From the 1660s, the French government expected the population of Plaisance not only to fish but also
to cultivate the land, so that the colony would not be entirely dependent on food supplies brought
by European ships. Although some planters grew vegetable gardens and kept a few animals, local
agriculture never provided sufficient food for the colony.
|Farm at Plaisance.
An 18th century sketch of a French farm at Plaisance with a sheep grazing on the roof.
From D.W. Prowse, A History of Newfoundland from the English, Colonial, and
Foreign Records, 2nd edition (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1896) 186.
The ships arriving from Europe engaged in the summer fishery only, but the planters fished in the
fall and spring as well. They would arrange with French ships, coming mainly from La Rochelle,
Nantes and Bordeaux, to bring them the food supplies that were indispensable for their survival
and trade. New Englanders also came to Plaisance to buy fish and sell goods and, according to the
planters, Boston ships were better able to meet their needs. In time, the planters of Plaisance
themselves outfitted trading ships which did business with Québec, the West Indies and France.
The planters fished mainly to the west of Plaisance - Trepassey Bay, St. Pierre and Miquelon, St.
Mary's Bay, Fortune Bay, Grand Bank, Hermitage - but also on the Petit Nord. Published research
does not contain much information about the quantities of fish produced at Plaisance. However, some
|1703 ||30 ||4,060 ||1,140||71,200
|1704 ||43 ||5,741 ||1,508||123,000
|1705 ||22 ||2,710 ||721||---
|1706 ||52 ||--- ||---||---
|1712 ||24 ||--- ||---||---
Source: Charles de la Morandière, Histoire de la pêche française de la morue dans l'Amérique
septentrionale, G.-P. Maisonneuve et Larose, France, 1962, pp. 498-504.
© 2000, Nicolas Landry