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tice of selling their cargoes of fish at sea, sending their fish as they used to do to and of shipping them into carrier-boats the London market, but also by inducing coming from the Thames and other parts, the French fishermen to remain upon
the and into others which met them in the English coast, and thereby creating a bay of Dover and elsewhere on the coast, destructive competition as applicable to for the supply of the London market. the coasts of Kent and Sussex. The But this was not al)—for it was proved to Committee express their surprise at findthe Committee, that in other seasons, du- ing that, notwithstanding the prohibitions ring which the French were fishing with of so many statutes, a very large illegal hooks and lines for turbots and other sea- importation of foreign-caught fish did in fish in the Channel, they were accustom- fact take place. It had been proved that ed to come in great numbers every morn- about one-third of the fish supplied to the ing, from Boulogne and other places, London market was procured from forinto the English bays, before they began eigners : but this estimate included turfishing, and there drag with nets for bait bots, eels, and lobsters, which might be in the shallow waters close upon the legally imported. shore, taking and destroying an immense The scarcity of fish in the Channel is quantity of the young and unsizeable fish the third complaint; and the Committee --and this at periods of the year when declare it to have been satisfactorily prov. the French are not permitted to fish in the ed that this scarcity has been occasionbays upon their own coast, and when ed by the great destruction of the spawn our fishermen leave their breeding, and brood of fish consequent upon the grounds undisturbed as much as possible. non-observance of the laws which at pre
The Committee observe, that this last- sent exist for their preservation, and by mentioned practice caused great injury, which the fishing with ground or drag as tending to diminish the quantity of fish nets within a certain distance of the shore upon our coasts; and that while these during particular seasons, or at all seaproceedings were taking place upon our sons of the year, with drift or floating nets side of the Channel, the fishermen of having the mesh of the net under certain England were not allowed to fish within dimensions, has been declared unlawful. three leagues of the French coast ; but, on The Committee state their opinion that approaching that limit, were warned off. these statutes should be revised ; and that Nor do the Committee forget the atten- a bill repealing such of the provisions as tion paid by the French government to do not relate exclusively to the coasts of the encouragement and extension of their Devon and Cornwall, and enacting others Channel fisheries as a nursery for seamen; in lieu of them, with better remedies for in which view they require for each fish- their observance, should be introduced in ing-vessel eighteen or twenty men ; boun- the then next session of parliament. ties being also granted in aid of all their A fourth alleged mischief was the stowfisheries.
boat fishery, or catching of sprats for maThe Committee suggest that foreign- nure, prevailing principally upon the ers should be prevented from fishing Kentish, Norfolk, and Essex coasts. The within one league, or such other distance nets are described as so small as 'not to of the English coast as by law or usage let a pen pass through, enclosing is considered to belong exclusively to not only sprats, but the spawn and young brood this country; and required to observe of all other kinds of fish; and as these nets are such regulations as may be imposed upon frequently drawn along the ground and in our own fishermen, for the better preser- shallow waters during the breeding season, and vation of the brood of fish in our shallow in the winter months before the young fish are waters ;-also, that all officers of the re- gone into deeper waters, an immense destruction
of the brood of fish is the inevitable consequence; venue and vessels cruising upon the coast
whilst, from the almost unlimited demand for should be instructed to prevent foreign this species of manure for land, and there being fishermen from fishing within such pre- a ready sale for all that can be procured, this scribed distance, and to protect the Eng. branch of fishing has greatly increased, and ihere lish from aggression at sea.
are at present from 400 to 500 boats engaged in With regard to the second grievance, stow-boating on the Kentish coast only, which the Committee strongly condemn the remain upon the fishing-grounds frequently for
a week together, not for the purpose of caiching importation of foreign-caught fish, as ex
sprats, or any other fish, to be sold as food in the tremely injurious to the English fisher. market, but until they have obtained full cargoes men, not only by preventing such of them of dead fish for the purpose of manuring the as live at a distance from London from land.'
