June 19, 1952


Tariff item - British prefer- ential tariff Most- favoured- nation tariff Exempt from sales tax40 Salt for the use of the sea or gulf fisheries Free Free Yes440d Anchors for vessels Free Free Yes440e Wire rope for use exclusively for rigging of ships and vessels, under regulations prescribed by the minister Free Free Yes440f Iron or steel masts, or parts thereof; iron or steel angles, beams, knees, plates and sheets; cable chain; all the foregoing for ships and vessels, under regulations prescribed by the minister Free F ree Yes440k (1) Manufactures of iron, brass or other metal, of a class or kind not made in Canada, for use exclusively in the construction or equipment of ships or vessels, under regulations prescribed by the minister Free Free Yes440h Chronometers and compasses, and parts thereof, including cards therefor, of a class or kind not made in Canada, for ships or aircraft Free Free Yes440k (1) Engines and complete parts thereof, n.o.p., to be used exclusively in the propulsion of boats or in hoisting nets and lines used in such boats bona fide owned by individual fishermen for their own use in the fisheries, under such regulations as the minister may prescribe Free 121 P-C. Yes(2) Diesel engines and complete parts thereof, to be used exclusively in the propulsion of boats or in hoisting nets and lines used in such boats for use exclusively in bona fide commercial fishing operations, under such regulations as the minister may prescribe Free (Exception) F ree Yes IMr. Mayhew.I Supply-Fisheries


ARTICLES USED BY COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN WHICH ARE NOT DUTIABLE UNDER THE BRITISH PREFERENTIAL OR M.F.N. TARIFF AND WHICH ARE EXEMPT FROM SALES TAX-


Concluded Tariff item - British prefer- ential tariff Most- favoured- nation tariff Exempt from sales tax682 Fish hooks, for deep-sea or lake fishing, not smaller in size than number 2.0; fishing nets and nettings of all kinds; threads, twines, marlines, fishing lines, rope and cordage of cotton, hemp, manila or other vegetable fibre, not exceeding one and one-half inches in circumference, to be used for fishing purposes or for the construction or repair of fishing nets; the foregoing not to include such articles used for sportsmen's purposes, and to be subject to such regulations as the minister may prescribe F ree Free Yes682a Net floats of any material except wood, for use exclusively in commercial fishing Free Free Yes (1) Not including wire rope used in fishing gear, o.g. trawl warps. Memorandum Re: Representations of Fisheries Council of Canada Customs duties and sales tax Prior to the last budget the council made representations to the Department of Finance, which were supported by this department, that changes should be made in the customs and sales tax procedure with respect to the following items: Tariff item No. 401b-Wire rope and cable-dutiable at 15 per cent B.P. and 25 per cent M.F.N. Tariff item No. 440k-Gas engines-The rate allowed under this item is available only to bona fide fishermen, which does not include engines financed for fishermen or engines bought by companies. Tariff item No. 682(1)-Rope over 1J inches in circumference which is currently dutiable. In his second question he referred to the Babine slide. The Babine lake is the principal spawning area for the salmon that go up the Skeena river and from the Skeena river and the Babine river into Babine lake. Just close to the confluence of the Babine river and Skeena river there was early last spring a substantial slide blocking the river. This slide was some 200 miles or more away from the mouth of the Skeena river. There were no roads, and no means of getting in there. The first intimation we had that the salmon were not getting up the river was the fact that bruised and damaged fish were returning to salt water. This was immediately investigated, and the slide was discovered. There were some 70 odd miles of primary road to build before we could get any equipment into where the slide occurred, and the construction of this road was undertaken immediately. The road has been completed and it now extends within a few hundred yards of the slide itself. Engineers from our own department, as well as from the international Pacific salmon fisheries commission, have been in that area and examined the results of the slide, and in a few weeks they will be able to give a better idea of the work necessary to repair the damage. They are also preparing to lift the salmon from the river over the slide and allow them to go free to the spawning grounds in Babine lake. I am happy that this work is progressing satisfactorily, and a great deal of credit should go to the group of engineers and men who have been looking after this work in a very difficult area. It is hilly, with heavy bush and deep snow; but nevertheless the work did not stop during the winter and has continued up to the present time. The hon. member for Skeena also asked a question with respect to the conservation methods that we are adopting in regard to flatfish. Regulations are now being formulated to give the chief supervisor of fisheries power to close fishing in Skidegate inlet when such is deemed necessary for conservation, and particularly during spawning season. With regard to conservation of flatfish generally, the fisheries research board has been carrying on investigations for a number of years past and in its estimates this year there is an amount of $81,500 for continuance of the work. Then the hon. member referred to tuna in his fourth point. For two years we carried on the work of prospecting for tuna in an effort to find where the tuna were, the best method of catching them and what type of lure would be most suitable. This proved of very great benefit to the fishermen, but we



