B. Methods.


(b) Fall Fishery.

  369.--(1) The fall fishery depends for its success on adequate supplies of bait, which have seldom been available since squid came to be regarded as the only suitable bait. Two requirements are therefore essential:--

  (i) The fishermen must be brought back to the use of herring, which, we learn, was almost exclusively used as a fall bait 40 years ago.
  (ii) The distribution of bait must be efficiently organised-- i.e., there must be a regular bait service.

  (2) The first requirement can be met by educational propaganda. The second requirement will involve the erection by the Government of bait depots at strategic points, such as Bay of Islands, where supplies both of herring and electric power are available. Six such depots, each capable of holding 200,000 to 400,000 lb. should be sufficient for the purpose.
  (3) Use might be made, both in the meantime and subsequently, of certain existing depots operated by private enterprise, such as those at Holyrood and Burin, which are at present empty. Herring bait could be transferred to these depots when squid is lacking, and in one of them, at least, large quantities of well-frozen caplin might be stocked.

Burin Path-End, Burin, 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 (47 kb)

  (4) From the six main depots bait would be transferred to the various bays, as required, and stored in small, electrically refrigerated stores, ordinary ice-salt freezing chambers, or even in ice, for gradual use. It is very unlikely that in any one year sufficient squid will be obtained to take up more than half the space available in the depots. It will be necessary for a refrigerated vessel to be chartered for two or three months each fall to visit the fishing grounds where squid is most prolific, to secure all the squid possible, and thereafter to proceed to Bay of Islands in November and December and obtain sufficient herring to complete the filling of the bait stores. The bait will subsequently be distributed--

  (a) by schooners visiting the stores and buying direct for the Bank fishery;
  (b) by the refrigerated vessel herself during her ordinary work of collecting in the fall months;
  (c) by Government coastal vessels, as required;
  (d) to foreign vessels, if a surplus remains over local needs.

Information as to the amount of bait in store would be sent out once or twice daily by wireless (as is present done in Nova Scotia).
  (5) Consideration should be given as to whether and how far charges should be made for bait to other than foreign vessels. It will be seen from paragraphs 374 and 377 that we have suggested that the undertaking might be financed, in part, by means of a tax of two cents a quintal on fish exported.

(c) Concurrent Experiments.

  370.--(1) It will be seen that the provision of cold storage facilities is an essential part of both the plans outlined above. The cold storage facilities contemplated under the second plan will be used entirely for bait; but those contemplated under the first plan might, we suggest, be used also for other experiments.
  (2) For example, the supplies of cod-heads and sound-bones available both from the operations of the schooners and from the local trap-fishery might be kept in cold storage until the rush of the trap-fishing was over, when they might be processed at leisure for fish-meal. With the addition of caplin, cod-liver residues and other seasonal material it might thus be possible to feed a fishmeal plant for a large part of the year. Experiment in one locality first of all will decide this.
  (3) A canning industry might also be developed. There is room for bold experiments in the production, for home consumption, of a wider variety of fish products than are at present manufactured. A fairly wide range of canned fish products has been found feasible of production by laboratory tests. The following is a list of products capable of production (and in most cases already produced in Laboratory) in Newfoundland:--salmon, salmon croquette, salmon crème, cod fillets, smoked cod fillets, cod tongues, codfish croquette, smoked haddock, smoked turbot, lobsters, caplin, smoked caplin.
  At the earliest moment a booklet should be prepared giving recipes, etc., for the production of these, and also for canning, bottling or otherwise processing the vegetable and fruit products of the country.
  The existing vacuum canning plant at the Laboratory at Bay Bulls might with advantage, on its replacement by a more adequate apparatus, be transferred to St. Anthony, to the charge of the Grenfell Mission, where a large range of products is being grown and where fish, including salmon, are obtained so cheaply as to be capable of being canned at competitive prices for, say, the United Kingdom market.
  (4) We recommend, therefore, that experiments in both these directions should be carried out by the Government in conjunction with the plan for the establishment of a deep-sea schooner base.

(d) Finance.

  371. We estimate that, for the execution of the schemes outlined under Heads (a), (b) and (c), an immediate capital outlay of approximately $165,000 will be required, involving operation charges in the first year of about $80,000, all of which, except in the case of the bait depots, would be directly recoverable. For the bait depots special arrangements are proposed. The indirect benefits which would accrue to the Exchequer as a result of increased employment, increased local business, an increased catch of fish and a new stimulus to the fishing industry, need not be stressed.

  372. The following figures show the estimated cost of the schemes under each Head:--

Head (a). Schooner Base, Bay Bulls.

(a) Capital Expenditure:--
Purchase of 4 schooners at, say $7,000 each ...............
Cost of refitting for sea, say ........................................
(b) Operating expenses:--
Outfit for season, including provisions, salt,
  fishing gear and bait, say $5,000 each ........................
Extras, including insurance, hire of store, etc. .............
Wages and bonus for captain and 22 men for 7
  months at average of $30.00 a month, say
  $4,850 per vessel .......................................................
Additional allowance to captain of group, say ................


(c) Operating receipts:--
On the assumption that, at the outset, fish will
   be sold from salt bulk, i.e., without being dried
  and cured, the average receipts may be placed at
  $3.00 a quintal.
The average catch of each schooner on the "circuit"
  basis may estimated at 4,000 quintals a year.
On this basis, the average annual receipts from each
  schooner will be $12,000, and for 4 schooners ............  
Thus giving a surplus of receipts over expenditure
  in the first year of ......................................................
a sum which should be ample to allow for refitting
  at the end of the season.



Image description updated May, 2004.

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