The Committee say they were port of our fishermen in the inactive sea. inclined to question whether this fishery, son, upon an agreement that all the pro(which is not of long standing) "ought not to be duce of the nets was to be brought to entirely prevented ; but upon the best considera- them at a stipulated price, the said fishtion which they have been able to give to the ermen have sold a considerable portion subject, they recommend that at least it should of the fish so taken to boats sent out from not be permitted to be carried on with ground or the French coast. It
have been true drag nets between the 1st of April and the last in 1833 that a less quantity of fish was of November, nor with drift or floating nets in captured by the English fishermen ; but the bays during the breeding season, namely, from the 1st of May to the last of August, within this may have been owing simply to the a league of the low-water mark, or in less than better furniture of the French boats, and ten fathoms water; nor at any other time with the skill, perseverance, and frugality of nets of so small a mesh as is now generally Frenchmen. used.'--Report, p. 11.
Of late there have been symptoms of a
smarter The Committee seem, however, to have
appearance about the fishinghad little doubt as to what was the prin- one may now see sometimes a fleet of trim,
boats of our southern counties. There cipal cause of the alleged depression :- lug-rigged boats making for the white-cliffIt has been proved by the concurring testi
ed picturesque coast-not square, heavy, mony of witnesses from all parts of the coast, lumbering tubs, like the generality of lug. that a very great and increasing scarcity of all gers, but beautifully raking at the stern, fish which breed in the Channel (not including well found and shapely, sailing like witchmackerel or herrings, which are fish of passage), es. If you see one with a brilliant bit of compared with what was the ordinary supply bunting fluttering merrily, there is mean, from fifteen to twenty years ago, has long pre-ing in the signal
. * He has got turbot,' fishermen at the same time that a continued fall exclaims an ancient Triton lounging on of prices has taken place in the markets, it is the shore with a glass as weather-beaten perhaps the principal cause of their distress.”—16. as himself ; ' his wife will give him a cab.
bage for supper to night'--meaning there. Not a few doubted the accuracy of the by not the mere vegetable, but an abunpremises upon which the Committee came dance of savoury flesh-meat accompanito the conclusion that there was a very ments besides. But mystery is observed great and increasing scarcity of all fish after the windlasses have hauled them up which breed in the Channel,' and surmis- high and dry. No one will show his cared that this Report was founded upon go till the chaps' arrive. Down at rather one sided evidence, produced to length they come, and the glittering spoil induce the government to interfere in be- is displayed. What groups of men, wohalf of interested parties upon narrow men, and children, boats, horses, dogs, grounds. These sceptics did not under- and fish-what studies for Stanfield! Destand the logic that makes a fall of pri- pend on it, if we can but get the steady ces consequent upon a scarcity of supply. demand, we shall soon match our rivals. Some years have elapsed since this in The way
in which cargoes of shell fish quiry, and there has been no renewed are dealt with does not argue any great complaint of a deficiency till lately, - apprehension of a deficiency of supply. notwithstanding the steam-pace increase Not long ago, after a boat-voyage in the of our population. The government seems south-west where well-wooded banks dip to have inclined to the doubting party; their boughs into a broad, brimful, windfor we do not find that any of the recom- ing river that opens out from point to mendations of the Committee above no- point into the semblance of a chain of ticed have been carried into effect by lakes as it approaches the sea, we landed parliament, excepting that relating to the at a village celebrated for its carbs'aggressions of foreign fishermen, which spacious, perforated trunks in which crabs, was very properly made the subject of a lobsters, and sea-crawfish are kept alive convention between her Majesty and the for the market. A large smack was lying King of the French. Nevertheless our at this village ; and, as the tide receded, tables have since had a more abundant the men began to discharge her freight. supply, and the lamentations of the fish- We went on board the craft. Her hold ermen have ceased. Nor is it unknown, on was divided transversely : in one compartthe other hand, that boat-owners have ment were hundreds of lobsters and seacomplained that, after having embarked crawfish ; and there were as many crabs their capital and contributed to the sup-'next door. The tide had left the wretches
heaped upon each other, and among them A very little care would have spared the a scramble was going on, literally for life. greater part of this agony and saved a The view of the struggling mass was considerable part of the cargo. If the well more than painful; the convulsive motion of the vessel had been fitted with iron of the long antennæ of the sea-crawfish gratings made to ship and unship, tier as they bristled up among the crowd, and above tier, and a proper number had been the jerkings of the lobsters' tails in a allotted to each shelf, the crabs and lobvain endeavour to swim away from their sters would have been comparatively at misery without water.
