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in 1859 had a value of about $2,600,000 as compared with a value of $1,009,000 for the output of the cod and mackerel industries of Maine.1 In Massachusetts, too, practically every coast town possessed valuable fishing interests. Marblehead, which had been the leading fishing port of Massachusetts for a number of years before the Revolution, declined relatively in importance during the period. After 1818 Gloucester gradually came to the front as a fishing center, and before the end of the period led all the fishing ports of the United States. The value of the products of the Gloucester fishing industries in 1859 was $1,277,000, nearly half of the entire output of Massachusetts, exclusive of the product of the whale fishery. The fishing fleet of Gloucester in that year contained 301 schooners, employing over 3,500 men and boys.2 Newburyport held a position of importance in both the cod and mackerel fisheries, and Beverly maintained a number of vessels in the cod fishery. Boston remained the important center of the fish trade, and also furnished a large part of the equipment for the fishing-vessels of Massachusetts and the other New England States.

TABLE 64.-Estimated number, tonnage, and persons employed in crews in cod fishing in 1853.1

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Previous to 1819, the mackerel fishery of the United States was relatively unimportant, the total recorded product of the industry for the 15 years preceding that date being only about 235,000 barrels. Before that year, the fish were used largely as bait for cod, and those which were caught for food were taken fresh to market. The first trip for mackerel to salt on board the vessel taking them was made in 1818. Thereafter the mackerel fishery developed rapidly, and in 1831 about 450,000 barrels were salted in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.4 After 1831 the industry declined for a time, but about 1840 it began to revive and continued to be prosperous for the greater part of the next 20 years. The mackerel fishery is always subject to great fluctuations. Unlike the cod, the supply of which is fairly uniform, the mackerel are found in widely varying quantities and in different localities from season to season. The purse-seine did not come into general

1U. S. Census 1860, Miscellaneous Statistics, 550.
'McFarland, History of the New England Fisheries, 194.

Ibid., 142.

Ibid., 171.

use for catching mackerel until late in the century, and as long as the fish had to be caught with hook and line, the quantity taken in some years was small, because of the refusal of the fish to bite. One example of the fluctuations which sometimes occurred is shown in the statistics of the Massachusetts fishery in 1859 and 1860, the product for the former year being 99,715 barrels and that for the latter 235,685 barrels. The average catch of mackerel from 1820 to 1860 was about 200,000 barrels a year.1

The gross tonnage of the mackerel fleet of the United States in 1830, the first year in which statistics of its tonnage were separately recorded, was 35,973 tons.2 In 1840, when the product of the fishery was at one of the lowest points, the fleet measured 28,269 tons, but by 1850 it had risen to 58,111 tons.2 The maximum tonnage for the period was reached in 1849, when it amounted to 73,853 tons; in 1852, it was 72,546 tons. The poor season of 1859 was reflected in the diminution of the fleet to 26,110 tons in 1860.2

Massachusetts possessed by far the largest part of the mackerel industry throughout the entire period. Maine had a mackerel fleet, but the mackerel fishery of that State failed to grow as rapidly as its cod fishery. Fishermen of New Hampshire also engaged in the mackerel business, but only on a small scale. In Massachusetts, Boston was the leading mackerel port almost continuously until 1840, when Gloucester took the lead and has ever since retained it. Newburyport engaged extensively in both the mackerel and the cod industries; Wellfleet had an important interest in the mackerel fishery, usually ranking next to Gloucester and Boston after 1845; and Hingham, Cohasset, and Provincetown each held high rank in the quantity of mackerel taken and cured.3


The period from 1789 to 1860 marked the beginning of several important fisheries in New England, some of which in subsequent years were to exceed in extent the long-established cod and mackerel industries.

The herring fisheries in the vicinity of the Magdalen Islands were extensively developed, and many fishing towns along the Maine coast from the Penobscot to the St. Croix produced large quantities of smoked and pickled herring. Between 1845 and 1865 there were pickled annually at Lubec from 400,000 to 500,000 boxes of smoked herring; Eastport, Millbridge, Hancock, and several other towns also engaged extensively in the business of catching and curing herring.1

As early as 1819 halibut were found at George's Bank, though it was not until about 1830 that the business of catching this fish for market was started in a regular manner. Halibut were usually brought

'MacFarland, History of the New England Fisheries, 172.
Commerce and Navigation of the United States, 1860, p. 670.
'McFarland, Ibid., 187.
Ibid., 178.

to port alive and packed in ice for shipment. The extreme risk involved in the fishery, which was carried on only in midwinter, tended to discourage its development, though by 1851 Gloucester employed about 75 vessels in it. The catch that year was valued at upwards of $60,000. The hake fishery of Frenchman's Bay was also developed to some extent between 1840 and 1860, and considerable quantities sold at Portland and Boston.2 Shad fisheries were carried on locally in nearly all the important New England rivers.

The menhaden oil and fertilizer industries also started during this period. The use of fish as fertilizer began at a very early period in colonial history. For a long time food-fish, such as the alewife and shad, were employed for this purpose, but as these fish grew in value the bony "mossbunkers" or white-fish, as the menhaden were usually called, were introduced as fertilizing material, and the farmers along the coast caught them in large quantities to spread over their fields. As early as 1812 the inhabitants of Rhode Island began to use various fish oils as substitutes for more expensive paint oils. By 1830 the process of extracting oil by steam-cooking and pressing the fish was brought into use. By 1850 there were a number of small establishments along the New England coast engaged regularly in manufacturing menhaden oil, and the introduction of the purse-seine for catching the fish about that time greatly stimulated the industry. At first the refuse part of the menhaden, from which the oil had been pressed, was thrown away, but it was soon discovered that it could be used as fertilizer just as the entire fish had been used. The possibility of securing two useful products by the same process enhanced the commercial importance of the menhaden and opened the way for a great development of the menhaden fishery.

The practice of transplanting oysters from Chesapeake Bay to the shore waters of Rhode Island and Connecticut was begun about 1840. The value of the oyster fishery of Connecticut in 1860 was about $610,000. Fair Haven, Connecticut, was one of the first places in New England to which oysters were transplanted, the seed oysters being secured first from New Jersey and later from Virginia.5 So large did the oyster business at Fair Haven become that some of the establishments maintained branch houses in cities as far west as St. Louis and Chicago.

The lobster fishery began to assume a position of commercial importance about 1830, when vessels from Boston began to make regular trips to the Maine coast to secure supplies of fresh lobsters. In 1843 the business of canning lobster was started in Maine. By 1860 the industry had developed to an extent sufficient to indicate that it would eventually take a high rank among the domestic fishing industries.

1Sabine, Report on Principal Fisheries (House Exec. Doc. No. 23, 32 Cong., 2 sess., p. 373). McFarland, History of the New England Fisheries, 179.

'Goode, Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States, sec. v, I, 366.

'U. S. Census 1860, Miscellaneous Statistics, 551.
'McFarland, History of the New England Fisheries, 197.

Ibid., 232.

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(From McFarland's History of the New England Fisheries)

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