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of the Herrings. 50,000 barrels, which some magnify to 40,000 lasts, containing 40,000,000 of Herrings, are said to be taken and cured here Annually. Doctor FULLER notices the great repute of the county of Norfolk for this fish, and with his usual archness calls a red herring a Norfolk Capon*. As food, the Herring, of all the Sea fish, (as has been before stated,) in the opinion of a celebrated Physician, is the most easily digested; and that even Salt-herrings do not readily putrefy by long keeping; but, if eaten in small quantities, they dissolve the slime in the stomach, and stimulate the appetite.
The Mackerel which profitably fills the nets of our Fishermen in the Spring, and affords for its Season a cheap sustenance to many thousands of the poorer classes, is in general about two pounds weight, (Mr. PENNANT records one sold in London in 1775 which weighed five pounds and a quarter,) but is, perhaps, less useful than other Gregarious fish, from being very tender and unfit for Carriage; and from no method having yet been discovered of salting or preserving it like the Herring, for future
*The following curious Oath is administered in the Isle of MAN" By this Book, and by the holy Contents thereof, and by the wonderful Works that God has miraculously wrought in Heaven above, and in the Earth beneath, in Six days and Seven nights, I, John F. C. do swear that I will, without respect of favour or friendship, love or gain, Consanguinity or Affinity, Envy or Malice, execute the Laws of this Isle justly betwixt our Sovereign Lord the KING and his subjects within this Isle; and between party and party, as indifferently as the HERRING'S Backbone doth lie in the middle of the Fish."
-use. It was a fish highly valued by the ROMANS, because it furnished the precious Garum. This was drawn from different kinds of fish, but that made from the Mackerel had the preference. The best was made at Carthagena, vast quantities of Mackerel being taken near an adjacent Isle, called from that circumstance, Scombraria, and the Garum prepared by a certain Company in that City bore a great price, and was distinguished by the title of Garum Sociorum. The Mackerel is easily taken by a bait, and the best time is during a fresh Gale of wind, which is thence termed a Mackerel Gale.
The Mackerel fishery, near Abbotsbury in Dorsetshire, is very considerable: they are generally first taken from the middle of March, if the weather be not extremely cold, until Midsummer, and sometimes after in Nets, some of which are 100 or 120 Fathoms long, and eight and a half deep in the bosom, accounting five feet to the Fathom. One end is fastened to the Shore, the other is carried out to Sea in a boat: they then turn, and row parallel with the Shore, veering out the Net until it is all out; then the boat runs on shore, and the Net is hauled in at both ends, by Men on the land. Sometimes 30 or 40,000 have been caught at a draught; and One hundred have been sold for a penny. Between 1746 and 1758, very few Mackerel were caught on this Shore, which was imputed to the scouring of Bridport Harbour. The exposed situation of the Coast renders the fishing uncertain. Whenever it blows a cap full of wind from the South or West points, there is so large a Surf, that it is not only dangerous to
launch the boat, but the Net could not be drawn with any probability of success, when tossed in every direction by the boisterous waves, which, instead of fish, would load it with pebbles.
The only fish that remains to be noticed of the gregarious Sea fish is the Pilchard, which has a general likeness to the Herring, but when comparatively described, is essentially different. The body of the Pilchard is less compressed, being thicker and rounder, the back is more elevated, the belly less sharp, the nose turns up, and as well as the under jaw is shorter; the dorsal fin is placed exactly in the centre of gravity, so that when taken up by it, the body preserves an Equilibrium; that of the Herring dips at the head. The Scales of the Pilchard adhere closely, whereas those of the Herring very easily drop off; besides, the Pilchard is fatter, or more full of oil.
About the middle of July, the Pilchards in vast Shoals approach the Cornish coasts; the beginning of Winter they disappear, a few returning again after Christmas. Their Winter retreat, and their motives for migrating, are the same with the ring. During Summer they affect a warmer latitude, no quantities being found on any of our coasts, ex
cept those of Cornwall; namely, from Fowey harbour to the Scilly Isles, between which places, for some weeks, the Shoals keep shifting.
The appearance of the Pilchard is known by the Birds and larger Fishes attendant upon them, and
* In the Isle of Man, the coming of the Herring is indicated by
persons called Huers are placed on Eminences, to point to the boats stationed off the land the course of the Fish, by whose directions sometimes a Bay of several miles extent is enclosed with their Nets, called Seans. By the first of JAMES I. c. 23. Fishermen are empowered to go on the grounds of others to hue, without being liable to actions of trespass, which before occasioned frequent Law-suits. The numbers that are taken at one shooting of the nets is astonishing. Upon the fifth of October 1767, there were at one time enclosed in St. Ive's Bay, 7,000 hogsheads, each cask containing 35,000 fish, in all 245,000,000. (This account varies extremely from the number at present packed in a Hogshead, which is only 3,000.)
Doctor BORLASE describes the Emoluments accruing to the Inhabitants of Cornwall, from the Pilchard Fishery, in the following manner.
"It employs a great number of Men on the Sea, thereby training them to naval affairs; finds work for men, women, and children, on Shore, in salting, pressing, washing, and cleaning; in making boats, nets, ropes, casks, and all the trades depending on their construction and sale. The poor are fed with the offals of the Captures, the land is benefited by the refuse of the fish and salt, the Merchant finds the profits of commission and honest Commerce, the Fisherman the gains of his labour: ships are often
the quantity of Gulls that hover around them. At this period the Gull is esteemed sacred, and a Fine of five pounds incurred by the wilful destruction of a single Bird.
freighted hither with Salt, and into foreign countries with the fish, carrying off at the same time part of our Tin. By the account of the produce in number of hogsheads exported each year, from 1747 to 1756 inclusive, from the four ports of Fowey, Falmouth, Penzance, and St. Ive's, it appears that Fowey has yearly exported 1,732 hogsheads; Falmouth, 14,631 hogsheads, and two thirds; Penzance and Mount's Bay, 12,149 hogsheads, and one third; St. Ive's, 1,282 hogsheads: in all 29,795 hogsheads. Every hogshead for ten years last past, together with the bounty allowed for each exported, and the Oil made out of each hogshead, has amounted, at an average, one year with another, to the price of 17. 13s. 3d.; so that the Cash paid for Pilchards exported has, at a medium, been annually 49,5321. 10s.
*The following Statement, relative to the Pilchard Fishery in St. ANSTEL Bay, in 1801, is accurate :
"Seventeen Seans are employed, and on the Average of seven years, about four hundred Hogsheads are taken by each Sean. The price of fish per hogshead is 17. 10s.; the Bounty on ditto is 8s. 6d.; total value of each hogshead of fish (in which are three thousand) 17. 188. 6d. The quantity of Salt used yearly at 84lbs. to the bushel, is 40,800 bushels, viz. about 20,400 in curing the fish; 10,200 bushels condemned, and sold for the use of the land; and 10,200 bushels left in stock to be used a second time. Price of new salt, two shillings; of condemned, ten-pence, per bushel. Price of broken fish, a penny per Gallon; of Oil, twenty pounds per Tun; Garbage sold to the Soap-boilers, at Sixpence; Dregs sold to the Curriers, at ten-pence per Gallon. Ten Women employed in salting fish, at twenty-pence per hogshead. The cost of each Cask is about three shillings. Cellar rent for a Sean 20l. per Annum. Seventeen men employed on each Sean, at Eight shillings each