a their ease, with enongh of moisture about basket with a whip on a boom, and into their bronchiæ to enable them to breathe these crowded black-holes descended boot- comfortably when left by the tide till they ed fishermen. Presently one of these were transferred to the carbs. It must familiars sang out ‘Dead crabs !'—and up have been asphyxia consequent on the came the basket. An experienced glance huddling together of such a congeries was thrown over it by some on deck, and that killed so many. the best were picked out and carried to the boiler—thence to be hawked about An inquiry into the principles upon the country as 'fresh crabs;' but numbers which the embarkation of capital and the were thrown away as past all culinary subsistence of fishermen might be made help. After a while there was a cry from comparatively secure, opens a wide field, inbelow of · Live crabs!' (males,) and up to which it is our intention to enter by and came the basket with its living load, and by. At present our object, we confess, is down it was lowered over the side, revers- primarily limited to the awakening of all ed, and the contents pitched en masse the ichthyophagist in the appetites of into the carb. Here at first was more men, so as to insure that steady demand misery ; but at last the wrestling animals which, we repeat, must be the keystone of became disentangled, and there was al- the structure ; although the diet is said to most an air of composure about the strong. be so very favourable to the increase of er martyrs as they crawled off to a quiet population, that we can hardly hope to nook, there to breathe freely after the number Miss Martineau among our patrontorture. The females were treated in the same way.
We must not, therefore, forget the finThe more mercurial lobsters occasion- ny tribes of the fresh water; and they ally rushed upon their fate; when a basket lead us to the pretty little treatise of of them was hoisted up, a particularly Gottlieb Boccius, with its well-executed vivacious one would every now and then cut of the spiegel or mirror carp, which, spring out with a sort of demivolte and, notwithstanding its superiority, does not, falling on the deck, split his cuirass just he tells us, at present exist in England, about the point where the heart is situat- though it could be easily obtained from ed; no sooner was he down and lying his 'fatherland,' and would well repay
the all abroad, than off he was hurried to the trouble of importation. The author, howpot. It was at first a puzzle to think how ever, trusted that before this winter set it happened that they had not torn eachin, he should be enabled to stock the other to pieces in the mêlée ; for they ponds of Sir Robert Adair, to whom the were neither pegged nor tied: it turned book is dedicated, with the brood of this out that the leading muscles of their claws species. His directions for the making, had been cut, that they might not quar- stocking, and ordering of ponds and rel.' As in every deep there is generally stews are clear and precise ; it is obvious a lower still, upon the removal of the crus- that he writes from the results of long taceans there appeared a tessellated pave experience, and it will be the fault of the ment of oysters, and we almost fancied Squires if they do not avail themselves of that we could hear them sigh their thanks- his printed wisdom. givings when the mass that had trampled on them was
Not that an • The Ponds or Slews,' he says, 'ought to be oyster is much an object of pity under three in number, and it is requisite to make such circumstances, for he can make him- choice of a slight elevation for the first pond. If self tolerably comfortable in his closed possible this should be so situated that it may shell for a long time : the sufferings, how- receive the drainings of a village, or at any rate ever, of the crabs, lobsters, and crawfish proximity to a farm is desirable, as all the refuse
washings from such places supply food to a large must have been terrible ; for in them the
The object in having the first pond nervous system is highly developed. higher than the others, is that a supply of water
may pass from it to the lower ones in succession; tance, for it is equally necessary to have a free the ponds being connected by a water-course and action of air passing over the surface, as it is to proiected by thood-gates, must have a sufficient have pure and wholesome water: in fact, the depth and descent to allow the whole of the removal of trees contributes largely to effect water to pass off readily to the next in succession. both.
