I do not know, but I have been told that the pack has increased very much over the sudden drop which took place. The same thing occurred on the Sumas river, which is twenty-four miles away. The fish ran out entirely; it was over-fished. Then the river was closed for some years; fry were brought from this hatchery and put into the lake at the head of the river, with the result that there is a satisfactory run of salmon now. The river has been opened for fishermen again and last year they took a satisfactory catch of sockeye salmon. So. I would suggest that the hatchery was in no way to blame for any falling off in the catch; on the contrary, I believe the hatchery has been very successful.
I do not think anyone accused the hatchery officials; I had the system in mind. The hon. member for Comox-Alfoerni explained about the pack in one year, but I would remind him that the diminution of the fish required excessive packs for four years, since there 'is a four-year cycle, and surely during at least three years of this period the hatchery official must have been on the job. My information is that the great- falling off in the fish came about during all the cycle years after the hatchery had been established. I am sure my hon. friend is more familiar with his own line of business than with the fish business. He will agree with me when I say that for many years the great trouble with the fish on the Sumas river was due to a dam. This was later taken out, and it is true that there was some improvement after the dam was removed.
I have a few words to say in connection with this item. I notice that last year we spent only $10,000 for this purpose. The maritime provinces, particularly New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, at one time produced large quantities of oysters. In 1882 they produced 64,646 barrels while in 1926, according to the figures given before the royal commission investigating the fisheries, they produced only 19,898 barrels. Everyone knows that something has happened to these very valuable oyster fisheries. We produce to-day the finest oydters in the world. At one time the Malpeque oyster was known all over this country and the United States as having the finest flavour of any oyster produced, but it has become almost extinct now through the inefficiency of this department. Our production of oysters has been decreasing year by year, yet until quite recently, nothing has been done to restore it.
I am glad that at last the department is waking up to the fact that something should be done for this very valuable industry, but I do not think it can do very much for $36,000; probably $100,000 or $200,000 will be required. Even if it is necessary to expend that amount of money, it would be thoroughly justified in the end. I understand that oysters [DOT] are worth about $10 per barrel to-day, so it will be easy to estimate the revenue which would accrue if we could get back to a production of 64,000 barrels annually. I hope the department will give some attention to this valuable industry from now on and try to restore it to its former condition. There is no reason why this result could not be brought about if proper attention is paid to the spawning grounds. I direct this matter to the attention of the minister because it is one in which everyone in the country is interested. I repeat that I hope an effort will be made to restock these beds so as to bring the industry back to where it was years ago.
Item agreed to.
To provide for an investigation into the life history of the Pacific halibut by the International Fisheries Commission appointed under the Pacific halibut treaty of 2nd March, 1923, $31,500.
commission was submitted to the two governments last year, and was approved. Extensive as well as intensive studies are being conducted. It is expected that the work which is being arranged for the coming year will cost $63,000. The United States government has arranged to appropriate one-half of that sum, and under the treaty the other half must be provided by Canada. Concentrated attention will be given to the publication of the results of the investigations made up to date. This will cover the migration of the halibut, which is being studied intensively by means of tagging and racial investigation. The growth, spawning and other pertinent natural history questions will be studied. Statistical data will be prepared which will show what has been going on at the different banks since the beginning of the industry. The investigations will cover the spawning conditions, migration, drift of eggs and so forth, and will be extended further west and possibly into the Bering sea. To enable this work to be carried out a staunch vessel is required, one which is seaworthy and able to stand very rough weather, the spawning time of the halibut being during the winter. The boat should have accommodation for four or five men in addition to the crew. There is no such vessel in the Canadian fleet, and the
Supply-Marine and Fisheries
United States fishing vessel Dorothy has been hired from time to time. This vessel has accommodation for seventeen men; she is 92 feet in length, 20 feet 6 inches wide, has a tonnage of 130, and is equipped with a 250 horse-power engine as well as an extra engine of 12 horse-power which can be used for sounding and other work. The rental has been at the rate of S50 per day for such days as the boat has been used, conditional upon the vessel being fully equipped for halibut fishing.
This seems to be a very bald statement: "To provide for an investigation into the life history of the Pacific halibut by the International Fisheries Commission," and so on. What will be done when this life history is obtained?
The vote does not say that directions will be given to the department as to how it should operate after the investigations have been completed. I think it would be better if this amount had been added to vote No. 194 and a real effort made to rehabilitate and make commercially profitable the Malpeque oyster industry which made Canada famous. No suggestion is made that upon this history being completed any benefit will accrue to Canada. I am prepared to hazard the guess that when this report, upon which we are spending $31,500, is completed nothing will be taken from it. The minister has not suggested how the *country is to profit by this expenditure. More -money should be devoted to those things -which will produce coin in the cash box instead of making experiments of which the possible results are unknown. We are voting large sums of money without any prospects of a possible return. The minister is the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, but since I have been in the house nothing of real value has been done for the fisheries; I think the minister has been marine, and very much at sea. When we have such a splendid opportunity in the cultivation of our own fish, of our own oyster beds, it seems to me that the minister and the government ought to take a lead from what can commercially be done for the Canadian fisheries. How often have we heard it repeated in the house that
the four basic industries are agriculture, lumbering, mining, and the fisheries? Since I have sat in the house I have never known of any real contribution to the development of the fishing industry by any one who was planning to turn this great industry to account. I do not wish to delay the committee, but if a considered and well-directed effort were made to turn to account the fisheries of this country, to prevent their depletion, to reestablish our oyster beds and to make the industry desirable so that citizens of Canada would enter it, something might be expected in the way of its development. If it is not developed in an earnest way, frankly I do not want it classed as one of the four great industries of Canada; and I defy the government to show that during the last eight, years anj' distinct effort has been made that has resulted m benefit to the fishing industry in any part of Canada.