Newfoundland; Economic, Diplomatic, and Strategic Studies

By R. A. MacKay | Go to book overview

III
PRIMARY INDUSTRIES

AS the previous chapter has indicated, Newfoundland's economy rests primarily on three basic industries, fishing, pulp and paper, and mining. Agriculture in Newfoundland is a subsidiary industry catering only to the home market, but it is none the less important because of its intimate relation with other basic industries. An understanding of these basic industries and of their interrelationship is an essential preliminary to a proper appreciation of Newfoundland's economic and financial situation.


A. THE FISHING INDUSTRY

For nearly four centuries, the fishing industry--which term is here used to include the production of all marine products--was virtually the only industry in Newfoundland. For an additional period of nearly half a century, it remained the most important industry both in the amount contributed to the national income and in the number of persons directly affected; but within the past decade it has yielded first place to the pulp and paper industry in the amount contributed to the national income, and it is now being rivalled for second place by the mining industry. In 1940 the two pulp and paper companies paid salaries and wages amounting to $8,964,000, and the four larger mining companies paid salaries and wages amounting to $3,736,000; whereas, in the same year, exports of all marine products were valued at $8,099,000, which figure, of course, includes much more than the net return to labour in Newfoundland from the fishing industry. But, in the number of persons directly affected, in historical significance, and as a factor in the social and economic structure of the island, the fishing industry still holds first place.

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