CHAPTER VI.--THE FISHERIES.
1. SCHEME FOR THE RESUSCITATION OF THE DEEP-SEA AND FALL FISHERIES.
(d) Finance. (continued)
373. If the scheme proves
successful and is extended gradually to 12 schooners, as contemplated under
paragraph 368 (3), it will be a question for consideration whether the fish
caught should not be cured and dried by those in charge before being sold.
The average price that would be received for dried fish would be in the
neighbourhood of $4.00 to $5.00 a quintal, and possibly even higher prices
would be obtained if the markets improved. The gross receipts from the
operation of the schooners would thereby be greatly increased, but against
this increase would have to be set the cost of the additional facilities for
storage, curing and artificial drying that would be required at Bay Bulls, or
alternatively of hiring such facilities elsewhere. A further consideration
which would arise is that, if the whole operation of curing and drying was to
be conducted by the Government, much additional work and responsibility would be
thrown on the directing staff of the Laboratory. Such work, unless additional
personnel could be provided, might interrupt the important research work which
is now in progress and which must continue to be the main concern of the
Laboratory. The operation of the schooners, and the experiments in canning and
the production of fish-meal, etc., which would be rendered possible, would,
however, in themselves, provide a valuable adjunct to the existing duties of the
Laboratory, and so long as the fish is sold from salt bulk, i.e., without being
dried or cured, the danger of the main work of the Laboratory being interrupted
would not be likely to arise.
Head (b). Bait Depots.
|374. (a) Capital Expenditure:--|
|Six depots at $20,000 each, completely equipped
and left in running condition ..........................................
|(b) Operating expenses:--|
|Catching of fish for depots and transfer from one
depot to another, say .....................................................
Transfer of bait depots to bays by local vessels
(mostly done by coastal steamers), say ...........................
Wages of operating staff at depots: one man at each
depot with help as required, say $1,000 each ..................
Cost of electric power and incidentals, say
$1,500 each ...................................................................
|(c) Operating receipts:--|
|Sale of bait to schooners, companies and foreign
vessels, say ..................................................................
Proceeds of tax of 2 cents a quintal on fish exported
(average 1¼ million quintals) .........................................
375. The foregoing estimate
does not allow for the erection of small scale storage facilities in the Bays,
other than those in which the depots are situated. Such storage is left, in the
first instance, to the fishermen themselves, who should be encouraged to put away
ice in the winter. If, however, funds should later be available, small scale
storage facilities should be erected in the Bays and operated by the Government
in connection with the main scheme. Such facilities would consist either of
small refrigerating plants which could be erected at a cost of $1,500 each, or
ice-salt freezing chambers which are cheaper, but not so simply operated, and
are not so effective in holding the bait in sufficiently good condition. Ice
itself will hold bait in fairly good condition for one to two weeks, if the gut
(in the case of herring) has been removed.
Head (c). Concurrent experiments.
|376. (a) Canning:--|
|The additional canning equipment necessary at Bay Bulls would
cost some $3,000.
Operating expenses would be approximately $4,000 a year, and
these should be more than covered by receipts which may be
placed at about $5,000 a year.
|(b) Fish-meal:-- Capital Expenditure.|
|Conversion of existing cold store, etc. ..............................
Installation of plant yielding 2½-5 tons a day ...................
| Operating Expenses.|
|It is estimated that these would amount to 2.15 cents a pound.
Production would amount to about 250 tons a year. On the
basis of a selling price of 3-4 cents a lb., costs would be
covered with a production of 100-150 lb.
377. It will be seen
from these estimates of cost that provision has been made, in the case of the
bait depots, for the imposition of a special tax of 2 cents a quintal on fish
exported. A tax of this character and amount is in force at the present time,
instituted under the Salt Codfish Exportation Act of 1933, but the proceeds are
devoted towards the expenses of the Exportation Board, established under the Act.
This Board we have recommended should be dissolved, its functions being assumed
by the new Fisheries Bureau. We consider, however, that the tax should remain
in force, the proceeds being devoted towards the expenses of operating the new
bait depots to be constructed under Head (b) above. The institution of efficient
arrangements for the collection and distribution of bait is one of the main needs
of the fishing industry, and should prove of immense benefit to fisherman and
exporter alike. On the other hand, this is a branch of activity which, in ordinary
circumstances, would be expected to be assumed by the trade itself and we consider
that, until such time as it is in a position to take over these duties, the
imposition of a special tax which would save the Government from loss would be
378. We have pointed out
that the time has come when the fishing industry must inevitably go through a
process of reorganisation. We feel confident that, once modern and scientific
methods are adopted, the industry will soon recover its lost ground, and will
move forward to a new level of achievement. When this advance takes place, it
will no doubt be capable of assuming entire charge of essential activities, such
as the collection of bait, the regulation of shipments and other matters in which
Government intervention has been brought about only by internal disunion in the
ranks of the exporting firms. So also do we contemplate that it will later take
over the operation of the schooner base and the subsidiary enterprises, to the
development of which we attach much importance. The schemes we have recommended
are designed primarily to give the industry a lead, to avert the collapse with
which the industry, and with it the country, is threatened, and to provide the
fisherman with a new chance of earning a livelihood during the period in which
the industry is reorganising itself on the best basis for meeting foreign
competition. So soon as this has been achieved, the operations conducted by the
Government would doubtless be transferred to private enterprise.
2. NEED FOR IMPROVED APPARATUS IN THE OUTPORTS.
379. Encouragement should be
given to the spread of improved apparatus in the outports, round which a practical
form of centralisation may grow naturally and not artificially. Inexpensive fish
dryers, for example, should be established by the trade in each outport of size
and used judiciously. If this is done the fishermen will tend to take their fish
to the dryer whenever indifferent curing weather is experienced. Improved
apparatus for canning, or for the production of cod-liver oil, will lead to
local centralisation of these subsidiary industries, in place of the waste or
overlapping resulting from the concurrent operation of two or three small plants
within a short distance of each other. Better facilities for the washing of fish
are badly needed in many places, and efforts should be made to introduce these
wherever practicable. Any expenditure undertaken by the Government could be
recouped by making a small annual charge for the water supplied. In addition to
the more widespread provision of running water in fish premises, attention should
be given to the general problem of the water supply of the actual dwelling houses
in the outports.
|Calvert (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.
3. INSPECTION OF FISH PREMISES.
380. Government inspection of
fish premises should be instituted and hints given where required. Inspection
should be carried out by the District Fishery Officers and should apply to all
premises, whether belonging to the fisherman or the exporter, where fish are
handled. Regulations should be issued defining the standard requirements to be
observed, and the penalties for their non-observance. Premises should be
examined from the standpoint of their general suitability for the purpose in
view, and in particular from that of cleanliness. Important factors in the
case of fishermen's premises would be the water supply, and facilities for
washing fish and for the disposal of waste. Many fishermen hardly recognise
even yet that fish is an article of food; while we have seen fish treated in
some of the premises of fish exporters in a manner which can only be described
as primitive. The exercise of greater care, and the inculcation of higher
standards, are essential if the industry is to re-establish itself in the respect
of the world.
Image description updated May, 2004.