June 3, 1961

PC

Robert Dugald Caldwell Stewart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stewart:

Mr. Chairman, in rising to speak on the general item, I should like to state that I have no intention of unnecessarily holding up the minister's estimates. However, I feel that in view of the importance of fishing to the constituency which I represent, and in view of some of the observations which have been made by hon. members in this committee, certain information should be placed on the record.

The fishing industry, as has been pointed out by the hon. member for Bonavista-Twil-lingate, is very old. Long before there was any western Canada we had a fishery on the east coast. As a matter of fact, history discloses that one of the first commercial companies was given the exclusive right to the sea and inland fisheries of Canada on certain terms.

I was quite interested in the observation of the hon. member relating to codfish in Newfoundland. This interest arises also out of the statement made by the premier of that province that the codfishery of Newfoundland was on the decline. We sometimes wonder whether the decline is due to the lack of markets, improper methods of curing or even the dearth of improvement in the method of catching fish. Be that as it may, I agree

with the hon. member that codfishery is a very important part of the economy of eastern Canada.

When we consider the importance of the fisheries of Canada, I think we should give careful consideration to the problems facing the fishermen, particularly on the east coast.

1 am not going to say anything about the fisheries of the Pacific coast, of which I know very little, but sometimes hon. members, and possibly the country at large, get the impression that the only segment of our economy of any importance is the farming industry of western Canada.

Let me assure hon. members that we have our problems on the east coast. Perhaps because we are a little more independent and a little more self-reliant we do not ask the government for the same amount of assistance as do our brothers in the western provinces. Nevertheless, we have problems and it is about some of them that I should like to speak for a few minutes this afternoon.

Every year Canadian fishermen take some

2 billion pounds of fish and shellfish from the salt and fresh waters off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Those fisheries are valued at approximately $200 million. Therefore, it can be seen that they are of vital importance to the economy of Canada.

The primary fishing industry in Canada supports the families of over 80,000 fishermen and also a number of people connected with the industry in various activities, and this number is increasing every year. This fact should be taken into consideration when we are talking about the per capita income of the various kinds of fishermen. Although there has been an increase in the gross production of fish there has also been an increase in the number of fishermen employed in the industry.

The extent of our fishing activity can be appreciated when we realize that Canadians have access to three of the world's five oceans. Together with its coastal islands, Canada has a sea front of 60,000 miles, which is more than twice the length of the equator. Even more remarkable is the fact that 260,000 square miles of lakes and rivers, one half the fresh water supply of the whole world, are located within Canadian boundaries.

The history of the canning industry in Charlotte goes back a great many years. We find that many years ago sardine canning originated in Eastport in the state of Maine. In the constituency of Charlotte we have the largest sardine factory in the British commonwealth. At St. Andrews we have the largest live lobster pound in the world. On the Atlantic coast groundfish, especially cod and haddock and also lobsters, are the mainstay of the fisheries, while herring, mackerel

and other fish add to the value of the industry. The annual Atlantic herring catch, including sardines, is around 225 million pounds, about one third of which is used in my constituency in the canning industry. In addition to this we have smokehouses, pickling plants and the lobster fishing industry. Each of the canning industries, which up to a few years ago operated only a matter of a few months each season, now operates about 10 months of the year, and during the peak of the season the sum of $100,000 to $125,000 is paid out each week for fish, wages and so on. This has been made possible by the improvements made in methods of fishing, type of gear, and in the packing systems and plants.

I do not intend to go into the history of the canning industry, but during the past few years the largest and practically the only packing plant in my constituency, namely that of Connors Brothers Limited, has been packing annually over a million cases of sardines which are sold in all parts of the world. When we consider the number of individuals employed directly or indirectly in this industry, the number of boats operating, the new ones built and old ones repaired and maintained, the number of fishermen and factory workers employed, it will be realized that the fishing industry is a pretty important one in the southern part of New Brunswick. I have some figures which indicate the value of this fishery, and this applies only to the constituency of Charlotte.

In 1959, 97,498,000 pounds of sardines were taken, valued at $1,528,000. In 1960 the quantity had risen to 103,964,000 pounds valued at $1,700,000. These sardines were caught in various types of gear. Of that amount 61.2 per cent were caught in what is known as weirs; 35.6 per cent in purse seines; 2.6 per cent in beach seines; and 0.6 per cent in other types of gear. Therefore, hon. members can see that there is a wide diversification in the type of gear used in this particular industry.

In addition to the herring industry, lobsters provide an excellent and large source of cash income. Most of the catch is marketed alive, fresh boiled or as fresh or frozen lobsters, and sent to all parts of Canada. Recently lobsters have been shipped to Holland by air where they are commanding an excellent price. Let me give an illustration of the value of this particular fishery. In 1959, 879,000 pounds of lobster were taken, valued at $440,000. In 1960, the catch had risen to 1,081,000 pounds, valued at $496,000.

A large scallop bed was recently discovered off the state of Maine. In 1959 nearly 5 million pounds of scallop meat were produced in the area and this development is providing a further source of income.

90205-6-368

Supply-Fisheries

In connection with the fisheries, a fisheries research board is operated at St. Andrews. In 1958, this government opened a large addition to this board, which has provided excellent service to the fishermen of the area. I am sure this service is appreciated by all my constituents.

This fisheries research board was established at St. Andrews in 1899, and now employs a large number of technicians and scientists, all under the careful guidance and excellent leadership of Dr. Hart. This board not only provides great assistance to the fishermen in my area, but is a source of employment in an area which might otherwise experience difficulty in providing employment. In 1955-60, there was spent on new construction in this area, $417,617; on repairs and maintenance, excluding the fleet of boats, nearly $5,000; on salaries and wages, excluding the crews of the vessels, $527,208; on vessel operations, including the salaries of the crews, $178,928, or a total for that fiscal year of $1,172,190.

The 30th annual report of the Department of Fisheries, which is available to all members, sets out in some detail the value of the fisheries in the maritime provinces and Quebec, and the amount of money expended in the various stations of the maritime area for scientific investigation and protection of the various fisheries. I do not intend to give these figures in detail, but I should like to refer briefly to some of the figures put on the record by the hon. member for Gloucester.

The hon. member for Gloucester represents a riding which is primarily a fishing riding, like my own, although his interests are particularly related to groundfish and not sardines. If the hon. member will examine some of the figures and make some comparisons, I feel he will realize that his criticisms of the Department of Fisheries are unjust and unfair. He indicated, if I interpreted his remarks correctly, that we are not getting a proportionate increase in the value of the fisheries for the amount of money expended by this department.

In 1953-54, we spent on protection in New Brunswick, $485,000, and in 1959-60, $568,000, in round figures. Now, in the same year, 1953-54, we spent on assistance for the construction of vessels, only $57,268, while in 1959-60, we spent $110,335. This indicates that in this period we have doubled our assistance to the fishing fleet. The recent announcement by the Minister of Transport indicating that an increased subsidy would be granted on the construction of fishing vessels was received by my constituents with appreciation. There are several vessels now being completed, and several more are contemplated.

Supply-Fisheries

As an indication that the Department of Fisheries is keeping in touch with developments, I would point out that in 1952 the value of fishing gear in Canada was $106 million. In 1958, the latest figures available to me, the value of this same gear had reached over $114 million. The landed value of sardines in the maritimes in 1952 was $1,797,000, while in 1959, only seven years later, it amounted to $3,186,000. Although there was only a slight increase in the value of the cod catch, the lobster catch for the maritimes, excluding Newfoundland, in 1953 was $13 million and in 1959, it was $16 million. Although there has been an increase in the expenditures of the various departments over the intervening years, I think that these expenditures have been justified and have been worth while.

The department is now spending a considerable amount of money on research on the improvement of methods of catching fish, and rendering every possible assistance to the fishermen of Canada. I think at this time I should pay tribute to the minister and, through him, to his officials, for the work done by the department in the investigation of the Passamaquoddy power project. The Department of Fisheries carried out a long and careful survey of the project and formed a part of the two engineering teams that laid before the international joint commission the findings on which the commission based its report. Whether or not this power project is eventually undertaken is not now under discussion but the fact is that the Department of Fisheries, through the fisheries research board, carried out an excellent survey and gave real leadership to that commission.

I think I should make some comments on the unfair discrimination between fishermen in so far as unemployment insurance is concerned. At the present time a very unfair and unjust discrimination is exercised as between the fisherman who catches fresh fish and the fisherman who cures fish. The man who cures fish is able to spread his contributions over a greater period of time and therefore receives greater benefits from his unemployment insurance credits than does the fresh fish man. I would suggest to the minister that some changes might be made in the regulations in order to correct this anomaly. I should like to mention also that, especially in areas where there are a number of fishermen operating at different times of the year and with different types of cure, the regulations should be looked at from time to time in order to ensure that each particular segment of the industry receives a fair opportunity for catching fish. I realize that this is difficult because we have overlapping seasons. However, in so far as the

government is able, it should endeavour to provide regulations that will ensure that no group is unjustly discriminated against. I think I should at this time also thank the minister and his officials for the co-operation and assistance given to the people of my area during the past few years.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
PC

Percy Verner Noble

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Noble:

Mr. Chairman, I am especially interested in the welfare of the great lakes fisheries; and I wish to say that the fishermen, sportsmen and many others interested in the great lakes fisheries are looking forward with satisfaction and anticipation to a visit to the Georgian bay and upper lake Huron area of the Minister of Fisheries. His proposed visit is an indication of his desire to secure firsthand information on the problems at present facing the fishermen of these waters.

