The Cod Fish, pp.253-254.

[Three Hundred Animals Contents]

   IS a noble inhabitant of the seas; not only on account of his size, but also for the goodness of his flesh, either fresh or salted. The body measures sometimes above three and even four feet in length, with a proportionable thickness. The back is of a brown olive colour, with white spots on the sides, and the belly is entirely white. The eyes are large and staring. The head is broad and fleshy, and esteemed a delicious dish. 

   The fecundity of all fishes is an object of real astonishment to every observer of nature. In the year 1790, a Cod Fish was sold in Workington market, Cumberland, for one shilling; it weighed 15lb. and measured two feet nine inches in length and seven inches in breadth; the roe weighed 2lb. 10z. one grain of which contained 320 seeds or eggs. The whole therefore might contain, by fair estimation, 3,904,440 eggs. From such a trifle as this we may observe the prodigious value of the fishing trade to a commercial nation, and hence draw a useful hint for increasing it: for supposing that each of the above seeds should arrive at the same perfection and size, its produce would weigh 26,123 tons, and consequently would load 261 sail of ships, each of 100 tons burden. If each fish were brought to market and sold as the original one, for one shilling, the produce then would be 195,000l. that is to say, the first shilling would produce twenty times 19,5000 [sic], or 3,900,000s. 

   The chief fisheries for Cod are in the bay of Canada, near the coasts of Newfoundland. The best season is from the beginning of February to the end of April. Each fisherman only takes one Cod at a time, and yet the more experienced will catch from three to four hundred per day. It is fatiguing work, owing particularly to the intense cold they are obliged to suffer during the operation. The Latin name for this fish and several other of the kind, is asellus, “a young ass,” on account of his large head and dusky colour. 

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