Hon. R. W. Mayhew (Minister of Fisheries):
Mr. Speaker, as members of the house are aware, the department and the fisheries prices support board have been studying the current market situation for salted cod, particularly that produced in Newfoundland. The fisheries prices support board dealt with the problem at its meetings on June 16 and 17 and have made their report to me. As soon as certain additional information is available, I shall be able to make a complete report to the house. However, since there has been considerable interest aroused, and since some of the stories which I have seen in the press have been written without access to all the facts, perhaps I should make a preliminary statement at this time. In the first place, I want to make it clear that the total quantities of salted fish in store in Newfoundland, including stocks in fishermen's hands, are substantially less than some have been led to believe. Many statements have been based on the stock figures as at April 20. Considerable quantities of those stocks have since been sold and are moving regularly to the markets. Sales are continuing to be made and the fish is going forward from Newfoundland ports in volume. Contracts are currently being negotiated by the exporters which may well result in further substantial commercial sales.
In some areas of Newfoundland the fishermen were unable to cure the fish caught late in 1949 until this spring, and this fish remains in the fishermen's hands. The quantities are not great, and we have them in mind in our considerations.
Other important negotiations now being carried out by the Department of Trade and Commerce could ease some of the restrictions now affecting our markets. While these negotiations are pending, any statement of policy would be premature. Meanwhile I see good reasons for being more optimistic about the outlook for disposal of the remaining stocks and for the marketing of the new production in 1950. I will make a more complete statement to the house shortly.
On the orders of the day:
Subtopic: NEWFOUNDLAND SALT CODFISH-STATEMENT AS TO DISPOSITION OF 1949 STOCKS