Supply-Fisheries now feel that it is not necessary to carry on that work because the fishermen themselves know the approximate time of the runs and the lure necessary to catch the fish. In addition to that, the fish and wildlife service of the United States have their boat there, and from them we get information. We in turn give this information by radio and any other means possible to our own fishermen. Since we are short of boats, we believe that what boats we have can be put to better uses in other places, and we think that for the present at least we should not continue this tuna patrol. I think I have dealt with all the remarks of the hon. member for Skeena. The hon. member for St. John's West thought I should have made a statement at the opening of the discussion on the estimates rather than wait to the end. From experience 1 believe that everyone can get more information, and certainly the department can, by reserving for private members as much of the time allocated for fisheries estimates as is possible. After all, the estimates for the department are brought before parliament, and I regard this as an opportunity for hon. members to ask questions, to criticize or to make complaints. I feel that in that way both the members and the department would be served best. However, I do think that at this time I should take a moment or two to say something about the general trend, particularly of prices and of the catch in Canada. So far as Newfoundland is concerned, they have no carry-over of salted fish from last year. The world supply of salted fish is, if anything, less than it was in former years. In addition to that, the price is holding pretty firm and we think it will continue to hold firm. However, no one can guarantee that it will. It will depend to some extent on the general food prices in Canada; if they remain firm or if they go down or up, they will be sure to influence somewhat the price paid for salted fish as well as for other fish. So far as filleting is concerned, there has been quite an expansion of the filleting industry in Newfoundland, and this helps to diversify the fishing industry of that province, I think to their advantage. I might say that the first year in which Canada exceeded the 100 million dollar mark in fish was in 1945. This last year the catch has gone slightly over 2 billion pounds. Of that amount Newfoundland caught last year some 621 million pounds. The second province in Canada in amount was British Columbia with some 600 million pounds. Newfoundland has added considerably to the status of Canada so far as the fishing industry is concerned. So far as general price in the maritimes is concerned, that is also holding up very well, as is the price for the inland fisheries. In British Columbia there is a slightly different situation. Last year was among the all-time highs, with a pack of slightly over 2 million cases of canned salmon. That, with the temporary suspension of sales to Europe, means there is a carry-over. But a carry-over is not unusual in the salmon canning industry. They are accustomed to large packs, which sometimes increase for a matter of two or three years; and then the surpluses have later been moved out. In all probability the same will happen again, although we must admit that at the present time there is some difficulty, particularly in connection with the smaller concerns that are not well financed. But that situation is being watched very carefully to see if the department can be of any help. Generally speaking, one must be reasonably well satisfied with the progress of the industry. It is not contracting; it is an expanding industry, as it should be, in Canada.


PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

Could the minister say the extent of the carry-over on the Pacific coast?

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LIB

Robert Wellington Mayhew (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Mayhew:

No. I do not know what the extent of the carry-over is. I do not think it would be in the best interests of all to publish it, if I did know; and I think the hon. member will understand why.

Then, the hon. member for St. John's West asked about the fisheries prices support board, and the program of deficiency payments made on the 1950 production of salted cod. The hon. member suggested that we should have made different payments, depending upon the actual prices received by the individual fishermen.

I explained before in this house that to have done so would have destroyed the market relationship between different qualities and between different localities. In my opinion, the kind of price support the hon. member is advocating would remove the price incentive to produce better quality, and, until we have better quality, there is little hope of our solving the problem. May I say here that I think the speediest way we can get greater return to the fishermen of Newfoundland, as in other places, is to try to get more out of the volume we have taken. In other words, the solution is to have premium fish; and premium fish for Newfoundland in my opinion is highly desirable, because Newfoundland has to overcome the disadvantage of distance from the main

markets. They can overcome that disadvantage by premium quality. To that end not only the industry, but the department as well, is working.

The hon. member also suggested that we should make special payments to those who had a low catch. Low catches are due to many factors. The fish may not be there; the weather may be bad; the method of fishing may be inefficient and, in some cases, one fisherman may not work as hard as his neighbour. To undertake to meet every case of low income through subsidy would destroy all incentive for the fisherman to do his best, and would result in no progress toward the use of more efficient methods.

