BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES FISH COMMISSION. VOL 3 1883
NOTES ON THE FISHERIES OF GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS.
The receipts of fish at Gloucester during the month of July were as
follows: 200 fares salt mackerel, 62,734 barrels; 5 fares fresh mackerel,
675 barrels; 78 fares from George's Bank and vicinity, with 1,051,000
pounds cod and 114,000 pounds halibut; 40 fares from Western Bank
and Banquereau, with 2,105,000 pounds cod and 40,200 pounds halibut;
8 fares from Grand Banks, 870,000 pounds cod; 12 fares from Grand
Banks, 625,000 pounds halibut; 55 fares shore fish from Bay of Fundy,
etc., with 1,020,000 pounds of mixed fish, one-eighth cod, and the rest
haddock, hake, and cusk; 1 fare (500 quintals) freighted from Maine;
and 4 fares (2,150 quintals) of cod, etc., imported from Nova Scotia. The
schooner Henry N. Woods, 16 men, which had been gone 18 days,
brought in the largest fare of salt mackerel--560 barrels.
The receipts of fish at Gloucester during the month of August were as
follows: One hundred and seventy arrivals salt mackerel, 43,328 sea-
packed barrels; shore mackerel catch, 75 barrels salt, and 370 barrels
fresh; eighty-three arrivals from George's and Le Have Banks, with
1,057,000 pounds salt cod, and 50,000 pounds fresh halibut; thirty-six
arrivals from Western Bank and Banquereau, with 1,939,000 pounds
salt cod, and 9,000 pounds salt halibut; nineteen arrivals from Grand
Banks, with 2,540,000 pounds salt cod, and 9,000 pounds flitched halibut;
one arrival from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, with 30,000 pounds salt cod;
five arrivals from the cape shore, with 265,000 pounds salt cod; nineteen
arrivals from Grand Banks, with 875,000 pounds fresh halibut; thirty five arrivals after shore trips-vessels, 879,000 pounds (mostly hake),
shore boats, 352,000 pounds (mostly hake). Also there were freighted
from Maine 210,000 pounds and 1,550 quintals (mostly hake and cod),
cod imported from the Provinces 282,000 pounds and 200 quintals of
dry fish, and 100 barrels of mackerel.
The mackerel fleet did poorly during the last week. The mackerel which were caught were taken among the rocks. Two vessels on Friday and Saturday last caught 200 barrels close to Matinicus Rock. One of the Portland vessels caught 275 barrels on the southeast part of George's Bank. Twenty-one sail were in Gloucester from mackerel fishing last onday. The average catch was 150 barrels, and some of the vessels had en gone 5 weeks. orse-mackerel are very abundant all along the western shore. The schooner Dreadnaught set a seine around what they
BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES FISH COMMISSION. 163
supposed to be a school of pollock, but it proved to be a school of horse-
mackerel; 50 of these tore the seine all to pieces. The fish vveighed 35
pounds apiece, and were what the fishermen call bonitoes. l think the
school of mackerel that was on Brown's Bank has gone over to George's
Bank. Some mackerel have been caught on the shore of Nova Scotia.
The cod fishermen report mackerel on the southeast part of George's.
Large herring are abundant on the eastern shore. I think the mackerel
caught on the eastern shore came from the Bay of Fundy: Mackerel
sold today at $2 a barrel, with the barrel. No codfish are on the shore
grounds. The small vessels are doing well catching hake all along the
eastern shore; 85,000 pounds were landed to-day from 4 vessels which
had been gone 10 days. Hake sell out of the vessel for $2.30 per
hundred pounds. The sounds and livers make them $325 per hundred
pounds. George's cod sold to-day for $5 a hundred, green out of the
vessel; dried George's cod sold for, $7 a quintal; dried Grand Banks
cod sold for $6.25 a quintal. All kinds of dried fish are high.