Despite the fact that some success in lamprey destruction has been achieved, we still have a long way to go in the restoration of our fisheries to any degree of normalcy. Our biologists and researchers are highly respected authorities on the measures that should be taken in this program of rehabilitation of the great lakes fisheries industry. However, the men who man the fishing boats, many of whom have spent their working years on the lakes, have a wealth of knowledge and information that would also be useful in solving the big problem that confronts us. I therefore suggest that meeting with them will be time well spent and could bring to the fore some good practical ideas.

Several streams flowing into Georgian bay were treated with lampricide last year. It was evident that this treatment of these waters was attended by some success, as many young lamprey were destroyed and seen floating along with the current. We may have reached the point where we can control the lamprey, provided that we continue to treat their spawning beds periodically. It can hardly be expected that they can be completely eliminated from the great lakes. But then will this be the last barrier to lake trout production? Shall we find that the smelt has also taken his toll and that control of this predator will also be required before we can build up our lake trout and whitefish populations? With this thought in mind, I would continue to recommend the planting of sockeye and spring salmon fingerlings in the upper great lakes at the earliest convenient opportunity. These fish have proven their ability to survive in these waters and prospects are favourable to the development of a reproduction cycle.

The lake trout, whitefish and pickerel population of the great lakes was never lower than it is right now, nor was there ever a time when we had such an overwhelming population of predators and undesirable fish. There should be no hesitation on the part of

the great lakes fisheries commission in using some of their funds for the removing of these undesirable fish from our lakes. The removing of large quantities of these undesirable fish is required if we are to create the proper environment for the propagation of more valuable and desirable fish. Hundreds of fishermen whose boats are now idle would welcome the opportunity to work on such a project.

I should also point out that the majority of the fishermen have reached a time in their lives when they are not acceptable to other industry, but have years of good service ahead of them in their chosen field. These men could be employed on this clean-up program until the desirable fish population was restored to a point that would warrant their return to usual routine of reaping a just reward for their labours.

Seventy two streams on both sides of the border have been treated with lampricide. All these streams flow into lake Superior and lake Michigan with the exception of six flowing into lake Huron and Georgian bay. To make a check on lamprey population during their spawning season of 1960, 4,810 of them were taken by the electrical barrier method on the Canadian side of lake Superior, and more than 39,000 adult lampreys were taken as they entered United States streams. The 1961 program calls for the operation of 39 electrical barriers to measure changes in lamprey population in lake Superior.

While on the matter of destroying lamprey, I should like to put on the record something about an operation that is worthy of mention. On April 20 two former natives of Latvia pitched their tent at a site on the Saugeen river for the purpose of trapping lampreys. They have trapped lamprey at this location for five years and last year they were successful in securing over 10,000, which were roasted and canned for a Toronto market. They anticipate that this year's catch will be a similar quantity. This operation indicates that lamprey are plentiful in lake Huron.

In the great lakes much of the fish population that we wish to reduce does have some commercial value. Mink ranches in the great lakes area are finding it difficult to secure enough codfish racks from the coastal regions to supply their needs; therefore many tons of certain types of lake fish would find a ready market close by.

Now that equipment is available to take alive fish such as suckers, catfish, sunfish, rock bass and perch, another method of marketing has recently developed. These fish can be sold alive to buyers who convey them in tank trucks to private lakes or ponds in the U.S.A. where people pay for the privilege of angling for them. Such establishments are 90205-6-368i

Supply-Fisheries

making their appearance now in Canada and a noted development in this field can be expected.

Lake trout in years past were prominent in rewarding sport fishermen. Now that these beautiful game fish have fallen on evil days, our sportsmen in the days ahead will, of necessity, have to rely to some extent on man-made ponds and their production. This is an example of private enterprise stepping into the breach created by negligent handling of one of our great resources. Like any other form of wealth, this inheritance of ours has been misspent to quite some extent. It has been abused and can be ruined for want of care, or it can be wasted by miserly failure to use it fully.

From a conservation viewpoint, the great lakes fisheries are perhaps the most poorly managed of all our natural resources, first, because we do not know enough about the resource itself, and second, because the departments, in their undertaking of the phases of investigation necessary are often hampered by the problem of insufficient, and often inadequate, personnel.

The restoration of our great lakes fisheries will require several years of earnest effort and intelligent planning. Canada and the United States should pool the knowledge of all studies made on both sides of these lakes through all interested and contributing groups so that a directed program could be developed to eliminate the cost and waste of effort in conducting parallel or like projects. This procedure in time, should lead to the development of good management techniques based on this knowledge. In that way we could best utilize this valuable natural resource and hasten the day of restoration.

It is fallacy to think our fisheries, if restored, will be self-perpetuating. The fishing industry is now equipped with modern fishing gear that can locate fish and take them from the water with greater efficiency. This is as it should be. It is one more indication of progress. This is one of our renewable resources and there should be no hesitation in exploiting every possibility that would lend itself to the over-all program of putting this great natural asset back into production of lake trout and whitefish, or the equivalent thereof in quality and demand.

When the great lakes fisheries have been restored to their rightful place in our economy, the knowledge gained during the process should be sufficient, if used wisely, to assure the perpetuation of the industry at a level of high production. I will venture to say that natural production will fall far short in supplying stock of the desirable species. Therefore, artificial processes will be the means of

Supply-Fisheries

assuring the proper balance. Modern hatcheries will be needed with rearing pond facilities where fry would be fed and protected until they are able to fend for themselves with a reasonable chance of survival.

Perhaps we will also find that some artificial protection will be needed at various points where fish are found to congregate and feed in their early life. Off the coast of Florida a reef was built up of old car bodies which serves this purpose. The interiors of the cars form caves which promote the growth of natural food for the fish as well as providing shelter for small fish so that they have a better chance to survive to adulthood. The use of this idea would be of twofold benefit, in that we could clean up many unsightly areas in the countryside while promoting our fisheries. Perhaps our researchers could discover some cheap material that could be placed in the water at these locations to promote algae and plankton production so that food would be plentiful.

Most of our fish hatcheries in the great lakes area are producing fish for the stocking of our streams and inland lakes. Therefore the basic requirement for the restoration and maintenance of our great lakes fisheries is hatcheries. So I would propose to the minister that at least two modern hatcheries should be provided on the Canadian side of the lakes.

Plans are now under way for the construction of a hatchery at Jordan, Michigan, which is estimated to cost $892,000. This would indicate renewed vigour in the United States effort.

Before I conclude these remarks I want to reiterate that our great lakes fishermen are in trouble. Twenty five fishing boats left Kingsville a few weeks ago and returned with only enough perch to fill fifteen 60-pound boxes. In 1959, 11,000 pounds of lake trout were taken from lake Huron, and in 1960 only 200 pounds were taken during the year.

A few days ago a 100-pound box of lake trout and whitefish arrived at Meaford from northern Saskatchewan and the express was in excess of what these same fish sold for a few years ago, when Meaford was a noted lake trout centre.

Now, sir, after having been in close association with the great lakes fisheries for over 25 years, and during that period having used hundreds of tons of fish for food on our mink ranch, I believe I am in a position to make some pertinent observations in respect to this industry. In that time I have seen a thriving, renewable resource descend from prosperity to the depths of poverty. During this transition those charged with the welfare of the industry were indifferent to a variety of factors contributing to the decline of the industry. This deterioration has

been more pronounced since the lamprey and smelts appeared on the scene; but these are not completely responsible, mismanagement must be included.

With this thought in mind, sir, I would suggest that it is hard for any business to prosper under dual control. Therefore I am of the opinion that this work of restoring and maintaining one of our great natural resources, which we share with another country, should be under the complete control of the federal government, and thereby we would eliminate any duplication of effort in management or administration of this, the largest body of fresh water in the world.

In conclusion, I would further suggest that the great lakes fisheries be given prominence at the resources for tomorrow conference in Montreal next October.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
CCF

Frank Howard

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

Mr. Howard:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to make just a few comments about two or three specific items before the minister replies and answers the various questions asked. I do so in order that all the minister's comments may be in one place rather than being scattered throughout Hansard.

The salmon fishery in British Columbia normally accounts, I think, for 65 per cent or 70 per cent of the landed value of fish in that province. Accordingly, from an economic and other points of view it is the most valuable fishery we have on the west coast. There has been a notable decline in the salmon catch over the last few years.

For instance-and these figures are in five-year periods-from 1951 to 1955 the salmon catch was 860,080,000 pounds; in the period 1956 to 1960 this dropped to 625,140,000 pounds. This represents about a 25 per cent decline in the quantity of salmon caught, or a decline of over 200 million pounds in that period.

