Perhaps the minister will give us a little fuller information with reference to the policy of the government with regard to naval militia. I understand the introduction of the 'Canada' into the service has been a stej) in that direction, and that the vessel is being used as a training ship for naval militia. Is it the intention of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries and of the government to bring in this session any Bill with a view of establishing a naval militia carrying out still further the idea of the ' Canada' ?
I wash to bring to the attention of the minister a resolution passed at the last meeting of the Maritime Board of Trade, held at Moncton, on August the 11th, with respect to lobster fisheries. It reads as follows :
Whereas, the rapid decline of the lobster fishery, as shown by the reports of the fishing
affairs in the maritime provinces, is viewed with alarm by the board, and as the decline appears to be greatest in those sections where illegal fishing is carried on.
Resolved, that it is desirable that the government take active measures to enforce the regulations for the protection of the lobster fishery by instructing the officials of the Marine and Fishery Department to suppress illegal fishing after the season in their respective districts.
Further resolved, that fishing stations for educating our fishermen be established by the government at suitable places along the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
And further, that it is desirable that the government take into consideration the reorganization of the fishing service with the view of bringing it up to a higher state of efficiency. |:
That a copy of this resolution be sent to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries and to the maritime members of parliament.
I presume the minister received a copy of this resolution and that he has probably in his mind some means of reorganizing this service. This matter has been up before this Maritime Board of Trade and nearly all the boards of trade of the maritime provinces for many years, and it seems that the manner in which the service has been conducted does not meet the approval of these boards of trade and of men interested in the fishing industry to a great extent. It is true that for the last year or two the government have been establishing hatcheries along the coast which are doing a great deal of good and meeting with the approval of men engaged in that business, but the Maritime Board of Trade think that more of these hatcheries should be established, and at a meeting held at Moncton, on August 17th, 1904, the following resolution was passed :
Whereas, lobster hatcheries have proven to be of great value in conserving our fisheries ;
Resolved, that in the opinion of this board it is advisable in order to preserve the lobster fisheries, that hatcheries be established along the coasts of the maritime provinces at such places as will enable the spawn of lobsters caught for canning purposes all to be collected and hatched, and that the government be asked to prohibit the fishing of lobsters by ' curleys,' as these ' curleys ' are fished close to the shore and only small lobsters are taken.
I take it that if these spawn are collected and taken to the hatcheries a great deal of good would result to the lobster fishing industry. Is the minister in possession of any report which would show the benefit that has accrued to the fishing industry by reason of the erection of the cold storage plants and their maintenance at the different points ?
A few days ago the Minister of Railways, in answer to a question, said that there was no fish-way at the Carillon dam, and that the reason one had not
been built was that the government did not feel warranted in spending $10,000 in its construction. Under the Fisheries Act, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, when he thinks it is in the public interest, has the power to order the building of a fish-pass at any dam or slide, and this power has been freely used when private owners have built such dams and slides. I am informed that previous to the building of the Carillon dam large quantities of fish, specially shad, came up the Ottawa river to the sand bars, where they spawned and were caught in large numbers by the residents there. Since this dam was built none of these fish have been caught, and numbers of poor people who formerly depended on this fishing have been deprived of their livelihood. Will the minister ask the Department of Railways to put in a fish-pass at this dam ? It is hardly a good reason to say that it would cost too much, in view of the fact that private owners are ordered to build fishways no matter what the cost. Perhaps some of the other departments might spare the minister a little of -the money which is not expended to such good purpose in the public interest as it would be in the building of a fish-way at the Carillon dam. -
I am informed that it would cost $10,000 at the present time to build a fish-way at the Carillon dam, and the quality of the fish passing there not being very high, the government did not feel justified in incurring the expenditure. For the last two or three months it has been represented to the department that there was a new style of fish-way which would cost a comparatively small sum, and which might be suitable in this and other cases. We are asking for a special report in reference to this matter, and if the new fish-way suits the Carillon dam, it might suit other places, where we now feel indisposed to spend a large amount 'of money. We are asking this year a little more money for this service, because we think the time has come when we should establish these fishways in as many places as possible, in order that the inhabitants may have the opportunity of catching fish for food.
This is a very important question, and it deserves a great deal more attention than it has received in the past. The greatest natural oyster beds possibly in the world are in Prince Edward Island, and they are being depleted year after year. If this should continue, then within a few years one of our most remunerative fishing industries will be in such a condition that there will be no profit in it for the fishermen or any one else. The government should now take drastic measures to protect the oysters and to promote oyster culture.
I have had this matter under serious consideration for the past year. I think we will be able to adopt proper means to protect this industry as it should be protected, and I am awaiting further information on the matter. I hope to be able, before the end of the session, to announce what plan we have adopted, and how we will proceed in the matter.
The only reason I bring the matter up is because I know the production of oysters in Richmond baj* is not nearly equal to what it was ten years ago, and it is growing less from year to year, and the oysters are smaller. It is a very important matter for the department to take up.