August 29, 1946

PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. K. FRASER (Peterborough West):

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked a question of the Minister of National Defence, to which I was told that I would be given an answer. My question was whether his department or War Assets Corporation were in control of the automobile dump at the Somerset street bridge, where there are thirty or forty new staff cars. Has the minister an answer?

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LIB

Hugues Lapointe (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. HUGUES LAPOINTE (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Defence):

That is an ordnance depot in Ottawa for the army, and has nothing to do with War Assets Corporation. The vehicles there are the property of the army.

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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

I should like to know when those thirty or forty new vehicles are to be sold, because there is a doctor in my district-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

-who has been trying to get a car for the last three months, and who will have to give up practice unless he can get one.

The house in committee of supply, Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City) in the chair.

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DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES


76. Departmental administration,, $.170,340.


LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. STUART (Charlotte):

When the house adjourned last evening I was discussing the matter of floor prices for primary products. I have been given to understand that it would be an enormous task to have adjustments made by which this protection would include all primary producers. During the war the necessary machinery was assembled and put into effect to enforce price control. We all agree, I believe, that a fine job was done in this country under capable management. If this could be accomplished under great pressure owing to increased buying power and an acute shortage of necessary supplies, I feel confident that, from experience gained during that period, we have the machinery already in operation that can solve our problem and put all primary producers of this country in the same position as that oempied by the farmers

[Mr. St. Laurent..!

Supply-Fisheries

of western Canada. Why there should be any distinction between east and west I fail to understand.

On August 14 the Minister of Agriculture, speaking in this chamber, had this to say- Hansard, page 4809.

We have contracts for pork; we have contracts for cheese; we have contracts for butter: we have contracts for milk; and all are on the same basis for a long period of time at a stabilized price ... A beef contract is under negotiation. I think the final touches will be put to it while I am over in England during the next week or two.

When the present contract for wheat over a five year period is added to those just mentioned, 1 believe you will all agree the agricultural industry is adequately protected, and I wish to congratulate the minister upon establishing what I believe to be the greatest protective policy that any primary producer has ever enjoyed in the history of this dominion.

I might also mention in connection with this matter the act for the support of the prices of agricultural products during the transition from war to peace. This was assented to on August 15, 1944. One portion of it I should like to put on the record;

10. (2) Expenditures, for the purposes of this act, other than administrative expenses provided for under subsection one of this section, shall be paid by the Minister of Finance on the requisition of the board, out of unappropriated moneys in the consolidated revenue fund, under and by virtue of the authority of the governor in council on the recommendation of treasury board in an amount not to exceed in the aggregate two hundred millions dollars.

Now, Mr. Chairman, there is $200 million provided to protect agriculture. There is no mention, in relation to that vast sum, of the fishing industry or any other primary produces in the Dominion of Canada. So I feel that there was neglect somewhere in that the other primary producers were not considered when that agreement was drawn up.

In order to implement these several agreements, connected with the Minister of Agriculture's discussions on stabilizing prices, several trips by him were necessitated, as agreements such as these are not completed satisfactorily without extended negotiations and much study by both the exporter and the importer. Owing to the fact that the natural markets for our fish and fish products are on this side of the Atlantic, contacts could be made with much less difficulty than were encountered by the Minister of Agriculture, and much time and expense could be saved in organizing international gatherings.

After listening attentively to the statements made by the Minister of Agriculture as to the protection given the agricultural industry, I feel that great discrimination is being shown

against the other primary producers of this country if every member of this house does not insist that the same long-term protection be given one and all. My personal opinion is that the protection given the agricultural industry must include every province in this dominion and every individual producer within these provinces; also that steps must be taken immediately, regardless of the enormous task involved, to establish and maintain contracts for the protection of all primary producers.

Surely the fisheries department would not be satisfied to sit idly by while a select group is singled out for special recognition and protection, nor could members representing counties where the fishing industry is of great importance do other than insist most emphatically that the products of the sea take their rightful place, and demand that the same treatment be accorded this industry as has been given agriculture. Let us not forget that the real wealth of this or any country can come from three sources only, the land, sea and forests, and now is the time to take the precautionary measures necessary to give adequate protection to the producers of this wealth.

Individual effort excluding the other groups would, I feel, increase distrust and intensify division at a time when equality and unity should be our aim. Assistance and guidance from this government is necessary if that aim is to be achieved.

Speaking on the fisheries estimates on December 17, 1945, I endeavoured to impress upon this department the important part the lobster fishery is taking to-day in the general welfare of the maritime provinces. Some years it is at the top in dollar value, and never below second place for a great many years. The legal season for lobster fishing in all parts of the maritime provinces is of short duration; it would not average more than five or six months in any one section, which greatly adds to the importance of the lobster fishery, as it gives the fishermen the opportunity of engaging in other branches of the industry during the closed season.

