Posted by: Jim Bell | March 13, 2011

1785 – Fishing or Smuggling?

In 1785 the House of Commons report of the Committee Appointed to Enquire into the State of the British Fisheries carried the following observation!

DUMFRIES.

THE Cod Fishery in the Solway Firth is very inconsiderable, owing to the Rapidity of the Tides, and the Bottom being all loose and sandy. Upon the English Side it is better, the Bottom being harder and firmer, and of course more Food for the Fish. The Salmon Fishery is the most considerable on this Coast. – They have also a little Herring Fishery, mostly towards the Isle of Man, but of no great Consequence.

KIRCUDBRIGHT.

The Cod Fishing on this Part of the Coast is also very poor, and the Herring Fishing trifling.
The best is the Salmon Fisheries, one of which alone is set for £ 384, and is mostly carried to Liverpool and Whitehaven Markets, and a few to the West Indies.

WIGTON.

The Cod Fishing near this is better than in the Two former Ports, but not very considerable. The Herring Fishery very indifferent, and the Salmon Fishery good.

STRANRAER.

The only Fishing near this Port is a little of the Herring, and that not considerable.

N. B. It appears plain to me, that the Smallness of the Fishing on the Coast of these Four Ports, are more owing to Smuggling than want of Fish, and that if proper Vessels were sent farther out to deeper Water, they would find no Scarcity of Fish;, but Smuggling is carried on here to an amazing Degree, and much more Money can be made by it than by fishing.


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