June 6, 1929

CON

William Garland McQuarrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McQUARRIE:

I understood, first,

that the minister was waiting for recommendations from the commission. Now we find that he has recommendations from the commission, and he says he is waiting for action by the United States. It seems a most extraordinary thing that this session has gone by without some action being taken by the government in this regard.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   MARINE AND FISHERIES
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CON

James Charles Brady

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADY:

I think that I have spoken

at greater length to-day than I have done during the whole of the present session. It is really the first day that I have been impelled to speak, and because of the importance of this vote, nothing can stop me, not even one of those up-to-date machines that can tear down forests, such as the hon. member for North Vancouver was telling us about the other evening when talking of the Peace River.

We are discussing to-night one of the most important treaties that Canada has entered into for many years. In the articles of that treaty there are three outstanding phrases, which, if given effect to would assure tO' Canada the perpetuation of the greatest fishing industry in the world. There is no part of the world that has a greater halibut industry than Canada. Let me briefly sum it up for those who are ignorant of the possibilities of the halibut fishing industry. The world's annual production of halibut to-day is 90,000,000 pounds. Halibut is the most highly prized fish food that the world knows. It is found on the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts. Of that 90,000,000 pounds produced annually we are producing in British Columbia waters,

50,000,000 pounds. What does that mean? It means that we are contributing to the world supply of this highly prized fish, sixty per cent annually.

The story of the halibut banks and their exploitation is one of the most thrilling that anyone could ever read. No novel has yet been written of it, but one shall be written some day, and it will be the pride of British Columbia to know that she contributes one of the ffloi interesting chapters in this country of romance. What was the origin of the halibut industry? It goes back to the year 1888. It started at Cape Flattery and extended until in the year 1910 it included 600 miles of the British Columbia coast. Between 1888 and 1910 more halibut were caught in those 600 miles than are being taken to-day with the area extended to 1,800 miles. Every member of parliament knows the map of Canada. Cast your eye to-night from Cape Mendocina, the first cape from the Panama, and travel up to Cape St. James at the

southern extremity of the Queen Charlotte islands. That stretch from 1888 to 1910 produced the greatest halibut return that the world has ever known. Where are we today? Follow from Cape St. James up to Cape St. Spencer in Alaska and then to the Aleutian islands. What is the return to-day in that stretch of 1,800 miles of water, even with the most up-to-date devices for catching halibut? We are catching forty per cent less halibut to-day than we were in 1910.

No man, I think, Should get up in this house and speak unless he has something constructive to say. I want to get behind this halibut treaty and to bring home to hon. members a few facts respecting the appalling toll that is being taken of our halibut. Are hon. gentlemen aware that there is no scientific method by which halibut breeding grounds may be developed? We have spawning grounds for salmon; we can propagate salmon under the most unfavourable conditions; but we know of no natural law under which we can propagate halibut.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   MARINE AND FISHERIES
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Why?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   MARINE AND FISHERIES
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CON

James Charles Brady

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADY:

Because they spawn in the

ocean. There are three kinds of halibut sold in the market: the baby, the chicken, and the full developed halibut. The baby halibut is five years old. It is of no commercial value until it reaches that age. The chicken halibut before it begins to reproduce its kind must be ten years old. To-day a mighty toll is taken among the fish of that age. I have stood on the wharves of the greatest halibut port in the whole Dominion, Prince Rupert, which is the centre of the halibut market of the North American continent, and I have wondered why we do not realize that we are destroying the halibut industry, tearing up its very roots, when we sell to the fishing companies on the exchange the very fish that can reproduce their kind. The whole of the Pacific coast knows exactly what I am talking about.

Now, the first and most important article in the halibut treaty is this: we shall make a close season of three months. I ask the minister, did that work?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   MARINE AND FISHERIES
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LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. CARDIN:

I am told it did.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   MARINE AND FISHERIES
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CON

James Charles Brady

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADY:

I will tell you why it did

work-for a time. It gave a breathing spell, but it did not go far enough. What then did the department do? They said: "We will now study the history of the halibut to ascertain whether it is a migratory fish, whether the various banks are isolated units, or whether certain spawning grounds are peculiar to certain halibut. They succeeded in getting a great deal of information. To my

Saturday Sitting

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mind tihe most important article was the third-to make recommendations as to the regulation of the fishery. Number one failed; number 'two opened up our eyes to the fact that number three was essential. By number three we recognized that the halibut industry to-day is in a parlous state, and that something must be done to arrest the terrible toll which is taken of the fish from cape Flattery to Kodiak island. The halibut industry today is in such danger of depletion that, unless the great American nation, whom we admire because of their genius, their intellect and their energy, come to us-and hitherto they have failed to do so, as I proved this afternoon-unless they come to us and agree to restrict the terrific toll that their fishermen are taking of our halibut, we can do nothing to remedy the present desperate state of affairs.

Now, the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. McQuarrie) asked: What return are we getting for our money? Well, we are not getting very much. We are not getting the return that we should get from what should be, and really is, the greatest fishing industry the world knows. I know there are some who doulbt what I say, and for their benefit the following should be recorded.

Progress reported.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   MARINE AND FISHERIES
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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned without question put, pursuant to standing order. Friday, June 7, 1929


June 6, 1929