The hon. member also referred to the drift of fishermen away from the salted fish industry. In a few years he will probably be complaining about the drift back into the fisheries. It is only natural that at some periods one industry is going to be more attractive than another. During the present period, when the fishery is adjusting itself to new conditions, which is bound to take time if it is to be done right, it may well be in the best interests of all concerned if some of the fishermen can find employment elsewhere.

And may I say on that point that I believe this is in accordance with the policy of the Newfoundland government, which is doing everything it can to bring new industries into that province, so that the people there will not be solely dependent upon the fisheries for their welfare.

But there is nothing new in this. Let my hon. friend look at the wartime figures and he will find a decline much greater than that of today; but he will also find that the number increased just as quickly after the war was over.

The hon. member had something to say about the Canadian Fisherman's Loan Act and the small number of loans being made. He neglected to point out that in fisheries, unlike agriculture, there are provincial fishermen's loan boards in all the eastern provinces. He also neglected to point out that, rather than make repayable loans to fishermen to help them get better boats, the federal government is providing outright grants. No such grants are made to farmers.

Although I believe most hon. members are aware of this fact, perhaps I should explain that we do give subsidies to groups of fishermen who want to build draggers, and boats of that nature. This assistance is given to the extent of $165 a ton. In addition, the loan boards of the various provinces do make repayable loans.

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The hon. member referred to a question on the order paper which had reference to long-lining experiments. In his speech last Friday evening he stated that he had asked for the value of the catch. As will be seen at page 585 of Hansard, he asked for the cost since the commencement of long-liner experiments in Newfoundland cod fishing, and the revenue received from that operation. This information was given.

In 1950 the operation was on an experimental basis, and the charters contemplated the value of the fish taken would accrue to the government. In 1951 the operation was planned to provide information based upon fishing to produce maximum quantities from known areas. The boat O Johnny O operating from June 9 to December 15 caught 398,313 pounds of fish. Gross stock from sale of this fish was $9,599. After providing a boat's share of 20 per cent and expenses of $2,156 there was a share of $1,842 for each of the crew of three men. I might add that they were fishing approximately six months, and the amount received made an average of over $300 a month for the members of the crew.

Captain Hemeon commenced operating with the Miss Osborne. It unfortunately was lost in early August. He continued with the East Wind for a short time and latterly the Edward Humby. He produced 391,000 pounds of marketable cod. Gross stock sales were $10,129. After providing boat shares and operating expenses, four men shared $1,522 each.

If the Miss Osborne had continued throughout the season and there was no lost time it is estimated 500,000 pounds of fish would have been taken with an estimated share per man of $1,822.

Detailed comparisons have been worked out as to operations by these two boats and a selected number of the better boats at Bona-vista. After taking all aspects of operation into consideration the crew shares of the long-lining boats were about double those of the local boats operating traps, line trawls and hand lines.

While under existing conditions funds for bait depot construction are necessarily restricted, the department continues to give consideration to the establishing of bait service facilities, but depending on measurement of need.

With regard to the specific instances cited by the hon. member; in the first, the North Harbour area comprising North Harbour, St. Joseph's, New Bridge, Mount Carmel and Tickles, fish production is small. The distances between each of these villages and North Harbour is considerable, and our information is that it is not likely that if a depot

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were established at North Harbour fishermen from the other villages would patronize it.

With reference to the request for a depot at Colinet island, while there is greater fishing effort there, the fact is that the existing depot at St. Mary's is only eight miles distant and surely some arrangement could be worked out among the fishermen to obtain and transport bait from this plant. It is a fact that Colinet island fishermen have been using the St. Mary's depot.

In all of the above settlements a total of about 130 fishermen operated in 1951, the production of salted codfish by trawls being less than 4,000 quintals. Following due consideration it is the view of the department that even if bait storage facilities were provided at these places the production of fish would not be materially increased.

The hon. member referred to the Newfoundland fisheries development committee, stating that it had been working for the past two years and asking whether I could report on what has been done and whether or not an interim report had been presented by the committee. In the first place I should point out that this committee was set up early in 1951 and therefore has been working for only a little over one year. During this period the committee has brought together a great deal of information from many sources on all aspects of the Newfoundland fisheries. The committee has indicated to me that it expects to have its report completed in the fall of this year. The report, when completed, should provide a road map for the future development of the fisheries of Newfoundland.

With respect to an interim report, the committee did make certain proposals for additional exploratory and technical research work during the present summer. This government, as well as the government of Newfoundland, has agreed to carry out much of this research in order to facilitate the work of the committee.

