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. CHESHIRE TRADES COUNCILSI…

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DEE FISHERY BOARD. I

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DEE FISHERY BOARD. I THE COCKLE BYE-LAW. OBJECTION BY CONSERVATORS. The quarterly meeting of the conservators of the River Dee Fishery District was held on Saturday at Chester Town Hall. Mr. John Thompson pre- sided over a small attendance, including the Rev. C. Wolley-Dod, Dr. Easterby (St. Asaph), Messrs. Walter G. Hargreaves, J. Gooddie Holmes, J. E. Green, Joseph Hall, W. H. Lloyd, C. H. C. Cal- verley, H. R. Lovett, C. Morrall and Charles Bircnall, with Major Leadbetter (hon. secretary), Mr. H. D. Joiliffe (clerk) and Supt. Simpson. The following letter was received from the Board of Trade :With reference to your letter of the 10th last., in which you submit for approval a bye-law made by the Board of Conservators of the Dee Fishery District for fixing the size at which cockles may be taken, I am directed by the Board of Trade to transmit to you the accompanying copy of an objection to the bye-law in question which has been received by this department, and I am to state that the Board would be glad to be furnished with the observations of the conservators thereon." The copy of objection enclosed was as follows:-Flint, April 4th. We, the undersigned conservators of the Chester Dee, hereby wish to enter an objection to the confirmation of the ap- pended bye-law, on the ground that a cockle, being of three dimensions, cannot be adequately measured by a gauge measuring only two of them. Some cockles attain maturity in bulk Dr them. Some cockles attain maturity in bulk or L.ucKness witnout proportionally mcreaSin g ',n I area.—Joseph Hall, Edward Bithell, J. E. Green." The proposed bye-law in question is as follows: "No person shall remove from a fishery any cock!" which will pass through a gauge having a square opening of 13-16ths of an inch, measured across each side of a square. Any person who shall com- mit a breach of this bye-law shaH be liable to a penalty not exceeding, for any one offence, a sum oi zzu, and in the case ot a continuing offence the additional sum of £10 for every day during which the offence continues." Mr. Hall said he and his fellow-conservators thought it was hardiy fair to measure the cockle in the way proposed, because a cockle might be fully grown within the specified dimensions. The Chairman asked how they would measure a cockle in any other way than that which was adopted throughout England. The Board were under a pledge to the Lancashire authorities to adopt a bye-law practically the same as theirs with regard to cockles, in return for certain concessions. Their cockle-pickers worked on the same bank as those in the other district. A Member: Not necessarily. The Chairman said that they arranged with the Lancashire Board that if they would adopt tho Dee Fishery Board's suggestion as to mussels, they would adopt their suggestion as to cockles. The suggested cockle bye-law was identically the same as the one adopted by the Lancashire Sea Fisheries. In answer to Mr. Green, the Chairman said the Lancashire authorities had conceded all that they were asked to concede. Mr. Hall said he opposed the interference of the Lancashire authorities from the commencement, because they had no right to dictate to this Board. But now they were going to pay defer- ence to them. The Chairman: We gained our point as regards mussels on condition that we shauld concede the point as regards cockles. Dr. Easterby moved—"That the Board feels it is not at present in possession of those data which will enable it to give a definite reply to their Ij 1 1 r rn 1'. 1 kitie -ooarci oi iraae s) letter, and that the clerk obtain from the fishery boards who have cock.e beds what are the bye-laws in each case in force. Mr. W. H. Voyd seconded. The Chairman moved as an amendment that the reply to the Board of Trade be as follows:—"That the principal cockle bed is one which is common to the two boards. The gauge proposed to be used by the Dee Fishery Board in measuring cockles on the cockle-beds at the estuary of the Dee will be precisely the same as the one in use by the Lancashire and Western Sea. Fisheries Committee. The cockle bye-law in force in the Lancashire district appears, from a letter of Mr. R. A. Dawson, superintendent, to have worked successfully, and the Board do not think it desirable that there shouid bo different gauges in the two districts." The Rev. C. Wolley-Dod seconded. Mr. Hall pointed out that there was no line of demarcation between Hilbre Island and the Point of Ayr. The Chairman That is precisely the reason why we are trying to assimilate the two bye-laws. Mr. Hall: Then I should object to the Lan- cashire Board interfering at all with the limits of the river Dee. Mr. Green: I certainly agree with that. Mr. Hall: We are ignored as a board. Mr. Green: We are. Proceeding, Mr. Green said they were not practical cockle-gatherers, and