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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
THE LORDS COMMISSIONERS OF HIS
DOMESTIC FISHERIES OF GREAT BRITAIN AND
IS MOST RESPECTFULLY ADDRESSED,
BY THEIR MOST OBEDIENT,
AND MOST HUMBLE SERVANT,
The Domestic Fisheries for the supply of London and Westminster, and other Cities and great Towns of the United Kingdom, have been chiefly carried on in the Northern Seas, where the different Fishing Grounds are, in general, well known to British Fishermen. But it is extremely probable, that accurate hydrographical surveys of these Fishing Grounds, and particularly of those frequented by the Herrings, north of the Shetland Isles, and of the Cod Fisheries off the Feroe Islands and Iceland, would afford much satisfactory information, and direct to various other situations from which supplies of food might be procured to our increasing population. How much a survey of this kind is wanted, it is only necessary to state, that on the southern and western coasts of Ireland there are various Fishing Grounds, which have been, for centuries past, frequented in times of peace by the French and Spaniards, and which are almost wholly unknown to British Fishermen.
Along with such a survey as is here suggested, a complete knowledge of the natural history of the different kinds of fish, which constitute this valuable branch of our domestic economy, would contribute greatly to its
improvement. In promoting this object, the Author begs leave to recommend to those who have inclination and opportunity, to direct their attention particularly to the time of their spawning, the season of their being in greatest abundance and perfection, and their periodical appearance.
The first part of the following Review contains an account of some trials made by the Author, under the authority of Government, to endeavour, by a regular investigation, to ascertain the extent and riches of a Fishing Ground, on the south of Ireland, called the Nymph Bank, which was discovered by Mr. Doyle in 1736. The experiments described in the following pages sufficiently confirm the account of Mr. Doyle, of the abundance and excellence of the Fish on that part of the coast ; but, from want of proper means, they were not continued long enough to ascertain the extent of this Fishing Ground, which, it is said, stretches along the whole of the south and west of Ireland, presenting a rich field for industry, and is considered by some equal for that purpose to the Banks of Newfoundland. On the coast of Ireland the Fish, if sufficiently abundant to employ many vessels (being undoubtedly in greater perfection), would afford a more profitable source of trade and commerce* than those caught at Newfoundland.
It was, at first, the intention of the Author, to have confined this publication to the report of the experiments made on the southern coast of Ireland. Having long delayed committing his Report to the press, waiting for times more favourable to such investigations,
* The late Captain Huddart, an elder brother of the Trinity-House, and well-known as one of the best hydrographical surveyors of the age, informed the Author that he found the Fishing Banks for Cod to extend, not only on the west of Ireland, but on the western seas of the Islands of the Hebrides, to the Feroe Islands and the coast of Iceland, and that he had little doubt but there was a branch extending all the way to she Banks of Newfoundland.