The hon. member pointed out that he had noticed that new hatcheries were being built in the maritime provinces during 1951 and wondered if we had given consideration to such establishments for Newfoundland to plant lake trout and Atlantic salmon. I should like to make the following comments.

(a) No new hatcheries were built in the maritimes during 1951.

(b) Under our agreement with the province of Newfoundland, the province is responsible for freshwater fish. The question of hatcheries for lake trout would thus be for its consideration.

(c) We have had before us representation for salmon hatcheries in Newfoundland. From our knowledge of the present condition of the salmon populations and as a result of the experience gained elsewhere, we are not convinced that hatcheries will be of great benefit. It is our feeling that improvement of access to available spawning grounds, such as is contemplated by the fishways now under construction on the Terra Nova and Humber rivers, will be more productive.

I think I have answered all the questions put forward by the two previous speakers.

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LIB

Chesley William Carter

Liberal

Mr. Carter:

Mr. Chairman, as most of my constituents are fishermen, I should like to avail myself of this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to the Minister of Fisheries for the great personal interest he has taken in the problems of Newfoundland fishermen, and to the federal government as a whole for the various forms of assistance provided such as bounties for fishing boats, experimental research and particularly for the deficiency payments on dry shore-cured, salt cod, without which many fishermen would not have been able to meet the cost of production. I feel also that I would be failing in my duty to my constituents if I did not seize this opportunity to lay before this committee the situation that has arisen in my riding owing to the presence of foreign draggers on those fishing grounds upon which shore fishermen depend for their livelihood.

In order to see the picture in its true perspective hon. members must understand that there are in my riding about 45,000 people of whom at least 80 per cent are either directly engaged in the fishing industry or indirectly dependent upon it. Owing to the decline in the bank fisheries and the use of draggers by companies operating fresh fish filleting plants, the majority of those directly engaged in the fishing industry are inshore fishermen.

These inshore fishermen put out from their harbours in the early morning and return in the evening of the same day with their catch. They use a variety of small boats from a 20-foot open boat powered with a 5-horsepower engine and a 2-man crew to a 50-fo'ot decked boat with a 2-dory crew. These boats are not equipped to go long distances offshore and consequently are absolutely dependent upon the inshore fishing grounds for their livelihood.

Unfortunately the largest and best of these inshore fishing grounds lie from five to fifteen miles off shore, well outside the three-mile limit of territorial waters. The grounds themselves average from two to six miles in width and from five to twenty miles in length. The

inshore fishermen have had the exclusive use of these fishing grounds for nearly fifty years and the whole economy of the inshore fisheries and the communities dependent upon them has been based upon the supposition that these fishing grounds would always be available.

1 have gone into all these details for three reasons. First, to show that the presence of draggers denies the use of these grounds to the inshore fishermen. Second, to show that the draggers actually destroy the fishing grounds. This destruction is such that it may take years or even generations before nature can repair the damage. Third, to call attention to the waste inherent in dragger operations generally.

In order to fully appreciate these three points hon. members must understand that inshore fishermen fish with trawls. A trawl is a line from one to five miles long from which at intervals of approximately three feet hooks are suspended on short lines about eighteen inches long. These trawls are set in various directions to cover different depths of water, depending always upon the direction of the wind and of the ocean currents. Trawls are expensive. When draggers are operating nearby, the inshore fisherman dare not risk setting his trawl for fear it will be destroyed by the dragger, in which case a large capital investment would be lost which he would not be able to replace.

On the other hand, the dragger drags over the ocean bottom a large bag-shaped net with a wide open mouth. As it moves over the bottom it tears up everything in its path. It overturns boulders, tears away marine algae and other forms of marine plant and animal life which consolidate the ocean floor and provide breeding and feeding conditions for the various forms of marine life which are essential conditions for a good fishing ground. After being dragged along the bottom for an hour or two the huge net is hoisted to the surface. In it are fish of all varieties and sizes. Much of this fish is already dead-killed by the terrific pressure of being hoisted through the water and the weight of fish one upon the other. The non-commercial varieties are thrown back into the sea. The dead fish sink to the bottom and decay. Many of the commercial varieties are too small to have commercial value. These too are usually dead and are thrown overboard along with the others. The commercial fish are cut and the entrails are thrown overboard to sink to the bottom and add to the pollution.

