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By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. They only go there for mackerel, I suppose?-A. Only for mackerel. They go as far south as Nantucket for codfish. Our business has been more largely the catching and marketing of cod fish, because it has been generally more steady and there has been a larger demand for that class of fish.
TESTIMONY OF JAMES G. TARR.
GLOUCESTER, Mass., October 5, 1886. JAMES G. TARR sworn and examined.
By Senator EDMUNDS:
Q. What kind of fishing have you been engaged in?-A. Mackerel, halibut, and codfish.
Q. Did your vessels fish for mackerel in what we, for short, call Dominion waters from 1870 on, during the time of free fish and free right to go in?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where were the larger part of the mackerel up there taken during that time?A. The larger part were reported by the captains to have been taken on Bank Bradley and Bank Orphan. Q. How far from the shores?--A. From 15 to 20 miles.
Q. What portion of all the catch you know anything about of mackerel in those waters has been taken in the last ten or fifteen years inside of 3 miles from land?--A. About one-eighth of the catch of our vessels.
Q. Of what value would you regard the right of your vessels, and those of people similarly engaged, to fish for mackerel within 3 miles of the shore up there?-A. Very slight.
Q. Mackerel are now taken entirely by seine and not by bait with hook and line, I suppose?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. How far is it necessary for your vessels to go in toward the shore while engaged in mackerel fishing?
The WITNESS. To pursue fish?
A. Stress of weather, of course, is one of the causes for them to seek harbors, and for wood and water. This season we have sent but few, and those vessels have been so fitted that they have had no occasion to purchase anything ashore aside from wood and water.
Q. How much of an inconvenience or loss to your business has it been that they have not been allowed to go in this year?–A. None whatever.
Q. Where has your cod fishing been done?-A. Principally on the Georges Banks. We have had only one at the Grand Banks.
Q. The Georges are the nearest Banks to this port, are they not?-A. Yes, sir. Q. How many miles is it to the Georges?-A. Two hundred or more.
Q. Take your Grand Banks fisheries and the Banks around Sable Island, etc., how far is it necessary for your cod-fishing vessels to go into Canadian ports?—A. Only for wood and water.
Q. And shelter, I suppose, in case of storm?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do the vessels generally run in from the Grand Banks for shelter in case of storm?-A. No, sir.
Q. They are too far from land?—A. Yes, sir. So those off the Georges never run for shelter.
VESSELS AND CREWS.
Q. Is the size of your vessels about the same as has been mentioned by the other witnesses whom you have heard?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. About what proportion of the crews are American citizens?-A. I think threefifths of our crews are American citizens.
Q. You have about the same number to the vessel as the other witnesses have stated?--A. Yes, sir.
Q. From 12 to 15 and 20, and so on?-A. Yes, sir.
TREATY OF 1870–71.
Q. Taking the whole fishery question together, then, do you regard the rights that you have had while the treaty of 1870–71 was in force of any substantial value?—A. No, sir; for this reason: We have sent for thirteen years past on an average three vessels per season into the Gulf of St. Lawrence for mackerel; those vessels in that time, with all the advantages of free fishing, have not paid their way; they have run behind and haven't paid their bills.
MACKEREL CAUGHT IN AMERICAN WATERS AND IN CANADIAN.
Q. From 1870 down to this time what proportion of the whole catch of mackerel that comes to this port have been caught in these northern waters, as against the proportion caught in what we would call American waters, or along our own front?—A. I should judge the American catch in the provincial waters would not show more than one-fifth of the whole catch in the fifteen years.
Q. Then in a long series of years by far the largest part of the mackerel caught are taken off our own coast?-A. That has been my own experience.
Q. During all that period what proportion do you think of those that were caught in what are called Dominion waters were taken within 3 miles of the shore?-A. I think not more than one-eighth of the catch.
TESTIMONY OF GEORGE STEELE.
GLOUCESTER, Mass, October 6, 1886. GEORGE STEELE Sworn and examined.
By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. What is your age?-A. Nearly 58. Q. What is your occupation?-A. The fishing business and insurance business. Q. And you are a vessel owner and outfitter as well?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long have you been in the business?-A. Directly and indirectly since 1848.
Q. How many vessels have you?-A. Twelve.
AMERICAN FISIERY UNION.
Q. Have you any official connection with the fishery matters?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. What does that union comprise; what is it?—A. It is an organization which held a meeting at Gloucester two years ago next December, representing the whole of the New England fisheries. At that convention some seven or eighrt were chosen as directors, and I was president of that board.
NEW ENGLAND FISHERIES.
