April 8, 1957 (22nd Parliament, 5th Session)


George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

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

North Pacific Fur Seals again will come along and attack another salmon. He has estimated that there will be as much as 15 pounds of fish destroyed a day by an adult seal. I do not suggest that the seals are feeding on salmon the whole year around. Half the time they are in northern waters where we know they eat other types of fish. But during certain months of the year the experience of certain practical men indicate chat there is considerable destruction of salmon by the seals.
I therefore advanced the suggestion on Saturday that the money which was received as a result of our share of the pelts of these fur seals which during certain periods of the year have been living on our salmon should be devoted to the further encouragement of the fishery on the Pacific coast. On Saturday -and unfortunately the minister was not able to be present-I cited as a somewhat similar circumstance the Halifax commission of 1877 when, in compensation for certain privileges granted to United States fishermen, certain moneys were set aside and the interest thereon was applied, in addition to any grants made by the government, for the benefit of the Atlantic fishermen. It seemed to me that similar conditions exist on the Pacific coast and that here was an opportunity where the minister might very well say that instead of these funds going into the consolidated revenue funds they might be used for the further development of our fisheries. I am quite certain that the minister himself will be the first to admit that there is a tremendous amount of investigation and research work necessary on the Pacific coast. It must be hard for him to find sufficient funds with which to carry out all the work required.

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