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expect to earn his living, and pay his mate's share, out of a boat and gear costing, perhaps, 1001. In no other trade (except that of living on one's wits) will so small a capital investment produce so much livelihood; for, though the earnings be small, in no other trade are what may be called the man-earnings—the joint earnings of capital plus labour-relatively so great.
There, in part, lies their surprising toughness against adverse modern conditions, and also their economic strength, provided they can so be reorganised that a due proportion of the worth of the catches shall go to the fishermen themselves. It may also be pointed out that, since the upkeep of a small fishing boat and gear costs little, the larger proportion of its earnings are spent by the crew in their own locality; whereas in lodging-houses and shops the larger proportion of the gross earnings goes to landlord and wholesaler. Hence, turnover for turnover, the relatively high value of a fishery to its own locality; it brings so much of its earnings in, and sends so little out. I do not, however, mean to convey that the inshore fisheries are in a profitable or flourishing condition. Far from it. If fishing is, economically speaking, nearly all profit, it does not follow that the profits, in practice, are as great as they might be, or that it is the fisherman who secures his proper share of them. What I do wish to make plain is, first, that there are sound economic reasons for reviving the inshore fisheries, and secondly, that they are capable of revival, inasmuch as their economic advantages are fundamental, and cannot be taken away, while their commercial disabilities are incidental and remediable.
Motors represent a compromise. They increase the capital cost of fishing and also running expenses. the other hand, that increase is not great-not so great, for example, as to necessitate shore ownership of boats. Motors enable fishermen to get to the fishing grounds quicker, to fish in calms, to catch markets and fish trains better; and by saving time and labour they enable more fishing, or more sorts of fishing, to be done. The complaint of the youngsters against fishing is, that the earnings do not balance the hardships; were the earnings better, they would put up with the hardships readily enough. By increasing the earnings, and by decreasing the excessive labour, especially in getting to the grounds and in hauling aboard drift-nets and long lines, as well as by adding a mechanical interest which appeals to youth, motors undoubtedly attract young men to the work. Where they have come into use, the fishermen say they would rather lose their boat than their engine. The process of conversion is always the same. At first, motors are regarded as useless, at least for the particular fishery in question; then one or two men try them, often none too successfully; more men try; the technique of motors for the particular fishery is mastered; and soon the best men have them. Finally crews for non-motor boats become hard to get, and in a wonderfully short time the whole fleet is converted to motor power. It is mainly the coming of the marine motor which makes the present seem a specially favourable time for initiating a revival of the inshore fisheries.
Not, of course, that motors are everything, or even the one thing needful. Many other matters urgently need tackling if the decline is to be changed to development. It must be acknowledged that fisheries are a rather distressful, not to say squabblesome, industry. In lucky periods they are apt to undergo an expansion which leads to distress during lean years. One sort of fishing, especially trawling, interferes with other sorts. And the controversy as to how far the fishing grounds are being depleted, who or what is responsible for the depletion, and how to prevent it, has always been very keen. Besides scores of questions in the House, fisheries have been the subject of a good many Government Inquiries, and of several Bills and Acts. Since tbe Devon and Cornwall Inquiry of 1912–13 and the Departmental Committee of 1913-14 covered the whole of the English and Welsh coast, previous Inquiries need not here be dealt with, except to remark that the important recommendations of the Departmental Committee in respect of undersized fish, simplification of by-laws, and shell-fish culture were anticipated by the House of Lords Committee of 1904 and even the Commissioners of 1866. The latter, among whom was Huxley, remarked :
'Should it (depletion of the fishing grounds] ever be satisfactorily proved to have arisen, we conceive that the best remedial measure would be to place a restriction upon the size of the fish permitted to be brought ashore, and to subject the possessor of fish below a certain specified size to penalties; but to avoid interfering with the implements of fishermen, or with their methods of fishing. For the present we advise that all Acts of Parliament which profess to regulate or restrict the modes of fishing pursued in-shore be repealed. ...
How little that advice was taken by a generation of prohibitory persons, and with what bad results, the Report of the Departmental Committee shows.
Fisheries have been the ugly duckling, the kicked dogfish, of Whitehall. Formerly attended to by Salmon Inspectors of the Home Office, they were transferred, in 1886, to a Fisheries Department of the Board of Trade. In 1898 a joint Fisheries and Harbour Department of the Board of Trade was formed; but in 1903 the fisheries were again transferred, becoming a division of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, but leaving fishery harbours behind them with the Harbour Department of the Board of Trade. The Departmental Committee left no doubt in its Report of its opinion that the Central Department is still inadequately equipped-in status, funds, staff and empowering legislation-for dealing with the large and complex fishery interests under its charge.
