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I, SYLVAN F. ARSINEAUX, of Tignish, in Prince County, Prince Ed. ward Island, inspector of fish, make oath and say:
1. I have bad charge of a fishing-stage for the last twenty years on this shore. I used, during that time, to bo myself actually engaged in fish. ing, always in boats. I am now fish inspector for this county.
2. There are over two hundred and thirty boats engaged in the fisheries between Mimnigah and Kildare; I know this from my own actual experience. The average catch of mackerel would be about forty-five barrels for each boat; for codfish and bake, the average for all the boats would be about forty quintals each. The average catch of herring for all boats would be about twenty barrels; the fishermen only try to get enough herring for mackerel bait and for home use.
3. The boats have trebled in number in the last ten years, and they are three times better boats; they are larger, better sailers, better rigged and fitted out. There is a large amount more money invested in the boat business than there was ten years ago. The business has enor. mously increased.
4. The boats carry, on an average, crews of four men each.
5. I would account for the increase in the number of boats, and the increased attention given to the business, by referring to the increase of population. There are greater numbers of fishermen springing up all the time; they are more enterprising, and they find the business pays. The boat-fishing also affords employment to numbers of men.
6. With some few exceptions, the boats get their fish close to the shore. The best fishing ground is looked upon as inside of three miles of the shore.
7. For the last ten years the American fleet-fishing off the coast has averaged, I sbould say, about five hundred sail. When the cutters are not bere, the Americans must catch three-quarters of their fish inshore. When the cutters were here they also caught more fish within three miles of the shore than outside, but not so much as when the cutters were away. They used to dodge the cutters and get inshore. There were not enough cutters to keep them off altogether. The Americans were frigbtened off a good deal by the cutters. If the Americans were prevented from fishing within three miles of the shore, it would not be worth their while to fit out for the gulf fishery. It would not pay them.
8. When the Americans come down they do a great deal of harm to the boats, as they throw a great deal of bait and draw the fish out. They come insbore, throw ont bait, and draw the mackerel out after tbem. This leaves our boats without fish and destroys their chance of a catch. They have better bait than we have, and are enabled to do this damage.
9. Our fishermen look upon the coming of the Americans as an injury to the boat and island fishermen; the vessels draw away the fish. The fleet, in fact, puts an end to the good fishing, and are the cause of great loss to us.
10. The Americans, when they see boats getting fish, come up and "lee bow" them, thus depriving the boats of the fish. “Lee-bowing" is getting to windward of the tide or current and throwing out bait and drawing off the fish. The American schooners also frequently drift down upon our boats, when the latter have to get out of the way. The boats are often injured by the vessels drifting down on them.
11. It would certainly be au advantage to the Americans to be able
to transship their fish here. They would thus be able to fit out again for fishing and go back to the grounds without losing much time; whereas, if they had to go bome with their loads they would lose from three to four weeks right in the middle of the fishing season. It would be also a great advantage as 'enabling them to watch the fluctuations of the mackerel market, which is very variable.
12. The mackerel season bere lasts from about the end of June till the middle of October. The Americans get here about the end of June. Some of them are off here now.
13. The mackerel I believe come down from the direction of tbe Magdalen Islands, or from the south ward and eastward, and work northward and westward till some time in August, and then work back, and they strike this island both ways. The Americans follow the course of the fisb.
S. F. ARSINEAUX. Sworn to at Tignish, in Prince County, Prince Edward Island, this 28th day of June, A. D. 1877, before me.
I ALEXANDER FRANCIS LARKIN, of Nail Pond, in Prince County Prince Edward Island, fish-trader and fisherman, make oath and say:
1. That I have 'veen engaged in fishing and in the fishing business practically for over twenty years, in both boats and vessels, and know the fishing-grounds right round this island, particularly the north end of this island. I have been on board of tishing schooners four years, in one of which I owned an interest, and the last year I was master of her.
2. The first two years that I was on board a schooper was in the Pearl, with Captain Champian one year and with Captain Fidele Gal. lant another year. Our catch of fish that year was small, as we were not fitted out for the business, and were only out a small part of the season. That was eighteen or niveteen years ago.
3. That I fisbed in the schooper Recbabite for about two years, but only for part of the season. I owned a third interest in her, and the second year I was master of her. She was thirty-seven tons burden. She was only out about five weeks tbat year, as we took freight both spring and fall. We caught in that time about three hundred quintals of codfish each year. All these fish were caught within three miles of the shore.
