April 8, 1957

PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

I see that the minister has now come into the house. Perhaps the minister, who paid a visit to Russia not so long ago, will be able to give us the assurance that this new Russian government will live up to the agreement and tell us the steps which have been taken by the Canadian government to ensure that Canada gets her fair share of the pelts.

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

Mr. Chairman, I had asked the parliamentary assistant to pilot this measure through mainly because I gave a very full explanation of this very matter to the fisheries committee only this afternoon.

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

On a question of privilege, that is the whole point of this discussion. I am a member of the fisheries committee and I never received any notice of the meeting. If I had been invited or asked to attend the meeting I would have been there but the

[Mr. MacNaught.l

government did not send any notice to me and to other members of this party that there was to be a meeting of the fisheries committee. In spite of the fact that I expressed interest in this resolution on Saturday, in spite of the fact that I have been in the building all day with the exception of between 3.30 and 4 p.m., no notice was given to me of the meeting. You need not look up Votes and Proceedings because no notice is given there of the meeting. I was not notified and another member of this party also was not notified of the meeting.

I appreciate the fact that the minister no doubt gave a very full report to the selected members of the fisheries committee who were invited to be present to hear what the minister had to say. I will now ask the minister to explain what happened at the committee meeting.

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

I am very happy to answer. First of all, I would point out to the hon. member, who has been some years in the house, that the government does not extend invitations to attend committees. That is done by the committees branch and by the chairman of the fisheries committee.

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

The chairman of the fisheries committee is a government supporter.

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

It is an extraordinary

coincidence that the Tories should all be here in the house at 11 o'clock this morning and nevertheless committee members representing both the Social Credit and C.C.F. parties were in attendance at the fisheries committee meeting this afternoon.

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

They were notified, we were not.

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

I will be very glad to repeat my remarks of this afternoon on the matter. The treaty of 1911 was signed by the four nations. About 95 per cent of the fur seals are on the rookeries on the north American side, the Pribilof rookeries. Robben island, which used to belong to Japan, had a herd of less than 30,000 seals, and Commander island off Kamchatka had a herd of less than 50,000 seals. The actual kill from those two herds was very small in those years.

When I was in Japan I met the fisheries committee of the Japanese parliament to discuss the question of pelagic sealing. Robben island no longer belongs to Japan because Russia took away from Japan Robben island and Sakhalin after the war, so Japan now has no rookeries. I discussed with Dr. Babyan, the director of conservation in Moscow, the position of Commander island. They have a herd of almost 100,000 built up there now. In the early days there

was no killing on either Robben island, Pribilof islands or Commander island. Killing started on the the Pribilof islands when the herd began to build up. But in the years when neither Japan nor Russia gave any share of their kill or their absence of kill to Canada and the United States, no share of the kill on the north American side was turned over to Russia or Japan. As our kill is the big kill, averaging about 70,000 or 80,000 a year in recent years, although last year it was 120,000, we are the ones with the major interest.

The Pribilof seals do not frequent only the North American coast. The research work which was done in 1952 showed very clearly that the seals go up both coasts to their rookeries which is why these two countries have an interest in the rookeries on the Pribilof islands as well as the rookeries on the two islands on their side.

As far as forgoing revenue is concerned, we actually gain revenue because instead of 15 per cent of the Pribilof kill, which is the big kill, and 15 per cent of the two very small kills, on Robben and Commander islands, we have had 20 per cent of the kill on the Pribilof islands since the time that Russia first left the treaty. The 1911 treaty provided that notice could be given of leaving the treaty and Russia did so in 1917 and Japan in 1941 just before Pearl harbour.

We have certainly lost nothing. Up till now we have actually gained by the removal of these two nations as far as dollars and cents are concerned since we get 20 per cent of the Pribilof kill instead of 15 per cent. We would, however, lose in the future if they resumed pelagic sealing and cut down the herd on the Pribilofs, which they could very easily do by engaging again in pelagic sealing off the island of Hokaido in northern Japan and off Kamchatka where the seals pass very close to the shore.

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

I appreciate the minister's

explanation, and I assure him that it would not have been necessary for me to ask for the repetition of his statement had I been notified of the committee meeting. I appreciate the fact that the government does not invite members to attend, but the chairman of the committee is a supporter of the government. The parliamentary assistant assured us on Saturday that such a committee meeting was going to be called and I was here and ready to attend the meeting.