The weather for the past four days has been too windy for catching mackerel; but yesterday afternoon , after the wind died away, the mackerel were seen schooling close to the shore from Thatcher's Island to Eastern Point. There were mackerel, alewives, and herring, so mixed together that to get 20 barrels of mackerel one must also catch 20 barrels of alewives and 20 barrels of herring. The alewives and herring are found in unusual numbers near the shore from Gloucester to Booth Bay. The fishermen do not know what keeps the mackerel so near the shore. Mackerel are selling at higher prices to day--$10 a barrel, with the barrel. The vessels with large seines do not get much chance to get mackerel, while the market boats with shoal seines do very well. The shoal seines are 7 fathoms deep, the large ones 25 fathoms deep, and so the 7-fathom seine has all the advantage in shoal water. Swordfish are numerous on Jeffrie's Bank. They are higher to-day than ever I knew them to be before, selling at $10 a barrel; salted. The vessels at George's Bank, Western Bank, and the Grand Banks are doing well. The schooner Hattie L. Newman arrived from Greenland with 100,000 pounds flitched halibut and with 100,000 pounds salt cod caught on Flemish Cap before going to Greenland. The Greenland vessels will make big stocks of salt halibut, which will bring about 7 and three fourths cents a pound. GLOUCESTER, MASS., September 18, 1882.
There has been but little mackerel fishing during the past week; the wind has been northeast and the sea was too rough for seining. On the 20th instant five barrels of large herring, full of spawn, were caught. The spawn was ripe and running out of the fish. This is the earliest that spawning herring have been caught in the harbor for fifteen years; but fifteen years ago some were caught hereon September 15. For the past three years they have come from October 5 to 15, and in these three
BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES FISH COMMISSION.
years the temperature of the water when they came was 35 degrees F., while to-day it is 50 degrees F. I find a great difference in the spawning times of schools of herring. At Magdalen Islands they spawn in April, at Grand Manan about September 1.
The herring are not so large at Magdalen or Grand Manan as those which come here to spawn. When the fishermen catch a large herring with a white-tipped nose they know that the spawning herring are coming and put down their nets, for the large spawning herring have white tips on their noses.
The shad went down the coast with the alewives and mackerel, and it seems they are coming back with them. The schooner Finance recently caught 50 barrels of alewives and 2 barrels of mackerel, and among them were 3 barrels of large shad.
I will also refer to the sun jelly [a kind of sea-nettle]. I have not seen one of these in the harbor this summer. Last summer there were thousands of them here, but now I cannot find a fisherman who has seen any either in or out of the harbor. It seems that they have left the coast this season.
Mackerel are selling at a high price to day--$11 a barrel, including the
barrel. Pollock have made their appearance; one vessel caught 25,000
pounds in three days on Jeffrie's Bank. These sold, fresh, at 4 cents a
pound. Pollock are a fortnight early this year, and there is no other
fish in the market. The harbor now is full of vessels, there being 350
sail, mostly fishing vessel's.in for shelter.
The receipts of fish at this port for the month of September were
as follows: mackerel, 131 fares, 21,859 sea-packed barrels; George's
Bank, 55 fares, 85,200 pounds salt fish, 23,100 pounds fresh halibut;
Western Banks, 50 fares, 2,447,000 pounds salt fish, 57,400 pounds fresh
halibut; Grand Banks, 12 fares, 575,000 pounds fresh halibut; Grand
Banks 13 fares, 2,055,000 pounds salt fish, 10,200 pounds fresh halibut;
Greenland, 4 fares, 540,000 pounds, salt halibut; Flemish Cap, 2 fares,
210,000 pounds salt fish; Le Have Bank, 5 fares, 225,000 pounds salt
fish; Bay of Fundy, 21 fares, 475,000 pounds salt hake; Maine coast,
8 fares, 59,000 pounds fresh pollock, 95,000 pounds salt hake; off Cape
Ann, 112,000 pounds salt hake; freight from Maine, 4,650 quintals
mixed salt fish; imported from the British Provinces, 1,070,000 pounds.
salt fish, 3,600 pounds salt halibut.
