Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/270

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258
DIMYARIA.—MYTILIDÆ.

used as bait for all sorts of fish, especially haddocks, cod, ling, halibut, plaice, skate, whiting, &c. In Newhaven alone there are four large deep-sea fishing-boats, which generally go out three times a-week, and fish for about thirty weeks in the year, excluding Sundays and bad weather. Each of these large boats carries eight men, with eight lines of 800 yards in length, which, at a low calculation, take 1,200 mussels to bait each time they are used; so that each large boat will use 28,800 mussels per week, equal to 864,000 per annum. But there are about sixteen other smaller boats, which go out daily, or rather at 12 o'clock every night, for about the same number of weeks in the year. Each carries four men, with four lines 800 yards long. Their consumption of mussels will come to 3,456,000. The total consumption of mussels for bait annually in Newhaven alone may be reckoned at 4,320,000. As there are nearly as many used at Musselburgh, and Fisherrow, Buckhaven, Elie, Anstruther, Pittenweem, Crail, and other places on the Frith of Forth, we may calculate that thirty or forty millions of mussels are used for bait alone by the fishermen of this district each year. Numbers come from the river Eden-on-Fife, and are sold at 25s. per cask. The best mussels at Newhaven are got directly north of the Pier, in three fathoms water, and are sold at 8d. per basket, each containing nearly a bushel. The beds are private property, and some of them having been injudiciously or avariciously exhausted, the number of mussels in the Forth has decreased, and the price increased, within the last ten years."

The eminent authors of the work just cited furnish us with some other particulars of interest.