Winter fishing is the most profitable, as prices at this season of the year are usually higher owing to the uncertainty of weather conditions and the greater hazards that must be encountered by the fishermen. If they are able to operate three days weekly during this season of the year it would be considered a good average, and there is always the danger of a bad storm that would practically destroy all their equipment and leave them no choice but to cease operations for

554G

Supply-Fisheries

that year, and go to great expense to prepare for the next season. As I have before stated in this house, no part of this equipment can be insured. The fishermen must always be in position to finance his own business and therefore must have a working capital.

A few weeks ago two thousand live lobsters were shipped from St. Andrews, New Brunswick, to British Columbia. This is another experiment on the Pacific coast to build up a lobster fishery. This province has experimented with lobsters before, unsuccessfully, but knowing the value this industry would be to their fishermen and to the province generally they are determined that regardless of expense and discouraging results obtained in previous ventures everything possible must be done and every suggestion given careful consideration before admitting defeat.

I regret this department does not take the same attitude with respect to the value of the lobster fisheries on the Atlantic coast. I am thoroughly convinced in my own mind that lobster hatcheries can be operated successfully by this department in the maritime provinces, if they are given the same enthusiastic consideration that is given hatcheries for the propagation of fresh water fish to attract tourists to our provinces. Several years ago a few lobster hatcheries were operated in eastern Canada. I have information from a reliable source, a gentleman with great knowledge of the fishing industry and many years of experience with this department, that very little interest was taken in these hatcheries when they were in operation, and practically every person employed in their operation was a politician with no knowledge of this type of work and little interest other than his pay cheque.

Since suggesting lobster hatcheries to this department nearly one year ago I have been informed that the cost connected with their operation and the result obtained does not warrant the expenditure. This information, I have been given to understand, was obtained by scientific research and after consultation with officials who are responsible for maintaining hatcheries in the United States.

To show the committee that the same check is not made concerning sport fish, I wish to relate one incident to which I was an eye witness. At Loch Lomond in St. John county we have a hatchery maintained by this department, and from the number employed directly and indirectly the cost of operation without doubt is a large sum. In the year 1942 a few hundred small bass were taken from this hatchery in about twenty-five large cans. These were taken in the morning to

Blacks Harbour, a distance of over fifty miles by truck. There they were loaded on the Department of Fisheries patrol boat and taken across the bay of Fundy to Nova Scotia by water, another distance of fifty miles or more, taking eight or nine hours. During this trip salt water had to be bailed in the cans frequently to keep the fish cool. Arriving in Nova Scotia the cans were again loaded on trucks and taken several miles to a lake. By this time it was late at night and the truck could not drive within quite some distance of the lake, which made it necessary with the aid of flashlights to carry these heavy cans from the truck to the lake over a very rough path. Men stumbled and fell, spilling some fish over this wood road, but the job was completed about midnight. The following day the boat returned to Blacks Harbour, and the gentlemen in charge of operations from Loch Lomond reported a job well done. Just what these fish cost the people of Canada I do not know, but I should be interested to know the cost from the time they were spawn until they were delivered to their final destination. This is one case in many, and has been brought to the minister's attention for one purpose only, to prove that where there is a will there is always a way. And if the same determination and energy could be injected into matters pertaining to commercial fishing, much could be done to improve the industry.

I do not wish to minimize the contribution science has made to this country and to the world, but I think that in some cases practical experience is worth while, and the two together could work wonders. There are in the employ of the research board two gentlemen whom I know well. They have been in their employ for nearly thirty years. Neither of these gentlemen is a scientist, but over that period of years they have had great practical experience in all parts of the maritime provinces and all waters adjacent in connection with work having to do with the fishing industry. They have been given some tough assignments by the research board, but have always managed to come through with the required information. I should be pleased to see either of these men given a free hand by the fisheries department in connection with lobster hatcheries. With the aid of the scientific staff, the two working harmoniously with full support of this department could, I am convinced, come through once more with the desired results. The two gentlemen I have in mind are Captain A. E. Calder and

E. A. Rigby. Their record with this department will, I am sure, substantiate any statement I have made. If they were given the

Supply-Fisheries

opportunity and the support I have suggested and decided after a fair trial that lobster hatcheries were not feasible, then I myself would be thoroughly convinced that the idea could be forgotten. But until such time as every conceivable idea has been tested and all the knowledge at the disposal of this department coordinated without result, I will continue to remind those responsible that one of our greatest industries is being terribly neglected.

From a memorandum presented to the secretary of the fisheries research board, dated April 2, 1946, regarding lobster hatcheries, signed by A. W. H. Needier, J. L. Tremblay and D. C. Wilder, it would appear the operation of lobster hatcheries would not be profitable except on a purely experimental basis. Great emphasis is laid on the cost of establishing and maintaining rearing stations. To my knowledge the cost in connection with other hatcheries has never been considered in relation to the results obtained, and since the year 1917 no effort has been made to experiment with rearing stations, although millions of dollars have been found for other experiments that will never return dollar value to this country and were never intended to.