4. The American schooners often very seriously interfere with our cod. fishing schooners, as they often carry away the nets our schooners bave out for catcbing bait. The greater part, I should say nine tentbs, of our island catch of codfish are caught within three miles of the shore. Another very serious trouble that the Americans cause our cod fishing within three miles of the shore is, that when we put out our set-lines the Americans, when springing their vessels up to anchor for the purpose of fishing mackerel, often in getting in their gear interfere with our setlines, and this trouble is increasing, as we are going more in for set-lines now. The set-lines are now taking the place of hand lives, and the island coast will soon be a perfect network of set-lines. I myself bare now about three thousand hooks out in set-lines.
5. Tbat the Americans interfere very seriously with the cod fishing and with our set-lives within three miles of the shore by their seining. They tbrow a purse-seine of sometimes one hundred and fifty fathoms in length, and sometimes twenty in depth, and sweep the bottom, thus often causing great loss to our cod-fishing, besides disturbing our boats Jying at anchor. This I look upon as a most serious trouble, aud it is increasing.
6. That when mackerel strike in here and we have a biting school of them, I consider the coming of the Americans as the end of the fishing; they interfere with our boats and draw the school right off the coast, and break up the school. They do this by throwing bait and drifting away, drawing the mackerel after them. In a number of cases they drift down on the boats, and I have known a number of boats to be dis. masted by them. Often the boats have to get under way to get clear of them.
7. The privilege of transshipment I consider is a very great one to the Americans; they are thereby enabled to come into our harbors, pack out and send home their fares by railway, without losing much time, and I believe they can refit bere much cheaper than at home. This must save them at least three weeks in each trip, in the matter of going home, which would be equal to another trip in the course of the summer. They also get their fish home much quicker, and can take advantage of the fluctuations of the markets. I have known instances of Americans making as much as three and four trips a season into Charlottetown to transship.
8. Since baving the Island Railway, they can pack out in Alberton with greater facility than in Charlottetown, and without leaving the fisbing-ground.
9. The cleaning of large quantities of mackerel on our coast by the Americans, and throwing over the offal, injures our cod-fishing.
10. The American schooners often cause great injury and annoyance to our boats fishing mackerel, by drifting down upon them and taking away the mackerel, and compelling the boats to give way.
11. To my own knowledge a large fleet of American schooners fish around this island, from New London Head to North Cape, and thence to West Point, and generally within three miles of the shore. Masters and crews of American vessels look upon it as a very great privilege to be allowed to fisb pear shore, and if they were not allowed to do so, I do not believe many of them would fit out for the gulf fishing.
12. When the cutters were about, the American captains used to run the risk of capture and loss of vessel and outfit, in order to fish inshore, and some of them were taken. The cutters did protect our fishermen a good deal and our boats enjoyed greater security, but our coast was not sufficiently protected; tbere were not enough cutters. I believe that about ten scbooners, as cutters, would protect the fisheries from Scatterie, in Cape Breton, all the island coasts, and up the New Brunswick coast to Misko, and probably up the Bay Chaleur. Schooners of fifty or sixty tops would be the best cutters. In fact, that number would cover the whole mackerel fisheries for Cape Breton, Magdalen Islands, and New Brunswick, and would effectually keep the Americans out of the three-mile limit.
13. Large quantities of herring are now seined every year at Magdalen Islands by American fishermen, and they ship these herring away to Sweden, Norway, and southern markets.
14. The Americans derive great benefit from being able to go down to the coast of Newfoundland, to Bay Fortune, and up to Bay of Islands, where they catch large quantities of herring, which they freeze and send down to bait their George's fishing.fleet, and also to their city markets. 15. After the Magdalen spring fishing is over the Americans often go up to Anticsti and fish and seine herring there.
16. The Americans, also, both at the Magdalens and at Cape Breton, land and seine for bait for their cod fishing, and they even go into the rivers and catch gaspereaux for bait.
17. Taking our coast from Mimnigash to Nail Pond, in this county, I believe that the fishing outfit has increased five or six hundred per cent. in the last ten years; that is, in the number of boats and their cost. I would estimate the number of boats between Mimnigashi and North Cape at from one hundred and fifty to two hundred; and from North Cape to Alberton I should estimate the increase during the last ten years at from three to four hundred per cent. I wonld reckon the num. ber of boats in that distance at from one hundred and fifty to two hun. dred; there must be fully that many. I sbould say that the whole number of all these boats take crews of three men each on board of them, and that they furnish employment to one man for each boat on shore.
