B. Subsidiary Recommendations.


  (5) It would be of benefit to the community if the internal loan of $2,500,000 raised in 1932, and secured on the Petroleum Products Fund, could be paid off (paragraphs 140-142).
  (6) The present tariff is unscientific, excessively complicated, presses too hardly on the poorer classes, and urgently needs readjustment (paragraph 159).
  (7) Adjustments are needed in the salaries of Judges, Civil Servants and Government employees (paragraph 173).
  (8) As soon as circumstances permit, the opportunity should be taken to restore, in part at least, the cuts which have been made in war pensions (paragraph 174).
  (9) An increase in the Government grant towards the maintenance of the Island's educational services is, in our view, urgently called for (paragraph 175).


The Seal Fishery.

  (10) Conditions in the seal herds might form a suitable subject of investigation by a University expedition (paragraph 251).

The Cod Fishery.

  (11) The cod fishery has always been, and must continue to be, the mainstay of the Island. It is capable of great development but has stagnated, if indeed it has not declined, whereas the fishing industries of Norway and Iceland, Newfoundland's chief competitors in the markets of the world, have achieved a record of continuous progress. The fishing industry has now fallen on such evil days that urgent action is needed for its revival.
  (12) The chief defects if the present system are:--

  (a) The industry is conducted locally on a credit instead of a cash basis. The credit system is nothing more or less than a truck system which fosters inefficiency and laxity, raises prices of essential commodities, lowers the standard of living, keeps the fisherman in a condition bordering on servitude, and reacts to the ultimate disadvantage of the merchants themselves (paragraphs 270-280 and paragraph 307).
  (b) Control of the fisheries has been political, involving periodic reversals of policy, lack of continuity, absence of expert service (nearly all appointments being political, without reference to merit), and the patronage of certain business firms in disregard of the just requirements of others (paragraph 302).
  (c) There is an entire absence of organisation or large scale co-operative effort, the merchants or exporters conducting their business on a basis of pure individualism without regard to the true interests of the country or of the industry itself. Energies have been dissipated in internal jealousies and intrigue; haphazard and hand to mouth methods, a scramble for quick profits even at the risk of spoiling the market, and an indifference to the success of foreign rivals and even to the welfare of the local fishermen, remain, in spite of repeated warnings, the chief characteristics of the present system (paragraphs 286-290).

  (13) As a result of a succession of seasons since 1930 in which the industry has been conducted at a loss, the condition of the fishermen is now desperate, while the merchants also have suffered severely. If the present system continues unchecked and prices in foreign markets fail to recover to a remunerative level, there will be a general collapse. The rehabilitation of the fishery, essential as it is to the recovery of the Island, is of immediate and capital importance and must be the first objective of the new Government (paragraphs 274 and 362).
  (14) We have made a series of recommendations to this end (section IV of Chapter VI) of which the following are the main features:--

Administrative Control.

  (a) A scheme for the reorganisation of the fishery administration, the country being divided into eleven districts, each in charge of a District Fishery Officer, the latter being responsible to a Chief Fishery Officer at St. John's, who in turn would be responsible to the Head of the Fisheries Bureau of the Department of Natural Resources (paragraphs 351-356).
  (b) On the administrative side of the Fisheries Bureau, the Commissioner in charge of the Department would work through a permanent administrative secretary and would have at call advisers expert in the various branches of the fisheries. The functions of the existing Salt Codfish Exportation Board would be assumed by the Bureau. On the scientific side, the Commissioner would be assisted by the Director of the Fishery Research Laboratory at Bay Bulls, this institution becoming a permanent part of the governmental machinery dealing with the fisheries (paragraphs 348-349).
  (c) The Fishery Research Commission would be abolished and a new Fisheries Advisory Board would be set up (paragraph 357).
  (d) Two officials would be appointed as Inspectors of Markets in Europe, with headquarters at Oporto and Genoa respectively, and a third, possibly, as Inspector of Markets in South America (paragraph 350). These officials would be responsible to the Commissioner.
  (e) The Commissioner would also be Chairman of a Committee for the control of shipments of fish from Newfoundland (paragraph 381).

Commercial Control.

  (f) Action should be taken to retire the credit system by stages, and, as a beginning, regulations should be issued providing that in 1934 no merchant shall purchase fish from the fishermen without a minimum cash payment of 20 per cent of its value. Consideration should also be given to the question of establishing auctions for fish on specified days in St. John's and one or two chief centres (paragraph 350-360).
  (g) The formation of Fishermen's Mutual Societies should be encouraged but under appropriate safeguards (paragraph 361).


  (h) What is most needed in Newfoundland is the resuscitation first of the deep-sea fishery, and secondly of the fall fishery, thus adding four months to the intensive fishing season which at present lasts only from June to September (paragraph 362). Schemes for both these objects, and for the concurrent development of subsidiary products, have been prepared (paragraphs 364-378) and are recommended for the consideration of the new Government.


  (i) Recommendations are made with regard to the need for improved apparatus in the outports, the inspection of fish premises, an enquiry into the possibility of building up of a local carrying fleet, the need for statistics, the provision of organised education in fishery matters, and the launching of a national campaign for the rehabilitation of the fishing industry (paragraphs 379-385).

Witless Bay (Southern Shore), n.d.
Photo by Holloway. From the album of photographs furnished to the Newfoundland Royal Commission, August 1933. Courtesy of the Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archives (Coll-207), Memorial University of Newfoundland Library, St. John's, Newfoundland.
Larger Version (52 kb)
Witless Bay

Other Fisheries.

  (j) Provision for experiments in the production of canned products with a view to the establishment of a canning industry, and in the manufacture of fishmeal, has been included in the schemes referred to above (paragraph 370). There would seem to be an opening for the canning of salmon in the north of the Island and possibly also in Labrador (paragraph 331).
  (k) Lobsters have been over-fished. A temporary suspension of operations, or at least some measure of restriction, is essential (paragraph 333).
  (l) Greater use could be made of herring, both for bait and for local consumption (paragraphs 335-336).
  (m) There are openings for the use of caplin not yet developed, (i) in the dried form, for export abroad, e.g., to the West Indies, (ii) in the canned form, principally for local consumption, (iii) for fishmeal (paragraphs 337-339).
  (n) A local market might be developed for smoked "turbot" or Greenland halibut (paragraph 342).

Image description updated May, 2004.

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