I understand that the salmon catch of last year was the lowest it has been during this century; the total was a little over 75 million pounds landed. Apart from the loss to fishermen of income and the loss in food value to the population, I think one can speculate about some of the reasons for the decline in the salmon fishery.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

Mr. Chairman, would the hon. member permit a question?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
CCF
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

Would the hon. member mind repeating the first figure, which I think was 700 million or 800 million pounds, and then it came down to a figure of 75 million, if I remember well. Over what period of years was that drop?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
CCF

Frank Howard

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

Mr. Howard:

Perhaps I could give the figures again. There are a number of different periods involved here. In the period 1951 to 1955 there were 860,080,000 pounds of salmon caught. In 1955 to 1960 inclusive, there were 625,140,000 pounds caught. This is a decline in one five-year period over the other of 234,940,000 pounds, or about 25 per cent. The 75 million pounds figure I used was the catch for 1960, just the one year. In fact, it was more than 75 million pounds; the actual figure I have here is 77,590,000 pounds. I used the figure of 75 million in round terms.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

If you multiplied it by five, it would again be a big drop.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
CCF

Frank Howard

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

Mr. Howard:

Yes, but multiplying it by five would not give us an accurate picture for that five-year period, because this 1960 figure of 77 million pounds was the lowest catch since the turn of the century; so if we multiplied that low figure by five it would really put it a bit out of balance, I think.

I think there are a number of factors contributing to the decline in the catch of salmon and the decline of the fishery over this period of time which requires some examination.

We are a participant, as I mentioned earlier, with Japan and the United States in the international north Pacific salmon fisheries commission and agree with those other countries as to areas in the north Pacific for fishing so that immature fish will not be caught.

In recent years-and I should like the minister to bring us up to date on this matter so far as the knowledge of his department is concerned-we have known of Soviet ships being in that general area. As I understand it, a few years ago at least they were searching or fishing for bottom fish, or halibut, rather than salmon. This does not preclude the possibility of those ships fishing for salmon in those waters and it would account for some decline in the numbers of fish returning to the spawning grounds. There has been some disagreement as to whether the line of demarcation with the Japanese fishery is in the right place and the question has been raised whether or not the Japanese fleet has been catching Canadian salmon in that area. The Department of Fisheries and the commission has said this is not so and that no Canadian fish have been caught by Japanese vessels. In any event I think this is an area for examination, especially from the point of view of the Soviet fishing fleet, so that we may learn whether or not these factors are contributing to the decline in the numbers of Pacific coast salmon.

Supply-Fisheries

Another factor contributing to this decline is the use of insecticides when spraying operations are conducted in forest areas. It applies also to the east coast where different fisheries are affected. One such spraying operation was conducted recently on Vancouver island and another in the Queen Charlotte islands area. There have been further instances. Insecticides, though carefully chosen after consultations between the various departments interested, including the Department of Fisheries, do have a deleterious effect on the fry. They are a poison to them. This has undoubtedly contributed to the death of some of the young salmon in our streams. The logging industry on the west coast is an important part of our economy and its operations range from the southern extremity of the coast to the northern boundary of Alaska. The entire coastal area is the scene of logging operations by companies of various sizes. Their work leads, to some extent, to the denudation of our forests and consequent soil erosion. In addition, debris from the logging industry piles up in rivers and streams with a further detrimental effect on the salmon fishery. Water pollution obviously presents another threat to the salmon fishery. In Kitimat a while ago where there was a construction project in progress gravel was removed from the Kitimat river to mix with concrete, though I know there are laws which prohibit this sort of thing. Salmon spawning grounds have been destroyed in some instances through the removal of gravel in this way. Hydroelectric development has also had an adverse effect in some cases on the ability of salmon to reach their spawning grounds and on the spawning grounds themselves.

All these factors, in addition to others, have contributed to the decline in the salmon fishing industry and I am sure the difficulties will not be overcome merely by shortening the season or by imposing closures from time to time. It seems to me that the provision of a special fund to deal specifically with situations arising in the salmon fishery would prove of great advantage. Such a fund might be used in conjunction with the province of British Columbia to encourage reforestation and to ensure that salmon streams are not blocked, even temporarily, by logging debris. I think, also, that we might engage in the building of storage dams along the lines recommended in the report of the Fraser river board to ensure a regular flow of water through our salmon streams.

Stocks of salmon are also being depleted by predatory fish such as dogfish. An extensive program of destruction coupled with a research program into the economic use, for

Supply-Fisheries

example, of dogfish, would also help to arrest the gradual decline of the salmon fishery over the years. It has been suggested that sport fishermen should not be allowed to fish inside the fishing boundary and that by fishing inside the boundary they are contributing to the decline of the salmon fishery. I raise these considerations in a general way at this time hoping that the minister will be able to make some conclusive announcement concerning the activities of his department in this regard because, as I have said, the salmon fishery in British Columbia is not a minor one; any decline in that industry has a serious widespread effect.

The last time I spoke on this subject I made reference to the report of Dr. Sinclair on the question of licence elimination. Since that time I have received from the united fishermen and allied workers' union a resolution which was passed at the union's recent convention held in March this year. This dealt with the Sinclair licence limitation report and passed a couple of resolutions one of which resulted in a telegram being dispatched to the Minister of Fisheries and to the Prime Minister. The resolution reads as follows:

Therefore be it resolved this seventeenth annual convention strongly and urgently demand immediate action by the government of Canada, and in particular the Minister of Fisheries, to introduce legislation imposing a five year moratorium on the issuance of new licences and providing that any licence that has not been renewed in any year or any licence which is not utilized in commercial fishing in any year be cancelled.

Be it further resolved the foregoing legislation provide that commercial fishing licences in 1961 and continuing until 1965 shall not be issued to any person who did not hold a commercial fishing licence in 1960. The only exceptions to this rule should be: (a) the holder of a licence in

1959 who was unable to fish in 1960 due to proven illness (b) sons of fishermen who came of age in 1961 and have applied for licences with serious intent (c) any other special circumstances with all such cases being reviewed by an impartial board consisting of representatives of the united fishermen and allied workers' union, native brotherhood of B.C. deep sea fishermen's union of Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert fishermen's co-operative association, and the Vancouver and Prince Rupert vessel owners' associations and the government.

I should like to ask the minister to tell the committee what answer has been given to the wire which was sent with respect to this resolution, in order that the public may understand what action the government has undertaken with respect to this particular report and the suggestions made by the fishermen's union.

That convention also passed a resolution regarding the Sinclair report in respect of licence limitations. I should just like to quote the resolution to which I have reference. It reads as follows:

Therefore be it resolved this seventeenth annual convention demands of the government of Canada and the government of the province of B.C. an immediate start on a thorough study of costs, earnings, price fixing, capital accumulations, export for capital, reinvestment of capital, financing systems and earnings of individuals directing and employed by the fishing companies and a thorough study of the costs, earnings and capital accumulation of private vessel owners employing two or more men in the fishing industry. The reports, when completed, to be released in the same manner as this Sol Sinclair report, but without the unnecessary delay of fifteen months experienced in release of this report.

Those two resolutions were passed at that convention, albeit a short while after the Sinclair report was released. It may well be that the resolutions passed were not worded in such a way as to cover all the possibilities arising out of the Sinclair report, nevertheless, this represents action taken in resolution form. I hope the minister will enlighten us and bring us up to date in regard to these particular methods.

I should like to mention one other subject before I sit down. Mr. Val Gwyther, a few years ago, wrote an imaginative article which appeared in the B.C. Professional Engineer, and also in the U.B.C. Chronicle. There have been reprints of his article appearing elsewhere. The gist of the article was that it was possible to develop the Fraser river for hydroelectric purposes, while at the same time retaining it as a fish river. When this article appeared in 1958, practically everyone in the fishing industry, as well as the engineering field, apart from British Columbia electric employees, who have a definite interest in this matter, suggested that Mr. Gwyther was attempting to put across propaganda in favour of the power industries in British Columbia. This suggestion has been refuted by subsequent writers, engineers and fishery people, and Mr. Gwyther has not been deterred from engaging in the promotion of the so-called multiple use of the Fraser. Within the last week or two, as a matter of fact, he made a speech or wrote an article, in which he stated that, following studies made over a period of two years, proof had been obtained of the feasibility of using the Fraser for the purposes of developing hydroelectric energy, while maintaining it as a salmon spawning river.

I should like the minister to comment in regard to what has been done in this field, and tell us what the results are of the engineering studies, if any, which have been made.

My own personal opinion in this regard is that Mr. Gwyther, in stating again that the Fraser river can be used for this dual purpose, has indicated he did not know what he was talking about in 1958. However, this

is of vital importance to the fisheries on the west coast, with particular reference to the salmon fisheries of the Fraser, which is the most important fish river in British Columbia. In order to ensure that commercial hydroelectric companies, such as the B.C. Electric Company, and other industries in this field, are not successful in their ventures to use the Fraser river for this dual purpose, they should not be allowed to issue propaganda under the guise of studies which indicate the river can be successfully used for that purpose.

Mr. Chairman, I think perhaps I should leave the subject at that, with the hope that other hon. members interested in it will place their remarks on the record.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
?