In my own mind I have always regarded a fishing ground as a sort of marine oasis, a place where the temperatures of the water are suitable and congenial to the fish so that they regard it as a pleasant surrounding

Supply-Fisheries

where they like to come and linger. Picture a fishing ground twenty miles long and five miles wide. Picture a dragger towing its huge net over the ocean bottom, tearing up the loose stones, destroying the plant life and upsetting the balance of nature. Picture the pollution from the decay of thousands of dead fish and fish offal and hon. members will understand that a fishing ground which has well served hundreds of fishermen for hundreds of years, and is capable of serving them well for hundreds of years to come, can be destroyed overnight by the operation of a single dragger and rendered unusable for a whole generation.

Hon. members will understand from what I have said that the dragger method of fishing is not only very destructive but also very wasteful since so many young commercial fish are killed before they have grown to a commercial size and are thrown back into the sea. In my opinion, this waste is sufficiently serious to warrant study by an international commission in the interest of conservation. It may be a long time before the effects of this waste become apparent in vast submarine areas like the Grand Banks, but in my opinion dragger operations on the smaller grounds should be regulated by international agreement, and should be prohibited altogether within thirty miles from shore to protect those inshore fishing grounds upon which the economy of the shore fishery depends.

Our provincial government and the federal government are collaborating with a view to reorganizing the Newfoundland industry so that the fishermen may derive greater benefit from these inshore fishing grounds. There seems little point in encouraging investment in this phase of the industry if the fishing grounds upon which it depends can be destroyed overnight by draggers.

It was foreseen that this menace might develop from the local draggers' operations but nobody ever dreamed that foreign draggers would be involved. However, the unexpected happened and hon. members will recall that last March it was reported to this house that a number of French, Spanish and Portuguese draggers were carrying out operations on inshore fishing grounds in the Rose Blanche area upon which the fishermen there have been dependent for generations. The results were as I have already described.

From the legal standpoint they were perfectly within their rights as long as they kept outside the three-mile limit, and some of them were equipped with radar which enabled them to skim along the edge of the three-mile limit.

Supply-Fisheries

Morally it was a resort to the law of the jungle as a result of which many Newfoundland fishermen with their wives and children will have to go cold, ill-clad and ill-fed during the coming winter. At best it was a thoughtless and selfish act towards a people who had always regarded them as friends, who shared with them the common dangers of wresting a livelihood from the sea, and who had always subscribed to the philosophy of live and let live. At its worst it could be described as an unfriendly act of economic aggression towards a friendly nation that has sacrificed many lives to set Europe free from aggression and has made many substantial contributions of money and materials to aid European recovery.

We must impress upon these foreign governments that Newfoundland is now a part of Canada; that Newfoundlanders are citizens of Canada and that they have every right to expect Canada to protect their interests and to defend them from every form of aggression whether military or economic.

It is quite evident that this problem has international complications, but France and Portugal are partners with Canada in the United Nations and also in NATO. Surely if that partnership is founded on the slightest bit of good will it should be possible to come to some kind of mutual agreement that will prohibit all draggers both local and foreign from operating on those traditional inshore fishing grounds upon which generations of Newfoundlanders have depended in the past and upon which they must depend in the future.

I know that the minister and his colleagues are fully aware of the problem. I trust that before long it will be possible for him to announce that a satisfactory solution has been found and that some sort of agreement has been reached which will safeguard the interests of Newfoundland fishermen.

(Translation) :

Topic:   ARTICLES USED BY COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN WHICH ARE NOT DUTIABLE UNDER THE BRITISH PREFERENTIAL OR M.F.N. TARIFF AND WHICH ARE EXEMPT FROM SALES TAX-
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PC

Albany M. Robichaud

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robichaud:

Mr. Chairman, I hope that I will not be thought too presumptuous for rising so soon after having been officially presented to this house. But I do wish to make a short plea in favour of the fishermen of the county of Gloucester. During the campaign preceding the by-election of May 26 last, I offered the electors of my native county to be their spokesman on the floor of this house. They were so kind as to give me this mandate. Today an opportunity, which I would not like to let pass, is offered me to bring to the attention of the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Mayhew) and of

the house, in very cursory fashion I must admit, the case of the Gloucester county fishermen.

Fishing is definitely one of our most important industries. Our ancestors, the old Acadi-ans, descended from those Bretons and Normans from Old France who settled on the coasts of the bay of Chaleur or of the gulf of St. Lawrence after the dispersion, were led to take up fishing, as much from tradition as from necessity. One of our fine folksongs is aptly dedicated to the "Acadian fisherman". Myself a descendant of Acadian forefathers and fishermen, since my forebears, my grandfather and my uncles on my father's side were all fishermen. I cannot resist the temptation of placing on the official record of this house the first stanza of this song, of this ode dedicated to the valour and bravery of the Acadian fishermen of our country.

