January 25, 1937

FEDERAL PAYMENTS TO NEW BRUNSWICK

LIB

William Michael Ryan

Liberal

Mr. RYAN:

Hoav much money ivas contributed by the dominion government to the province of New Brunswick during the years 1935-1936 for (a) direct relief; (b) dominion and provincial projects to create employment?

Topic:   FEDERAL PAYMENTS TO NEW BRUNSWICK
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MOTIONS FOR PAPERS

QUEENS COUNTY, N.B., PUBLIC WORKS

CON

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROOKS:

For a copy of all pay rolls shoAving money expended and to Avhom paid, on certain public works carried out in the parish of Cambridge, Queens county, Neiv Brunswick: (a) on Humphries wharf; (b) on Motts wharf.

Topic:   MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   QUEENS COUNTY, N.B., PUBLIC WORKS
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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.S., PUBLIC AVORKS

CON

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROOKS:

For a copy of all pay rolls showing money expended and to whom it ivas paid, in connection with certain public works carried out in district No. 10, Cumberland county, Nova Scotia, in the year 1936, on: (a) breakwater built at Eatonville; (b) public Avorks at West AdA'ocate.

Topic:   CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.S., PUBLIC AVORKS
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MILL COVE, N.B., POSTMASTER

CON

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROOKS:

For a copy of all papers, affidavits, evidence, correspondence and other documents concerning the dismissal of Mr. Charles Orchard, former postmaster at Mill Cove post office, Queens county, New BrunsAvick, together with a statement of cost of investigation shoAving to Avhotn money Avas paid.

Topic:   MILL COVE, N.B., POSTMASTER
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FISHING BOUNTY PAYMENTS

CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY (for Mr. Kinley):

For a copy of orders in council relating to the payment of fishing bounty prior to April 26, 1922, and also order in council in effect after April 26, 1922.

Topic:   FISHING BOUNTY PAYMENTS
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SHERBROOKE, QUE., ASSISTANT CUSTOMS AND EXCISE INSPECTOR

LIB

Liguori Lacombe

Liberal

Mr. LACOMBE (for Mr. Lalonde):

For a copy of all letters, telegrams and other documents relative to the appointment by the Civil Service Commission of an assistant bilingual inspector of Customs and Excise for the district of Sherbrooke, province of Quebec, and bearing the examination number 25508.

Topic:   SHERBROOKE, QUE., ASSISTANT CUSTOMS AND EXCISE INSPECTOR
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CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS


RIVIERE DU LOUP-GASPE DISTRICT TIE CONTRACT! Mr. MAURICE BRASSET (Gaspe) moved For a copy of all correspondence exchangee between C. P. MacLaren, purchasing depart ment, Canadian National Railways, Montreal and J. A. Romeo Lynch, Matapedia, Quebec, in connection Avith tie contracts granted by the Canadian National Raihvays in the district from RiA-iere du Loup to Gaspe, since 1930 to date. Also a statement showing the names and addresses of contractors and the amount of each contract.


LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, this motion refers to correspondence between the purchasing department of the Canadian National Railways and one of its contractors. It is the practice of the government, in the case of its independently man-

2 IS

Salmon Trap Nets-Mr. Neill

aged corporations, to ask the corporation for the information desired, and to table it if the corporation cares to give it. In this case the Canadian National Railways have followed their usual practice of refusing to give the information sought. I would say, however, that the officers of the Canadian National Railways appear during each session before the special committee on railways and shipping prepared to answer any questions relating to internal management of the railway property and the hon. member can obtain the information at that time.

Motion dropped.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
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SALMON TRAP NETS

DESIRABILITY OF DISCONTINUING ISSUE OF LICENCES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA WATERS

IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni) moved:

That, in the opinion of this house, the best interests of British Columbia would be served by the government ceasing to issue trap fishing licences in British Columbian waters.

He said: Mr. Speaker, the importance of this matter to the fishermen of British Columbia, the urgent need for immediate action, and the fact that there is an international angle to the situation is I think justification for my bringing the matter up at this time.

