The Migratory Fishery Topic 2.5
An Inshore Fishery • Cod was the only important species in early centuries • This fishery took place in the shallow waters just off the shoreline
La morueseche The French Fishery in Newfoundland
La moruesécheThe French Fishery in Newfoundland • The French sailed to Newfoundland every year and fished both offshore (on the Grand Banks) and inshore on the French Treaty Shore (see map p 113) • Offshore – the Grand Bank Fishery • Ships arrived from France in January – they fished to supply fish for Lent and returned to France • A 2nd voyage took place in the summer • Fish were caught from platforms on ships with hook and line • Fish were preserved with a heavy coating of salt aka the “green fishery”
French Fishery cont…. • Inshore Fishery • 1st fishery near Placentia (Plaisance) on the southern shore • Also fished on the north and west coasts – French Treaty Shore
The French in Newfoundland • Jean Baptiste Colbert, 1619-1683. King Louis XIV's controller general of finances, Jean Baptiste Colbert, encouraged French settlement at Plaisance in order to extend the French involvement in the Newfoundland fisheries, and strengthen the French presence in the New World.
The English Inshore Fishery • The shore fishery – ships brought crews and equipment from England. The ships moored along the shore and the fishing was conducted from small boats • The fishery lasted from June to August • Crews were originally paid a share of the catch by the 18th century they were paid wages • Ships left England in March to reach Newfoundland by June trying to claim the best mooring place called “rooms”. These were allotted on first come first served basis
The cod followed the capelin and usually struck inshore in June and fishing continued throughout the summer • They fished in small, open boats with crews of 3 to 5 men • They used lines with baited hooks • Shore crews headed, gutted, split, washed, lightly salted and spread the fish to dry on flakes.
Lightly salted, dried fish fetched a better price because it was better preserved and lasted longer • Suited the English market • The first ships returning to England gained the best price and profit • Ships remained in England for the winter and were refitted for the spring fishery
St. John's, Newfoundland, about 1750. Picture is toward the southwest. In the foreground are fishers spreading cod on a fish flake..
Basque Whaling • Basques began whaling near southern Labrador during the 1500s and early 1600s • They caught bowhead whales and right whales • There were at least a dozen whaling stations on the Labrador coast • Red Bay, Labrador has become an archaeological sight depicting this period in our history
Methods of Whaling • Large sailing ships transported the whalers to Labrador from Spain • Whales were harpooned from small boats then towed ashore • Blubber was cut from the whales and heated in large cauldrons to be rendered into oil • Whale oil was stored in barrels and transported back to Europe in the fall. It was used for lighting, lubrication and in manufacturing • The baleen – whalebone - was used in industry
End of Basque Whaling? • Why????? • Possibilities • Foreign competition • Pirates • Conflict with the Inuit • Troubles in Spain • Decline in number of whales due to overfishing • The Basques whale fishery was over by the early 1600s
The Economics of the Fishery • The fishery was an unpredictable industry - some merchants became wealthy others went bankrupt • Why did merchants go bankrupt? • RISKS • Merchants spent large sums of money outfitting the ships which was recouped when the fish were sold. Any delays at the end of the season could ruin a merchant • Ship wrecks • Enemy ships in wartime • Pirates • Outbreaks of disease • Scarcity of fish • Bad weather • Changing exchange rates
Merchant Risk • “The merchants lived from season to season in a state of incessant panic, so their well known air of pessimism was surely not surprising.” • They have also been described as; “ ….a very discontented body of men.”
Risk Management • Strict supervision • Employ relatives in senior positions (trust) • Risks shared with the crew by paying them a share of the value of the fish caught