I notice in the estimates for 1946 that the salaries for employees of the fisheries research 'board alone are over one-half million dollars. Why any additional help would be required to carry on this proposed service, I fail to understand. The operation and maintenance for this branch alone is three quarters of a million dollars, not including the fish culture branch, for which the estimate is $230,000; $140,000 of this amount is for salaries and wages. This would make a total of $643,000 in wages paid the research board and the fish culture branch. Surely with this amount available the personnel could be found to maintain lobster hatcheries.

Another section of the report, page 2, states that after the hatcheries were closed in 1917, reliance was placed on the protection of berried lobsters rather than on artificial hatching of the eggs. Just how this protection has been given is not explained to my knowledge. The regulation which affords this protection in most cases has forced lobster dealers to dispose of the female lobsters before they spawn, which I feel is very harmful and in no way a protection. This is done by giving fisheries inspectors authority to liberate berried lobsters which were bought and paid for legally and held in pounds several weeks or months before the spawn appeared. These inspectors have authority to liberate these lobsters without remunerating the owner, although they were bought and held legally. To avoid this

injustice the dealer separates the females when they are impounded and holds them in a separate compartment. The time of spawning is known to this operator who, by this regulation, is forced to sell all female lobsters just before they spawn in order to protect his investment, as the actual loss he would be obliged to sustain would in some cases amount to thousands of dollars. In other words, the pound operator is compelled by this regulation to kill the lobster before it spawns. This, I believe you will agree, is anything but protection.

On page 3 of this same report there appears a table of lobsters produced by hatcheries in the state of Maine for the years 1938 to 1945, inclusive. The average over that period is about 300,000 annually.

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LIB

Hedley Francis Gregory Bridges (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRIDGES:

May I interrupt to point out that page 3 of the report refers to rearing ponds. The hon. member stated it referred to hatcheries.

Mr. STUART (Charlotte); These figures may be correct. However, I have figures for the years 1942 and 1943 taken from a pamphlet published by the United States department of the interior, fish and wildlife service. Under the column "Summary by states of the distribution of fishes," the number of lobsters distributed in the state of Maine for the year 1942 was 4,898,510; for 1943, 4,008,420; total for the two years about 9,000,000. The table previously given by this department for the same period shows 343,000. I am unable to state which is correct.

The report of the fisheries research board states also:

Artificial hatching and rearing not responsible for increased Maine lobster catches.

In the same report it states that lobster rearing began in Maine in the year 1938 and has continued since that time. Also included is table No. 2, giving the lobster catch in pounds for the years 1935 to 1945 inclusive.

I wish the committee to note that it takes about five years from the time a rearing station is started before any results are obtained. The catch in pounds is shown from 1935 to 1945 in the following table:

Year Catch in pounds

1935 7,687,200

1937 7,348,500

1938 7.659.200

1939 7,570.800

1940 7,643.005

1941 8,937.182

1942 8,403.793

1943 14,468.025

1944 13,300.000

1945 19,130,000

Supply-Fisheries

The report states definitely that a great increase has occurred over that period. It states that hatcheries are not responsible for the increase but fails to explain or suggest what is responsible for greatly improved conditions.

From information contained in this report of the research board, acknowledgement is made that no action has been taken on their part during the past thirty years to acquire knowledge regarding the rearing of lobsters, although during that time the lobster catch in certain years was very low and in certain areas lobster fishermen were practically forced out of the business.

I know of no way in which during the past thirty years the efforts of the research board and fish culture branch and the funds at their disposal could have been used to greater advantage than with experiments that might have been beneficial to one of the greatest industries in the maritime provinces. Why this experiment was discarded is still not explained in their report, and it certainly was not justified in the opinion of maritime lobster fishermen, particularly when it is evident that large funds have been found for experimenting with fresh water or game fish upon which no citizen would depend for a livelihood.

I can definitely assure this department that they would receive little criticism if this experiment were given a fair trial over a period of years and failed to produce the required result, because the fishermen who are greatly concerned would be convinced that the research board and the fish culture branch were interested in their welfare and had at least tried to be of assistance.

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PC

Percy Chapman Black

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BLACK (Cumberland):

This is an important department dealing with a great natural resource that we have in the maritimes and on the Pacific coast. I do not propose to take up very much time at this stage of the session.

The Department of Fisheries was established on the recommendation of the Duncan commission, composed of Sir Andrew Rae Duncan* Doctor Cyrus Macmillan, who had a seat in this house for a number of years and was highly respected by all of us, and the late Judge Wallace, at the request of the government of Nova Scotia, when I was a member. The department has done splendid work in the intervening years, and I feel it is doing a splendid work to-day. The minister is certainly applying himself to the needs and requirements of the fishermen in Canada. He may have been at a considerable disadvantage in the beginning at least, because he belongs to the legal profession and represents an inland constituency. On the other hand he is sup-

ported by an able staff, some of whom come from my province. I should like to name them but I shall not do so.