May I digress for a moment to suggest to the government that the business of this chamber would be expedited and the consideration of such matters as the one before us even better undertaken if we went back to the old custom when the present leader of the government was in power a number of years ago, when it was usual for the Minister of Fisheries or the chairman of the fisheries committee to move at the beginning of the session that the report of the fisheries department be referred to the committee on fisheries. In that way we would be able to bring before that committee practically any matter connected with the fishing industry without its having to be formally referred there by this house. If some member brought before the committee a grievance that found few sympathizers in the committee the matter ended there and the house was not troubled with it, but if the grievance was shown to be a substantial one the committee would bring in a report to be dealt with in the house. But the rule now is to consider nothing whatsoever in the committee that has not been referred to it by the house. That forces members who have a matter such as I have before me to bring it up here for discussion in a superficial way before members many of whom are not interested in the subject, and then perchance have

it sent to the committee where the performance has to be gone through all over again. It would save the time of this house if we were allowed to discuss these matters originally, so to speak, in the committee.

Coming to the motion now before the house, I shall endeavour to be as brief as possible. There are four major methods of fishing salmon in British Columbia-trolling, gill netting, purse seining, and trapping.

Trolling, which must not be confounded with the system of trawling as practised on the Atlantic, is always done by one man in a small boat; it might be a row boat, but the great majority of them are boats from eighteen to thirty feet in length, powered with an engine, and the boat is kept moving along slowly, dragging behind it from five to seven lines with baited hooks attached to catch the fish. In that way they get the best quality of the particular kind of fish that they can fish for, and they get the best market, as principally it goes to the fresh fish market. I think it is safe to say that in that way there is a bigger return for the individual fisherman per fish than there is by any other method that we practise out there. The trolling is restricted by certain difficulties. First of all, only two or three varieties of salmon will take the hook or bait in that way. Secondly, the weather very often prevents them fishing for three or four days at a time. Thirdly, even when they are fishing they are limited, because the fish will bite at only certain hours of the day. Their gear naturally occupies a very small space; that is to say, the width of it, if they are running through a school of fish, would be only twenty or thirty feet, so there is no possible fear of the fish being depleted by means of trolling.

The next method is that of gill nets, which is very often done by the same men in the same boat at a different season of the year. They have a long net which is buoyed in an upright position by floats, and it drifts down with the current or the tide. The mesh is made of a size that when the fish endeavour to go through they will be caught by the gills, and so they are taken. The government by regulation says that the mesh shall be such that only the biggest and finest fish are taken. The length of the net is very strictly defined. They can fish only at night, -not by law, but that is the only time they can operate. There is a forty-eight hour close season each week, with power to the chief supervisor to extend it if necessary to a greater number of hours. They are allowed to put a net only so close to another-I think they must be one hundred yards apart. So it is obvious that there, too, the fish have an

Salmon Trap Nets-Mr. Neill

ample chance to escape. It is recognized that both these methods permit the salmon every opportunity to get away. The policy of the government for many years past has been to encourage this and rather to curtail fishing by means of seines of which I will speak in a minute. But of course they are conscious of the fact that certain waters under certain conditions can be fished only by means of seines.

The next method is that of purse seines. They use larger boats with a crew of as many as seven men. They have a large net, 200 fathoms long-nearly a quarter of a mile. They fish almost entirely by day. When they see signs of a school of fish they let out the net and make a wide circle, bringing the end of the net around to where it started from. Then they hastily pull the purse part of it, that is the rope at the bottom, which closes in the fish, otherwise the fish would dive and escape the net. It is something like the ^ld-fashioned lady's coin purse that used to be used. Suppose the fish are schooled, that is gathered together, and are at the mouth of the liver where they are getting ready to go up and spawn; if there were nothing to prevent it the fishermen would go right to the mouth of the river and ruin the catch in one year-certainly in two, because they take practically ninety per cent of the fish-and it would: be ten or fifteen years before the run would recover. Consequently the government makes rules to prevent the seines from going within half a mile of the mouth of the river, and in some cases debar them for as far as two miles. They may take a few score or several thousand fish at one turn of the net, and they take everything that is inside the net-trout and every other kind of fish that happens to be there. Consequently the government saw fit, and properly so, to put heavy restrictions on these operations. The fishing can be done only by daylight: that is not a regulation but a fact, because they cannot fish by night. They have a forty-eight hour weekly close season imposed on them, and more if deemed necessary. They are not allowed to tie their nets to the shore, which would multiply by a hundred per cent their ability to fish, as traps do; and if they do so they are liable to a heavy penalty and their boat and gear are confiscated. They are allowed only twenty minutes from the time their net touches the water until it must be closed; if it is open beyond that time they are subject to a penalty. All this is calculated to restrict their activities and give the fish, or at least some of them, a fighting chance to escape. The length of the net is very sharply defined; so is the mesh, and the

superintendent can close their operations at any time on the most summary notice; he can declare a whole area closed to seine fishing.

