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AFFIDAVITS PRODUCED IN SUPPORT OF THE CASE OF
HER MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT.
DOMINION OF CANADA,
Province of Prince Edward Island, Queens County, to wit: I, ALEXANDER M. MCNEILL, of Cavendish, in Prince Edward Island, farmer and fisherman, a justice of the peace for Queens County, Prince Edward Island, make oath and say:
1. Tbat I have been actively engaged in the fisheries off my farm at Cavendish since the year 1851, and have personally carried on the fishing.
2. I have had three boats engaged fishing every season, employing seved hands besides myself, and at the same time cultivating my farm.
3. The first few years my catch was not very good, owing greatly to the presence in such great pumbers of the American fleet.
4. The numbers of tbis fleet throughout the gulf—I don't know but. I bave counted from my own shore over one hundred sail of American fisbing.vessels, and that within three miles of the shore.
5. I attribute the poor boat-fishing of years gone by, during the Reciprocity Treaty, to the presence of the American fishing fleet.
6. Their custom was, to the number of from sixty to one hundred sail, to harbor in Malpeque, and then start out in the morning for the fishing grounds. If they saw a small boat taking mackerel, they would steer straight for them, goi!!g to windward and drift down, throwing buit, and either take the fish away or injure the boats. This was common for years, and rery largely and materially prejudiced the boat-fishing
7. During the past four or five years we have not been much annoyed with them. The British and Canadian cruisers had something to do with keeping them in order, and during the last two years only a small fleet has frequented the gulf.
8. The consequence has been that the catch by the boats has been very largely increased, and also the number of fishing boats, which has more than doubled during the past four years. Many new boats are being built, and my opinion is that their number will increase every year.
9. During the past nine years my catch would average about one hundred barrels each season ; but I do not make a business of fishing. In fact, I only prosecute it about two months in the season, combin. ing fishing and farming.
10. I would think the poinber of fishing-boats at Rustico harbors would pumber about one hundred and fifty.
11. My twenty years' experience has proved to me that the best mack. erel-fishing around our coasts is about a mile from the shore, in froır. seven to ten fathoms of water.
12. All the fish caught by the boats are taken within a mile of the coast, many of them within half a mile, during the months of July and
August; but during the months of September and October the boats take their catch further out, say two miles or two and a half. It is a very rare occasion that they go out three miles, or beyond it.
13. Of the total catch in the boats, over nine-tentbs are caught well within the three-mile limit.
14. The American tishing.fleet have always fished on the same ground as the boats. They go in as close and closer to our coast than half a mile, commence throwing over bait, and drift off, taking fish with thein off the sbore, and when they lose the fish tack for the land again and renew operations. I can't say the proportion of their catch taken within the limit, because they sometimes inake a good catch outside in deep-sea waters. The fleet have always fished within the three miles before the abolition of the Reciprocity Treaty and afterwards. They never gave np. The cruisers frightened them a little, but as soon as they were past, the fisbing-vessels weut right to work again and fished as before.
15. I prosecute the herring-fishing in the spring for bait, and get enough for that purpose, and to a small extent the cod-fishing, but my previous statements have entire reference to the mackerel fishery. The herring are all taken close to the shore.
ALEX. M. MCNEILL. Sworn to at Charlottetown, in Queens County, Prince Edward Island, this 18th day of June, A. D. 1877, before me.
E. JAMES SALMER,
and Notary Public for Prince Edward Island.
No. 2. DOMINION OF CANADA,
Province of Prince Edward Island, Queens County, to wit: I, Hugh JOHN MONTGOMERY, of New London, in Prince Edward Island, merchant, make oath and say:
1. That I am aged thirty-six, and have resided all my life, excepting the last four or five years, on the north shore of this island, and have prosecuted the fishing business both in boats and scbooners, and profess to have a good knowledge of the business, having been mixed up in it all my life.
That during the past four or five years I have resided at Clifton, about four miles from the sea-shore, and have traded a good deal with the fishermen, and acquired, from actual experience, and from a prolonged and constant intercourse with the fisherinen, a thorough knowledge of the different branches of fishing, as carried on along the shores and coasts of this island.
That one season I commanded a schooner of my own, and fished in her along the north side of this island, and up the Bay Chaleur. That during the last few years the increase in the boat-fishing around tbis island has been enormous, between fifty and sixty boats fishing out of the New London Harbor, and from one hundred and fifty to two hundred out of Rustico Harbor, while other harbors with which I am not so minutely acquainted, such as Malpeque, Cascumpec, Tiguish, Nail Pond, Mimenegash, Egmont Bay, Murray Harbor, Souris, Tracadie, and Saint Peters, send out, every season, very large numbers of well-equipped fish. ing boats.
That durivg the past winter still larger preparations were made for the coming season, and I fully believe the nuwber of boats fishing around the coasts of this island will be, this year, largely in excess of previous years. That the increase in the number of fishing boats does not seem in the slightest to lessen the number of fish; on the contrary, from the increased quantity of bait used, the effect is rather to keep the fish witbin the fishing limits where the boats fish.