Locally, the fisheries are administered, within the eleven districts into which the coast is at present divided, by Sea Fisheries Committees, formed under the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act of 1888, and in certain estuaries by local bodies having Sea Fisheries powers. Such Committees are made up of two classes of members : (1) those appointed by local authorities contributing funds, and (2) fishery members. The latter, in turn, consist of a representative from each Salmon Board within the District, and of fishery members proper, appointed by the Central Department to represent the fishing interests of the District. As there is no power to pay the expenses, let alone for the loss of time, of fishermen members, men willing to accept appointment are difficult to find, and it is still more difficult for them to attend regularly. In consequence, fishermen are either unrepresented, or are represented by outsiders interested and willing to serve, or by their fish merchants. The last are usually among the most capable and energetic of the members, but naturally they cannot be expected to work for reform in the methods of fish trading. On every Committee the practical sea fishery members are in a minority. Under various Acts, the Committees have power to regulate inshore fishing in a variety of ways -methods, gear, season, size of shellfish allowed to be taken-but before by-laws can become operative, they must be confirmed by the Central Department. The Central Department can confirm or reject, but it cannot initiate. It can only suggest, and leave the by-law to be brought up again. A more obstructive process for getting anything done quickly would be hard to invent.
For, although the Committees have unquestionably done a great deal of hard work, they themselves suffer from certain fundamental defects not their fault, but imposed upon them. (1) They are an example of spurious decentralisation; they are neither representative of, nor are they elected by, or responsible to, the interests they administer. (2) Their power extends only to the three-mile limit of territorial waters; that is to say, a steam trawler may scrape up hundredweights of immature fish 31 miles out, while the inshore fisherman, for the protection of the few small fish he can catch, may be prevented from trawling at all with motor power just inside the line; and he has, therefore, to bear the brunt of by-laws intended to improve fishing as a whole. (3) With one exception-the Lancashire and Western Committee—their funds are insufficient for enforcing properly their own by-laws, to say nothing of carrying out constructive work, the scientific research necessary for effective regulation, or the legal defence of fishing rights and facilities. (4) Meeting quarterly, at some railway centre the least inconvenient for the bad coastal communications of the country, the Committees are very remote from the men who have to earn their living on the sea and from the rapid fluctuations of the industry.
It is easy to see that on such Committees the members who say, 'Something's wrong, let's prohibit something !', and who produce a neat little by-law, all ready for adoption, are bound to gain the upper hand of members who want to work out constructive schemes, which
needs must be hazy to begin with, and which in any case can't be paid for. And, in fact, the coast is covered with an amazing network of by-laws, dissimilar and of unproven efficacy. Naturally, the inshore fisherman resents such interference by outsiders, however wellintentioned, with his fishing and grounds, his livelihood. • What do 'em do for me,' he too often says, 'except try to prevent a fellow from earning his living?' The Departmental Committee, whilst recognising fully the difficulties under which the Committees labour, and the keenest interest and the most intelligent devotion of a few sympathetic members,' was convinced that there are very serious drawbacks in the present system, which in our opinion fails either to stimulate local enterprise or to foster intimate relations between the fishermen and the Fishery Authority.'
If the Sea Fisheries Committees have concerned themselves chiefly with a maze of prohibitive by-laws, it must be recollected in their favour-in addition to the defects of their composition and representation, that the Act is father to the by-law, and that a repressive cast was inevitably given to their work by the Sea Fisheries Regulation Acts of 1888 to 1894. Parliament itself seems to have regarded the fisheries as a freegrowing tree, only needing to be pruned to flourish-a view which may have been true of the great steam ports, but was certainly untrue of the smaller fisheries. It empowered the Committees to regulate' the fisheries with by-laws and penalties, yet failed to provide them with funds for enforcing even such by-laws as are really necessary, let alone for carrying out constructive schemes. The one constructive provision of the Sea Fisheries Acts (1868–84)-relating to the better cultivation of shellfishprovided for the establishment of shellfish beds by means of Orders too expensive for fishermen to obtain !
Not until the Development Act of 1909 was financial provision made for the development of fisheries, as opposed to their regulation or administration; and it was out of an application to the Development Fund that the Devon and Cornwall Report arose. Grants were being made from the Fund for fishing harbours. The fishermen of Looe in S.E. Cornwall were converting their fleet to motor power, but the drift ports of West