Mr. F. B. WADE.
Mr. Speaker, I think the discussion which has taken place to-day
must be productive of great good, because there seems to be but one opinion on both sides of the House, and that is that everything possible should be done for the benefit of this great industry- The fishing industry of the Dominion of Canada is worth about 823,000,000 annually. The fishing industry of the province of Nova Scotia is worth some $8,000,000 annually, and an industry of those proportions in a province of the size of Nova Scotia is one of very great importance indeed. I am sure that we are all anxious that it shall be fostered in every conceivable way, and I am glad to say that in all the communications I have had with the present Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. PrSfontaine) and his officials, they have always manifested the greatest interest in this industry and the desire and determination to do all they can to benefit it. In regard to the fishing industry as a whole, one of the great questions in connection with it is the transportation question. There is no doubt about that. If you have fish ir the maritime provinces and you have consumers in Ontario, you must have means of transportation in order to get the fish from one place to the other. Unfortunately in Nova Scotia large sections of the fishing country have been deprived of transportation facilities, particularly from Halifax to Barrington and Yarmouth, and from Halifax east to the Strait of Canso. But it will only be a short time until we have a railway in operation along the southwest coast of Nova Scotia, and I trust that in the near future we will have a railway to the east from Halifax to the Strait of Canso. Then, with refrigerator cars, it will be possible to send large quantities of fresh fish to the markets of the west.
In regard to the methods that are being pursued at the present time, although the methods have been improved very considerably, I think it will be necessary in the near future for the fishermen of the maritime provinces to make very radical changes in the methods they have been pursuing because of the change in the market. They have to turn to the home markets more than in the past, because the West India markets, for reasons which I need not now stop to mention, are being lessened. 1 Already this work has been begun, and firms are being established to prepare fish in the most attractive forms, and they are shipping as far west as Winnipeg and Regina. I agree that while the fisheries in Nova Scotia are worth $8,000,000 annually there is no reason why, with certain improvements, these fisheries could not be made to be worth at least $15,000,000 per annum in a very short time. That is a very great consideration. To illustrate that, I may say I know of a locality in my own county which is bordering on the Bay of Fundy. A few years ago I suppose the whole output from this one settlement was not more than- $500 or $000 a year. But a pier has been erected at this place, which enables the fishermen to carry 2231
on their industry during the winter, which is the time for the haddock fishery, and as a result the output from that place is something like $20,000 a year.
The government is every year providing facilities to enable the fishermen to more profitably prosecute their calling. The result in the place I have mentioned is that we have received back in return more than $20,000 per year, and wherever that can be done the industry will be stimulated. I am glad that parliament is so alive to the great disadvantages our fishermen are labouring under because of the presence of these dog-fish. For some two or three years I have had my attention called to this matter very closely ; I have had communications with fishermen and with fish dealers, and with the Minister of Marine and Fisheries and the officers of his department. Everybody recognizes the evil, but the great question has been how it can be remedied. The government has been ready to do everything it can do, but the question remains what shall be done ? There has been a difference of opinion, and that is natural because people cannot very well decide how it is possible to provide a remedy. Many intelligent people tell me it is idle to think of exterminating the dog-fish ; others think they can be exterminated. There is a great deal of capital invested in the shore fisheries and a great many men are dependent on these fisheries for their livelihood. During the season this dog-fish scourge is on, these men are absolutely unable to earn a dollar. They go out in their boats and attempt to fish, but the lines are seized by the dog-fish and cut and the hook carried away, so that it is impossible for the fishermen to pursue their calling. If some means were adopted by which the fishermen during this season could catch dog-fish and make a small wage, even if it were only a dollar a day, it would save them from actual want which often results now. I have had extensive correspondence about this matter with people who are in a position to know, and I think the consensus of opinion among the best informed people is, that the government should do something in the way of aiding the erection of reduction works in eeftain localities along the coast. It would not be necessary for these reduction works to be so very close together, because the fish could be gathered up and delivered to them. The reason I think it would be necessary for the government to assist in this enterprise, is because of the uncertainty of a continuance of this dog-fish evil. They have been here before and have suddenly disappeared and that may happen again at any time let us hope it will happen soon-but that uncertainty is sufficient to deter private capital from engaging in the establishment of reduction works. I therefore think that if the government would assist a private company in the erection of their plant,
requiring them in return to take all the 'dog-fish offered at a stipulated price, the most good could be accomplished. Then, whether the dog-fish were present or not, the fishermen would be enabled to earn a livelihood. I am satisfied that these reduction works could be made substantially self sustaining, but even suppose there was a considerable loss, the government is assisting other industries and it is but right that our great fishing industry should be assisted also. It is a matter for congratulation that there is on this question such a unanimity of opinion in this House ; and that we are all actuated by the one desire to support the Minister of Marine and Fisheries in an earnest endeavour to exterminate this plague and to give courage to our fishermen who'have been so tortured by it in the past.
Topic: SUPPLY-DOG-FISH PEST.
Subtopic: THE EATON ICE PROCESS.