I regret very much indeed the policy adopted by the Minister of
Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Prefontaine) concerning the salmon fishery in British Columbia. With all due deference to him and his predecessors, my opinion is-and it is backed by statistics and the results of scientific research-that the catching of salmon in trap-nets is utterly indefensible. I am sure that the minister has not in his department any evidence that would reasonably justify the course which he is adopting in this instance. The commissioner of fisheries, in roy opinion, is responsible for this grave step on the part of the government. I do not wish to shift the responsibility from the shoulders of the minister, but I know that the practical working out of these matters in the department hinges very largely on the advice of the commissioner of fisheries. Now. the commissioner, in my opinion, knows practically nothing about the requirements of the fisheries in British Columbia. That he knows very little is evidenced by his reports and his advice as to the habits of the salmon in British Columbia. He knows very little indeed,-taking the same means of arriving at a conclusion as to what he does know-he knows very little indeed as to the views of the fishermen as a whole in the province of British Columbia with respect to this important industry. The Minister of Marine and Fisheries, who has never been in British Columbia in his capacity as a minister, has stated that the majority of the people in British Columbia engaged in the fishing industry are in favour of this method of fishing. That is not the fact. The minister has evidently been so advised by the commissioner who has on several occasions gone to the province, and, in my opinion has bungled the thing in every instance, advising the minister wrongly, and, in consequence of the advice of the commissioner of fisheries, and perhaps other officials, the government have taken-this erroneous step. So far as the fishermen in the province of British Columbia are concerned, I venture to say there is not a man of them who is not opposed to trap-net fishing. The people who want to install these traps and who have succeeded to a limited extent in getting them installed, are 1he capitalists in Montreal and Toronto. Mr. Porteous of Montreal, Mr. Cronyn and Mr. Aemilius Irving of Toronto, who are controlling the British Columbia Packing Association, men who are engaged in salmon fishing in British Columbia, but who know nothing about it personally, except to the extent of making dividends and profits out of it, and exploiting this important industry to its ultimate ruin.
Topic: FISHERIES ACT-AMENDMENT.