• The ponds ought not to be nearer to each • If the first pond should get an over-accumuother than one hundred yards; the greater the lated store of water, it must be let off by the distance between them the better, as each can sluice into the second, and so on to the third, then have the benefit
of the refuse washings of and then be suffered to run to waste ; for no the neighbourhood and adjoining fields, which pond ought to be allowed, on any account, to will of course contribute largely to the support overflow or break its boundaries, as, by so do. of the stock. Moreover, by having a long water- ing, and by conveying the fish to the next pond, course between the ponds, when either of them it injures that stew by introducing fish of differis sluiced off, or as the term is, “fished,” that ent growths, and so proves ultimately a serious part of the store, which invariably escapes with loss: food would be then insufficient for their ihe fall of water, can be recovered in a much joint maintenance, consequently the fish would cleaner and consequently more healthy state than gain but little in size and weight. If the ponds those which are left behind in the slam or mud. have an even and well-regulated supply of waClay soils are not genial to fish; therefore light ter, then their depth at the centre need never be loamy or gravelly bottoms ought to be chosen more than from three to five feet, shelving to for the ponds; if, however, the clay is not too the sides, as before stated; but if only an indis. deep, and by excavating it yellow sand can be ferent supply can be obtained, then they must reached, then it will leave an equally soft and be twelve or eighteen inches deeper. It is not, pure bottom, the sides being of less importance. however, desirable to have the ponds so situIn clay buttoms the fish do not thrive, from want ated that a large quantity of fresh water shall of food, in consequence of the water partaking suddenly be able to find its way into them, as of the racy* quality of the earth, which from its it both thickens the whole by moving the mud, cold and sterile naiure does not afford the nutri- land, being colder and of other properties, it ment requisite for the maintenance of the larvæ sickens the store for some time and checks their of insects, worms, and other minute living crea- thriving. A well-regulated supply and co-equal tures, in sufficient number, and so keeps the stock discharge is to be recommended, and must be lean and unfit for food.
attended to.'-pp. 1-5. In forming ponds particular care ought to be taken to make the sides shelve gradually for In old times almost every abbey, hall, about six yards: and they are on no account to and manor-house had its fish-ponds, or be deep at the sides, firstly, on account of the stews. Those who are curious as to the sward nourishing large quantities of insects, &c., ancient construction and management the legitimate food of the fish ; secondly, the ponds are not so easily poached, the shallows may turn to Lebault's Maison Rustique, being protected by stakes; and thirdly, protection which was translated and published at is afforded to the brood. The only deep that London, in folio, under the title of the ought to exist at either side should be near the Countrey Farm, in 1616 ; and to A Dis. sluice or flood-gate, where it should be twelve or course of Fish and Fish-Ponds, by a Pereighteen inches deeper than the rest of the pond,
of Honour; in order that when the water is drawn off, the
'who,' says Sir John fish may be collected into a close space, and Hawkins, in a note to his edition of The when the sluice is again closed, that an accumu- Complete Angler, I have been told by lation of water may immediately take place, one who knew him, was the Hon. Roger sufficient for the protection of the brood or North, author of the Life of the Lord succeeding store. In the rainy season it is always Keeper Guildford.' The plan of Lord Baadvisable to let the ponds fill to the full extent con's fish-ponds differs entirely from that of their prescribed boundaries, as this not only recommended by Boccius; but the advanbrings a large proportion of food from the adjacent grounds, but when the water is again let off or tage of running water, and the disadvanrecedes, the borders produce luxuriant and tender tage of overhanging trees, were well conherbage, peculiarly adapted for the food of carp, sidered formerly. and upon which that fish feeds greedily in rainy weather, and may frequently be observed foun. dering half out of his watery element in order * Speaking of Lehruit and Dubravius, the fa. t) obtain this favourite morsel.
mous Boberian bishop--- wiose effigy is now before * As all foliage is pernicions, and the decom- us, seated under a tree by the river side, with his position highly injurious to fish, especially to the angling-rod in bis hand and his mitre and crusier iry or brood, it must be fully borne in mind that at his icet, in the act of getting a bite.--Izaak Wal. trees or shrubs should never be planted on the make choice of such a place for your pond, that it
ton says--. These and all others advise that you borders or margins of the ponds; but if ornament be required, then only at a sufficie
dis may be refreshed with a little rill, or with rain was
ter running or falling into it: by which fish are vre inclined to breed, and are also refreshed and
fed the better, and do prove to be of a much sweetRacy is the term for a species of iron stone er and more pleasani taste. To which end it is sand found in clay strata.
observed, that such pondy as be large, and have
Herr Boccius having, as we have seen, larger, from a given quantity of water. By overdescribed the bottoms and positions which stocking the water the fish become sickly, lean, the ponds ought to have, proceeds to lay and bony; and on the contrary, when the regudown maxims, by attention to which a lu- the fish will be healthy, fleshy, and fat. By this
lauions are attended to which I have laid down, crative rental can be obtained. The first it will be seen that jack become a useful appenpond, he tells us, should be the smallest dage in well-regulaied ponds, tantamount to an of the three, the second next in size, and absolute necessity; but with the necessity a the third the largest.