Now we come to traps, and that is a very different picture. There the butter is all on one side of the bread. Fish traps well located are the blue ribbon of the fishing industry. What a marshal's baton is to the soldier, or the supreme court bench to the lawyer, or the senate to the politician, so is a well established fish trap to the fishermen of the Pacific coast. Of course these paradises are hard to achieve entry into. The scripture says " many are called, but few are chosen." Perhaps I might paraphrase that by saying that many call and only a few can be chosen. However it is the one highest ambition, the blue ribbon of the industry, to get hold of a well located fish trap site. It is generally admitted, perhaps not by those who actually use it. but even by those who would like to get one, that it is a most destructive form of fishing. The owners call it " effective," which it undoubtedly is; other people call it ruinous. It takes everything and leaves nothing behind it. There is no escape. Once a fish gets within half a mile in front of one of these traps there are only two ways by which he can evade the trap. One is by climbing around it at the end, by the shore, on the land, making a portage around; the other is equally impossible, in so far as the instinct of the salmon is involved, that is to turn and go back, because the salmon are full of the homing instinct to go on to the river or the creek where they will spawn, and nothing will divert them from that. If they cannot go forward they will stay there and die, for they certainly will not go back.

The trap is built right out from shore as no other gear is. It is pegged out by a row of poles driven in the ground, and hung with a heavy net-in many cases a wire net- closely meshed so that it is impossible for the salmon to get through it. There is no limit to the length they can go out; they can go a mile if they like, provided it is convenient. When the fish come along there is a solid wall that obstructs their progress. Usually it is put at a headland, where the fish are going along hugging the corner, much as a man will do who is driving along a road and, turning to the right, naturally keeps to the right side of the road. So the fish, hugging the headland, run up against this obstacle. They try to go through it; they nose along, go, say, to the left, and run against the shore; then they turn to the opposite side, the right, and nose along, pushing, pushing, trying to get through, following their instinct. Presently

Salmon Trap Nets-Mr. Neill

they come to a nice open space, with no apparent obstruction. Naturally they go in there, thinking they are getting along, and presently they find themselves in the pot of the trap, in the centre of a maze from which there is no escape whatever. And that is the end.

These traps are "lifted," as it is called, once or twice a day. Sometimes they take ten thousand fish in a lift, and it has been- known to go as high as thirty thousand. But even at ten thousand, with two lifts a day, and only four or five -men being employed, is it to be wondered- that there is agitation and prejudice, in these days of unemployment, among those interested in the fishing industry in British Columbia against such methods? It would take two hundred trailers to catch that number of fish. And they take everything; there is no discrimination: small,

immature fish

all go into the trap. The other means of gear can fish only twelve hours on account of the weather, or between daylight and dark, and those operating them have to g-o out and find the fish, which may take half of their open hours, but the trap owner need only to sit tight and wait and the fish will come to him twenty-four hours of the day. The gill netting and seining have a forty-eight hour restriction per week, and so has the trap; but the others are liable to further restrictions, and the trap is not. Some years ago it was found necessary to have a complete ten days' shut-down in the middle of the season on gill netting and seining on the coast in order to encourage conservation, but it did not apply to this favoured method known as trap fishing.

I said it was effective, and so it is. So is a gun in the hands of a madman very effective. It has been said that it is cheap. Well, it is cheap-it is cheap if you care not for the conservation of fish or for the maintenance of the fishermen employed in the industry. So is an automatic shot gun cheap and effective, but you are not allowed to use one when you go duck-hunting. A machine gun would be effective against deer and -bigger game, but you are not allowed to use one. Why are y-ou not allowed to use salmon roe as -bait for trout? Because it is recognized to be so effective that it would not give the trout a chance; it would not give them an even break, so to speak, and it is therefore forbidden by law.

I might mention the views of someone else, because sometimes an outsider's view is more readily accepted than the opinions of those who are interested. The salmon industry of Alaska is an enormous one, and before the last change of government it was supervised by

one man, a man named O'Malley. He was a very able man, and I have a note to the effect that it -was his intention to close fifty-one traps in southeastern Alaska that year. In his opinion, he said, he might find it necessary to close down the whole lot of them there. Then the government changed and a Mr. Frank Bell took over Mr. O'Malley's position. He was a man with a new angle and this is what he said:

Fish traps for the taking of salmon were described here by Frank Bell, United States commissioner of fisheries, as the "most vicious type of gear in operation."

That is pretty plain, and that is not my idea.

-because they are driven along the shore lines in locations where they may interrupt the runs of salmon twenty-four hours a day.

