ANGUS MACLEOD, Crofter and Fish Merchant, Portnaguirin—examined,
17241. The Chairman.
—You have given in a statement to the Commission ?
I have been appointed to appear before the Royal Commission by the crofters and fishermen of this district to state their grievances. First, crofters are overcrowded. In many instances three families are in the same croft. The land is poor, and they have too little of it. Second, they suffer heavily for want of harbours to prosecute the fishing. Portnaguirin is one of the oldest and best fishing ports, and there is from 100 to 150 fishermen depending upon it for the most part of the year, and is still neglected and left in its natural state, consequently the fishermen have to load and unload from a ton or two tons of ballast, and then haul their boats from 50 to 100 yards every time they go to sea; and owing to the roughness of the shore and want of protection, the boats that ought to last them ten years, will only last them for three. There is no doubt if there was a harbour they would have larger and better boats, and could land twice the quantity of fish. Third, we suffer from want of telegraphic communication to the fishing ports, so that we cannot have ready communication with the southern markets, which now would be of great advantage to the fishermen.—ANGUS MACLEOD, delegate.'
17242. This is written by Mr Walter Rose, Secretary of the Lewis Highland Land Law Reform Association ?
17243. What you most complain of is a want of fishing accommodation, a pier or shelter for your boats ?
—Yes ; even a pier would be better than nothing, but a harbour is much required.
17244. Would it be easy to make a harbour?
—Not very easy.
17245. Portnaguirin is in Broad Bay ?
17246. Is it the best situation for forming a harbour?
—That or Gress. Portnaguirin is a much more important fishing place.
17247. How many boats fish there?
—Perhaps twenty to twenty-five, for cod, ling, and lobsters, during the year; and if there was a harbour there would be many more.