property, as it will be found that jack, carp, and
tench thrive and grow in equal proportion after In order to come to the dimensions of the this system.'-pp. 8, 9. ponds I shall propose the following scale:-No. 1, three acres; No. 2, four acres; No. 3, five The time of stocking the pond is a conacres: making, altogether
, twelve acres of wa- sideration of no small importance. ter; which, after the first three years of their stores, will produce an annual income from each 'In stocking ponds it must be strictly obserypond in rotation.'--pp. 5, 6.
ed that the jack, carp, and tench be all of the
same season, or spring spawn; and the period Then, for the stocking, we have the for brooding the pond is towards the end of following directions :
October, or, if the season be open and mild, early
in November, for the following reasons. Carp • To stock the ponds with brood the following and tench being fish of the same habits, they simple calculation is sufficient for direction: viz., slam or mud at the same period, lying torpid to every acre of water in extent put in 200 brood through the winter months, so that they keep carp, twenty brood tench, and wenty brood secure from the attacks of the juvenile jack: the jack; thus making ten per cent. each of tench jack at that age finds sufficient food in worms, and jack to the carp: the brood must be all of &c., to subsist upon: as the spring advances, one season's spawn. Therefore, to three acres when the carp and tench leave their winter lairs, there will be 600 carp, 60 tench, and 60 jack; the jack then, in turn, become sickly as their and the succession ponds are to be stocked in spawning season approaches, and, consequently, like proportions, the second the year following do not annoy the carp, much less the tench: the first, and the third again a year later, so this brings them through April, when the jack that each pond then comes round in its turn to spawn, and they remain quiet from that iime be fished. This first outlay constitutes the until the wet season of July.'—p. 9. whole expense, save and except the guarding against poaching, as there will always be a su We quite agree with our author, that perabundant quantity of brood or store to restore eels, those merciless destroyers of the the stews, and sufficient left for sale.'-p. 6.
spawn and fry of other fish, should be
strenuously kept out of the ponds; but it He says nothing of perch, which, when is very difficuli to exclude them entirely, well managed, thrive admirably in sweet for they have a strong propensity to traponds, nor would we advise their associa- vel, and, not unfrequently, take evening tion with carp and tench, unless the
or nocturnal rambles through the thick kept under the most strict surveillance; dewy grass in search of frogs, or to change but he is strong for jack; and we think their lodgings. he makes out his case.
Supposing all to go well, let us now
look to the harvest time. "It has been fully proved that a given space of earth can produce only a certain quantity; so
* Returning to the subject of the succession only can a given space or quantity of water pro: ponds being fished every three years, it is to be duce a certain quantity either of vegetable mat- horne in mind that the store, at that age, is fit ter or animalcules: and curious as it may ap- for market; and the calculation for three years pear, yet it is as true as curious, that by storing out of three acres would give, on an average, as only the proper number of fish adapted to the
follows: waier, the weight, in three years, will prove
at 3lbs. each . . 2,100 lbs. equal to what it would have been had twice the
at 45 lbs. each . 240 lbs. number been placed therein; so that the small
.. at 31 lbs. each .. 210 lbs. er number produces the same weight as the most gravel and shallows, where fish may sport
Total weight of store . . 2,550 lbs. themselves, do afford fish of the purest taste. And Supposing the fish to be worth 1s. per lb., the note, that in all pools it is best for fish to have some value would be 1271. 10s. for three years, or 421. retiring place, as, 1.amely, hollow banks or shelves, 10s. per annum; but were only half the price or roots of trees, 10 kcep them from danger, and, obtained, then, as the first expense is the only when they think fit, from the extreme heat of sum. one, it must be termed a profitable rental, espemer, 18 also from the extremity of the cold in win- cially as, under the old system, many gentlemen ter. And note, that if many trees be growing about have large pieces of water, which produce noyour pond, the leaves thereof falling into the water thing.'--pp. 10, 11. make it nauseous to the fish, and the fish to be so in the eater of it.'--Complete Angler, ch. xx. Our author has a friend in Saxony who