Mr. Ballen@

Mr. Chairman, up to this point in the discussion of these estimates we have heard a great many references to many phases of Canada's fisheries. I should like to begin by making a few references to research in the fishing industry.

The minister in making his statement of May 11 referred at some length to the research activities of his department, and stated that across the country important research projects were going forward as a basis for expansion and development of our fisheries. I think everyone knows that Canada is not a country which is noted for the amount of research being done, particularly in view of the fact that this is a country with many valuable natural resources. This is as true of the fishing industry, as it is true of every segment of our economy. Research projects in the fishing industry now in progress are indeed important and worth while. However, I believe that more intensive work is required if Canada is to remain in a competitive position in the northwest Atlantic region.

In the province of Newfoundland limited fisheries research has been going on for almost three quarters of a century. Over 70 years ago Adolph Neilson initiated a form of fisheries research which was continued up to and during the 1930's. Thereafter, Harold Thompson commenced a project financed jointly by the governments of the United Kingdom and Newfoundland. A good deal of worth-while information resulted from this research and, over the years, some of the information has been used to great advantage.

The present Newfoundland research committee, an organization which is over seven years old, paid special attention to the marine resources of Newfoundland at its meeting held during the early part of April of this year. In my opinion this committee is making a contribution to the fund of information concerning the fishing industry as a whole. However, what is needed is a pooling of the research facilities of both the federal and

Supply-Fisheries

provincial governments in order to define a new approach to the problems of production, processing, marketing and conservation.

There was a time when the fishery of Newfoundland was the foremost industry of the province. Over the years other industries have come into being and have expanded to such an extent as to replace fisheries, in terms of employment, or revenue and maybe both. The activities of the newsprint industry, as well as of mining production, have placed the fishing industry in a relatively less important position. Let me hasten to add, however, that the industry, for a long time to come, will be an important source of employment for many of the Newfoundland people.

The marine resources of Newfoundland represent a great part of the economy of that province. The part it represents could be increased, but this will be accomplished only as a result of a co-ordinated policy of research and expansion, and such a policy will cost money. But improvement in any industry in any part of Canada adds to the national economic picture. Central Canada is not so far removed from the economic success or failure of the fishing industry in Newfoundland. When one considers the fact that the the province of Newfoundland buys from the Canadian mainland commodities having an annual value of $250 million it becomes obvious that a large proportion of our dollar added to the value of fishery products provides labour for workers in other parts of Canada. In view of this I submit that research in the fishing industry in Newfoundland should be intensified and conducted by the Newfoundland research committee, the fisheries research board and the national research council.

The demands for research services are unlikely to decrease in the years that lie immediately ahead. There are not only pressures as a result of the domestic picture, but also demands owing to Canada's responsibilities under international agreements. Indeed, there are even local problems to which attention should be given. For example, in my own area I should like to know how extensive is the source of halibut off the west coast of Newfoundland. If there are sufficient quantities, how best can this type of fish be harvested, processed and marketed? Another problem is the need to improve methods to transport five lobsters to market. In the area from Bonne bay to St. John's bay on the west coast of Newfoundland-and I used this area as an example-about three quarters of a million pounds of lobster were marketed last year. In 1960, only 72.5 per cent of the quantity shipped arrived at the point of delivery in first class condition. The remainder was made up of 6.3 per cent of culls; 14.2 per cent were weaks; and 17 per cent unsaleable.

Supply-Fisheries

One can well imagine the loss to the fishermen when over 25 per cent of their catch fetches a reduced price or no price at all.

I point this out as a problem of local concern but none the less important. What is the reason? Are the lobsters taken from the Newfoundland area less durable than the lobsters taken from any other areas? Are the methods of holding awaiting shipment such as to be detrimental to the lobsters? Are the actual transportation conditions too rigid for the lobster to survive the ocean trip? These are questions which need expert investigation to determine the best corrective methods in order to give the fishermen the greatest possible return for their labour.

I mention these as local problems, Mr. Chairman, because they are problems that require practical solutions based on information already acquired or to be acquired by scientific research.

I should now like to make a few comments of a more general nature. The hon. member for Charlotte referred to a statement made by the premier of Newfoundland, implying that the fisheries of the province of Newfoundland were declining. No such statement is true, of course. When he made his statement the premier was referring to two things, first to the number of fishermen employed in the industry in Newfoundland; and second, to the importance of the industry when compared with some other industries. Now obviously, or I think it is obvious, in any composite whole one component may increase in absolute value and yet decrease in relation to its percentage of the whole. To me it is just a simple application of Engel's law. I would say to my hon. friend that while it may be true that the number of fishermen engaged in the fishing industry in Newfoundland may be fewer than they were in years gone by, the actual value of the fisheries is not decreasing. I hold in my hand the Atlantic provinces statistical review of April, 1961. I note that the preliminary figures for the year 1960, as compared with the figures for 1953, of total landed values show an increase of 33 per cent. The landed value of all sea fish in Newfoundland in 1953 amounted to slightly over $12 million. The preliminary figures for 1960 show $16 million, or an increase of roughly 33 per cent. This in fact is slightly higher than the increase for the Atlantic provinces as a whole.

The total landed value for the four Atlantic provinces in 1953 was $43 million. The preliminary figures for 1960 are $56 million, or an increase of 30 per cent. Our problem in Newfoundland, Mr. Chairman, is that the fishing industry is not maintaining its place in an expanding economy. What we need are more research, more investment, better quality products and larger markets. One of

the great difficulties of the fishing industry in Newfoundland is that in a large sector of its activities it is almost impossible for the fisherman to make a living wage when he is employed in that industry alone. There are many reasons for this, included among which are low prices for the product, too low a production particularly of those types of fish which fetch the highest prices, and the inability of fishermen to work for long periods of the year.

As far as low prices for the product are concerned, the solution does not rest entirely in our own hands. Markets will determine the prices to be paid on factors over which we have no control. Prices paid may be relatively high in relation to the general economy of the area in which the market exists, but relatively low in relation to the general economy of the area in which the commodity is produced. In any industry in Canada I think we shall find it increasingly difficulty to maintain Canadian wages on European prices, but we do have in our own hands the possibility of improving the situation to some degree. The fact of producing specific articles of the highest quality for specific markets may be one way of doing this. An example is light salted cod. It is possible to attain further improvement in the position by endeavouring to produce more of those fishery products which bring higher prices. It was for this reason that earlier in my remarks I referred to the possibility of producing and marketing a larger amount of halibut and attempting to increase the percentage of first class lobsters arriving at the marketing points.

The average price of all sea fish landings in the year 1960 was lower in Newfoundland than in any other of the Atlantic provinces. For example, in 1960 Prince Edward Island landed 3.4 per cent of the total landed weight of the four Atlantic provinces. Prince Edward Island had 8.2 per cent of the total landed revenue at an average value per pound of 10.9 cents. For the same year the percentage of the total landed weight of the four provinces for Nova Scotia was 34.4, and the percentage of the landed value was 46.5, at an average value per pound of 6.1 cents. New Brunswick, in the same year, produced 18.1 per cent of the total landed weight and had 16.4 per cent of the landed value at an average of 4.1 cents per pound. On the other hand, Newfoundland produced 44 per cent of the total landed weight and received only 28.9 per cent of the total landed value, at an average value of 3.0 cents per pound.

It is my contention that these figures support the view that we should strive to produce a higher quality commodity and, at the same time, attempt to increase the production of

those types of fish which will command a higher return. I hasten to point out, Mr. Chairman, that I do not believe such goals as I have suggested are going to solve all the difficulties now facing the Ashing industry, but they are facets of the problem which cannot be ignored.

If the Ashermen are going to continue their operations for longer periods of the year, one of the things which must be done is to provide those facilities which Ashermen could not normally be expected to provide for themselves. Here, I am talking about the physical requirements and services such as wharves, breakwaters, community stages and bait depots. I recognize immediately that wharves and breakwaters are the responsibility of the Minister of Public Works and not the responsibility of the Minister of Fisheries. Nevertheless, I think that you cannot dissociate the marine facilities provided by the Department of Public Works from the Ashing industry. For many areas of my constituency the men have to use fairly large boats. They have to go a long distance from the shore, well beyond the three mile limit. These boats have to be hauled up in the evening and launched in the morning. Many days' Ashing are lost because they are not able to get their boats aAoat.

There can be no doubt that, so far as the Ashing industry is concerned, protection is needed for the Asherman's gear. On the other hand, community stages and bait depots are part of the programs administered by the Department of Fisheries. I feel that the community stage program has a great deal of merit. The minister informs us that already we have 20 of these stages built in Newfoundland, and that these 20 have demonstrated the advantage which they are to the Ashermen. I suggest this advantage should be extended to other areas which are equally deserving. The minister said on May 11 that the program of constructing community stages was virtually complete. I was sorry to hear that because I do not believe this very advantageous program should be conAned to the areas which have been served to date. These community stages provide not only a convenience to the Ashermen, but they provide more sanitary landings where the Ash can be properly cured. They do have a very deAnite effect on the quality and also the stability of the quality.

However, the minister did intimate that the program might be continued at a slower pace. I would suggest to him that the program should be continued, and continued at an even faster rate, particularly in those areas where economic patterns are changing in such a manner that Ashing offers the major opportunity for employment.

