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Note on the Canadian Fisheries


Canada possesses the most extensive fisheries in the world, and the abundance, quality and variety of their product. are unexcelled. The fertility of Canadian waters is indicated by the fact that the entire catch of salmon, lobsters, herring, mackerel, and sardines, nearly all the haddock, and many of the cod, hake, and pollock landed are taken within ten or twelve miles from shore.


The coast line of the Atlantic provinces from Grand Manan to Labrador, not including the lesser bays and indentations, measures over 5,000 miles, whilst the sea areas to which this forms the natural basin embrace: the Bay of Fundy, 8,000 square miles in extent; the gulf of St. Lawrence, fully ten times that size; and other ocean waters aggregating not less than 200,000 square miles, or over four-fifths of the fishing grounds of the North Atlantic. In addition there are 15,000 square miles of inshore waters, entirely controlled by the Dominion. Large as are these areas, they represent only a part of the fishing grounds of Canada. Hudson bay, with a shore 6,000 miles in length, is greater than the Mediterranean; the Pacific coast of the Dominion measures over 7,000 miles long, and is exceptionally well sheltered for fishermen; whilst throughout the interior is a series of lakes which together cover 220,000 square miles, or more than half the fresh water of the Globe, Canada's share of the great lakes of the St. Lawrence basin alone amounting to 34,000 square miles.


Of even greater importance are the abundance and general excellence of the pro-duct. The cod and the salmon have long disputed the primacy among these, though in recent years the heavy pack and the high price of lobsters have sometimes sent cod to third place.


The fisheries of the Atlantic coast may be divided into two distinct classes; the deep-sea, and the inshore or coastal fisheries. Deep-sea fishing is pursued in. vessels of from 40 to 100 tons, carrying crews of from twelve to twenty men, who fish with hook and line, also in steam vessels of approximately 150 feet in length known as steam trawlers. The bait used is chiefly herring, squid and caplin, and the fish taken are principally cod, haddock, hake, pollock and halibut. The inshore or coastal fishery is carried on in small boats, usually motor driven, with crews of from two to three men, and in a class of small vessels with crews of from four to seven men. The means of capture employed by boat fishermen are gill nets and hooks and lines, both hand-lines and trawls; whilst from the shore are operated trapnets, haul seines and weirs. The commercial food fishes taken inshore are the cod, hake, haddock, pollock, halibut, herring, mackerel, alewife, shad, smelt, flounder, and sardine. The most extensive lobster fishery in the world is carried on along the whole of the eastern shore of Canada, whilst excellent oyster beds exist in many parts of the gulf of the St. Lawrence, notably off Prince Edward Island. The salmon fishery is the predominant one on the Pacific coast, but a very extensive halibut fishery is carried on in the northern waters of British Columbia, in large well-equipped steamers and vessels. The method of capture is by trawling, dories being used for setting and hauling the lines, as in the Atlantic deep-sea fishery. Herring are in great abundance on the Pacific coast, and provide a plentiful supply of bait for the halibut fishery. In the inland lake fisheries, the various means of capture in use are gill nets, pound nets, seines, and hooks and lines.

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