CHAPTER VI.--THE FISHERIES.
B. Methods. (continued)
4. CONTROL OF SHIPMENTS TO FOREIGN MARKETS.
381. An essential corollary to
the encouragement of improved methods of catching and curing fish, and of improved
relations between fisherman and exporter, is the introduction of an economic
system of marketing. Shipments to foreign markets must be so spaced and controlled
as to prevent individual markets being glutted and to ensure that the best returns
are received by the exporter and, ultimately, by the fisherman. Had the plans
tentatively under discussion by the Salt Codfish Exportation Board been further
advanced, it might have been possible to leave the control of shipments to the
trade itself, requiring it merely to render returns to the Government. In present
circumstances, however, we doubt whether any comprehensive agreement could be
reached among exporters without Government assistance, and be appointed, under
the Chairmanship of the Commissioner in charge of the Fisheries Bureau, to deal
with this subject. This Committee, which might be known as the Control of
Shipments Committee, would be composed of six members, exclusive of the Chairman,
such members to be nominated by, and representative of authorised exporters. The
Committee would be purely an advisory committee, its object being to assist the
Commissioner in arriving at a satisfactory arrangement for the spacing and control
of shipments, and in smoothing over any difficulties which might be encountered
from time to time. The Commissioner would endeavour to act, as far as possible,
in agreement with the trade. In the event, however, of the Committee failing to
agree upon any workable plan, it would be open to the Commissioner to recommend to
the Commission of Government (which we propose) the issue of such regulations for
the control of shipments as would, in his opinion, be to the general advantage of
5. ENQUIRY INTO POSSIBILITY OF BUILDING UP LOCAL CARRYING FLEET.
382. We have already indicated
the serious loss which the country generally, and St. John's in particular, suffers
through the absence of a local mercantile marine. It is, to say the least, highly
anomalous that in a maritime country, proud of its sea-faring traditions, with an
extensive European and South American trade, use should be made of foreign vessels
to carry its products to market. It is still more anomalous that the foreign
vessels generally employed for this purpose should be those of a nation which is
one of Newfoundland's chief competitors in the codfish markets of the world. The
decline in activity in St. John's which has resulted from the chartering of these
vessels, coupled with the loss to the country of the sums annually remitted abroad
on this account, represent a serious weakness which will need to be remedied before
the country can rest content with its economic position. We need not reproduce
here the arguments put before us in explanation of the present state of affairs.
We content ourselves with recording the facts and suggesting that a special enquiry
should be instituted, with a view to the elaboration of a practical scheme for
encouraging the gradual formation of a local carrying fleet.
383. More adequate collections
of statistics relating to the fisheries should be made. Much of this work could
be done by the District Fishery Officers, with the assistance of local officials
in the outports. The District Fishery Officers would render regular returns to
the Fisheries Bureau. The trade itself compiles certain statistics, e.g., relating
to salmon and lobster catches, and such compilations could be systematised and made
more general for periodical return to the Fisheries Bureau. Statistics relating to
market conditions, such as prices, movements and stocks, shipments, proportion of
qualities of fish, production in competing countries and so forth, might best be
handled by the Newfoundland Board of Trade, whose co-operation might be enlisted
for this purpose.
384. The means for providing
organised education in fishery matters should be investigated and practical
education in such matters should be fostered. There are various ways in which
this might be done:--
(1) We suggest
that a special educational branch should be established at the Fishery Research
Laboratory at Bay Bulls. Short courses of instruction in the general structure
of the fisheries, and in the most important considerations to be kept in view by
the fisherman, might be organised by the Director and conducted by a member of
the existing staff, who might be specially allotted to this work.
(2) Vacation courses might be attended by teachers, who would appear
to be the best agents for spreading useful information in the outports. Teachers
might be required, as part of their training, to undergo such a course, and might
then in turn organise outport courses of instruction. It is especially important
that the interest of the younger generation in the fisheries should be quickened,
and first principles inculcated which will afterwards serve them in good stead and
lead to a progressive improvement in fishery methods.
(3) Parties of young fishermen might also be selected for short
courses of instruction at Bay Bulls, especially during the winter months. Two
such courses have already been held with success and the experiment should be
continued, with the aid, if necessary, of a small Government grant.
(4) The courses should, in addition, be open to the attendance of any
person interested in or connected with the fishery on payment of a small fee. The
more widely a correct knowledge of requirements is disseminated, the more quickly
will the industry be likely to recover.
(5) Arrangements might also be made for occasional visits by members
of the staff of the Laboratory to the outports, where they could have informal
talks with the fishermen, give them hints in reconciling theory with practice,
and arouse their interest by showing them lantern slides illustrating the points
made. It is gratifying to learn that, during the 1933 fishing season, the
Government provided the means for two members of the staff to make a tour of
Placentia Bay, over 20 outports being visited. Informal discussions were entered
into with the fishermen, with satisfactory results.
(6) We suggest that the clergy might also be asked to use their
influence in furthering all measures for the betterment of the fisheries. We
feel sure that they will readily agree to do so.
(7) In the winter months it would be desirable that training or
instruction should be developed in such subjects as first-aid, hygiene, navigation,
practical agriculture and domestic science. We make elsewhere the suggestion that
every encouragement should be given to the fostering of home industries in
connection with the fisheries.
(8) Instruction in marine biology is already given at the Memorial
College, at St. John's. Any students intending later to take up occupations
connected with the fisheries should be encouraged to take up this subject and to
devote a proportion of their time to practical work at Bay Bulls.
||Pouch Cove (18 miles from St. John's), 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.
385. What is needed in fact
is a national campaign directed to the rehabilitation of the fishing industry,
the discarding of any outworn and unscientific practices in favour of methods
more in accordance with modern industrial standards, the substitution of team
work for individual effort, and the development of a local market for the wide
range of fishery products capable of being produced locally but now neglected.
In this work all classes of the community have an interest and all can help.
Image description updated May, 2004.