[From Isle of Man, Cumming 1848]
L. Page 187. The Herring Fishery.
The herring fishery has always formed such an important branch of the Isle of Man commerce, that a brief notice of it seems necessary in the present work. In the year 1827 a Committee of the House of Keys inquired into and reported on the subject of the herring fishery to the following effect:
- It would appear that, contrary to the generally received opinion, a shoal or shoals of herrings enter St. George's Channel from the south in the month of May, when the fishery commences near Arklow on the coast of Ireland, and that the progress of the fish to the northward is slow, Arklow, Ardglass, and the Isle of Man being the successive fishing-grounds frequented by the Cornish boats ; that the body of fish seldom reaches the Isle of Man before the middle of June or later; that two coral-banks situated to the E. and W. of the island, and chiefly the former, would seem to be the ultimate annual
destination of this shoal or shoals, these spots being uniformly frequented by them for the purpose of therein depositing their spawn; that after the completion of this process, in the months of October and November, these shoals again return southward with greater expedition than they had advanced, and furnish a second or winter fishing at Arklow in November. The separate facts connecting this course of migration seem to be distinctly shown in the evidence, and an Arklow fisherman states the very conclusive circumstance, that in the summer fishery the herrings always mesh with their heads to the north, and in the winter with their heads to the south, or in other words, that in summer they are caught to the south of the net, and in the winter to the north of it."
An Account of the Number of Boats belonging to the Isle of Man, whether decked or undecked, that have beem employed in the year ended 5th January 1846 in the Herring, Cod, Ling, and In-shore Fisheries.
Number of boats, whether decked or undecked. . 606 Number of fishermen and boys by whom
the said boats were manned . . . . 3,813
Number of coopers employed . . 13
Number of persons employed in packing . 186
Number of labourers employed . . . 54
Total number of persons employed --__ 4,066
Number of fish-curers . . . . . 86 Tonnage of boats employed in the herring, cod, and
ling fisheries . . . . . . . . . . . 5,145 Square yards of netting used in the herring fisheries 3,608,064 Yards of long lines and buoy ropes used in the
fisheries . . . . . . . . . . . . . 386,400 Value of boats employed in the fisheries . . . 63,945
Value of nets employed in the fisheries . . . 18,792
Value of lines employed in the fisheries . . . 690 Total value of boats, nets, and lines, employed
in the fisheries . . . . . . . . . . 83,427
Of the above 606 boats there are 278 yawls that follow the in-shore fishing, the tonnage and value of which have not been ascertained.
283 boats follow the cod, herring and ling fisheries; 45 smacks run fresh and bulk fish to Liverpool and other parts in the Channel; 606 belong to the Isle of Man, and are manned by 3813 men; 278 yawls follow the in-shore fisheries.
There are about
50 Irish vessels running fish to LiN erpool,
6 men each. . . . . . . . . 300 men
45 Welsh and English, 4 men each . . . 180
200 Irish fishing-boats, 8 men each . . 1600
200 English fishing-boats, 8 men each . . 1600
495 vessels employing . . . . . . . 3680 men employed on the coast of the island during the fishing season and consequently frequenting its harbours, in addition to the 606 vessels above-mentioned. Total, 1101 vessels manned by 7493 men.
The harbours on the west coast of the island will not aecommodate half the above, neither Peel nor Port St. Mary can contain a quarter of the above vessels, and it is certain that the deficiency of harbour-accommodation prevents the extension of the fisheries ; the risk of life and property being great even where there is harbour-room for the vessels, but much greater where there is a deficiency, and that to so great an extent as to prevent parties embarking capital.
30,352 barrels of herrings were cured in the above year, but in the preceding year about 60,000 barrels were cured, and each barrel is allowed to contain 800 herrings ; average price paid to the fishermen is about 4s. per hundred, or 32s. per barrel, fresh.
The usual quantity allowed for the consumption of the island when well-supplied is about 10,000 barrels. When there is a medium fishing, the value of the herring, cod and ling fisheries, together with the in-shore fishery, fluctuates between X60,000 and X80,000 per annum.
The returns exhibited in the following page are independent of the number oŁ vessels passing in the night-time, and those visiting the island direct from England.
| Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley, 2011