Supply-Fisheries

I might make similar remarks regarding the bait service. We do need more of these units, and they need to be supplied at a faster rate. In many parts of Newfoundland, fresh bait supplies are not so readily obtained as they were a few years ago. The units being provided by the department offer a source of bait which assists our Ashermen in beginning their Ashing earlier in the year and remaining at their Ashing for longer periods. There are two areas in my constituency which would beneAt greatly from the program for community stages and bait depots. They are the areas known as the St. Barbe coast and the Port au Port peninsula. The St. Barbe coast is the western part of the great northern peninsula. The people of this area have for centuries been Ashermen and, for a great part of that time, they have had no occupation other than Ashing. At the turn of the century there was a great lumber industry developed on the coast. This, in turn, gave way to pulpwood cutting. We have reached the period now where the lumber industry is no longer as important as it was. We have reached the time when pulpwood cutting is no longer carried out to the extent it was. Fishing, therefore, offers perhaps the only opportunity which these men have for making a living. The program for community stages and bait depots, if extended would serve this area well.

Another area which I should like to mention is the Port au Port peninsula. This is a peninsula which juts out into the gulf of St. Lawrence a distance of about 30 miles. Twenty Ave or thirty years ago, nearly all the people in this area were Ashermen. Then, sometime between 1940 and 1942 the United States leased bases in the area. The men left the Ashery for work at Harmon air force base. It is understandable that, no matter how long this base remains in Newfoundland, construction in the years that lie ahead is not going to proceed at the pace which it did during the last 20 years. Employment opportunities at Harmon air force base are not as plentiful as they were. The men now have to return to the Ashery, and I believe the men will return to the Ashery only when they are provided with those facilities which they could not be expected to provide for themselves.

I have here a chart of the Port au Port peninsula. I brought this today particularly because some of the replies I have received to my questions have indicated that there are not enough Ashermen in this area. I have here a chart showing the number of Ashermen as of February, 1960, in each settlement in the Port au Port peninsula. The total number of Ashermen in the area was 403. I believe that this number could be doubled if

Supply-Fisheries

the men who are no longer able to find employment at Stephenville on the United States base were able to see that the facilities for fishing were going to be provided for them. I would again suggest to the minister, therefore, that rather than have the community stage program proceed at a slower pace, perhaps he could speed it up so as to provide some of these facilities for the St. Barbe coast and for the Port au Port peninsula.

I should like at this point to make a few brief comments regarding the seal fishery in the northwest Atlantic area. In the past few years and in recent days in the House of Commons we have heard a great deal as to the past and present methods of harvesting these resources. We have been informed that nations other than Canada are sending men with modern equipment to augment the indiscriminate killing which in time must result in the complete destruction of this form of marine life. Much has been said about the need for conservation and control measures if the seal is not to follow some other forms of Canadian wildlife into the realm of total extinction.

These expressions of opinion are not new. Intermittently over a period of 40 years people in various walks of life from the individual conservationist to the marine biologist, from the seal hunter to the businessman in the trade, from organizations at the local level to the United Nations, have expressed views as to what should or should not be done to preserve this natural resource and at the same time maintain a maximum sustainable yield having regard for other forms of marine life.

Conservationists became interested in this problem as early as 1920. Further representations were made to the Newfoundland government in 1930. The Canadian government began a survey in 1950, which was completed in 1956. In 1958, at the United Nations conference on the law of the sea the following resolution was agreed on:

The United Nations conference on the law of the sea requests states to prescribe by all means available to them those methods of capturing and killing marine life, especially of whales and seals, which will spare them suffering to the greatest extent possible.

Canada was represented at that conference and supported this resolution. From surveys which have been made and from the experience of many engaged in the industry I suggest that it is clear that some conservation methods are necessary and may in fact be well overdue. In this particular industry as well as in many other fields of endeavour there is a need for adequate scientific information upon which sound, practical and effective regulations can be based. There is also

the problem of obtaining the co-operation of all those concerned within the confines of our own country. Maybe the situation is still further complicated by the fact that a large part of the sealing operation is carried on outside Canadian territorial waters. Maybe it is fair to say that because other nations such as Norway and Russia prosecute the seal fishery in areas adjacent to Canadian waters, Canada should take the initiative in arriving at some agreement with these nations which have a direct commercial interest in the industry.

In February, 1957, the north Pacific fur seal commission was established. Represented on this commission are Canada, Japan, the United States and the U.S.S.R. The purpose of this commission is to establish regulations based on knowledge resulting from scientific research which will best conserve the fur seal herds in and around the Bering sea; including the Pribilof islands, the Commander islands and Robben island. This commission met from January 22 to February 4, 1961, in Japan. At that meeting the Canadian representative, Dr. William M. Sprules, said this:

The convention under which this commission is established contains references to several principles which we in Canada believe are essential to the rational utilization of any marine resource. These include recognition of the need for international co-operation to achieve maximum sustainable productivity of important marine resources; recognition of the need for detailed scientific knowledge; recognition of the complex biological inter-relationships existing between one resource and another; and recognition of the need to waive the right of free fishing in specific instances. The constantly growing world interest in utilization of the valuable living resources of the sea coupled with the rapid technological advances in harvesting efficiency make it apparent that the principles just referred to might be expected to form the foundation of future international agreements concerned with conservation of the living resources of the sea.

I believe these words were well spoken and I would commend them to all those who have an interest in our marine resources, not only in reaping an annual harvest but also in promoting those conservation measures which will ensure that continuing annual harvests will be possible.

Canada was a signatory to the international northwest Atlantic fisheries convention in 1949. This body does not have regulatory powers but it can make representations to the governments included in the agreement. I would suggest that at the next meeting of this commission Canada should initiate discussions leading to the proper surveys being made which in turn would result in the formulation and implementation of measures designed to conserve the harp seal of the north Atlantic. I should indicate here that I understand that a great deal of work in this regard is being

done; but since the seal fishery is prescribed in areas adjacent to Canadian waters it might be well if Canada were to give that extra impetus which this conservation program requires. It may be that efforts in this direction are further complicated by the fact that, although Russian ships have been very active recently both in the seal fishery and in other branches of the fishing industry, Russia is not a member of the international northwest Atlantic fisheries convention. Nevertheless, it may be possible to obtain with respect to the north Atlantic the same co-operation that has been experienced in the north Pacific in the hope that this form of marine life may continue to provide a sustainable annual yield by regulated methods and at the same time be protected in such a manner as to afford a maximum opportunity for survival.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
LIB

Chesley William Carter

Liberal

Mr. Carter:

I should like to resume at this time the remarks which I was making on this item on the day when these estimates were last before the committee. I think that day was May 12. At that time I had pointed out to the committee that the fishing industry on the Atlantic coast of Canada was not prosperous. The industry as a whole might be holding its own, but it was certainly not as prosperous as the fishery on the west coast, and in many sections it was very much a depressed industry. Particularly in terms of returns to the fishermen there had not been very much improvement in the last 10 or 12 years.

To remedy that situation I urged upon the minister the need for an over-all program of fishery development for the Atlantic provinces. That program should embrace all phases of the industry in all provinces. It should co-ordinate all the different agencies connected with the fisheries in all the provinces and it should be flexible enough to make provision for individual differences in the industry as between one province and another.

The second course of action which I urged upon the minister at that time was to set up a fact finding body to get the necessary information upon which such a program of development could be based. That fact finding body could first of all, I think, investigate the clash of interests within the industry itself, that is, as between one phase of the industry and another, or between different phases of the industry in different provinces.

There is no doubt that a clash of interests does exist, and ways and means must be found to avoid future differences and reconcile existing ones. The second category of facts which I think should be investigated is the individual problems connected with the industry which are peculiar to certain provinces. My colleague, the hon. member for

Supply-Fisheries

Bonavista-Twillingate, referred to one of them this morning in connection with the light salted fish industry, which we share with the people of Gaspe but which perhaps does not obtain in the other Atlantic provinces.

In connection with the salt fish industry there is the problem of culling. Some years ago government officials attached to the department were qualified to cull fish. That particular practice was not too satisfactory in many cases and after a while the department abandoned this idea of having official cullers. But there is still a need for something to be done along this line and I think the particular problems which arise in connection with the culling of fish and the standardizing of culls is one that should be investigated in all provinces.

In connection with the inshore fishery we have a very particular problem in Newfoundland which I think is not shared by any other province. Any program for development of the fisheries in Newfoundland must certainly make provision to do something about it. The problem to which I refer is the distribution of our population along a large coast line and broken down into a large number of small settlements.

A few days ago we passed a bill in this house to rehabilitate rural communities. At that time I asked the Minister of Agriculture whether there was any way in which the principles involved in that legislation could be used in connection with the rehabilitation of fishing communities. I am not going to repeat the minister's reply; it can be found at the bottom of page 5593 of Hansard; but the minister did indicate in his answer that this question was being given some consideration.

I hope the Minister of Fisheries will get together with his colleague the Minister of Agriculture and work out some arrangement whereby this principle of rural rehabilitation can be applied to the fishing communities in my province. Our own provincial government has for several years grappled with this problem. They have had a program of concentration of population whereby a number of settlements have been denuded and the inhabitants have been induced to move their houses and belongings to larger settlements.

