The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Weekly British Whig (Kingston, ON), July 16, 1885

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The fishing industry is still carried on to a considerable extent, especially along Lake Ontario. The Watertown Times says that at Port Ontario, Sackett's Harbor, Cape Vincent, Three Mile Bay and Chaumont are concerns of considerable capital and extent, who deal in fish and whose names are spoken in every market from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic. At Port Ontario there is a fleet of a half dozen sailing vessels, employing thirty men and a capital of $3,000.

At Sackett's Harbor, Clark & Robbins, probably the largest fresh water fish dealers in the world, have their headquarters. They estimate the capital employed in the fishing business between Oswego and Cape Vincent at $50,000, employing from 800 to 1,000 men, yet the production is not one-tenth of what it was ten years ago, and the large nets then used have gone out of date. Clark & Robbins, for the year ending 1st of April paid $50,000 for fish, and nearly the whole sum went to the Canadian side of the lake. As the industry on the American shore decreased they were compelled to go to foreign waters for their fish. Today, while taking all they are able to buy from Canada they are the exclusive lessees of a large lake in Manitoba, (having rented it of the government,) from which they receive in the aggregate about 3,000,000 lbs. of fish a year. To accommodate this immense product they have established a branch house in Buffalo.

The men who fish for Clark & Robbins in Canada have fifty miles of gill nets continually set along the shore, and their steamer, on its last trip, found a cargo of 12,000 lbs. of fish awaiting it. This is exclusive of their Manitoba fishery. In this lot there were a number of sturgeon, a natural enemy of the game fish, which would thrive better were they exterminated.

The next principle fisheries are found at Chaumont and Three Mile Bay. These villages were once noted for cisco trade, but that, too, has almost entirely disappeared, and with it has gone much of the life which formerly abounded there. At present, in the two places, there are fifty men employed in fishing, representing a capital of $10,000.

At Cape Vincent, for the last twenty five years fishing has been quite an extensive industry, but now it is declining. At present the sales of fish average $1,500 a week, giving employment to eighty men, twenty-five boats, fifty miles of gill nets and to 200 pound, trap and hoop nets. The amount of capital thus employed and represented is $80,000. Below Cape Vincent no net fishing is allowed, but it is estimated that during the summer season, when the pleasure travel is at its height, there are one thousand skiffs engaged in angling, whereby 100,000 minnows a day are killed for bait. The catch made in this manner it would be difficult to estimate.

p.4 Fishing Regulations - complaining of Americans moving into Canadian waters, using nets, etc.

Weekly British Whig

(only pages 7 & 8)


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July 16, 1885
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Weekly British Whig (Kingston, ON), July 16, 1885