will be in to-day.
Q. With the same captain on board who was on board at that time?-A. Yes, sir.
The WITNESS. As I understand, he went in from the Banks in stress of weather. He went into the lower bay at Shelburne, the settlement being farther up the bay. While going up to his anchorage ground the first thing he knew a shot was fired. He saw the cutter, but she had nothing to distinguish her from any ordinary vesselno flag. The cutter came up and her captain put an armed guard aboard, and that guard was kept there all the time he was there. He stopped in at Louisbury, on Cape Breton. He had a man on board who was sick, and he was a little in doubt whether it would be policy to carry him back or to land him. He went in and had considerable trouble. He had to get permission from the Canadian authorities to allow him in port with a sick man. He had to have special permission. They wouldn't allow him to go ashore or to do anything at all, and kept a guard right around him all the time. All our vessels had instructions this year not to go into any Canadian port, because we held that it was practically of no advantage to us or to them to go into their ports-no advantage from a pecuniary point of view, because it always costs more than any benefit derived from it. I have a bill showing what it cost one of the vessels to go in, one of our fishing vessels, the schooner Ontario.
CANADIAN PORT CHARGES.
Senator EDMUNDS. This bill, it seems, is dated June, 1886, at St. Johns, Newfoundland. It is rendered by Stephen March & Son against the vessel for what she had to pay when she went in, as well as for some things that they bought; I see that they bought some tobacco, etc. The light dues were $20.64 on 86 tons, at 24 cents a ton. There is a charge for water rates, 86 tons, at 5 cents a ton, $4.30. That is not the price charged for going in to take water, but only the charge for going in. Harbor master, $2. Entering and clearing at the custom-house, $1. Pilotage, inward and outward, $7.50. Then, after some little items, I see 70 cents for tobacco and linseed oil and a little tea. There is also a charge for 12 flour barrels, amounting to a little over $6, and an advance to the captain. Then comes the commission on the whole thing at 5 per cent; then a charge for exchange at 2 per cent, making a total, taking out the tobacco, the linseed oil, the tea, and flour barrels, of $6.60 and $31.50. The aggregate was about $45 or $46 for merely going into that port, staying a day, and clearing out again.
The WITNESS. And pilotage, though they don't have to take any pilots. Then there is a charge for water rates, when we didn't take any water.
Q. I suppose she did not take any pilot?—A. No, sir; it was as if she had come in and anchored here at Gloucester; it is an open bay, just like it is here at Gloucester. So you see it is expensive business, and there is no earthly object in going into their ports. I talked to the captain of that vessel very hard about going in there.
GLOUCESTER PORT CHARGES.
Q. According to the course of business here and the practice of the Gloucester custom-house, what would be the charges on an 86-ton Canadian vessel that should come down here to fish more than three miles offshore out here in the Atlantic Ocean, and had occasion to land in this harbor, cast anchor, and stay a day?-A. Simply for entering and reporting at the custom-house.
Q. How much would that be?--A. There would be no fee attached for them to report within twenty-four hours.
Q. So that if she merely cast anchor and departed within twenty-four hours there would be no fee at all?-A. None. We would be only too glad to have them come in to buy something. That bill I have shown you is a fair sample of the whole business of port charges against our vessels going into their ports. That is an original bill.
Q. For your codfish vessels do you regard the right of those vessels to go within three miles of the Canadian shores as of any consequence?-A. None whatever.
Q. Take your mackerel vessels; where, during the last fifteen years, for instance, have your mackerel been caught?-A. Off our American shores. Q. Have you ever had any mackerel vessels going to the bay?-A. Two this year. Q. Never before?-A. I don't think we have had any for ten to twelve years.
Q. Have you any knowledge as to where the American fishermen catch their mackerel up there, and as to how much necessity there is for them to go within the 3 miles?-A. I have a general knowledge.
Q. State your general knowledge.--A. I think if they kept five miles offshore it would be an advantage to the business. If our Government would put a steamer down there and drive them all offshore there would be more fish caught. I don't look upon it as any advantage at all to go into their harbors; it is a positive disadvantage to the whole business.
Q. Have the mackerel vessels returned that you have sent down there?-A. One of them has returned and gone back again; they are both down there now.
Q. Have you heard of either of them having any trouble?-A. No, sir; not at this time.
Q. They were under instructions, I suppose, not to go inside.-A. Yes, sir; their instructions are to keep out of the harbor altogether; of course they have to go in sometimes on account of stress of weather.
NATIONALITY OF FISHERMEN.
Q. What proportion of your crews, on the average of a dozen years, are American citizens?-A. The larger part of them; nearly all. In fact, I don't think 1 per cent of our crews are foreigners. They are not all American born, but people who make their homes in this country.
By Senator Frye:
Q. What proportion of them are American born, do you think?-A.-Very few now; probably not more than 10 or 12 per cent.
COMPENSATION OF FISHERMEN.
By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. State about the average number of men composing the crew of one of these vessels.-A. They average 15 to a vessel; that would be a fair average.
Q. And I suppose they go on the same lay as all the others have stated?—A. All of them go on shares.
FORTUNE BAY TROUBLES.
Q. Were you interested in any of the vessels that had difficulty in Fortune Bay— that old affair?-A. Yes, sir; it was our vessel, the Ontario; she was the one the gear of which the mob destroyed.
Q. She was in there at that time for bait, was she not?—A. She was under register, and went in there to buy herring for the market; perhaps the herring might be used as food; they went in tó buy for general purposes. They usually go on winter voyages, winter after winter, but this year they thought they had the right to go down there, and so they took their seines and boats and hired men down there to fish for them. They were very successful, and they had herring enough, trapped or surrounded, to supply the whole fleet there, whilst the fleet there tishing with the old gear were not able to catch any, and that was the occasion of the mobbing and destruction of the property. There was no pretense of an excuse whatever; it was only because they said that our vessels were coming down there and taking the bread out of their children's mouths. All the years under the treaty we had the privilege of going in there for herring, although we bought them; they wouldn't allow us to