BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES FISH COMMISSION. VOL 3 1883
NOTES ON THE FISHERIES OF GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS.
PART TWO: February 2, 1883 to May 27, 1883
The following is a report of the fish received here during January,
1883: George's cod, 844,000 pounds; George's halibut, 144,200 pounds;
cod from Le Have Bank, 35,000 pounds; halibut from Le Have Bank,
13,000 pounds; halibut from Grand Banks, 199,500 pounds; shore cod
caught in gill-nets ,121,000 pounds; herring from Grand Manan, 1,198,000
in number; herring from Newfoundland, 2,180,000 in number; haddock
from George's Bank, 685,000 pounds; hake imported from British
Provinces, 950 quintals.
The George's vessels are doing well, as a school of largr cod came on the bank early in the winter. In past years the middle of February was about the time when the winter school came on George's Bank; but this winter they came in January, and with them came a large school of haddock. There is a good school of halibut for this season.
There were nine sail in from George's on Monday, averaging 15,000
pounds salt cod and 4,000 pounds halibut; this is a good showing work
for hand-line fishing. These fish are caught on the eastern part of
George's, in from 40 to 60 fathoms of water, on hard bottom. The cod
fishermen on George's Bank complain that the haddock fishermen injure
the cod fishing. When the cod fishermen are at anchor and succeeding,
if the haddock fishers set their trawls near by this frightens
away the cod. Besides, the haddock gear is of small size, and if a large
cod gets on a trawl the fishes break the snood gear and leave the hook.
in the fish; and so the fish dies and lies on the bottom. And then the
haddock catchers dress their fish on the bank and throw the gurry overboard,
and this drives the cod away.
The vessels fishing on George's are doing well. There have been 10
arrivals from George's during the last week, with an average of 20,000
pounds cod and 3,000 pounds halibut to a vessel. The cod are split and
salted on board the vessel and sell here at 4 1/2 cents a pound; halibut
have sold all the week for 12 cents a pound. The halibut catchers have
done poorly; 2 arrived this week with 20,000 pounds each, after having
been gone from home six weeks. The haddock vessels have been for-
tunate during the past week. Some of the vessels had 75,000 pounds,
after two days' fishing on George's; one vessel stocked $2,100 in two
days' fishing. Five vessels arrived with herring; four from Grand
Manan, one from Newfoundland. 1,295,000 herring were brought in
this week. There is no lack of bait.
BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES FISH COMMISSION. PAGE 169
The report of fish lauded at Gloucester during the mouth of February as follows : George's cod, 1,124,000 pounds; George's, halibut, 184,900 unds; Western Bank cod, 140,000 pounds; Western Bank halibut, 1,000 pounds; shore fish caught in nets, 18,000 pounds; Grand Banks halibut, 112,000 pounds; haddock, 49,000 pounds; Newfoundland frozen herring, 4,400,000; Grand Manan frozen herring, 4,035,000. There have been imported from Canso, N. S., 28,000 pounds cod, 630 barrels mackerel, 450 barrels pickled herring.
The arrivals last month were as follows:
Eleven sail from Newfoundland, with frozen herring; 20 sail from Grand
Manan, with frozen herring; 59 sail arrived from George's, with cod;
5 sail from Western Bank, with salt cod; 6 sail from the Grand Banks,
with fresh halibut; 1 from Canso, with mackerel, herring, and cod.
There were 2 arrivals with haddock; and 5 sail came in from Ipswich
There have been 37 arrivals from George's Bank during the last week, averaging 25,000 pounds cod and 2,000 pounds halibut to a vessel. The fish caught on George's are caught in shoal water of 18 to 25 fathoms; the fish are large and full of spawn. The first fish were caught on the eastern hart of the bank in the month of January, in about 60 fathoms of water. These fish contained no spawn. Those now caught are full of spawn; and are taken on the western part in 20 fathoms. There have been four arrivals from the Western Bank in the last week, with good fares--40,000 pounds salt cod, and 4,000 pounds halibut to a vessel. Six cargoes of frozen herring have arrived during the last week, average 250,000 to a vessel. The halibut vessels have not done much--nothing in the last week.
