THE ROMANCE OF FISHING.*
"FISH " is a term which, for tbnvenience" sake, is made to include various things which cannot in strictness be so described. Some of these, as the various kinds of whale, commonly go by the name ; others have no more claim to it than that they are creatures of the sea, as, kir instance, the turtle, and, by 'a specially wide extension of the term, sponges and pearls. No one would speak of either of these as " fish," bat -the 'business of taking them is designated as fishing. These extensions, too, furnish some of the mbst interesting parts of Mr. Wright's large= subject. The whale, for instance, though he is not as important as he need to be, still looms large, in more senses than one, in the " world's fisheries." The tender-hearted Scotch lady who, when gas was brought into use, asked : " What will the pair whales do ? " wasted her pity. They are quite as much hunted as ever, their pursuers being not, perhaps, so numerous, but more effectively equipped. Steam and gunpowder have, as Mr. Wright remarks, done much to rob whaling of its sporting and romantic features, but you cannot hunt a creature " as big as a cricket pitch "- to use his appropriate illustration—without some excitement. And the prey is worth securing, for every ounce of the creature is available for some purposes, and of ounces there are not a few. After the whale comes the seal, which -at least may claim that he has sometimes endangered the peace of the world. The pearl fishery, again, has been famous almost from the beginning of history. And here the old romantic, method of diving is still employed ; the trawl, though employed 'by the practically minded Australian, is seldom used ; for one thing, the depth of the water is often against it. Sponges, again, are interesting things. They may be found in many places, though their chief habitat is the Mediterranean. " Here and at Aegina," was an inscription which might have been seen up to a year or so ago on a warehouse in Red Lion Square. Here, also, the details are full of interest, and, we' imagine, will be new to many readers.
When we come to fish properly so called, the subject seems almost inexhaustible. Which, one may begin by asking, is the most important fishery P It lies, perhaps, between the cod and the herring, the cod possibly having the preference as being of international importance. Is he not occupying at this moment the Cabinets of two hemispheres? Then there is a formidable rival in the salmon. As we write we see a com- plaint of the lamentably small " pack " of the salmon industry on the Pacific coast,—less than three million cans. When we come to the herring, figures rise into magnitudes which may be said to defy the powers of the imagination. Twenty-one " °ran" may be put down as the catch of a lucky night, and a cran is equal to twenty-six and three-quarter gallons, or more than three bushels. When the fish are reckoned by numbers, the measure is 'of the most liberal kind. The hundred is a " long " one, and counts as many as a hundred and thirty-two. The realm of the cod is of even more magnificent dimensions. The fishery gives occupation to seven hundred thousand men, and though it has been pursued with increasing energy and constantly improved appliances for centuries—ten centuries off Iceland, and four off Newfoundland—the supply continues to hold out Minor industries of the same kind are the pilchard fishery of Cortfwall; that of the sardine and anchovy followed on the Atlantic coast of Spain and in the Western Mediterranean—the pilchard and the anchovy have a closer • The Romanoe of the World's-Fisheries. By Sidney "Wright. London: Seeley and Co. NJ `connexion tian.natural affinities warrant—the tunny, of which the monopoly belongs to Sardinia and Sicily ; and last, but not by any means least, the tunny's miniature relative, the mackerel. This enumeration is far from being complete, though it gives the most important items.
Another great province of the subject is to be- seen in the implements,—nets, hooks, lines, baskets, &c. Some 'of these are of the most venerable antiquity ; others we of reeerit invention. Chief among the latter comes the trawl, mach -used and much abased, in both senses of the *ord. If any one wishes to know how effective an engine of !destruction ft is, let him try 116.e-fishing in one region Which the trawlerb have swept, and in another which is protected from them by a rocky bottom. But we must not plunge into the midst of a fierce controversy. Considerations of space forbid; as they also forbid any handling of a topic which would irdefest, it may be, some of our readers more than anything that We have touched hitherto,--Sport.