I was very much impressed, Mr. Chairman, by the addresses made on these estimates by the hon. member for New Westminster, the hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg, the hon. member for Queens, Prince Edward Island (Mr. McLure), the hon. member for Charlotte and others. Cumberland is not a big fishing centre, although it is bounded by both the waters of the Northumberland strait and by the bay of Fundy. It has a large lobster interest, the centre of the world's lobster supply, and it has also a considerable smelt fishing interest, as well as oysters. All these fishing activities can be expanded, and I believe this applies in a very large measure to the, oyster industry. There is no better oyster in the world than is produced in the waters of Cumberland county and nearby counties. These oyster areas are producing only a small fraction of their potential capacity to produce oysters. In Cumberland county, in my constituency, we have a very considerable smelt industry, which is followed by the local residents. The smelt is one of the tastiest salt-water fish that is produced, and if it is marketed in a fresh state and properly prepared there is no finer fish than the smelt which are marketed late in the season and in the early winter. We , have in Cumberland small smelt rivers, with shoal waters and long sand banks. In these rivers the ice forms early in the season. Recognizing this condition the Department of Fisheries for a number of years established an earlier season to enable the local smelt fisherman to get a fair catch and market it at a time when the smelt would first come on the market in this country and in the United States. These waters were closed weeks or months earlier because of ice conditions, but unfortunately the department made the season uniform and so our fishermen were denied the privilege of a full season which they had enjoyed over a number of years. I would ask the minister again to investigate and see if in view of the special conditions an earlier season could be established for these shoal waters and small rivers in Cumberland and Westmorland counties.

The activities of these fishermen were also interfered with last year by smelt fishermen who came in from distant points and established what are called box traps at the very mouth of these rivers, which interfered with the access of the smelt up the rivers and ruined the catch of the regular smelt fishermen. I feel that the department should investigate that question and provide all the advantages that are possible for the regular

Supply-Fisheries

net fishermen who have been pursuing that occupation for many years, and not allow outsiders to come in and block their efforts and interfere with their business and living.

As I said this is a very important department dealing with a great natural resource. The fishermen themselves endure great hardships, and they have suffered over the years. At the time the Duncan commission made its report some of them were receiving only 50 cents per hundred pounds for whole fish, from 50 to 75 cents. There was no adequate market, and the fish were not properly prepared and shipped quickly to the markets. Much has been done in the intervening years to improve the price of fish and to assist in its marketing, and I want to express my appreciation to the minister and his officials for what they have done.

I would also point out the desirability of improving and protecting the sport fishing opportunities in Nova Scotia and in the maritime provinces generally. This is one of the great attractions for our own people and for the tourist. The department has made some efforts through hatcheries to increase the angling and sport fisheries, as well as salmon and other commercial fisheries, but a great deal more could be done. I do not believe that anything is more attractive to the tourist than successful sport fishing. I ask the minister to give the attention of his department to the improving and planting of as large a quantity of fish and oysters as possible and to protect these fisheries and the regular fishermen in getting their hazardous living, so that not only may the local people have the benefit of improved trout and sport fishing, but the fish will be there in greater numbers for the tourists who come to our part of Canada.

I will not delay the committee any longer. This is one of the most important natural resources pursued by men who carry on their occupation under great hardship, and I am pleased that the returns they have been receiving in the last few years have been more adequate than formerly. It will be the object of the department, I am sure, to see that these prices are maintained and that there are adequate markets for the fishermen of the maritime provinces.

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LIB

J. G. Léopold Langlois

Liberal

Mr. LANGLOIS:

I listened attentively to and have studied the statement made yesterday afternoon in this chamber by the Minister of Fisheries. Though his new policy relative to the inspectorship does not and will not apply to the fisheries of my county, I wish to comment briefly upon it.

The Department of Fisheries is taking a most important step in the right direction by introducing this policy. Surely the minister deserves to be congratulated on this timely innovation. He had no need to apologize, as he seemed to be doing yesterday, for breaking new ground, and I trust he will keep on doing so whenever he deems it necessary. By .thus injecting new blood into his department and by planning for the future he is working in the best interests of the fishermen of Canada. In addition to securing a staff of trained inspectors for his department he is at the same time helping along a most deserving class of our Canadian society by opening up new careers to our worthy returned soldiers.

I also appreciate the idea of having men charged with the duty of seeing the regulations complied with, who will help along our fishermen and act-I like to use the minister's own words here-as educationists. I must add that I did not expect anything else from the hon. gentleman. Since my election to this parliament indeed I have always found in the course of my numerous dealings with him the same spirit of cooperation on his part that he is himself to-day going to request from his officers in their dealings with the fishermen.