Q. When you say that it embraced the whole of the New England fisheries, do you mean that it includes shore fishing with boats and vessels?--A. Boats and vessels; it includes the whole; everything on the New England coast.
Q. About what proportion of the American fishing interest is comprised in what you call the New England fisheries?
The WITNESS. To include the boat business?
Q. Are there any cod-fishing and mackerel or halibut-fishing vessels fitted out in other Atlantic ports outside of New England?–A. Not that I know of unless it is in the Gulf States and on the Pacific.
Q. I am speaking of the Atlantic.-A. No, sir; none that I know of, to any amount.
Senator EDMUNDS. I am under the impression that there is possibly one in New York and possibly one in Philadelphia.
The WITNESS. There might be one in New London.
Senator EDMUNDS. That is in the New England district. Then, subştantially, for the fishery question we are inquiring into-and you might include the whale fishery as well, but no matter for that-I understand that the fishery that brings us in contact with the British provinces is carried on in New England within the province of your bureau?
'The WITNESS. Yes, sir; and I suppose you know, of course, that the lake fisheries are interested as we are.
Senator EDMUNDS. Yes; I understand that; but the lake fishery is mostly done in boats, is it not?
The WITNESS. Yes, sir.
Q. And that is not within your New England American Fishery Union, is it?A. No, sir; they are not in our organization, but so far as their fish are concerned I was surprised to learn at Sandusky and Toledo that their fresh-fish business causes them to be interested in the fish business on the New England coast.
Q. And then when you add to that the interests of Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and of the Wisconsin people it increases the scope a great deal more?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Taking the first, or some line of inquiry you have heard us carrying on here, you may tell us, beginning with cod-fishing vessels, where they go to fish.
The WITNESS. You would like my experience with my vessels in 1886?
Senator EDMUNDS. Take those vessels for the last ten years; where have they gone to fish?
A. Hand-line fishing on Georges bank and other banks nearer; the Western and Grand Banks.
Q. Where is the trawl fishing carried on for cod?—A. Mostly on the Western and Grand Banks.
TRAWLS AND HAND LINES.
Q. Which is the more successful kind of fishing, trawl or hand-line fishing?-A. I should think, for the owner, the hand-line fishing was the most favorable.
Q. How for the fishermen themselves? If they all go on the lay, why do you make that distinction?-A. The expense of fitting a vessel for trawling is greater to the owner; but I think, as a general thing, the men will make more for their share by setting thousands of hooks than they will by just attending to two.
Q. How long are these trawls?—A. If I understand rightly about it, when one of these large vessels has all her trawls out they will extend over some 5 miles.
Q. How long would each trawl be?-A. I could not say exactly about that; I am not so well posted.
Q. As we Yankees say, you can give a guess.-A. I could not tell you exactly; I do not know about that.
Senator EDMUNDS. Is there not a fisherman present who can tell about the ordinary length of a trawl line?
The WITNESS. It would be merely guesswork on my part. I am just informed by Captain Smith, now present, that they have about 25 or 26 lines upon a trawl, which average about 30 fathoms to a line.
Senator FRYE. Six feet being a fathom?
Q: (By Senator EDMUNDS.) Have your codfish vessels had any necessary occasion to visit the British Provinces?
The WITNESS. Do you wish the experience of 1886?
Senator EDMUNDS. No; I am speaking now of the ten years past. We will come down to 1886 by itself.
A. They have always more or less taken bait from the Provinces later in the season; the first of the season we get bait more on the American coast.
Q. How often have your people got bait in the British Provinces?-A. I should think their bait bills would amount to not less than $3,000, and from that to $5,000, for my feet of vessels.
By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. Is that the annual cost?-A. Yes, sir; that is the annual cost. I have the exact figures at hand.
By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. That is near enough for our purposes. That privilege being denied you, how do you get bait; what do you do?-A. I shall have to tell you what we have done this year when denied that privilege. I have had five vessels down there at Grand Banks fishing in the year 1886, and with one exception they have not taken any bait on the Nova Scotia shore. All their bait was taken here in March and April. They made their trip to the Western Banks and then came home and went to Fortune Bay and St. Pierre, Newfoundland, and took their bait there once or twice, and went to the Grand Banks. They have all of them made from one to three trips each, and with the one exception I have mentioned have not taken bait upon the Nova Scotia shore.
Q. How did the catch of the vessels that carried their bait from here compare with the one that got bait on the coast?-A. They got as many fiish, if not more.
Q. But I suppose it is a saving of time in going to the shore if they can buy bait? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Taking the cod fishery then, what in your opinion is the value to the American fishing interest of the right to get bait on British shores?-A. Nothing whatever.