The amount of fish landed in Gloucester during October is as follows : mackerel, 17,692 barrels; herring, 3,700 barrels; George's cod, 601,000 pounds; George's halibut, 125,500 hounds; Western Bank cod. 713,000 pounds; Grand Banks cod, 760,000 pounds; Grand Banks halibut, 591,000 pounds; Greenland salt halibut, 80,000 pounds; Greenland cod, 60,000 pounds; pollock :1,267,000 pounds; Cape shore cod, 53,000 pounds;
BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES FISH COMMISSION. Page 165
Bay of Fundy cod, 30,000 pounds; shore cod, 20,000 pounds; Le Have
Bank cod, 112,000 pounds; Cashe's cod, 39,000 pounds; cod caught on
Seal Island grounds, 15,000 pounds; Western Bank halibut, 7,000
pounds; hake, 670,780 pounds; haddock, 34,000 pounds; cusk, 143,630
pounds; mixed fish, 10,840 pounds; bay mackerel, 47 barrels; salt
water herring, 500 barrels; fish oil, 10 barrels ; sounds 11 barrels:
I send you the amount of fish landed at Gloucester in the month of
November: mackerel, 6,185 barrels; herring, 211 barrels; George's
cod, 398,000 pounds; George's halibut, 19,500 pounds; Western Bank cod,
353,000 pounds; Western Bank halibut, 14,300 pounds; Grand Banks
halibut, 164,000 pounds; Grand Banks hake; 400,000 pounds; haddock
caught on the cape shore and brought from Boston, 516,000 pounds;
dried fish by freight from Maine, 500 quintals cod, 200 quintals haddock,
2,900 quintals hake, 1,535,000 pounds pollock; mixed fish caught on the
shore grounds, 463,000 pounds, being cod, hake, and cusk in equal parts;
cod caught with hand lines on the rocks 4 miles from shore, 17,000
pounds. Fish caught in cod gill-nets, 34,300 pounds.
The mackerel vessels are all home--the last one came yesterday--and they, are all hauled up for this season. The mackerel fishing has been a great success this year. The largest stock that ever was made out of Gloucester on any kind of fish has been made by the schooner Nellie N. Rowe. (See the figures below.) Pollock have been very plenty this fall; they have not been so abundant since 1862. To-day there are 200,000 pounds of pollock in port; this is one day's fishing with 30 boats, averaging 9 men to a vessel ; and tonight at dark probably there will be 400,000 pounds, and the vessels are not half in. As many pollock have been carried to Maine as have been landed here. There have been 800,000 pounds landed at Rockport. The fishermen sell them for $1 a hundred pounds, round. Three boats have set cod gill-nets. Last week the schooner Quickstep, of Rockport, caught 22,000 pounds of large cod with twelve 50-fathom nets. , The boats are doing well on the rocks catching codfish. The winter school is coming on. The amount of hake landed here this year is very great. The first snow of the season came to-day.
I now give two extracts from the newspapers:
"TWO ROUSING MACKEREL STOCKS. Two of the largest mackerel stocks ever landed at this port or in New England have been made by the schooners Nellie N. Rowe, Capt. Eben Lewis, and the Edward E. Webster, Capt. Solomon Jacobs, the past season, comprising eight months of time actually employed. The net stock of the Rowe was $35,537, and of the Webster, $34,229. The average share of the Webster's crew was $959.75, and the steward, Mr. Warren Fowles, with his extra pay of $160, made his season's work $1,129.75."
"A LARGE POLLOCK FLEET, including many Maine vessels, and
one from Nova Scotia, have been busily employed off this port for the
past six weeks, meeting with unprecedented success. The amount of
pollock landed at this port this season has been 2,094,100 pounds
(against 481,000 pounds to this date last year), and nearly, if not quite,
as large an amount has been taken to the eastward by the fleet from
The fishing business has been prosperous in all its branches this season at Gloucester. Some of the largest stocks that were ever made were made this year. There have been 50 new vessels added to the fleet since the 1st of March; the vessels that have been built will average 85 tons, and cost, when ready for sea, $9,000 apiece. The firms are selling off their old vessels and having new ones built. There is nothing doing on the rocks, for the fishermen cannot get bait to fish with hand lines. There are four boats fishing with cod gill-nets, and they are doing well. The sperling is all gone. Haddock catchers have to go to Grand Manan after bait. There will 12 sail go to Newfoundland after frozen herring, and 20 sail to Grand Manan after frozen herring. The pollock fishing has been very successful this fall, but it is now ended.
