Motion agreed to.
(The Clerk Assistant read the petition as follows):
To the honourable the House of Commons in parliament assembled:
The petition of the undersigned residents of the province of British Columbia, humbly showeth:
That since time immemorial large runs of sockeye salmon have passed the southwest coast of Vancouver island thence passing into American waters in Puget sound and then back to Canadian waters to spawn in the Fraser river.
That for many years we have maintained in the neighbourhood of Sooke on the southwest coast of Vancouver island four or five fish traps and the Americans maintained in their waters in Puget sound several hundreds, with result that our percentage of the joint catch of that run would run about thirty per cent while theirs would be seventy per cent.
That, three years ago the Americans took out all their traps in Puget sound numbering 219 while we retained ours, with the result that our proportion of the joint catch jumped from thirty per cent to fifty per cent and even eighty per cent.
That, the fact that we have not taken out our traps has been used and will be used as a very strong argument by the American trap owners for permission to re-introduce traps on the American side.
That, it is very much to our interests that the American traps should not be re-introduced.
That, there is no truth in the allegation that traps are the only means by which salmon can be taken in our waters in that neighbourhood, as it has been demonstrated that it can be fished by seines, gillnets, and trollers, to which the Americans would have no objection as they use the same gear themselves.
That, the above refers to the sockeye run of salmon but traps are as undesirable as regards the spring and cohoe runs. These fish are heavy in spawn making their way to their spawning ground, swimming in shoals, following the coast line, keeping in shallow water and close in shore so that they fall an easy prey to the traps and comparatively few get by.
That, traps are the most destructive form of fishing known, as they are open day and night and catch every species of fish, large or small, that comes along whether they happen to be out of season or not. Nothing escapes them or gets through.
That, the abolition of traps would lead to the revival of fishing and employment of many local fishermen as was formerly the case, but who, finding their livelihood gone, have had to find other work, often on relief.
That, it would encourage the tourist fishermen who spend their money freely provided that they get good fishing and who to-day are too often disappointed at the present poorness of the fishing in those waters. It would make a great difference to the tourist traffic in the vicinity of Victoria.
That, the abolition of the traps would protect the run of fish, would increase employment instead of, as is the case, exploiting one of British Columbia's greatest assets for the sole benefit of a few.
That, the Associated Boards of Trade of Vancouver island at their annual meeting in June last passed a resolution asking for the abolition of fish traps.
Wherefore, your petitioners humbly pray that your honourable house may be pleased to order that no more fish traps licences shall be granted in British Columbia.
And, as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.
(Signed by Geo. Harris and 9,594 others.) SUPPLY