"It is only a question of time until they must be eliminated entirely or regulated, so they will not be so destructive," he said.

"I have already closed 100 of the 400 traps operating in Alaskan waters during my first year in office, and I am in favour of eliminating them all.

Further on he says:

By giving the seine fishermen a chance, we will be giving work to hundreds who have been practically forced to the wall by the traps. Two men with a trap can catch as many fish as twenty-five men with a seine.

It is so generally admitted to be a bad thing that -the dominion government have forbidden the use of traps except along the Sooke shore. An attempt was made in 1929 to open them again and a debate took place on the subject. That debate can be readily referred to if hon. members will look up Hansard of June 10, 1929. There was considerable discussion in which members from various districts took part, and all, regardless of political affiliations, and representing parties in every part of the house, made such a vigorous protest against the use of traps that the government abandoned the idea of reintroducing them, with the exception of those along the Sooke shore. I will explain why they were permitted at Sooke.

The large body of sockeye salmon going into the Fraser river come down the west coast of Vancouver island, and down the Juan de Fuca straits between British Columbia and the American side. At first they come down along the territory known as -the Sooke shore and then for some reason they strike across from there to the other side of the straits and move along the American shore for a considerable distance. They do not go up -the American rivers, however; they are still Fraser river fish and they go nowhere else. That is where the Americans put their traps for our fish, and the average, for the years 1933 and 1934,

Salmon Trap Nets-Mr. Neill

was 219 traps. Then what is left of our salmon come back into our territorial waters, going into the Fraser river. In the last year of which there is record, when they were running their traps-and this was the usual average-United States traps took from seventy-two to seventy-nine per cent while British Columbia fishermen took from twenty-one to twenty-eight per cent.

The Americans naturally took advantage of their geographical position, and it was therefore felt that if they were to get seventy-nine per cent of the fish it would be better to allow our fishermen to catch some by traps along the Sooke shore. For that reason the traps were allowed to remain at Sooke. Still, we did not like the idea of the Americans taking seventy-nine per cent while we got the rest, but there was nothing that we could do about it. Diplomacy failed and at last common sense sought the remedy. Our fishermen fraternized with the Americans on common ground beyond the three mile limit and said to the Americans, "If you will agitate for the abolition of traps on your side we will do the same." The Americans did so and they were more successful than we were. It was up to them to take the first step, and in the fall of 1934, by means of the initiative, they passed a law forbidding the use of traps in those waters -one of the few instances in which the principle of the initiative proved to be a good thing. The powerful vested interests which we hear so much about may be able to lobby a legislature but they cannot lobby a whole state, and the result was that the bill went through like lightning before these people knew what was happening. As soon as that was done I tried to get our traps cut out for 1935-36. The late government hesitated, waiting to see whether the Americans would really withdraw their traps, and therefore I could not get action taken either in 1935 or in 1936.

We know now what effect the withdrawal had. Two things resulted-conservation of fish and profit to our fishermen. Let me give you an illustration. I have taken the two last years before the United States gave up their traps and the next two years immediately thereafter; that is to say, the years 1933 and 1934 when they had traps as compared with 1935 and 1936 when they had not. I will not trouble the house with detailed figures; I will simply give the results. The total catch of Fraser River sockeye salmon, including what was taken by our traps at Sooke, what was caught by our fishermen in the Fraser river, and all that was taken in the American waters by seine and by traps, where traps were formerly in use, represented -in the two years when traps were not

allowed on the United States side-a decrease of forty-five per cent. In other words, forty-five per cent less was taken in the years when the Americans had given up their traps than in the two years before that. It may be said that this makes for conservation at the cost of employment, which would be undesirable; but that is not so. Let us look at our side of the question.

I have a record of the fish we took in the years when they had their traps and in the years when they had no traps, and our fishermen, according to this record, took exactly twenty-six per cent more when the traps were not running on the American side, because the fish got through into our waters again. So that we find the total catch reduced by forty-five per cent, while our British Columbia fishermen and canneries got twenty-six per cent more. That is rather profitable, is it not?

We have had numerous petitions on the subject; I had one some years ago.

Topic:   SALMON TRAP NETS
Subtopic:   DESIRABILITY OF DISCONTINUING ISSUE OF LICENCES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA WATERS
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CON

Simon Fraser Tolmie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TOLMIE:

What were the years

mentioned by the hon. member?

Topic:   SALMON TRAP NETS
Subtopic:   DESIRABILITY OF DISCONTINUING ISSUE OF LICENCES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA WATERS
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January 25, 1937