18. Our fishing at this end of the island is only in its infancy; our men are only getting skilled and trained to it.
19. The reasons for the increase in the number of boats are that men of capital and experience, seeing the fisbing to be a fruitful source of trade, have invested capital, and have encouraged men to build and go into the boat-fishing.
20. I consider that after this we will have a distinct fisbing class of people, that is when the lands are all taken up, wbich they are now. At present, and in the past, the men fished when they had time for farming. Now, we have men who depend entirely on the fishing, and these secure large quantities of fish, and their number is increasing fast. I consider that we are now at the beginning of a new departure in trade in this country owing to the fishing. In my experience, I depend upon men who depend entirely on the fishing to get fully three times as many fish as those who look partly to other means of support.
21. With regard to the value of our fisheries, I cousider them very valuable. We bave herring in early spring; immediately after, and during the berring-fishing, we have codfish. The herring-fishing lasts from about the 1st of May to the 5th of June. At times there are large quantities of herring on our coast, and they are about the same quality of fish as the Magdalen Island herring. They never yet have been fished as an article of export, but only as mackerel-bait and for home consumption. Very much larger quantities can be generally procured tban are required for those purposes.
22. After the cod-fishing we have fish consisting of maokerel and ling, or hake, right through till late in the fall, till about the beginning of November. So far as I know, from actual experience, this part of this island is one of the choice spots for fishing in the Gulf of Saint Law. rence. Large numbers of the Nova Scotian shore fishermen come right round here to fish. We never have had a complete failure of fish, although in blustery years we catch less than in other years. The reg. ular fishermen, even in the worst years, have always made fair wages.
23. I should put the average catch of mackerel per boat, for all boats engaged in fishing, at about fifty barrels, and for those engaged in cod. fishing, taking one year with another, for ten years past, about fitty quintals of cod fish and hake. Until late years our boats and outfits have been of a very rude kipd, not to be compared to that of the Nora Scotiaus or Americans, and that is one reason I think our fishery is only in its infancy.
24. I look upon our lobster.fishing here as of very great, in fact of
inestimable, valae. We have an inexhaustible supply of them. This branch of the fishing might be pursued here with very great advantage. A great advantage in this fishery would be the abundance of fish offal which we have for bait, and which is now going to waste.
25. Hake sounds here are a very valuable article in our fishing. They are procured from tbe hake or ling. Each quintal of 280 pounds of Jing will give on an average about 34 pounds of sounds. Within the last ten years the price of these has ranged all the way from 25 cents to $1.50'a pound, making an average value of 75 cents, in gold, a pouud. The value of the sounds is, on an average, worth from 75 to 100 per cent, more than the fish from which they are taken, and the sounds are, therefore, a very important consideration in fishing.
26. With improved winter-cominunication, large quantities of trout, smelt, and some bass might be exported. The value of tbese fisheries, if the means of trade were opened up, would be greatly enhanced, and would be well worth going into.
27. We have had one or two instances in tbis part of the island of men attempting the salmon, and they have proved that it may be made a success in fishing. Our people do not yet know the value of this fish. ery, wbich I believe will become very valuable.
28. Our men are now becoming more and more acquainted with the habits of the fish and with the general laws by which their movements are gorerned, and with their improved knowledge of the habits of the fish and increased facilities for taking them they are now much more able to get catches.
A. F. LARKIN. Sworn to at Frog, or Skinner's Pond, in Prince County, Prince Ed. ward Island, this 28th day of June, A. D. 1877, before me.
J. P. for Prince County. No. 6.
I, JAMES CONROY, of Kildare, lot or township No. 3, in Prince Ed. ward Island, farmer and fisherman, make oath and say:
1. I have been engaged in fishing and farming for over twelve years. I bave fished all the time, except oue summer, in boats.
2. The number of boats fishing off this part of the shore is increas. ing. The number bas more than trebled in the last ten years. The boats are a great deal better now than they were formerly. They are in better shape every way—more suited to the purpose. There are $10 spent in the business along this shore now to the $1 spent ten years ago.
3. The boats around about here are small, as the people do not make a specialty of the business, but farm as well. The boats carry about three bands each.
4. All the mackerel caught along here are caught within three miles of tbe shore. The greater part are caught within a mile and a half and one mile of the shore. Near the shore is by far the best fishing ground. In the spriug and fall the cod-fish are caught close to the shore. In the summer they are farther off. The mackerel is the principal and most valuable part of the fishery.
5. When an American fleet comes in they certainly do injury to the boa-fishing. The more vessels that come down, the more damage is done to the fisbing. I bave seen a fleet of some hundred Americans fishing off this shore within a couple of miles.