That from my experience I would be prepared to swear that at least three-fourths of the total quantity of mackerel caught in the schooners are taken within the three-mile limit, while of the boats I believe almost the entire catch is taken within such limit.
That for the past two years the American fishing fleet in the gulf has been small, while for many years previously it would average six hun. dred sail.
That the presence of the fleet along the shores injured the boat-fish. ing because of the mode of fishing, which was, with the wind off shore, to approach the shore as closely as possible and commence fishing, keeping constantly throwing bait and drifting to sea, taking the mack. erel off the shore with them and away from the boats.
That, as a general rule, my experience has led me to conclude tbat the American tishing-vessels usually secured two fares during the sea. son in the gulf, and in some cases as many as three fares would be secared.
The vessels ranged, as a rule, from sixty to seventy tons, and a sin. gle fare would be in the neighborhood of six hundred or seven hundred barrels.
That in the spring of the year large quantities of herring are taken around our shores, which are used chiefly for mackerel bait.
That during the season I myself commanded my little schooner, whose tonnage amounted to twenty-seven tous, my catch was 190 barrels of mackerel only, but this I accounted for because I only fished two months out of the season, the vessel being engaged during the rest of the sea. son in the carrying trade; and during the same season my catch of codfish was one hundred and seventy-five quintals of codfish, and three hundred and fifty barrels of herring.
HUGH J. MONTGOMERY. Sworn to at Charlottetown, in Queens County, this 18th day of June, A. D. 1877, before me, the erasures opposite my initials being first made.
of P. E. Island.
No. 3. DOMINION OF CANADA,
Province of Prince Edward Island, Prince County, to wit : I, JOHN D. WHITE, of Alberton, in Prince County, in Prince Edward Island, cooper and trader, make oath and say:
1. That I have now resided twenty-five years on Prince Edward Island, during twenty-three years of which I have been engaged in the fishing business.
2. Before coming to Prince Edward Island, namely, in the years forty. one and forty-two, I fished off the American coast. The result of the first year's catch was one hundred and sixty barrels, and of the second, seventy-three barrels. Both catches were all made nearly thirty miles from land. No mackerel were then taken by the American fleet off the coast of the United States excepting a long distauce from land; none were taken within three miles of the coast.
3. In the year 1852 I came to Prince Edward Island, and in the year 1851 settled at Tigoish and engaged in the business of coopering and
fishing. I kept a fishing-stage and employed a number of boats and men, and have continued steadily in the business ever since.
4. In 1860 I removed my business to Alberton, and I am now largely engaged in the business, employing one schooner, ten boats, and fifty. six men.
5. The increase in the boat-fishing has been large of late years. The numbers and the catch of the boats have more than trebled since 1854.
6. From Hardy's Channel to Kildare Cape, a distance of about thirty miles, there are seveu fishing-stages, and in the harbor of Cascu mpec alone there are thirty-pine large fishing boats, the average cost of which is about three hundred dollars.
7. All the mackerel taken in and around this part of the coast, for many miles, are taken at a distance between one-quarter of a mile and two miles from the shore. A few may be taken outside of two miles from the shore, but none are taken outside of tbree miles.
8. The average catch of the boats for a period of twenty years has been from seventy to eighty barrels of mackerel each every season.
9. The American fleet have largely frequented this coast. I would say that from 1854 to 1874 the average number of the mackerel fleet of American vessels frequenting the Gulf of St. Lawrence ranged between four hundred and four hundred and fifty per season.
10. A large portiou of this fleet frequent the shores around Cascumpec and take their catches there. They catch their fish close to the shore, about the same distance as the boats, that is between one quarter and two miles from the shore. A very sipall proportion of the catch of the Americau fleet is taken outside of the three miles. The practice of the fleet is to run in close to the shore, throw out bait aud drift off, some times taking the schools of fish with them.
11. The boats fishermen dislike the presence of the American fleet very much. It interteres sadly with the catch of the boats. The Americans dress their fish on the deck and throw the offal overboard, and this offal destroys the fishing grounds.
12. In my opinion, nine-tenths of the fish taken by the American fishermen are taken within the three miles from sbore, and I am quite sure if they were excluded from these limits they would have to abandon the fisheries in the gulf altogether. It would be useless and senseless for them to prosecute the business.
13. If American fishermen were excluded from our waters I would not care for the duty of two dollars per barrel levied in the United States. The demand for mackerel is well known, the quantity required is known, and we would have the business to a large extent in our own bands if the Americans were excluded from our shores. If they increased the duty the consumers would still, in my opinion, have to pay the increase.
14. The privilege of lauding to get supplies and transsbip is a very valuable one. The mackerel season is very short, and this privilege is equal to an extra trip and is so looked upon by the Americans.
15. The new mode of tishing with purse-seines has a very bad effect on the fishery. It not only entirely disturbs and scares away the fish, but a very large number of small inackerel and other kinds of fish are taken and destroyed, thrown away dead, and the waters thus polluted.
JOHN D. WHITE. Sworn to this third day of August, A. D. 1877, before me.
STANISLAUS F. PERY,