Naturally not having received any notice of it, as I said before-and I was not the only one who did not receive any notice- I was in my seat here at eleven o'clock. I cleared my post office box four times, as I have said, and no notice came to me. I would

North Pacific Fur Seals not have taken up the time of the house had I received it. But these are things in which I am interested and which I think should be explained. The minister has had special opportunities of inquiring into these matters. He did not answer the question whether we were going to have inspectors present at the kill which will take place later this summer, both on the Pribilof islands and on the Russian and Japanese islands. Shall we have inspectors present at that time so as to be quite certain that we get our full share of the kill?

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

That, of course, is a matter which will be worked out when this international commission, with one commissioner for each of the four nations, is set up. But you can rest assured that if we do not have inspectors and do not get assurance of the Russian kill, we will not deliver this share of the Pribilof kill which of course is the more important thing.

Now that we both have had our moment of heat, I may tell the hon. member that as well as making a fairly long comment in committee this afternoon I mentioned the fact that he has always shown a great interest in this fur seal question. As a matter of fact, I was surprised that the hon. member was not there. But if he did not get notice, I can understand that. I also dealt with his sug gestion that the proceeds of Canadian skins be made available for fisheries research on the west coast in the same way as the interest on the $5i million of the Ashburton award of many years ago is paid annually to the fishermen on the east coast. I do not know whether the hon. member wants me to repeat what I said but I will do so if he desires it.

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

I should assuredly like to hear the minister's reasons why the fishermen on the Pacific coast cannot be compensated for the loss they are suffering from the destruction of a certain number of salmon. Nobody knows the actual quantity, but it is large. I understand there is some difference of opinion between some of the scientists who have carried out certain investigations and who claim that the amount of fish actually destroyed is much less than the amount of fish which experienced sealers and fishermen claim is destroyed. I am quite certain that the minister knows sealers such as Captain Lohbrunner who has had years on the Pacific coast and who has given evidence to the effect that the destruction of the salmon by the seal is extremely heavy. He has mentioned figures as to the amount a full-grown seal will destroy-I did not say will eat but will destroy-going up as high as 30 pounds a day. A seal will come along, take a bite out of a salmon and then will go to sleep in the waters and when refreshed

North Pacific Fur Seals again will come along and attack another salmon. He has estimated that there will be as much as 15 pounds of fish destroyed a day by an adult seal. I do not suggest that the seals are feeding on salmon the whole year around. Half the time they are in northern waters where we know they eat other types of fish. But during certain months of the year the experience of certain practical men indicate chat there is considerable destruction of salmon by the seals.

I therefore advanced the suggestion on Saturday that the money which was received as a result of our share of the pelts of these fur seals which during certain periods of the year have been living on our salmon should be devoted to the further encouragement of the fishery on the Pacific coast. On Saturday -and unfortunately the minister was not able to be present-I cited as a somewhat similar circumstance the Halifax commission of 1877 when, in compensation for certain privileges granted to United States fishermen, certain moneys were set aside and the interest thereon was applied, in addition to any grants made by the government, for the benefit of the Atlantic fishermen. It seemed to me that similar conditions exist on the Pacific coast and that here was an opportunity where the minister might very well say that instead of these funds going into the consolidated revenue funds they might be used for the further development of our fisheries. I am quite certain that the minister himself will be the first to admit that there is a tremendous amount of investigation and research work necessary on the Pacific coast. It must be hard for him to find sufficient funds with which to carry out all the work required.

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

No.

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

If he is satisfied with the amount of development work being done, may I say that I am quite certain that the fishing industry would like to see more work being carried out on the Pacific coast. I hope that he is not satisfied with the development or with the research which is being done there. The additional money could be well used to the benefit of the fishermen of the Pacific coast.

I should like the minister to comment on that matter and to indicate why the money taken from these pelts could not be used for the further development and improvement of the west coast fisheries and the general help of the fishermen. I am not suggesting the same division as that carried out on the east coast, but I am suggesting that the money which is received from the fur seals which have been living on the Pacific coast fish

might well be used for the improvement of the industry on the Pacific coast.