The sea is my domain;

A son of Brittany, I,

To my beloved ocean,

Do dedicate this strain.

I deem it an honour and a privilege, if not a duty, to utter my first message in this house in the beautiful language of my ancestors, on behalf of the fishermen of my county.

I believe I may state, without fear of contradiction, that it is a long time since the matter of fisheries, in so far as my native county of Gloucester is concerned, has been brought before the house and full consideration has been given to their importance in our economy, to the needs of our fishermen and, more especially, to the remedial action the Department of Fisheries could so effectively and so easily take.

The county of Gloucester is bounded on the north by Chaleur bay and on the east by the gulf of St. Lawrence. Its coast line, including Shippegan and Miscou islands, covers more than 150 miles.

Such nice coastal villages as Green Point, Petit Rocher, Beresford, Salmon Beach, Stonehaven, Grande Anse and Maisonnette, by the clear and blue waters of Chaleur bay, are important fishing and canning centres for lobster, the famous bay salmon, cod1, herring and mackerel.

Between Maisonnette and the villages of Upper Caraquet, in Caraquet bay, there is fishing as well as breeding of the famous Caraquet oysters, which, for a few years now, have had the competition of the not so well-known but just as delicious oysters from the oyster farms of Shippegan and the sur-

rounding area. Every Monday, the fleet of modern draggers sets out to sea from Cara-quet and the whole area of Lower Caraquet as well as from St. Simon and the villages of La-meque and Shippegan for what is known in Acadian language as the "great cod fishing" on the fishing banks of the gulf of St. Lawrence.

Miscou and Shippegan islands do hold, of course, strategic positions as far as fishing is concerned and if the villages of Petite Riviere de l'Ue and Ste. Marie sur Mer were to be given the grants required for the development of their respective harbours, our coastal fishing would expand in such a way as to benefit the whole northern area of Gloucester county.

Similarly I hold that the dredging and the building of harbour facilities at Tracadie-a very important problem which I shall take up again in due course-is necessary if we want to get the maximum yield from our fisheries in the northern part of New Brunswick.

Having given this very cursory and incomplete picture of our maritime position and of the importance of the fishing industry in our part of the country, I now come to the suggestion which I would like to offer to the Minister of Fisheries and which is related to the estimates that are being submitted for our approval.

I had not had a chance to glance at those estimates until the last week end. I find no provision whatever in the estimates for aid or assistance to fishermen, whose ships or fishing gear have been destroyed or damaged by storms. That is a very regrettable oversight indeed. Every year, federal grants and subsidies are meted out to western farmers and fruit growers; if I am not mistaken, last year help was extended to potato growers and again, quite recently, to the western cattle breeders. I have nothing against these grants, but my contention is that the fishermen in the maritimes have been much too long the forgotten children, the orphans, of the federal government.

When I have had enough time to consult the statistics and to gather facts and figures, I shall deem it my duty to reopen the question, in order to prepare a full-length speech in defence of our maritime fisheries.

In my opinion, fishermen are too important to our economic framework and they have to risk too much, assailed by wind and storms in the bay and the gulf, to be deprived of fair and adequate compensation for their losses. These losses are all too frequent. Thus, every winter, every fall, our smelt fishermen lose thousands of dollars when their

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seines are carried away by ice flees. Similarly, salmon, mackerel and herring fishermen suffer enormous losses each year when their nets are damaged or carried away by ocean currents.

On the day following the by-election of May 26, a storm swept the shores of Gloucester-it was perhaps the tail end of the election tide-race that had swept over Gloucester county the previous day-causing our lobster fishermen of Shippegan parish alone losses of between $15,000 and $18,000, according to information I have received from my people.

I therefore feel justified in asking the Minister of Fisheries to give immediate attention to the matter, with a view to setting up- and this is the important point-a system of federal aid to compensate our fishermen for the heavy losses they sustain through storms.

Since there is no hesitation in granting aid to farmers and stock breeders during epidemics, why not give assistance to the fishermen who are constantly victims of the worst plague there is-and I know something about it-storms at sea? I cherish the hope, therefore, that the Minister of Fisheries and his department will be kind enough to consider favourably these more or less scrappy remarks, this hastily prepared plea and that, in the near future, they will take the necessary steps to come to the rescue of our unfortunate fishermen, not only in my constituency of Gloucester, but in the maritimes and all of Canada.