However, it has been found from experience that this sort of program is far beyond the financial resources of our provincial government; yet it is an essential part of any program of fisheries development in Newfoundland and it is something that must be done. I believe the legislation which we passed in this house for the rehabilitation or rural communities can be very well applied

Supply-Fisheries

to remedy this situation and I do hope the minister will give every possible consideration to this suggestion. 1 hope that action will be taken before too long to have this principle incorporated as part of an established program, a special program, if you like, for fisheries development in the Atlantic provinces.

In connection with the inshore fishery in my province there is another problem on which I think facts should be gathered. The other day the Minister of Transport announced in the house a program of assistance in the building of fishing vessels. That assistance was applicable only to boats over 45 feet in length. In many of our communities, particularly in the inshore fishery where the boats do not have to go more than 12 or 15 miles from land, or at the most 20 miles from land, you do not require a boat 45 feet in length. If we are to prosecute this fishery so that our production costs are kept as low as possible, we must apply that principle to every item. If a 35 foot boat will do the same job as a 45 foot boat, then the assistance given to people who want to use a 35 foot boat should be the same as that extended to those who wish to buy a 45 foot boat. I would point out that there are many harbours in my constituency where fishermen cannot conveniently use 45 foot boats because there is not room to moor enough of them. On the other hand, 35 foot boats can be accommodated. Again, a larger boat means heavier gear and heavier equipment all around with a corresponding increase in cost. If we are going to operate our fishery at minimum cost we must pay attention to items such as this.

Our experience in the province has already shown that an expensive boat does not always benefit the fisherman. Both federal and provincial governments have done a great deal to assist fishermen to get larger and larger boats, but what has happened is this: in order to obtain the kind of boat which will meet the conditions under which assistance is granted, fishermen must incur a debt running between $30,000 and $40,000, sometimes even more. It is true the owner has a first class boat, but it will not be large enough to go 200 miles offshore and fish on the Grand Banks, while it will very often be larger than is necessary to go 20 or 30 miles offshore. Insurance on the larger boats is very costly and so are running expenses. It is true the fishermen earn more money in some cases but the extra earnings are used to pay off the debt. By the time the debt is paid off, boat and engine are worn out and the fishermen are back where they started without having received any personal benefit to show for their effort.

It is my belief that the maximum cost of a boat for the inshore fishery should not be more than $10,000. That should include everything and it should be shared between two persons. We have to think in terms of minimum cost of production. I would ask the minister to get together with his colleague the Minister of Transport and devise some way of making this assistance available with respect to fishing vessels down to 35 feet, in length and possibly smaller.

One other matter which I should like to see investigated concerns the prices received by fishermen. For some reason or another our Newfoundland fishermen do not seem to be able to get the same prices for their fish as are paid to those who fish off the mainland. I can understand some of the reasons why this should be so. It is true that the mainland fishermen can sell a large proportion of their fish fresh and unfrozen. They have the advantage of transportation facilities and this enables them to avoid having to store the fish in expensive warehouses. But I am not satisfied that this is the full explanation.

There are practices-I do not have firsthand information about them; I am going by what I am told-which should definitely be investigated. I have here a letter from one of my constituents. I do not propose to read it, but I should like to draw attention to what the writer says. He and his friends were trapping codfish last summer in a trap -this, by the way, is the most economic way of catching inshore fish. He took the fish to the plant, and the plant would only pay two cents a pound for them. Other inshore fishermen catching the same quality of fish in much the same depth of water by hook and line were getting half a cent a pound more at the same plant. Once taken by the plant, all these fish were mixed together and processed, emerging as the same product. No difference was made between the fish which had been trapped and those which had been caught by hook and line. The people who had been catching fish in the traps complained to the plant management about the discrepancy in the prices paid.

What happened? Instead of the trap fishermen getting 2-J cents a pound, the price to the hook and line fishermen was cut down by half a cent. There is something wrong when things of this kind can happen and I should like to see some competent body look into the matter and decide what can be done about it.

I am told there are occasions when a plant operator uses what is called the weigh back method. A dragger may go out and fish for four or five days on the Grand Banks and come in with a load of fish. The fisherman

does not know how much he is going to be paid until the catch has been discharged on the plant wharf. Then the weigh back method goes into effect and the plant operator reserves the right to discard any fish he does not want. Of course, any fishermen on these draggers get paid only for the fish which the plant will take for processing. The discarded fish go to the meal plant, and we must assume that the operator gets something for them. But the fisherman gets nothing for these discarded fish although he may have spent a day catching them. In addition, he and the crew are charged with the expenses of unloading these extra fish, so the return he gets from the plant is further lessened on that ground. I am told these practices are prevalent in parts of my riding and I think some fact finding body should look into the matter to see that our fishermen get a square deal. I say this because the fishermen have no means of looking after themselves. If there is only one fish plant in the place or if they are employed on draggers owned by the plants they have to sell the fish to those plants or else throw it overboard. I think it is our job here to protect the interests of those who sent us to parliament and, as I say, I think the government should set up a fact finding body to collect all information relating not only to this but to other problems in connection with the fishing industry in my province so that we can work out an integrated policy for the industry in the Atlantic provinces as a whole.

Perhaps the minister will contend that we are doing just that at the present time, and in theory he may well be right. However, the result is that we end up by treating each industry in each province as a separate industry. I do not feel we will put the fishing industry of the Atlantic provinces on a sound economic basis until we look at the industry as a whole, working out a plan of development for the whole industry which, at the same time, will be flexible enough to take care of the individual problems peculiar to an individual province.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
LIB

Charles Ronald McKay Granger

Liberal

Mr. Granger:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to take one or two minutes at this time to mention several items which I omitted when I spoke earlier during this debate.

I should like to call the minister's attention to the desirability of looking into the possibility of developing an inland fishery in Labrador for the Labrador Indians. As the minister is doubtless aware, there exist in Labrador a number of Indians, particularly in the Northwest river area and in the area of Davis inlet. I suggest it is desirable to find for these citizens fields of employment, other than hunting. A suggestion has been

Supply-Fisheries

made that the lakes in the area could provide an inland fishery, in which the Indians could engage. Similarly, in the northern Labrador area, there exists a sea trout industry which could possibly be developed to provide increased income for the Eskimos on the coastline.

I should also like to refer to the development of a suitable type of house at a cost within reach of the fishermen. I refer of course to the desirability of embarking upon a program to create fishing communities along the coast of Labrador, and I ask the minister to give this suggestion sympathetic consideration.

Labrador requires to be exploited, in the best sense of that word, and requires a great deal of development. The waters of Labrador, lucrative as they are to many fishermen, must also become lucrative sources of employment for the people who live in Labrador on a year round basis. It is in connection with those individuals that I ask the minister to consider the possibility of embarking upon a program of developing a type of house suitable to that area at a cost sufficiently low to enable those residents to purchase them.

A further matter which has already been mentioned has reference to the desirability of increasing patrol fleets with the use of aircraft in order to retain those waters for the use of Canadian fishermen.

I should also like to support the remarks of the hon. member for Burin-Burgeo regarding the desirability of providing assistance to fishermen on the same basis as is contemplated with respect to farmers. This parliament has approved the provision of assistance to certain agricultural areas of this country and I am sure the minister will agree that one producer in Canada should be entitled to the same assistance that is given any other producer in Canada. I cannot believe that hon. members would in any way wish to see one set of standards for fishermen and another set for farmers.

The hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate referred to one other subject which I believe is deserving of the earnest consideration of all hon. members of this committee. I refer of course to our trade with the West Indies. That trade is based on the supply of fish and has been in existence for many years. It is important today in the light of present circumstances.

The whole issue involved in this trade with the West Indies is more than one of the export of fish, but one involving a question as to whether we are our brothers' keepers. In the light of present day events in relation to the world we are living in today, hemispheric solidarity is more important than ever.

Supply-Fisheries

As a matter of fact, a time may arrive very soon when such solidarity is of critical importance. I should like to ask the minister to bear in mind the importance of developing, extending and expanding this ancient trade, with a view of drawing these areas, which are of such mutual assistance one to the other, and whose friendship is as desirable as their business is desirable, closer together.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
PC

James Aloysius McGrath

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McGrath:

Mr. Chairman, would the hon. member permit a question?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
LIB
PC

James Aloysius McGrath

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McGrath:

Surely the hon. member realizes that the responsibility for trade and for the marketing of our fishery products is within the jurisdiction of the Minister of Trade and Commerce, since it was taken from the jurisdiction of the Minister of Fisheries by the previous administration?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
LIB

Charles Ronald McKay Granger

Liberal

Mr. Granger:

Mr. Chairman, I am well aware that trade, as such, is the business of the Department of Trade and Commerce. However, I am equally aware that the business of selling fish is at least part of the business of the Department of Fisheries.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
LIB

Hédard-J. Robichaud

Liberal

Mr. Robichaud:

Mr. Chairman, before the minister comments in regard to remarks which have been made today, I should like to be permitted to ask him to make a report regarding the losses suffered by fishermen in the provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island resulting from ice conditions which existed during the month of May. I have reference to the loss of fishing gear, and the loss as a result of reduction in catches, which has been suffered.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
PC

John Angus MacLean (Minister of Fisheries)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacLean (Queens):

Mr. Chairman, I should like at this time to express my appreciation to all hon. members who have taken part in the debate on the first item in my estimates because much of what has been said will certainly be of help to my department in assessing the weaknesses and strength of the program which it has tried to carry out continuously in the interest of the fishing industry of this country.