therefore they wanted expert evidence before them. The Chairman: The very object cf all this is to give the Board reasons whether they should hold a public meeting to get this expert evidence. All this is preliminary to their seeing whether they will hold an inquiry. Mr. Green: V. e must do what we can to have such an inquiry. The Chairman We can neither cause an inquiry nor prevent it. Mr. Green: A great deal lies in our power. We can say that this Board is principally composed of riparian owners who live some miles away from the cockle-beds, and who know no more about cockle-beds than ihe cockle-bcds know cf them. The Chairman ruled Mr. Green out of order. Mr. Green But I maintain it is quite in order now to discuss the matter of expert evidence. The Chairman I rule it is not in order. The resolutions were then voted up^n, and the amendment was carried. Dr. Easterby moved that the defected motion be also forwarded to the Board of Trade, together with the fact that it was lost by eight votes to four. The Chairman did not see why the Board should stultify itself by adopting a bye-law and then say- ing they were very sorry they came to a wrong conclusion. The motion was defeated, but the Chairman pointed out that any member was at liberty to forward the motion independently to the Board of Trade. Mr. Hall said he would like to move that those conservators who were only acquainted with the higher reaches of the Dee should not control the lower reaches, of which they knew nothing. (ijamrhter.) The Chairman I am afraid you will have to go to the House of Commons to do that. (Laughter.) Mr. Hall: And I may say that I was appointed a representative of the Flintshire Couniy Council not to quibble as you are this morning. My in- structions were to support the peopla in their in- terests as ratepayers, to do what I could to ad- vance their interests, and here we ares-now passing laws fixing a maximum penalty of £ 20.upon a poor person for getting a few under-sized cockles. The Chairman: I am afraid that cannot bo dis- cussed. It is quite open to you to object at the inquiry. Mr. Green said he had been informed that a now water bailiff had been appointed", at Heswall. Supit. Simpson: That is so. Mr. Green: Who appointed the new water bailiif? Supt. Simpson I employed him. Mr. Green: Are you authorised under Act of Parliament to appoint him? Supt. Simpson I am. Mr. Green: The Act of Parliamont savs the Beard shall appoint him. The Board has not ap- pointed a new bailiff for Heswall. Major Leadbetter: We are conafcantk clischarg- ieg. men. Mr. Green: It is informal. I raise my objec- tion on the ground of informality. The Chairman: I move that, the temporary appointment of this man be approved by the Board. Mr. Green: It is ultra vires. I shall have to call attention to it in other quarters. The motion was seconded and'carried. PIKE WIRING. The following interesting, report by Supt. 3impsoll was read to the committee:—"I have to report that in accordance with your instructions I made arrangements with Mr: Wynne Corrie and visited his fishery on the Itchen, with a view to obtaining some knowledge in pike wiring. I went there on Monday, the 7th April, and stayed until the following Saturday. Unfortunately the weather became stormy and unfavourable, but through the kind perseverance of Mr. Corrie's keepers I was enabled to see a few pike wired, and ultimately had the satisfaction of wiring two myself. From my little experience I am satisfied that pike wiring, like other mocks- of fishing, re- quires considerable practice before one can attain any efficiency in the art. Probably the most diffi- cult part is the spotting of the fish. Mr. Corrie's keepers, through constant practice, axe marvel- lously quick in this respact, and will at times have a fish on the bl'.nk befove an inexperienced person can detect it. The Itchen, tarilike the Dee, is never flooded, and as the clear water (mostly from two to three feat deep) flows. evenly over a white chalky bed, the pike. wheth not concealed among the reeds, are more easily ireen than they can be in any part of the Dee or its tributaries; but I hava seen pilp in the tipper reaches of the Dee which I now think could have been wired. If the Bojvrd could get permission. from the riparian owners and fishing associations to kill pike in their water: and equip-, the bailiffs with the necessary rods and wires, a few of these destructive fish could- be destroyad in this way. Even in the Itches, where the nature of th» river is favour- able for pike wiring, the keepers often resort to the more general methods of trawling and setting trimmers for them, and I have no doubt that by a more diffusive use of these apmts a great number cf the large pike now infesting the Dec- could be got rid of. Before closing- this report, I would like to mention that Mr. Corrie afforded me every facility for visiting his- fishery. His keepers were most kind, and did all they could to assist me."

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