(Text):

Mr. Speaker, it was only on the week end that I had my first opportunity to scan- rapidly, I must admit-the estimates of the Department of Fisheries. Representing as I do a constituency in which fisheries occupy such an important place in our economy I decided to rise today, at the risk of appearing to be somewhat presumptuous, so soon after my official introduction in the House of Commons, in order to present a strong plea- unprepared and incomplete though it may be-on behalf of those hardy toilers of the sea, the fishermen of my county and of the maritime provinces. In looking over the estimates of the Department of Fisheries I was amazed to find therein no provision whatsoever for aid or assistance to fishermen who have the misfortune to lose their boats or their gear or to have the same damaged as a result of storms or other whims of this most exacting mistress-the sea.

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My submission to this committee is this. Since the federal government does not hesitate to subsidize the wheat growers, the potato growers, the apple growers or, as is now being done, the cattle breeders or ranchers, why has it never seen fit to give financial assistance to the fishermen who are too often the victims of this unpredictable and most uncontrollable epidemic, a storm at sea. I have definite information that in the province of Quebec, where fisheries are a provincial matter, in case of loss of gear or boats fishermen are being directly assisted by the provincial government. As soon as a loss is reported to the provincial department of fisheries in Quebec, an investigation is carried out; and upon a favourable report being submitted to the department by the provincial inspectors, satisfactory financial assistance is granted to the Quebec fishermen.

Unfortunately, Mr. Chairman, I have as yet been unable to prepare a real speech in support of federal aid to our fishermen, but I plan to do so at the first opportunity. However, I respectfully suggest to the Minister of Fisheries and to his department that immediate steps should be taken in order that the too-long-forgotten children-the orphans, may I say-of this federal government, namely the fishermen of my county, of the rest of the maritime provinces and of Canada, may soon be granted the same preferential treatment that has been so generously meted out by this government to the farmers and to the cattle breeders and ranchers. This, Mr. Chairman, is my submission to the minister and his department.

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

At the outset, Mr. Chairman, I wish to congratulate the new member who has recently come into the house on the presentation he made here today. I noted this morning the statement made by the Minister of Fisheries. He suggested that his department has gone a long way in encouraging a greater production of fish. At this point may I say that a greater production is of little benefit if the prices paid to the fishermen are below the cost of production. That is the matter with which I wish to deal for some little time.

I have carefully scrutinized the estimates of the Department of Fisheries, inasmuch as I had been given to understand that officials of this department have stated that assistance to the fishing industry compares favourably with that which is provided for agriculture. I could at this time go into a long dissertation with regard to comparisons as between the two industries. I shall, however, refrain from doing so to any great extent, as the figures before us will speak for themselves.

The total vote for the fisheries department this year is nearly $10 million. If that figure is broken down it will be found that five-sixths of it or approximately $8,500,000 go to the employees of the department, leaving one-sixth, or $1,500,000 for other purposes connected with the industry; and five-sixths of this remainder, of $1,500,000, does not apply in any way to the province of New Brunswick. I refer to $700,000 for seal skins; $342,500 for bait service for Newfoundland; $240,000 for fisheries support board, Newfoundland, which leaves $160,000 for bounty payments for all the maritime provinces and $150,000 for the construction of draggers in all of the maritime provinces. With regard to the province of New Brunswick, my estimate would be that we would receive less than $100,000, including the bounty payments which cost the taxpayers of this country not one single penny.

In reply to a question which I placed on the order paper some time ago with regard to loans under the farm loan board and the fisheries loan board for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1952, I received the following reply on June 4 from the Minister of Finance: Under the farm loan board, $4,238,400; under fisheries, $800. In other words, for every single dollar fishermen were granted, agriculture was given $5,298. This may be considered to be a fair distribution by some people in this country but I am sure the great majority of Canadians would not look upon it in that light. Just at this point I should also like to put on the record some information which was given to the hon. member for Oxford a few days ago. This was the average amount of government subsidies for the fiscal year 1950-51. In the answer given you will find the following: Department of Agriculture, $120,455,000. Defence production; the only item that came under that department was assistance to the steel industry of about $1,500,000. Subsidies to the provinces averaged about $18,500,000. So far as fisheries is concerned, the total amount paid in 1950-51 was $127,000. The total subsidy paid under the Emergency Gold Mining Assistance Act to the Canadian gold mines, however, is near $9 million. I might also add to the ones that I have given the subsidies of the Department of Transport as follows: Maritime Freight Rates Act,

$8,474,577. The total grant from that department was $8,768,000. The Canadian maritime commission amounted to $14 million. I could go on with many more. These are on the record, however. I believe that when they are compared with the financial assistance given to the fishing industry we will all be

convinced that the fishing industry in this country today is a forgotten industry.