A great deal has been said, and I should like to comment in a brief manner in respect of some of the questions which have been raised. I hope hon. members will realize that this debate has continued for quite some time, over a period of three different days, so that my observations and comments therefore will perhaps not be complete, nor cover every matter entirely. However, should I fail to comment in respect of a problem raised by any hon. member, that does not mean that problem is being ignored. Hansard has been and will be very

carefully perused so that all the questions raised by hon. members will be dealt with where action is required.

I intend to try to comment seriatim on the questions raised by the various members. On the opening day of these estimates the hon. member for Gloucester was the first speaker. He was concerned with the relative position of the Canadian fishing industry with the fisheries of the world. This is something of major and fundamental concern, of course, to the industry in Canada and to the department. But I should like to point out that most of the fish produced in the world is produced by nations for their own use and in most instances to fill a desperate need on their part for the supplementing of their national diet, which fish provides. On the other hand, Canada-and there are very few countries in this position; Iceland and Norway are probably examples-exports about two thirds of its production. When we have to compete in world markets to maintain our production this creates additional difficulties.

The hon. member for Gloucester also referred to the necessity of increasing the subsidy on wooden vessels from the figure of $165 a ton. This is a case of serendipity, because at the very time he was speaking the decision had already been made to increase the amount up to a maximum of $250 a ton and, as is well known, the announcement was made in the house by the Minister of Transport a short time afterwards.

The same hon. member asked for figures as to losses of lobster fishermen in various areas of the maritimes owing to ice conditions. The latest information I have is that in northeastern New Brunswick 27,150 traps were set and 3,300 were reported lost, or about one ninth. Certain areas from Escuminac to Baie Ste. Anne were very heavily hit and acknowledged that 3,000 of the 3,300 traps were lost. I think he also inquired about the Magdalen islands. At the time of this report some 115,000 traps had been set, and losses appeared to be very heavy. About 30 fishermen in this area had insured a total of 9,000 traps.

On the Gaspe coast some 3,600 traps had been set and losses were also quite high. I think I should also mention district 5 because hon. members from Halifax and other members in that general area of district 5 have been concerned about the losses to fishermen there. About 64,000 traps were set and of this number about 12,000 have been reported as lost. The most heavily hit areas were Jeddore, Jeddore harbour and Ecum Secum. The situation varies from place to place; it is very spotty. In some places no losses may have occurred, and at another place very close by a fisherman may have suffered very heavy

losses. At the moment I do not have figures on the lobster catch for the various areas but this is being watched very carefully by the department with a view to nothing as accurately as possible what the situation is.

The hon. member for Skeena raised the question of the Soviet union fishing fleet in the Bering sea. The situation is being kept under close review in the event that it may be appropriate to discuss these problems with the government of that country.

In the case of red China, there has been no indication that a fishing fleet has been developed, or is being developed, for operation in the north Pacific ocean. The hon. member also raised the question of reef nets used in Juan de Fuca straits by native Indians. The views expressed by the hon. member have been noted and the matter will be taken up again by the Pacific salmon fisheries commission which is responsible for conservation matters in this area and also with the appropriate United States fisheries authorities.

The question of Indians fishing for salmon for food purposes for their own consumption, and the situation described by the hon. member about pink salmon in the Queen Charlotte islands, will be investigated. It is well known, of course, that free permits are issued to native Indians to take salmon for their own use as food. At the same time, certain basic conservation requirements must be followed.

The hon. member also asked what was the situation with regard to the Sinclair report. As I said on a previous occasion, we have written to the various segments of the fishing industry on the west coast asking for their views in writing by the end of May, if possible, on the matters covered by the Sinclair report and only a few of those have come in as yet.

I covered the matter of artificial spawning grounds, which was raised by the hon. member for Skeena, in my opening remarks. I think most of the information he had in mind will be found there. He also inquired about the use of aureomycin in the preservation of fish. The use of aureomycin was developed in the technical station of the fisheries research board of Vancouver. It is being used quite extensively on the Pacific coast by the Pacific coast fishing industry as a very useful preservative; also to a more limited extent on the Atlantic coast. With the use of the proper quantities there are no harmful effects when the fish are consumed because the antibiotic is boiled off during the cooking process.

The question of more general use of herring for human consumption is being worked on and was discussed on an international

Supply-Fisheries

basis at a meeting in Rome last April, and also as a means of making a more general use of this great resource of the sea for direct human consumption.

The hon. member for Comox-Alberni also raised some questions regarding an appraisal of the Campbell river area salmon stocks and suggested an examination of the possibility of artificial spawning grounds being constructed in that area.

The hon. member for Grand Falls-White Bay-Labrador spoke of a scheme for small loans to fishermen. In most areas, this matter is being taken care of adequately by the various provincial fishermen's loan boards. In addition, of course, loans are available to fishermen, administered by the Department of Finance. There are the chartered banks and the fishermen's credit unions, which are also sources of credit.

I have noted the observations that were made with regard to assistance in the cost of construction of wooden boats under 45 feet in length. This matter will be reviewed, but I would point out that the construction of fishing vessels of this type is undertaken in co-operation with the provinces and the advice of the provinces will have to be considered in relation to the type of boat that should be covered. Of course, there are the obvious matters which must be taken into consideration from the point of view of the federal government.

The question of community stages was raised by a number of hon. members from Newfoundland. I want to say that I appreciate the kind words they have uttered about this program. One hon. member said he was sorry to hear me state that the program was about completed. I was referring, at that time, to the first 20 stages only. We hope to continue with other stages from time to time in co-operation with the provincial government of Newfoundland, so that this need can be met as time goes by.

The bait supply this year is adequate so far as the bait itself is concerned. There is, however, the continuing problem of satisfying the very wide demand for the bait holding units we brought into use. There is provision in these estimates for eight more of these units at a cost of $69,000, or thereabouts. I want to say that this program will be pursued as actively as possible.

The question of the production of light salted fish as opposed to heavy salted fish was raised by various members with various views on the matter. I want to say that the department has succeeded in developing a method whereby heavy salted fish can be desalted and then artificially dried to produce an excellent light salted product to meet the needs of the market in Europe. As the member for

Supply-Fisheries

Bonavista-Twillingate is aware, I believe, the question is only one of price, relative market prices.

The hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg posed some interesting questions with regard to the oyster industry. The department is proceeding as rapidly as possible much along the lines suggested by him. In so far as clams are concerned, these, too, are receiving attention and the views of the hon. member will be given consideration. He also expressed concern about the protection of the Atlantic salmon. This is a problem which is very acute. As hon. members know the habitat of the Atlantic salmon has been decreasing in area since very early times. This is obviously because of the impact of civilization itself, especially industrialization, and the detrimental eifect on the environment in which the Atlantic salmon, and all other types of fish, live. Changes take place which may not be obvious to human beings, but are very critical so far as salmon are concerned. For example, there may be variations in the runoff, variations in water temperature, changes in the consistency of spawning beds as a result of siltation, as well as more obvious things like obstructions caused either artificially or naturally and the contamination of streams by such things as sewage, pulpwood logs and that sort of thing.

Several hon. members, including the member for Skeena, raised the question of the damage done to the salmon on the west coast by spraying. This problem is extremely difficult because hon. members will realize, I think, that if the forests are destroyed the habitat of the salmon will be destroyed as well. Nevertheless, we are able to report that the damage done to the salmon directly by d.d.t. spraying of the forests has been considerably reduced by using diluted sprays which remain effective for the purpose for which they are used, the destruction of the spruce budworm and other insects, without doing much direct damage to the salmon themselves.

In this connection there was some interesting press comment on this matter last winter when it was announced that half strength d.d.t., compared with that which had been used previously, had now proven successful and would not do so much damage to the salmon. The announcement produced a headline in the Saint John Telegraph-Journal for January 6 to the effect that we had succeeded in eliminating morality amongst the salmon. Far be it from me to eliminate morality amongst the salmon, if it is meant by that that we want to reduce in any way their capability of reproducing.

I am happy to say that we have made progress, especially on the west coast, in designing and developing artificial spawning beds. The results look very good at the present time. It will take a period of time to prove their usefulness, but the results so far have been nothing short of spectacular. I am hopeful that this development will go a long way toward compensating for the loss of natural production of salmon to which the hon. member for Skeena referred just a little while ago. He also mentioned the Russians fishing for salmon. We have no information that would indicate that the Russians are fishing for salmon in the northeast Pacific area. They do catch large numbers of salmon, of course, but in their own waters, of stocks that originate in Asia. I might say that the Russians, of course, are actively fishing for groundfish in the Bering sea area. We have been able to find no indication that the Japanese are catching any salmon of British Columbia or Canadian origin. Therefore, as far as Canadian salmon are concerned, there is no indication that they go beyond the line of demarcation agreed upon, which is 175 degrees west longitude. I am speaking from memory but I think that is correct.