Q. You would not care anything about it?-A. No, sir; I do not think there is anything, any privilege whatever, that they could give us or deny us for which we would be willing to admit their fish free into our markets.
Q. Now we come to the mackerel fishery; have your vessels been up into what we call British waters for mackerel during the last ten years?--A. Ye
Q. Where have those mackerel been caught?-A. They have been caught mostly on this shore.
By Senator Frye:
By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. I am speaking of those that have gone into what we call British waters. Where have the fish been caught down there?-A. Mostly upon this shore, except this present season; the largest part of the catch has been on this shore.
Senator Frye. You did not understand the question exactly. The chairman asked you what proportion of the mackerel you captured in British waters were captured outside of the 3-mile shore line, and what proportion inside of the 3-mile shore line.
The WITNESS. None whatever have been caught within the 3 miles, to my knowledge.
Q. (By Senator EDMUNDS.) During any of the time?-A. No, sir.
I can state here in round figures, if they will be useful to you, that only 4 per cent of the total catch of mackerel in the last five years has been taken in British waters, when we had the privilege to fish anywhere we pleased. The atch in British waters amounted to 75,000 barrels, and the total catch amounted to 1,800,000 barrels.
Q. Taking the 75,000 barrels, how many of those barrels, according to your information, were caught within 3 miles of the British shore?-A. I should not think over 8 per cent.
Q. How far is it necessary for your vessels that go to the bay to fish for mackerel to enter British waters within the 3-mile shore line?--A. I should not think there was any necessity of them going within 5 miles, and from that to 10 and 15 miles.
Q. I mean for any purpose?--A. Not for any purpose, really, according to my experience, only for shelter and water.
FUEL, SHELTER, AND WATER.
Our vessels are well provided, as a general thing, with fuel, and it is only neces sary to go in for water and shelter, and we do not require shelter in the Bay of Chaleur anywhere until late in the season. In June and July they do not require that even, and it is only occasionally that they would have to go in for water.
Q. Do you bring catches of fresh mackerel from the bay?-A. No, sir.
Q. In your halibut fishery you carry the ice out from here always, do you
not?A. Yes, sir.
Q. And stand right straight off for the halibut fishing ground?-A. Yes, sir. We take from 25 to 40 tons to a vessel.
Q. Taking the cod fishery, the mackerel fishery, and the whole thing together, how far do you regard as of any practical value to American fishing interests the right to go ashore or inside the 3-mile limit, except for shelter and for fresh water?-A. I should not think it was of any value whatever.
Q. You would not consider, then, that you would make any more money in your business, or that your fishermen would make any more in theirs—which is the same thing-if Canada were voluntarily to give you the free right to fish offshore and return as often as you wished?-A. No, sir; only it might be a convenience.
Q. But, of course, all the time your vessels were in port they would not be getting fish?-A. That is true.
NATIONALITY OF FISHERMEN.
Q. What proportion of your men, taking it for ten years together, are American citizens?-A. I should think about two-thirds.
Q. Those men have their residence here or in this neighborhood, or somewhere along the American coast, I suppose?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Their families and children, of course, have all the benefits of your schools and everything of that kind?-A. Yes, sir.
EFFECT OF DUTY ON PRICES.
Q. Do you know anything as to how the imposition of the duty, on the 1st of July, on Canadian salt fish affected the price here?---A. It did not affect it at all.
Q. The prices were not any higher as a result?-A. No, sir.
Q. Nobody raised his prices on account of the change of duty in any way that you know of ?-A. No, sir.
WHOLESALE AND RETAIL PRICES COMPARED.
Q. Do you know anything on the subject of how the wholesale prices of fish, as they are shipped from this market or bought from the fishermen, wherever they are sold to dealers, compare with the retail prices in the various places where they are sold to the consumers?-A. I should think the cost to the consumers would be four times as much as the original cost.
Q. Do you know whether the retail prices of fish, in the sense I am speaking about now, to the people who eat them, vary up and down with the wholesale prices?-A. I don't think they do.
Q. The retail prices are only affected, if at all, remotely and gradually, I suppose?A. Yes, sir. To give you an illustration: Our vessels supply the Boston market with haddock. We have sold them at 30 to 50 cents a hundred, and yet the retail price is 6 to 8 cents a pound. Occasionally, when the market is not supplied quite rapidly enough, the price to us runs up to 2, 2), and 3 cents a pound, but 3 cents a pound is a very large price for us as producers, and they rarely reach that price to the producer.
HADDOCK AND COD.
Q. A re haddock caught in the same places as cod?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. They school together, and haddock are caught at one haul and cod at another?A. No, sir; they generally catch haddock at a drift by trawls.