The haddock are plentiful on George's Bank. I have known
vessels to catch 70,000 pounds in two days, and make the round trip in
a week. Some vessels went out Tuesday and were back Sunday with
60,000 pounds. They caught these on the western part of George's, in
20 fathoms of water. The oldest haddock are full of spawn. The oldest
haddock catchers say that they never saw them so numerous. There is
a large fleet of vessels in the harbor, and they will not go out until Monday,
being afraid of Wiggins's storm.
The George's vessels are doing well. There were 12 arrivals last week,
averaging 30,000 pounds of split fish, and 500 pounds of halibut to a
vessel. Two vessels arrived from Western Bank with 65,000 pounds of
cod to a vessel. Four came in from Grand Bank with fresh halibut,
25,000 pounds to a vessel. Five sail arrived from Grand Manan with
838,000 frozen herring. Twenty-three vessels sailed southward after
mackerel; and 40 more will sail in the course of ten days. Fifteen sail
have gone south from Portland and 5 from Southport for mackerel.
There will be 140 sail after mackerel.
The following is a report of the amount of fish landed here in the
month of March: George's cod, 1,547,000 pounds; George's halibut,
77,500 pounds; Western Bank cod, 435,000 pounds; Western Bank
halibut, 21,150 pounds; Grand Banks halibut, 368,000 pounds; had-
dock, 225,000 pounds; cod caught in gill-nets, 12,000 pounds; frozen
herring brought from Grand Manan, 4,730,000 pounds.
BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES FISH COMMISSION. PAGE 170
Since the 1st of April, 45 sail of vessels have arrived from George's, landing 1,350,000 pounds salt codfish, 22,500 pounds fresh halibut. During the same time there have arrived 4 sail from Western Bank with 235,000 pounds salt codfish and 6,000 pounds of halibut. Ten sail from George's Bank, with haddock, landed 436,000 pounds. Three sail from Grand Manan arrived with 320,000 frozen herring. One vessel from Grand Bank brought 30,000 pounds fresh halibut. Twenty thousand pounds shore fish have been landed.
Gloucester now has 74 vessels south for mackerel; 56 vessels on
George's for codfish; 42 vessels on the Western Bank after codfish;
23 vessels after fresh halibut; 15 vessels after haddock; 30 sail of shore
fishermen, and 22 small boats and dories carrying one man each.
During the past week there have been 55 arrivals from the fishing grounds, 31 from George's Bank, and 23 from Western Bank. The George's vessels last week averaged 25,000 pounds salt cod to a vessel and 500 pounds halibut to a vessel. The Western Bank vessels averaged 50,000 pounds salt codfish and 4,000 pounds halibut to a vessel. One vessel from the Grand Banks had 20,000 pounds fresh halibut.
Halibut are reported scarce. The shore boats have not caught
any fish. No bait inshore. The bait has gone to eastward. There have
been herring caught on Jeffrie's Bank. There are alewives in Vineyard
Sound. Most of the vessels go thereafter bait. Two boats got alewives
at North Truro yesterday. Halibut are plenty on the Western
Bank in some places. Halibut sold yesterday at eight cents per pound
at wholesale. Schooner M. A. Barton caught 20,000 pounds on codtrawl.
Some of the mackerel catchers have done well. There have been
700 barrels more landed this year than last year at this time. The
first that came on the coast were small; the last ones caught were
The record of fish landed here during the month of April is as follows:
George's cod, 2,462,000 pounds; George's halibut, 65,700 pounds;
Western Bank cod, 3,317,000 pounds; Western Bank halibut, 156,400
pounds; Grand Banks halibut, 173,000, pounds; George's haddock,
227,000 pounds; shore fish, 12,000 pounds; frozen herring (by count),
890,000. There were 100 arrivals from George's Bank, 70 from Western
Bank, 6 from Grand Bank- with fresh halibut; while there were 11 arrivals
with haddock, 3 with shore fish, and 3 with herring.
BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES FISH COMMISSION. PAGE 171
During the past two weeks there have been 31 arrivals from George's Bank, with an average of 20,000 pounds to a vessel; 16 from Western Bank, averaging 40,000 pounds each; 19 with fresh halibut from Grand Banks, averaging 30,000 pounds each; and 9 with haddock, averaging 30,000 pounds to a vessel. Yesterday 3 vessels came in with pollock, with a total of 105,000 pounds. These pollock were caught with seines 3 miles off Chatham. Mackerel are very slow in coming northwest this year. Last year at this time they were taken off Sandy Hook; but the farthest north where they have been taken this year is about 35 miles east-southeast of Delaware Breakwater; this was on last Wednesday (May 9). Fifty-four vessels have been in New York this week, with 125 barrels to a vessel.
A few scattering mackerel have been caught in the traps at Cape Cod. Herring are very scarce inshore this spring. Last year at this time they were abundant in Boston Bay, and 4 vesaels were busy seining them. This year there have been none to catch, either on our coast or on the coast of Nova Scotia. Last week 9 barrels of shad were caught in the traps at Cape Cod.
All kinds of small fish are a fortnight
late this spring. A school of herring went by to the eastward offshore.
They have been seen on Jeffrie's Bank and on Cashe's. Last year at
this season there had been 3,000 barrels of salt mackerel landed at New
York, while this year only 500 barrels have been landed so far, and
only 300 barrels have been landed in Philadelphia.
During the last week 31 vessels have come in from George's Bank with an average of 18,000 pounds of cod to a vessel; 6 have come in with cod from Western Bank, averaging 40,000 pounds each; and 3 from Grand Banks with an average of 5,000 pounds of halibut. There have also arrived 3 vessels from the shore grounds, with a total of 120,000 pounds of haddock. The halibut catchers are not doing much; during the week 3 vessels arrived with 15,000 pounds each, after trying the banks where halibut used to resort and finding them scarce. They went to Burge's, Newfoundland, but found almost nothing, while last year halibut were plenty at Burge's. Small halibut have been plenty on the Western Bank; 2 small vessels got 25,000 pounds each there.
These halibut weigh only from 35 to 50 pounds apiece. Herring are scarce; this will cause long trips. Some of the vessels which left Gloucester a month ago--some bound to Grand Banks. some to Cape North-- have got no bait even yet. The fishermen's torment, the dog-fish, made its appearance last Monday (May 14). The schooner Blue Jay reports schools of mackerel 25 miles to the eastward of the highlands on Cape Cod. Four vessels have arrived from Chatham with 45,000 pounds of poljock apiece, having caught them with seines. This makes 4 fares (300,000 pounds) of pollock landed at Gloucester this spring; all were caught with seines. Sixty-five thousand large mackerel were caught
BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES FISH COMMISSION. PAGE 172
in the weirs at Sand Point, Cape Cod. Small cod, from 8 to 20 inches
long, are plenty in the harbors.
There have been 62 arrivals here from the fishing-grounds during the past week. Twenty-seventh came from George's Bank, averaging 25,000 pounds salt fish to a vessel; 5 from Grand Banks with fresh halibut, averaging 30,000 to a vessel; 8 with pollock, with an average of 40,000 pounds each; and 14 from the shore grounds, with 20,000 pounds mixed fish to a vessel. The pollock were all caught with seines about 5 miles off Chatham.
Last Friday (May 25) pollock were seen in schools on Middle Bank. I never before knew so many small pollock to be about as there are this year; the harbors are full of them. Mackerel are working eastward fast; they have been off Chatham for the past ten days, and are now in shoal water, which is something unusual. There were 100 sail of mackerel catchers off Chatham yesterday. Off Sandy Hook the mackerel are small; here they are large. Ten vessels were in here yesterday with torn seines. The traps at Harwich are full of pogies.
There appears to be something that keeps the bait out of Boston Bay.
Herring have been caught at Cape Cod during the past 3 weeks; and
mackerel had been caught at Sand Point for the same length of time,
and a few have been caught here; and some large ones were taken at
Kettle Island last night. The fishermen say that there is plenty of feed,
called "all-eyes," at Cape Cod, but none in Boston Bay. Mackerel have
been caught as far east as Cape Sable, N. S. Herring are abundant at
Magdalen Islands. Vessels which went to Cape North after cod are
doing well; and the George's fleet is having good success on the western
part of George's Bank. There are many traps set this year; 14 are
at Kettle Island and Gloucester, and more are being prepared.