I said in my opening remarks that the fishermen in my county were not going to benefit by this new policy. I explained the other day in this house that, since 1922, the fisheries of my province have come under the exclusive jurisdiction of the provincial legislature, and I gave in some detail the advantages which were then lost for . ever to the Quebec fishermen who, like the fishermen of other provinces, contribute to the federal treasury. I need not therefore repeat here my views in this respect. I leave it to those who were at the time and who are now responsible for this only exception in the administration of our Canadian fisheries to shoulder their responsibility and to compensate the losses suffered by our Quebec fishermen under the pretense of provincial autonomy. I hope that at least they will have the courage to follow the fine example set by the federal department of fisheries, and that, if their so-called provincial autonomy is not at stake, they will endeavour to make similar arrangements with both the Department of Labour and the Department of Veterans Affairs to achieve the same end in their own sphere.

I must also congratulate the minister on, and thank him for, having gifted my county with a most modern experimental fishing station. I hope that in the very near future this establishment will also provide a meteorological service, which is so much needed by our fisher-

Supply-Fisheries

men. This affords the Minister of Fisheries an opportunity to reward our fishermen for the great sacrifices they have been asked to make and for the loss they have been asked to suffer by their Quebec leaders.

I have but one more remark to make, and it concerns our present policy regarding the export of salted fish. As this matter stands to-day, no producer can export salted fish if he was not in the trade during the base period of 1941-42. The result is that this trade is closed to newcomers, unless-and I appreciate this exception-the applicant for the export permit is a veteran of our armed services, a buffer having been provided for such cases. However, many examples have been brought to my attention during the past fishing season where the fishing trade was greatly handicapped by this 1941-42 quota rule. I cite here a few of these examples. A producer who has a great number of fishermen fishing for his account has filled his orders for say, fresh or frozen cod, but the fish are still coming in in great quantities from the sea. Instead of dumping the catch he decides to produce salted fish. Since the only market for his salted fish open to-day is in the United States, he applies for an export permit. The application is turned down, because, unfortunately for him, he was not in this kind of export business during the 1941-42 period; and therefore he is left with the fish on his hands. Another example is the one which occurred frequently, according to my information, during the past- fishing season in my county. All the frozen space in this particular fishing village was taken up on account of a more abundant catch during a couple of exceptionally good fishing days, or on account of lack of transportation usually caused by lack of refrigeration cars at the time. The producers who had to absorb the incoming catches were faced with the problem either - of salting away the fish with no open market in sight, if they were not eligible for export permits according to the 1941-42 regulations, or of asking their fishermen to stop fishing for two or three days when fishing was good.

I think that these examples will suffice to illustrate my point and to show the disastrous consequences of this policy on our fishing trade. I am told that some of our producers had to resort to the expedient of asking some Montreal or Quebec brokers for permission to use the quotas which most of the brokers had accidentally acquired during the base period by placing orders on outside markets, though they were not in the trade before and never have been since. I must add that in all cases brought to my attention these lucky brokers

[Mr. LangloisJ

did not hesitate to lend their firm's quotas, provided, of course, that substantial remuneration was received for this good service.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

That also was an accident.

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LIB

J. G. Léopold Langlois

Liberal

Mr. LANGLOIS:

I know that these regulations are entangled in international food agreements, but I think that this situation, which is most detrimental to our fishermen, must be remedied forthwith. Perhaps, if I may offer a suggestion, a policy such as the one adopted recently by the timber control to regulate the quantum of the production going both in the domestic and in the foreign markets could be satisfactorily worked out in this instance without penalizing the producers who were not in the export trade during the base period. I know that the minister has been very busy struggling to tackle this problem, and I hope that my remarks will urge him to keep on, working in this direction and that a solution will be found in the near future.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

Because of the importance of the subject with which we are dealing I regret that it is necessary for one to be brief at this time. First we have the important statement made by the minister yesterday afternoon in connection with which hon, members representing constituencies either adjacent to or in areas where people make their living by fishing, would like to ask some questions. I shall ask the minister certain questions later in regard to his statement. Then we have the speech made by the member for New Westminster, which merits consideration which I fear we shall not be able to give it at this time. Following that is the question of marketing which was raised by the hon. member for Charlotte. These are all questions of the utmost importance and should have a thorough airing when the estimates of the Department of Fisheries are under discussion.

It is my hope that at some time or other the estimates of the Department of Fisheries will be called first instead of the estimates of the Department of Agriculture, so that those of us who are interested in the fishing industry may have the same chance to go as thoroughly into matters pertaining to that department as do those who are interested in agriculture go into the agriculture estimates. However, that is not possible at this late stage of the session.

Now that the war is over, great difficulties confront the fishing industry on both coasts. I do not pretend to have as great a grasp of the fishing industry as has the hon. member for New Westminster, who has made it a special study for many years, but I am quite sure that given the proper attention, the fish

Supply-Fisheries

packs, particularly the salmon pack on the Pacific coast, could be more than doubled in a period of four or five years. All that would have to be done to accomplish this does not lie wholly with the federal Department of Fisheries; a great deal would have to be done by the provincial governments.

On the Pacific coast there is a possibility that the fishing industry may become overcrowded. A great many people are going into that industry, and if it is not carefully watched there may be more people in. it than can make a living out of it. These are all important matters which we should have a longer time to discuss. .