The question of the resolutions passed by the united fishermen and allied workers union has been noted. I might say that this whole question is under very careful study. The resolution read by the hon. member would indicate that, if the policy they suggest were brought into effect, legislation would be required. This is not the case. The changes they recommend could be introduced, from a legal point of view, by regulation under the Fisheries Act as it now stands.

The hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg also raised the question of construction standards for subsidized fishing vessels. This matter of improving the standards of this type of vessel so that they will have a safer vessel for fishermen to operate in is something that we are working on at the present time in co-operation with the maritime commission.

The hon. member for Vancouver East took the view that a great deal more assistance was given to the Atlantic fisheries than was given to the Pacific fisheries. I do not think that this view can be well substantiated because a great deal of assistance is given to the fisheries on both coasts. The problems are entirely different on both coasts. On the west coast the primary problem is one of keeping up the supply of the resource. In most types of fish on the east coast this problem is not so acute, especially with regard to cod and groundfish, although there is a problem.

I agree that there is a problem with regard to stocks there but it is not so acute as is the problem of the stock of salmon on the west coast. The problems on the east coast tend to be more economic ones in the sense of trying to have a reasonable return to the fishermen engaged in the industry whereas on the west coast-I am speaking now very generally and there are all sorts of exceptions to what I say-the problem fundamentally is one of keeping the resource at a level which will provide sufficient fish for those engaged in the industry.

The hon. member for Vancouver East was concerned about the British Columbia herring fishery. I am happy to report that the fish meal situation, as far as markets are concerned, has strengthened considerably and has brightened to a decided extent. As I have already mentioned, an international meeting was held in Rome under the auspices of FAO to consider this matter. I think that meeting had beneficial effects almost right away. Every attempt is being made to improve and develop new herring products for human consumption and continuing efforts are being made to seek new market outlets.

With regard to the problem of more humane methods of killing whales and seals about which the hon. member for Vancouver East was concerned I might say this. It is not correct to make the flat statement that the use of electrical harpoons at the present stage of development would be more humane in whaling than is the use of the explosive harpoon. As a matter of fact, a great deal of work is being done on the use of the electrical harpoon by the electrical companies and by the industry but as yet it is doubtful that they would be any more humane than are the harpoons now in use.

With regard to Atlantic seals may I say that my department has already taken the initiative in this matter. Along with other countries we are keeping informed on technological advances with a view to introducing them to the sealing industry if they are practical and effective. On the conservation side, we have taken the initiative in bringing this question before the international commission for the north Atlantic fisheries which is meeting in Washington next week. I might say in passing that I believe it was the hon. member for Grand Falls-White Bay-Labrador, although I might be mistaken about that matter-in any event it was one of the Newfoundland members-who went on the assumption that the U.S.S.R. which is one of the countries interested in the Atlantic seals is not a member of ICNAF. May I say that they have joined. They are now a member as they have been for about two years. Denmark,

Supply-Fisheries

France, Norway and Canada all agreed on a closing date for the sealing this year. There is therefore some progress to report in this connection.

The hon. member for St. John's East also raised the question of community stages. I have dealt with that matter to some degree already. The marketing of salt fish, a matter which he also raised, is one which is of direct concern to the Department of Trade and Commerce. However, my department is concerned also in certain phases of marketing such as helping the industry to develop more acceptable types of fish and of containers so that salt fish, especially, will have a growing appeal for a widening market.

Several hon. members, including the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate, the hon. member for St. John's East and the hon. member for Trinity-Conception spoke of the neeed for and the problem of markets for salt cod. In this connection I should like to say that production of salted cod in 1960 in Newfoundland, at about 70.6 million pounds, dry basis, was 5 per cent above that in 1959, but was approximately average production for recent years. There were no stock holdings of 1959 fish at the beginning of the marketing year, last July 1. Despite the good catch, prices to fishermen from processors, were 15 per cent to 20 per cent above 1959 levels. Strong buying by processors and exporters was presumably based mainly on the short European catches in 1959.

Fishermen's income from cod fishing were at a post-union record of $1.1 million above 1959. In marketing the 1960 production Canadian exporters had been faced with greater competition from increased European production, together with a major reduction in exports to Cuba particularly since January of this year.

Stocks at the end of April were approximately 10 million pounds above the same date a year ago, but early in May substantial shipments of salt fish went to Portugal. However, this is a matter which is under very close and active scrutiny by the department with a view to finding some means of alleviating it if this proves, in the end, necessary.

Several hon. members raised the question of the use of the Valleyfield fish processing experimental plant. A good deal of progress has been made at Valleyfield in respect of salt cod. Projects include various drying methods, brining methods, a process for the production of light salted fish by the desalting of heavy salted fish and, most important, the development of new products and improved packaging.

In order to meet present day consumer demands a salt fish block has been developed.

Supply-Fisheries

This block is made basically from fillets of cod and thus is boneless and skinless. Substantial samples were sent in 1960 to outlets in Canada, the United States, Italy and all other potential markets. The reception was so good that there is an excellent possibility of this product being produced commercially this year.

The method of producing these fillet blocks and other new processing methods and techniques will be demonstrated at several courses for salt fish plant foremen and operators this summer at Valleyfield.

I may say that we are also most anxious to receive from the salt fish industry their suggestions and reviews of technological problems so that we can do our best to meet these problems and test the suggestions for their practicability.

I may say that as far as prospects for this year are concerned, due to the rather optimistic outlook as far as the fresh and frozen fish market is concerned these are brighter. With respect to freezing operations the department has been advised that several plants on the northeast coast of Newfoundland which were not expected to operate in 1961 will be put into operation in response to the much improved market outlook. This will relieve to some extent the pressure on the salt fish market. But it is only one factor and will only aPPiy, of course, in some areas.

The hon. member for Bonavista-Twillin-gate also pointed out that we were dependent entirely, I believe he said, on the United States market for the export of fresh and frozen fish. I believe that is no longer entirely the case, since exports are now going to the United Kingdom market. This is an encouraging development.

I may say too that in certain cases the provisions of the agricultural rehabilitation and development act will have application to large numbers of people who are engaged in the fishing industry, at least partially. In cases where it does not apply, very careful study will be made of the situation so that proper compensation can be made in a way which we hope will be practical, along the lines suggested by the hon. member for Bona-vista-Twillingate.

The hon. member for Charlotte and various other hon. members raised the question of the application of unemployment insurance to fishermen. The hon. member for Bona-vista-Twillingate, it would seem more in sorrow than in anger, regretted a quotation that he was forced to read from a speech which I had made in Toronto about fishermen fishing for stamps rather than for fish.

What I said was that we wanted to remove any incentive which might lead fishermen to fish for stamps rather than for fish. I did not mean to suggest that any fishermen had yielded to this temptation, as yet at any rate.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

That is very diplomatic.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink
PC

John Angus MacLean (Minister of Fisheries)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacLean (Queens):

The hon. member for Charlotte also gave an interesting review of the fishing industry in his riding, which is a very important and, generally speaking, prosperous one. But there is still much that can be done to develop the industry in all parts of the country, provided the development will result in activities that are economically sound.

The hon. member for Grey North raised the very important question of the great lakes fishery. Mr. Chairman, I should like to say something about the progress which is being made in the lamprey control program of the great lakes, but I will not make an extended statement at this time.

I think hon. members of the committee are aware that scientists have succeeded in producing a lampricide, a specific poison which will poison lamprey without affecting other forms of life. In 1959-60 more concentration was applied to the use of lampricides while still maintaining the barriers in lake Superior that were formerly used to prevent the migration of lamprey up the streams to spawn.

Finally in 1960-61 all streams tributary to lake Superior known to have lamprey populations had been treated. In addition, seven streams in lake Michigan and six in Georgian bay had been covered. In every case it is estimated that a kill of over 99 per cent of the lamprey population was obtained. As a result a reduction should be seen in 1961 from the operations of 1959, but the final demonstration will only show clearly in the spring of 1962.

It is thus crucial in demonstrating success or failure to maintain the barriers in lake Superior for checking through 1961-62. In the meantime the chemical program will be further expanded in lake Huron, Georgian bay and lake Michigan.

Concurrent with these lampricide experiments the commission has been considering and taking action on the rehabilitation of the trout population. This of course involves obtaining the co-operation of the various states and the province of Ontario since these organizations are responsible for such work. This co-operation has been gladly given, with the result that broad stocks have been substantially increased and the actual stocking was raised to over one million yearlings in 1960, with every indication of increase in

the future. Close assessment of the results of this experiment is being carried out.

In brief, the lampricide program in the great lakes appears to be promising but it is too early yet to make definite forecasts as to how successful it is actually proving. There still remains the problem of the rehabilitation of those types of fish which will produce the highest income to the fishermen of the great lakes and thus add the greater strength to the industry.

I think that is all I wish to say at the present time, but if any questions arise as we go through the various items I shall do my best to answer them.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES
Permalink

June 3, 1961