Committee are of opinion that it may tend to encourage the spirit of adventure, to promote navigation, and to render this fishery still more extensive and beneficial to this country, if, with the consent of those corporations who may now claim an exclusive right to navigate the seas before mentioned, the ships and vessels employed in this fishery might be permitted to pass the said Capes and to carry on their fishery in the seas beyond them, under proper limitations and restrictions, and it is with this view principally that the Committee have recommended the larger set of the premiums before mentioned.1
SOUTHERN WHALE FISHERY: MINUTE OF THE COMMITTEE FOR TRADE, 26 December 17972
Read. --A Memorial of the merchant-adventurers in the Southern Whale-Fishery, stating that it is absolutely necessary that the vessels employed on the southern whale-fishery should put into some ports or islands in the Pacific Ocean for the purpose of refreshing their crews, which they are prevented from doing by the war between Great Britain and Spain; representing, at the same time, that they have strong reason to suppose that the spermaceti whale and seal fishery might be carried on to great advantage at Kerguelen's Land, in the Indian Ocean, off the coasts of New Holland, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia, New Zealand, the Philippine Islands, and Formosa, but that by the Act of Parliament of the 35th of His present Majesty, cap. 92, sec. 19, such vessels are restrained from proceeding further north than the Equator and further east than 51 degrees of east longitude, and consequently from carrying on the fishery at and near the places above mentioned, where they might procure the refreshments they stand in need of, and consequently escape the risk of capture; and therefore praying that the restriction above mentioned may be taken off, and that a Bill may be immediately brought____________________
B.T. 5/11, pp. 43-45. Printed in Hist. Records of New Zealand, vol. i, Wellington 1908, p. 216. Fur traders in Nootka Sound and whalers off Patagonia had come into conflict with the Spanish claims of monopoly of navigation and trade, but these had been settled by the Convention of October 1790. New opportunities were now waiting, and further extensions of the boundaries of the fishery were negotiated with the East India, South Sea, and Hudson's Bay Companies in 1791-3 to admit whaling in the eastern Pacific (33 Geo. III, cap. 58). See also B.T. 5/7, PP. 74-80. Spermaceti whales were said to be more abundant off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand than off South America.