Referring to the question raised by the hon. member for Charlotte as to prices and marketing; I believe that while the war was a very terrible experience, one thing at least has come out of it. People have learned that by proper control and, regulation production can be assured, together with proper rewards to those who actually do the work. We have learned something that the producers of all sorts of commodities will not give up willingly. I repeat that I hope the minister will at the next session so arrange matters that his estimates will come before us earlier.

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LIB

William Chisholm Macdonald (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Halifax):

I was very much interested in the minister's plans for the expansion of his department. I do not intend to say anything on the programme or on the appointment of inspectors which has been proposed. Before I proceed, however, I wish to say that the minister to-day has the confidence of all who are interested in the fishing industry. This places a great responsibility on him, and I know that his administration will fully justify the confidence placed in him. I intend to say something on a matter which was covered in the fine speeches delivered by the hon. member for New Westminster and the hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg, namely, the position of our fishermen off the Nova Scotia coast and on what we call the Sable Island and Quero banks.

This question presents two problems. One has to do with the destruction of the fishermen's nets, trawls and gear by steam trawlers. The other problem has to do with the conservation of the fish population now existing in those waters.

The first question as to the destruction of gear is not a new one in Nova Scotia. It has been brought up on many occasions in the past. This question was brought to the attention of the minister of marine and fisheries over twenty years ago. In 1924 a petition signed by fifty or sixty fishing masters protested against the destruction of their nets and gear 63260-349J

in the waters in or near Sable Island banks. The Sable Island banks lie southwest of the Quero banks. The petition was sent to the department of marine and fisheries of that day. Many declarations were sent accompanying it. These declarations, which were made by masters of fishing schooners, set out the particulars in detail of the damage done to the nets, and also in most cases gave the nationalities of the owners of the trawlers, as well as the names of the trawlers.

In consequence of those representations the government provided a protection vessel, the Arras to patrol the fishing banks off Sable island. The question of depredations by trawlers was also raised before the royal commission which was set up to investigate the fisheries of the maritime provinces and the Magdalen islands. This commission was headed by the late Hon. A. K. Maclean, who at the time was president of the Exchequer Court of Canada. There were several members on the commission, one of whom was the Hon. Cyrus Macmillan, who was afterwards minister of fisheries. The commission made its report in 1928. I should like to read one or two extracts from the report, which sets out clearly and concisely the complaints of the Nova Scotia fishermen in respect of the operation of foreign trawlers at that time. I might add that there was a minority report by the Hon. A. K. Maclean, dealing with trawlers. However, in respect of this question of the destruction of fishing nets and gear the commission as a whole were in complete agreement.

At page 93 of the report there is this statement:

Under the second general heading of direct protection of the fishermen, two objections to steam-trawlers were expressed to us-that the steam-trawlers are foreign-owned and foreign-manned, and that they destroy fishermen's gear without making restitution. With reference to the first of these protests, six of the ten trawlers now operating from ports in the maritime provinces are said to be owned in Canada; and the majority of the crews are said to be naturalized British citizens. This objection may therefore be considered as relatively unimportant. But the contention that steam-trawlers destroy the fishermen's gear was supported by well substantiated statements by many fishermen who themselves had suffered loss. At Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, the captains' association was represented before us by counsel who stated that the damage to gear of some of the Lunenburg fishing fleet by steam-trawlers amounted in recent years to at least five thousand dollars. We were told by several fishermen that it is sometimes the practice of steam-trawlers to set their fishing course where other fishing vessels have taken up their position, and that they destroy, particularly during their night fishing operations, the gear that lies in the track of their trawl. In Great Britain, there have been many prosecutions of operators of steam-trawlers for such destruction of the gear of other fishermen and

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many convictions have resulted. There, however, the aggrieved fisherman may place his case, for equitable adjustment, before a general court specially established for this purpose. The Canadian shore fisherman has no such privilege; he has to depend on his own effors to protect his rights and his property, and his efforts are usually futile. France, it is said, maintains a light cruiser or patrol boat to enforce discipline among French steam-trawlers operating on the banks; and we were told that the Canadian hospital ship on these fishing grounds endeavours to provide protection for Canadian fishermen's

fear. But the statements made to us by many shermen indicate that the protection is far from adequate.

Then the report goes on to say that- Beyond her territorial waters, Canada has no jurisdiction. The high seas are free to all nations as fishing grounds, and no country alone can prevent the steam-trawlers of other countries from operating there with their own methods and in their own way.

The two important questions above, which call for consideration, are the taking of immature fish and the destruction of fishermen's gear. They are questions that can be disposed of solely by international negotiations and arrangements. We, therefore, recommend that an effort be made by the government of Canada to bring about an international conference or negotiations among the nations from which steam-trawlers now operate on the fishing banks of the North Atlantic, with a view to making international arrangements or agreements for the regulating of all fishing vessels on the banks, particularly for the protection of fishermen's gear and for the more complete conservation of the fisheries in those areas. The desirability of such negotiations has frequently in the past been discussed and advocated, but no practical or definite plan has yet been formulated.