As near as I can find out, there have been 4,000,000 pounds of pollock caught, weighing the fish as they came out of the water.
I add a newspaper article on:
"THE MACKEREL FISHERY. The mackerel fishery for the present season has closed, and as a whole it has proved one of the best, and perhaps the very best, season for this branch of the fisheries that Gloucester has ever known. Although a few of the vessels have not made satisfactory stocks, yet the majority have more than fulfilled the expectations of those interested in them, and several of the fleet have stocked amounts which have never before been reached in the history of the mackerel fishing business. To do this required hard and constant work on the part of the fishermen, and many of them have shown an energy and perseverance worthy of the highest commendation. The present manner of fishing with seines makes the possibilities of large stocks more dependent on the ability and energy of the captains than the old method of hand-line fishing. It requires experienced and vigilant men on the lookout both by day and by night, watching for schools, and upon this constant watchfulnesd, in a great measure, their success depends. The use of the recently patented pocket is a great help in saving the fish when big hauls are made, keeping them in good condition until they can be properly taken care of by the crew, and thus helping to increase the catch of the vessel. Capt. Solomon Jacobs, schooner Edward E. Webster, claims to be 'high line,' he having made a net stock of over $34,000 this season.
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"Captain Jacobs has stocked upwards of $75,000 during the past three years' mackerel-fishing, the time actually engaged being eight months each year, as follows: 1880, $16,700; 1881, $24,600; 1882, $34,229; total $75,539. Capt. Eben Lewis, in Schooner Nellie N. Rowe, is probably second, but as no reliable statement of his stock has been made and it is estimated by the fishermen at figures ranging from $27,000 to $34,000, it is difficult to tell what his stock really is. The following vessels have stocked upwards of $15,000 in the mackerel fishery this season from this port :
"Schooner Edward E. Webster, Capt. Solomon Jacobs; net stock, $34,229; crew shared $969.75.
"Schooner Nellie N. Rowe, Capt. Eben Lewis ; no definite figures given.
" Schooner Col. J. H. French, Capt. John Chisholm; net stock, $20,000; crew shared $615.
"Schooner Leona, Capt. Willard ,Pool; net stock, $19,715.72; crew shared $582.
" Schooner Carl Schurz, Capt. Jecl. Warren; net stock, $15,609; crew shared $468.08. Previous to the 6th of June the Schurz was engaged in fresh fishing, and her total stock since the first of the year is $23,222, the crew sharing $733.86.
"Schooner John D. Long, Capt. Charles Hardy; net stock, $18,500; crew shared $571.
"Schooner Helen M. Crosby, Capt. Joseph Swim; net stock, $18,020; crew shared $596.17.
"Schooner Ivanhoe, Capt. James Crawley; net stock, $16,942; crew shared $525.
"Schooner Golden Hind, Capt. Solomon Reed; net stock, $16,323; crew shared $504.31.
" Schooner John S. McQuin, Capt. Henry Coas; net stock, $16,035.57; crew shared, $517.11.
"The stock of mackerel in first hands is much lighter than last year,
and prices, which have been high and well sustained through the season,
will continue to increase, especially when the trade opens after the
The first cargo of frozen herring arrived last night. There were
200,000 of them, and they sold for $3,000.
The amount of fish landed here during December is as follows: Shore
fish caught with hand lines from small boats, 20,000 pounds; George's
cod, 202,000 pounds; George's halibut, 16,500 pounds; Western Bank
cod, 130,000 pounds; Western Bank halibut, 9,200 pounds; fresh halibut
from Grand Banks, 177,000 pounds; fresh haddock, 111,000 pounds;
cod caught in nets, 565,000 pounds; 200,000 frozen herring.