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bleed each herring, use the best quality of salt, and take the greatest care in the manipulation.
The herring is a very fat, oily fish, and unless carefully and rapidly cured with salt, becomes soon rancid and unfit for use. The herrings formerly cured in Scotland were not gutted and bled with a knife like the Dutch herrings, but were cured intact as they came out of the sea. No time was limited for putting the fish into salt; everything was done there as here, in the most slovenly manner; and while the Dutch herring found a ready market all over the continent, the Scotch found none, and the consumption was almost entirely confined to the home market.
The great advantage of the fishery inspectors now is, that they perambulate the curers' yards while the operation of curing is going on. They see that the women gut, salt, and pack the herrings properly, and within the time prescribed by the statute. They also take care that every cask shall contain at least 32 gallons, and that the full fish be separated from the lank or spawned fish. It requires 12 days to cure the herrings properly; at the expiration of that time the casks are opened again, when the fish are found swimming in the pickle, which is formed by the salt and the blood of the fish. The superfluous pickle is then drawn off, and the casks are filled quite full with herrings. The effect of the salt upon the herrings is to compress them into much smaller bulk, so that a cask which has been packed quite full of fresh fish, the day they were landed, at the end of 12 days is only about two-thirds full; or, in other words, 100 barrels of fresh salted fish will only yield 70 barrels of well-packed cured fish.
The French Herring Fishery.—The herring fishery known in France in the eleventh century was long exclusively pursued by Dieppe and Rouen fishermen, who caught this fish in the North Sea, and distributed it over France and the Levant. Later, other maritime ports entered upon this industry; and in 1789 Fecamp had 50 boats occupied in the herring fishery. Now, after a decline of the fishery occasioned by the wars of the Republic and the Empire, it has taken a fresh start, and become of great importance to Dieppe and Boulogne. The herring fishery is carried on in France on the coasts of Dunkirk and Havre, from September to February or March, and is sometimes continued till May.
In France 180 vessels, of 8000 tons burden, are employed in catching herrings for salting, and take about 8,500,000 kilogrammes a year. Of these vessels about 100 belong to the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer; the rest to Dieppe, Fecamp, St . Valery-en-Caux, Calais, Treport, and Gravelines. The number of vessels employed in fishing herrings which are sold fresh is 470, of about 10,000 tons burden, and they catch on an average 13,000,000 kilogrammes annually. They belong to the aforesaid ports, and also to those of Barfleur, Berck, Dunkirk, Etape, Le Hourdel, Port-enBessin, and St. Valery-sur-Somme. At Boulogne the fishery is better organized than anywhere else in France, and is carried on by means of associations composed of the owners of the boats and the crews.
A recent very productive year, in which but 109 boats and 1506 men were engaged from Boulogne, resulted in a catch of 4518 lasts of fresh and salted herrings, the total money proceeds of which were £118,015. In 1873, 282 boats were employed, of 8350 tons, and employing 3750 men. The catch of herrings yielded over £200,000, and the value of the other fisheries carried on from the port £ 115,000 more.
The take of herrings on the French coasts in 1873 amounted in value to somewhat under .£400,000. The herring fishery of France realized in 1866 a little over 7,000,000 francs; in 1873 it reached nearly 9,500,000 francs.
The Norway Herring Fishery.—The herring is found from Mandal, on the extreme south of Norway, to the North Cape. They seem to live in the deep submarine valley between the 47th and 67th degrees of latitude; that is, from about the English Channel on the south, to the North Cape at the extreme north of Norway. It approaches the shore when about to spawn. They abandon water which has not at least the temperature of 40 C. or 400 F., either because this temperature is disagreeable to them, or they do not find suitable food. From some unknown cause, the localities where they present themselves vary each year. The fishermen begin to take a few spring herrings towards the end of March, which are very thin, but improve in July and August. The winter herrings are fished between 15th January and 15th March. About 1,000,000 barrels are annually procured, of which a considerable portion finds its way to Great Britain, and the rest go to Sweden and the Baltic ports.
The North American Fishery.—The common American herring (Clupea elongata, Storer) is amongst the most valuable of food fishes. The habits, haunts, and seasons of the herring are matters of curious inquiry. It seems, however, now to be well established that the only migration of the herring is from the deep seas to the shores at the spawning season, and from the shore to the deep seas when this is over.
As early as March herrings are taken in nets on the coast, but the fish are so straggling and the seas so boisterous, that, except for bait, fishing does not commence till May. In this month a run of large fat herrings is taken in nets upon the banks, which lie 10 or 15 miles seaward, and carry about 75 fathoms water. A net 30 fathoms long and three deep is passed from the stern of a boat at anchor. The free end drifts with the tide, held to the surface by cork floats—sometimes the tides carry the net down 15 fathoms in a slanting direction—thus drifting from night to morning; the net is overhauled, and from 20 to 100 dozen is the ordinary catch. It is very evident that, owing to the distance from shore, and the need of calm weather for the boats and nets, as well as for the fish, which are very susceptible to rough seas, this fishing must be precarious. The boats are stout, weatherly keel boats, with a half deck, from five to 15 tons, carrying a jib, fore and main sail, and usually called second-class fishermen when entered at a regatta.
The " in shore run," a fish of smaller size, are taken in nets set to a buoy, instead of a boat, the free end drifting to the tide. These nets are often moored from one buoy to another to preserve a permanent position across a creek or small bay. In these various ways herrings are taken by the shore population of the whole Atlantic and Gulf coast of Nova Scotia, from the Bay of Fundy to Cumberland. The immense tides of the Bay of Fundy, leaving long flats and sand-bars at low tide, and the steep trap formation of its southern coast line have singularly altered the character of the fishery. Here the drift-net fishing is carried on, boats and nets drifting for miles upon the flow and returning upon the ebb, the nets twisted and coiled into apparently impossible masses. The shores of the trap formation being flat tables of trap reaching plane after plane into the sea, with no crevice to hold a stake or anchor a buoy, the fishermen procure stout spruce fir trees, and lopping off the branches, leave the long lateral roots attached to them. These they place upright in rows upon the bare rock, and pile heavy stones upon the roots as ballast, stretching their nets between them. Entirely submerged at flood tide, at ebb they are left high and dry, and often loaded down with fish caught by the gills in the meshes of the net. These nets are usually set for a large, lean spring herring, running for the flats in early spring to spawn. This method of fishing obtains throughout the whole trap district of the province bordering upon the Bay of Fundy.
The value of the herrings caught in the Dominion of Canada in 1876 was returned at £825,620.
Herring (Clupea harengus) and shad (Alosa sapidissima) are so abundant in North Carolina that the former sell for 6s. per 1000, and the finest shad at from 6d. to 1s. each. The seines used are of immense size, and are worked by steam power. A seine worked at the mouth of the Chowan is a mile and a half in length, and in it 300,000 herrings have been taken in one day. They also take from 1000 to 2000 shad at a catch. Steamers are at the wharves, constantly loading with these fine fish, packed in ice, for the New York and other northern markets.