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


James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)


Mr. Sinclair:

Mr. Chairman, the suggestion is a very interesting one but there are one or two points that do not bear similarity to the east coast situation which might be taken for granted at first glance. First of all, as far as the feeding habits of the fur seal are concerned, the fishermen on both sides of the north Pacific have always expressed concern about the amount of fish eaten by a herd of seals who number between 2 million and 3 million. In 1952 Canada, the United States and Japan joined in a scientific study and we killed 3,000 on their migration north, examined their stomachs and found that over 50 per cent of them had no fish in their stomachs and less than 3 per cent had any trace of salmon. The principal food in their stomachs was squid which of course are not used commercially in Canada though they are used in Japan, species which we do not use; lance fish which we do not use; some smelts and some herring, or in other words, smaller schooling fish. But right in this protocol there is a provision for a six-year study and on page 14 there is given the number of seals which can be killed at sea each year to ascertain definitely the damage done to commercial fisheries by the seal herd.
The second point is about the use of proceeds and the suggestion that the proceeds should be divided amongst the west coast fishermen in the same way as the interest on this $5J million award on the east coast is divided annually among the east coast fishermen. There is a very great difference. That $5J million was an award to Canada because of privileges given to the United States which affected the position of the east coast fishermen. Hence they receive the $160,000 interest divided amongst them each year and the bounty amounts to between $5 and $10 a fisherman. On the west coast the situation is very different because the sealers themselves ruined their industry. There were only two sealers operating out of Victoria the year before this treaty came into effect. The other sealers had killed so ruthlessly on the high seas that sealing was no longer economic. These two small sealers who were still in operation were awarded $60,000 in compensation for the fact that this new law removed them from sealing.
So far as money is concerned, I have said it before in this house and I say it again that in the five years I have been Minister of Fisheries I have never been refused money by the government for any fisheries project. It is not a lack of money, it is a lack of trained scientists which is our problem. We have tried to encourage them in the last two or three

years by offering $25,000 a year in graduate scholarships to students of biology and zoology who would go on and study fisheries science. We have allocated at least $50,000 a year in projects to universities for these students to work on in the hope of increasing the number of scientists available for this work.
At present the money goes in to the receiver general, and it is from this fund we are receiving our money for fisheries research. If you examine the estimates each year you will find that there are funds that have lapsed for fisheries research projects, and that is entirely the result of being unable to get trained scientific personnel to do that type of work. We are anxious to employ as many as we can. We have vacancies on our staff right now for trained scientists. It has never been a lack of money but rather lack of personnel which has held up the works.
While I am on that subject, I should like to refer to a statement in the Thompson string of newspapers made by Patrick Nichol, in which he pays glowing tribute to the hon. member for Lambton West for obtaining money from the treasury board for fisheries when I could not. This statement is a sheer fabrication. If you look at the estimates of the Department of Fisheries you will find that each year we have had more money than we have needed for our lamprey program because there has been a lapsing of money in this department of my estimates. Last year I explained to the hon. gentleman that our only shortage was a shortage of scientists and we were doing our best to correct that.

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