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

Mr. Chairman, the suggestion is a very interesting one but there are one or two points that do not bear similarity to the east coast situation which might be taken for granted at first glance. First of all, as far as the feeding habits of the fur seal are concerned, the fishermen on both sides of the north Pacific have always expressed concern about the amount of fish eaten by a herd of seals who number between 2 million and 3 million. In 1952 Canada, the United States and Japan joined in a scientific study and we killed 3,000 on their migration north, examined their stomachs and found that over 50 per cent of them had no fish in their stomachs and less than 3 per cent had any trace of salmon. The principal food in their stomachs was squid which of course are not used commercially in Canada though they are used in Japan, species which we do not use; lance fish which we do not use; some smelts and some herring, or in other words, smaller schooling fish. But right in this protocol there is a provision for a six-year study and on page 14 there is given the number of seals which can be killed at sea each year to ascertain definitely the damage done to commercial fisheries by the seal herd.

The second point is about the use of proceeds and the suggestion that the proceeds should be divided amongst the west coast fishermen in the same way as the interest on this $5J million award on the east coast is divided annually among the east coast fishermen. There is a very great difference. That $5J million was an award to Canada because of privileges given to the United States which affected the position of the east coast fishermen. Hence they receive the $160,000 interest divided amongst them each year and the bounty amounts to between $5 and $10 a fisherman. On the west coast the situation is very different because the sealers themselves ruined their industry. There were only two sealers operating out of Victoria the year before this treaty came into effect. The other sealers had killed so ruthlessly on the high seas that sealing was no longer economic. These two small sealers who were still in operation were awarded $60,000 in compensation for the fact that this new law removed them from sealing.

So far as money is concerned, I have said it before in this house and I say it again that in the five years I have been Minister of Fisheries I have never been refused money by the government for any fisheries project. It is not a lack of money, it is a lack of trained scientists which is our problem. We have tried to encourage them in the last two or three

years by offering $25,000 a year in graduate scholarships to students of biology and zoology who would go on and study fisheries science. We have allocated at least $50,000 a year in projects to universities for these students to work on in the hope of increasing the number of scientists available for this work.

At present the money goes in to the receiver general, and it is from this fund we are receiving our money for fisheries research. If you examine the estimates each year you will find that there are funds that have lapsed for fisheries research projects, and that is entirely the result of being unable to get trained scientific personnel to do that type of work. We are anxious to employ as many as we can. We have vacancies on our staff right now for trained scientists. It has never been a lack of money but rather lack of personnel which has held up the works.

While I am on that subject, I should like to refer to a statement in the Thompson string of newspapers made by Patrick Nichol, in which he pays glowing tribute to the hon. member for Lambton West for obtaining money from the treasury board for fisheries when I could not. This statement is a sheer fabrication. If you look at the estimates of the Department of Fisheries you will find that each year we have had more money than we have needed for our lamprey program because there has been a lapsing of money in this department of my estimates. Last year I explained to the hon. gentleman that our only shortage was a shortage of scientists and we were doing our best to correct that.

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
SC

Frederick George Hahn

Social Credit

Mr. Hahn:

Before this clause carries I

should like to ask the minister how our salaries for scientists compare with those paid by our neighbouring country to the south?

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink
LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

They are pretty much the same. I can explain that by saying that the chairman of our research board is one of the most brilliant fisheries scientists in the world, and he was brought here from a similar post in the United States. I think the trouble we have in recruiting fisheries scientists today is the result of the fact that when a young man or a young woman is graduating in the sciences we need-zoology, biology, physics and chemistry-and it comes to choosing a career or deciding on post graduate work, such a person realizes that if he takes fisheries science his only possible employer is a government or an international commission, whereas in most of the other fields of science he has a choice between industrial employment and employment with a government. This is one of the factors which does sway young men and women in making a choice.

Health Insurance

We have done everything we can to encourage young men and women to take up fisheries science by offering these graduate scholarships, by making work available in universities, and by offering them good summer employment in our research stations on summer projects.

Topic:   NORTH PACIFIC FUR SEALS
Subtopic:   IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM CONVENTION ON CONSERVATION
Permalink

Clause agreed to. Clauses 9 to 15 agreed to. Schedule 1 agreed to. Schedule 2 agreed to. Title agreed to. Bill reported, read the third time and passed.


MISCELLANEOUS PRIVATE BILLS

FIFTEENTH AND SIXTEENTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE

LIB

William James Henderson

Liberal

Mr. W. J. Henderson (Kingston):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask for leave to revert to routine proceedings for the purpose of receiving reports from the standing committee on miscellaneous private bills.

Topic:   MISCELLANEOUS PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   FIFTEENTH AND SIXTEENTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE
Permalink

April 8, 1957