Those are extracts from the majority report of the commission. The Hon. A. K. Maclean, in his minority report with reference to this matter, had this to say:

Complaints were made to the commission, particularly at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, concerning the damage done to line trawlers and fishing gear by Canadian and foreign trawlers. Such damage occurs in international waters. This being the case, regulations to effectively alleviate or end these complaints must be the subject of international action. In the North Sea, where fishermen of many nations are engaged in fishing, it was found necessary to regulate the manner and methods of fishing, and to police the fishing areas. To achieve this end a convention between Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France and Holland was entered into, in 1882. It is said that this convention has in a large degree accomplished its purpose. For the same reason, as well as others to be later mentioned, I would recommend that the government of Canada take the proper steps to secure, if possible, an international conference representative of the countries whose citizens fish on the North Atlantic fishing grounds, with a view to the enactment of international regulations governing the operation of trawlers in these waters, and the punishment of offences against such regulations.

I said a few minutes ago that this question of the destruction of gear and nets of

fishermen is not new. In the course of my law practice I have been concerned with several cases where fishing schooners have been run down by trawlers. One of these, which is a typical case, and reference to which may be useful, concerned the vessel Mahaska. This was a Lunenburg fishing schooner which was run down by a French trawler in 1929, and sank as a result. The material facts are set out in two or three sentences of the judgment of Mr. Justice Mellish, the admiralty judge who tried the action. I quote:

This is an action for damages by collision. The Mahaska is a fishing schooner. On the 22nd March, 1929, she was lying at anchor near Sable island banks.

I have said that the Sable Island banks lie immediately southwest of the Quero banks which were mentioned yesterday by the hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg. The judgment goes on to say:

At about two a.m. on said date she was when so lying rammed and sunk by the defendant ship -a steam trawler. The weather at the time was fine and clear.

In that case two lives were lost and the schooner sank in four minutes. It was only because of the skill of the members of the crew handling the dories that a much greater loss of life was prevented. What I wish to bring to the attention of the committee is this, that so far as I know no action has ever been taken to implement the recommendations of the royal commission that an international conference be held with a view of making agreements for the regulating of fishing vessels on the banks.

The second problem which is presented in connection with the Quero banks is that of the conservation of the fish. Some question was raised yesterday as to the international law bearing on this subject. It is true textbooks say that the fish in the high seas are the property of the persons who first catch them, and the jurisdiction of a country extends over adjacent waters only to the three-mile limit. That may have been international law when these textbooks were written, but law can, I suggest, become obsolete or should not be followed because of changed circumstances. The world has changed since the days when these principles of law were first enunciated: it has become smaller. Te experience we have had of recent years shows that international law as known at one time is not respected generally by all nations. The Canadian Bar Association is meeting to-day in Winnipeg, and I read in the morning papers that one of the questions to be considered there is the codification of international law.

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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

There is no international law on the three-mile limit.

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LIB

William Chisholm Macdonald (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Halifax):

It has never been codified, but I think it has generally been accepted in British countries that the three-mile limit was the extent of the limit over which British power extends. That is modified in many cases by conventions and by agreements. But I would say that the mere fact that that was the law does not mean that that law should continue to exist as it is. It never had any scientific or logical basis. I think it was settled on the basis that when the question arose the range of a coastal gun was three miles. But we know to-day rockets go hundreds of miles, to say nothing of the distances which bombs from aeroplanes can be carried.

The hon. member for New Westminster referred to a proclamation of President Truman which was issued last December. It related to fisheries in waters contiguous to the United States. I have read the operative part of that document, which appears in Hansard, August 28, page 5524. It seems to me that this proclamation expressly reserves the rights of fishermen of other nations, and it also reserves navigational rights. It does not go so far as to provide that the United States can legislate in respect of waters which have been fished by their own nationals in common with nationals of other countries. The order provides, dealing with fishing activities in areas of the high seas contiguous to the United States, that-

Where such activities have been or shall hereafter be developed and maintained by its nationals alone, the United States regards it as proper to establish explicitly bounded conservation zones in which fishing activities shall be subject to the regulation and control of the United States. Where such activities have been or shall hereafter be legitimately developed and maintained jointly by nationals of the United States and nationals of other states, explicitly bounded conservation zones may be established under agreements between the United States and such other states; and all fishing activities in such zones shall be subject to regulation and control as provided in such agreements.

I take that to mean that if you have areas where the fishing was carried on solely by the nationals of the United States, then United States can make regulations dealing with the activities of the fishermen engaged on the particular area. On the other hand, if it is an area which has been fished not only by nationals of the United States but also by nationals of other countries, the control by regulation of the area must take place in consequence of an agreement arrived at between the countries concerned.

