The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume V

      [15th Oct.,

p. 2574

No. 1040.



What portions of land bordering on the Ocean are accessible by fishermen and utilisable for fishing purposes, and to what extent are they available for fishing purposes ?
I have already stated that North of Hamilton Inlet, except for shelter for vessels in the bays and for pursuit of fish in the actual water itself I do not consider the land (North of Hamilton Inlet) of any value whatever for fishermen and fisheries further than 500 yards from the high water mark. Except at Holton Tinkers and Sloop Harbours, I do not know of one single fishermen's house on the mainland—and I don't believe there ever has been one—outside the actual Eskimo and half breed settlers. There are such on the islands, but I do not believe one single one anywhere else on the mainland—possibly there may be a hut on the mainland side of Jigger Tickle in Cape Weleh Harbour, but I think not—nor do I believe that any summer fisherman has ever cut timber for fishing purposes anywhere on that North section of coast over 500 yards from high or tide water–mark. He may have purchased some wood from settlers who cut it in winter.
I know of no evidence to show that, anywhere along the coast south of this, summer fishermen have ever built houses, cut wood or used the land for fishing purposes beyond 500 yards from high water. I am open to conviction that a few fish may have been spread half a mile in—or some sporadic summer expedition have gone in half a mile. I am of opinion that a limit of one mile from high water would include every possible economic use of the Labrador land by summer fishermen—unless new ages discover new needs, altogether unknown to the fishermen of the past or present. The sale of timber to summer fishermen by winter settlers is a different matter, and south of Hamilton inlet spars would have to be sought further in the river valleys North of Hamilton inlet, though spars have been floated out of rivers by

* The earlier part of this Report in which Dr. Grenfell described the character of the mountains on the Labrador Coast and their relation to the Sea, has been omitted, as he placed main reliance upon the information on this subject published by Dr. Reginald A. Daly of Harvard University, referred to by Dr. Grenfell as “ a man of world fame,” and a report was afterwards obtained from Dr. Daly himself. (vide “ Topography of the North East Coast of Labrador,” Part XV, No. 1), which contains a detailed and scientific treatment of the whole subject.

p. 2575

settlers as far North as Adlavik, they were never accessible to summer fishermen 500 yards from high water anywhere. As for the land being valuable in the North for drying fish, I have never known a fish dried on the land North of Hopedale except by Eskimo—and generally speaking it is not profitable to dry fish North of Cape Harrison, owing to the small amount of sunshine available after the fish have been caught—for the capture of fish gets later and later in the year as one goes further and further north, and at the same time, the onset of winter, and the scarcity of days possible for use in drying fish, becomes proportionally less.

C.M.G., M.D., F.R.C.S., C.J., LL.D., etc.

In the Privy Council.

IN THE MATTER of the BOUNDARY between the Dominion of CANADA and the Colony of Newfoundland in the Labrador Peninsula.


This is the Exhibit marked “ B ” referred to in the Affidavit of Wilfred 20 Thomason Grenfell, sworn in this matter this 15th day of October 1924.
Before me,
(Sgd.) W. JONES,
A Commissioner for Oaths.



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