I want to ask a question in regard to fish hatcheries. You have reduced the estimated expenditure $100,000. Is it the intention to close up some of the fish hatcheries, or is this a reduction of salaries?
No. The largest item is the $30,000 to be saved by not opening up the lobster hatcheries, and, in addition to that, we are not going to carry on the usual programme adopted by the Government. We are going to curtail, and that is one of the reasons that we have every effort possible to make the handsome reduction shown here of $100,000.
I am not an expert fisherman, but I have taken the best technical advice I could from those on the spot, arid also from expert technical people who have devoted a great deal of time and study to the lobster industry, and I have been informed-and I think credibly informed- that the lobster hatcheries do not produce
within 70 per cent of the small fry Which would be produced if they were allowed to go on in the usual way. I think the hon. gentleman is aware that when the female lobster is caught, it is taken to the canneries, and the eggs are brushed off, then an officer calls for these eggs, and they are put into a jar, and hatched in the hatchery. I am told that in this way there is only thirty per cent production.
If the eggs are allowed to remain on the female lobster in the usual way until the time has arrived when the female extrudes her eggs, there is a one hundred per cent production. We have, therefore, decided not to continue the hatcheries and consequently we can save $30,000 a year.
I had occasion to read the very interesting and valuable report made by Prof. Knight on this question, and he advises very strongly against the further maintenance of these lobster hatcheries. Has the department come to the conclusion absolutely to do away with these hatcheries and dispose of the property?
Referring again for a minute to the question of seine fishing in Missisquoi bay, I would ask the minister if he would not consider the advisability and fairness of indemnifying these fishermen for the expense they have gone to in preparing for the season's fishing under the impression that they would get their licenses as usual.
I notice the minister says he is going to abolish the lobster hatcheries. He told us that the better way was to rely upon the natural propagation of the lobster. Our difficulty in the Maritime Provinces has been that the lobster fisherman catches the berried lobster as well as the other, and uses it. Has the minister any well matured scheme by which he can protect the mother lobster?
That question has also received very careful consideration by myself and the technical officers of the department. We are going to send Prof. Knight down there, together with some students who have given a great deal of time and thought to this industry, and we
are going to carry on a campaign amongst those lobster fishermen to endeavour to prevail upon them as far as we possibly can to return to the sea every female lobster they catch. Just how far we will succeed time will tell.
Has my hon. friend any news about the Stanley? The fishermen on the Magdalen Islands are waiting patiently for a ship. A member of the Quebec Government wired me to-day. The Minister of Agriculture wants to ship grain to the people of the Magdalen islands, and he wants to know if the Stanley is to be sent in a few days.
I am sorry to inform my fhon. friend that the Stanley was damaged by ice when she went to the rescue of the Russian steamer. She is being repaired in Halifax now and I hope to receive definite information by to-morrow. I am fully seized of the necessity of sending the steamer Stanley to the Magdalen islands as I understand the fishermen are badly in need of gasolene and coal oil. I hope to be in a position to let my hon. friend know definitely to-morrow.
I would ask the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries and the members of the Government to make inquiries to ascertain where the $160,000 paid in fishing bounty comes from so that we will have that information when the question comes to be discussed in the House. It strikes me that this is the interest which is being paid on the $5,000,000 that was granted under the Fishery Award in 1872 or 1873. I think it would be just as well to look into that so as to be able to present the information to the House when the matter comes up.