I mention these reservations in order to point out that proclamations alone will not cure the troubles of our Nova Scotia off-shore fishermen. I see no objection at all to the Canadian government issuing a proclamation which would follow the lines of President Truman's proclamation; in fact there may be a distinct advantage, because the mere assertion or declaration of our right to the control of fisheries over certain areas may of itself begin to establish a prior claim to those fisheries.

The banks with which the Nova Scotia fishermen are most concerned have I think been fished at times by nationals of other countries, and before any controls over the fisheries were exercised negotiations would have to be entered into with these other countries. At the same time there could be no possible objection that I can see to a declaration of our intention to establish conservation zones. The purpose will be to conserve the fish, and that is in effect the conservation of the food supply of a great part of Canada. It is proved, I believe, beyond question by those who have given scientific study to the matter that the new methods of fishing and constant fishing with those improved methods will deplete any fishery unless proper measures are taken for the control.

That brings up another question, to which the hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg referred, that of an improved patrol service on the fishing banks. I think that is really the immediate problem which now faces the Department of Fisheries. The proclamation can be made, and we can assert our rights in these international waters, but in the meantime the loss of nets and fishing gear will continue to go on. I suggest to the Minister of Fisheries that we might have considered by the government the amalgamation of the water services carried on by the government by the formation of a coast guard service or in some other manner. Five government departments maintain marine services at the present time, and this quite apart from those carried on by the navy. These services include the protection of fisheries, aids to navigation, lighthouses, the protection of customs revenue, hydrographic surveys and air-sea search and rescue work. The departments carrying on this work are the R.C.A.F., the R.C.M.P., the Department of Transport, the Department of Mines and Resources with its hydrographic section, and the Department of Fisheries.

Recommendations for the formation of a Canadian coast guard service have been made by the maritime marine federation, the Nova Scotia federation of labour and the white ensign association of Halifax. As was pointed

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out by the hon. member for Queens-Lunen-burg, maritimers are a seafaring people. Many of them earn their living by fishing on the high seas or serving as seamen. They are sea-minded; they have a natural liking for the sea, and the formation of a coast guard service would appeal to them. They are not alone in advocating the formation of a coast guard service. The commission on veterans legislation headed by Colonel Bovey found that a coast guard service would 'be justified, not only for the employment of discharged naval personnel but also on the grounds of actual need.

If the amalgamation of the water services of the various departments other than the navy is desirable, and I think it is, the most satisfactory solution would appear to lie in the formation of a coast guard service. The existence of so many departments maintaining marine services seems illogical and may result in some duplication of government expenditure. There is a further consideration. Ships for these various services could be of standardized design and adaptable for naval use. The ships could more easily become part of the navy in the event of an emergency. Furthermore, a Canadian coast guard could advantageously form the nucleus of an expanded service should the need arise in war time. The members of the marine, section of the R.C.M.P. were incorporated into the navy at the beginning of the war. They made a great contribution and many of them served with great distinction. When hostilities ceased, the R.C.M.P. marine section was again absorbed by that force.

There is another consideration. An amalgamated service would be the logical instrument for the discharge of Canada's responsibilities in such international undertakings as air-sea rescue, ocean meteorological stations or other commitments of like nature which do not fall clearly within the work of a single department. During the war the R.C.A.F. had the responsibility for air-sea rescue service, and this service was operated by the R.C.A.F., assisted by the R.C.N. Under the terms of one of the conventions or agreements arrived at at the intei-national civilian aviation conference held in Chicago in 1944, Canada undertook to provide such measure of assistance to aircraft in distress in its territory as it might find practicable. If we are to have a coast guard it might well be patterned on that of the United States. No other country has a similar service.

If anyone is interested in the activities of the United States coast guard I would refer him to the hearings before the subcommittee

of the committee on appropriations when it was dealing with the coast guard appropriation bill for 1947. These proceedings set out clearly the functions of the United States coast guard both in war and peace. In war time it became part of the military forces of the United States and was operated by the navy. Under a directive issued by President Truman in December last it was directed that on and after January 1, 1946, the coast guard would operate under the department of the treasury. In other words, in war time the United States coast guard is part of the military forces of that country; in peace time it assumes its ordinary peacetime functions, such as the maintenance of aids to navigation, sea rescue activities, the enforcement of navigational laws at sea and along the coast and other such things.

In conclusion I would ask the Minister of Fisheries to give this matter consideration at an early day and bring it to the attention of the government.

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IND

John Lambert Gibson

Independent Liberal

Mr. GIBSON (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Chairman, once again the estimates of the Department of Fisheries are being brought up toward the close of the session. We maritimers all feel more or less like criminals taking up the time of the committee, but I ask hon. friends from agricultural ridings to continue to be patient. I am sure they will, because we have listened to them for many long weeks: we have heard all the wails of the agriculturist on the prairies, and sometimes listening to all their tales of hard luck it seems to me that Jonah must have been a C.C.F. farmer from Saskatchewan.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

I am sure we are very much interested.

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Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

You cannot take it.

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Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
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August 29, 1946