CHAPTER VI.--THE FISHERIES.
III.--PARTICULAR SURVEY OF THE INDIVIDUAL BRANCHES OF THE INDUSTRY. (continued)
341. This prime fish is
seldom found inshore, but small quantities are to be taken on the Banks.
The fishery is pursued from Newfoundland in the south-western area, where
relatively small quantities are taken in the winter and exported to Canada.
In 1933 the Arctic Prince, a large vessel acting as mother-ship to several
smaller fishing craft, and freezing their catches, tried out the Newfoundland
grounds (chiefly the Grand Bank), with the view of obtaining a halibut catch.
The venture appears to have broken down for various reasons, one of which very
probably was the light nature of the halibut catches achieved.
342. This is really the
Greenland halibut, and differs from its congener, the true halibut, in having
a very high content of oil. It is probably not so prolific in numbers as is
thought, and is largely confined to the very deep waters of Notre Dame and
Trinity Bays. At present it is practically unsaleable, at any rate at a
remunerative price. In past year, limited amounts have been salted and exported
to the Mediterranean, but the fish has been apt to lose its firmness in transit
and to be broken up when unpacked. Laboratory tests have demonstrated that
this fish, which does not eat well in the fresh state, is highly palatable
when smoked, giving a product somewhat akin to kippered herring. A local market
for this product may be developed.
||Islington (Trinity Bay), 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.
10. Other fish species.
343. There are several
species of flounders, and two of dabs, found in inshore waters, but these
fish are not esteemed by the fishermen, although they are excellent food.
On the Banks there are enormous numbers of flat-fish, many of which are of
large size. The most prolific fish is the Long Rough Dab, which occurs in
numbers greater even than those of codfish. The Smooth Dab (Sand Dab) is
much rarer and is of finer quality. Both species are consumed in the United
Kingdom, under the name of fillets or even fillets of sole. Most of the
Newfoundland foreshore is rocky, and deep water occurs inshore. This is,
in conjunction with the chilly nature of the waters, an unfavourable state
of conditions for the occurrence of the prime flat-fish like plaice and sole.
The true sole, like the plaice, does not occur in Newfoundland waters, but any
trawlers operating from England would undoubtedly utilise the best of these
dabs. Witch "flounders" or Whitches are found in limited numbers on the Banks.
These are equivalent to the European fish of the same species, and would be
utilized by trawlers. Haddock are exceedingly plentiful on the southern
portion of the Grand Bank and trawlers would reap a rich harvest there.
(In Newfoundland the haddock caught on the Banks are salted in the same manner
as codfish and fetch a relatively low price.)
11. Shellfish (other than Lobsters).
344. These too are scarce
in the Newfoundland area to warrant hopes of much industrial exploitation.
In certain areas clams form part of the source of bait. A factory has recently
been erected at Port au Port Bay for the purpose of canning scallops and
In the course of time, when more pressing developmental work has
been dealt with, some attention might be devoted to the artificial stimulation
of shellfish growth in this and other likely areas.
345. Little progress has
been made with the manufacture of fish-meal or of any other fishery by-product
in Newfoundland. Fish-meal, the most important of the by-products, is capable
of production from the immense amount of cod-heads and sound-bones at present
jettisoned. Owing to the extremely short fishing season, however, and the
difficulty of collecting the raw material, headway has never been made, although
fish-meal plants have been installed at various points in the Island.
346. Reference to lobster
and salmon canning has already been made. Modern fish-canning equipment exists
only in the premises of one large mercantile house in St. John's, where a small
amount of codfish products is processed; on board the s.s. Blue Peter, where
one or two thousand cases of salmon may be canned each year; and in at most
two outports. Lobster is the chief fish canned and this is done almost entirely
in small plants in the outports.
Image description updated May, 2004.