Fishing Grounds of the Gulf of Maine

The Channel (14)The Channel marks the western edge of Georges Bank. Its boundaries are somewhat indefinite, but the old Eldridge chart states that for the fishermen the 30 fathom curve running southerly from Race Point. Cape Cod, limits its western edge. This ground is much visited by the Boston fleet, both sail and steam, line trawlers and otter trawlers, the fleet of Gloucester, and the otter-trawl fleet that has developed in New York in recent years.

This area is all good fishing ground in the proper season, but perhaps the most important is that part lying 25 miles E. 1/2 S. from Sankaty Head, Nantucket. Here is a level, sandy bottom, where, during May, June, July, and August, the otter trawlers operate successfully in 18 to 30 fathoms of water, making a catch that consists principally of haddock, with a considerable proportion of cod, especially in June and July, and with a fair amount also of pollock, cusk, and hake. Small halibut are fairly abundant here, also. these fish being of from 5 to R pounds, rarely larger. Flounders are abundant, with a good number of "lemon soles" and "gray soles," which are very popular with the trade.

The sail fleet operates here also, but, as a rule, more of these vessels are found on the ground lying some 10 miles farther eastward, on the edge of Georges in somewhat deeper water (30 to 50 fathoms) on a rougher and rockier bottom, where there is a greater proportion of cod in the catch than on the western area.

(14) Capt John Smith wrote of this region: "Toward the South and Southwest of this Cape [Cape Cod] is found a long and dangerous shoal of sands and rocks. But so far as I incircled it, I found thirtie fadom water aboard the shore, and a strong current ; which makes mee thinke there is a Channell about the shoales ; where is the best and greatest fish to be had. Winter and Summer in all that Countree. But the Savages say there is no Channell ; but that the shoales begin from the main at Pawmet, to the Ile of Nausit ; and so extends beyond their knowledge into the sea." That the captain's reputation for far-visioned wisdom may not be held too lightly, let these figures speak, taken as they are from the bureau's records of the landings at the three ports of Boston, Gloucester. and Portland for the year 1927, when the fares from his "Channell" numbered 2,036, with a poundage of 1211,688,693 and a value of $3,807,358.