There are many examples I could give to the committee, but as I said previously, I shall refrain from doing that at this time, as I wish to discuss a problem which is of great importance to the whole economy of the county I have the honour to represent.

I refer to the sardine industry, although many other branches of the fishing industry would come within the same category, and they might be described as the depressed industries, particularly our sardine industry and our fishermen who are engaged in the catching of ground fish.

During this session we have heard many suggestions with regard to some type of insurance to protect all types of fishing equipment. Before I get too far away from my main subject, I should like to suggest a way in which an insurance plan might be established, which would give the fishermen some protection, and at the same time the fishermen themselves would be contributing. In no way would this place any financial burden on the taxpayers of this country.

I refer to the $160,000 which is paid in bounties and distributed among thousands of fishermen each year in payments ranging from $5 to $10, regulated of course by the number eligible for payment and by the number of applications received. This bounty is of little assistance to the industry, and although I am not familiar with insurance rates I am convinced that $160,000 would pay the premium on an enormous amount of insurance and give those fishermen a protection which is considered very necessary in other industries but has never applied to the great part of the fisherman's property used in his hazardous calling.

It might be necessary for the government to supplement this payment by some amount, but I suggest it to the department for their consideration, and also to get the reaction from the fishermen themselves. I believe it would be a move in the right direction, and would be endorsed by the majority of the fishermen in the maritime provinces.

I should now like to turn to my main subject which is, as I said, sardines. In doing so I wish to emphasize the importance of this industry to southern New Brunswick. During the past few months the press of the province of New Brunswick has been giving its readers some useful data in connection with our clam industry. They have gone all-out in expressing their anxiety regarding the depletion of our clam flats. We who live in that area are fully aware of the fact that clams are becoming less plentiful, and we all understand why this condition has

Supply-Fisheries

been brought about. During the past six or seven years, for the first time in history, those engaged in this industry have been receiving a fair price for their product. For years clams sold for prices ranging from 80 cents a barrel to $2. However, the price has advanced during these last five or six years to $8, $10 and sometimes to $12 a barrel. These prices induced a greater number to go into the industry. The demand has been really good and the prices are very encouraging.

So far as the depletion of the beds is concerned, we who have been very close to the industry-and by "very close" I mean on a frozen beach with a hoe producing clams -feel that the Department of Fisheries has the right approach to this problem. They plan closing certain areas at different periods. If this is done, our supply of clams will gradually increase, as they grow very rapidly and any danger of depletion, in my opinion, is something we should not be too worried about.

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Winfield Chester Scott McLure

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McLure:

The hon. member is now speaking about soft-shell clams or hard-shell clams?

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

Hard shell. We all agree that the industry is of great importance, and I would not in any way want to leave the impression that I do not realize that myself.

While this problem was being given substantial publicity in the press I had expected that the sardine industry would certainly be mentioned. Although this industry is of the greatest importance to our province it was apparently taken for granted that all was well, even though the sardine fishermen themselves had been greatly disturbed.

At this point I wish to explain some of the problems these fishermen have had to contend with and briefly describe the particular period within my memory which dates back about forty years. I wish to emphasize the lack of any control whatsoever over this industry by the producers themselves. In some cases, tons of sardines are taken to canneries for samples. The entire lot may be condemned by inspectors. Then the fishermen are paid whatever the canners feel that they wish to pay them. There is no regulation to govern that. I often stop to consider how the canners themselves would regard an arrangement of this character: for

example, if they sold 10,000 cases of sardines and were paid for 5,000, or if they bargained for $8 a case for the finished product and after delivering the product were paid only $4. These organizations, however, are protected against any such incident. Is it not reasonable to expect that those who produce the raw materials which are so essential to

Supply-Fisheries

the canners should demand the same protection and security? This security and protection which some enjoy, however, has never applied to these primary producers, except in wartime, and then it was applied to protect the canner himself. My first recollection of any type of agreement regarding an established price to be paid for sardines goes back to a period before the first great war. At that time representatives of the sardine fishermen met with the canners during the winter months, which would be previous to the building of their weirs. A price for the coming season was agreed upon, and in many instances individual fishermen would sign a contract with a particular canner for the entire catch of that season. These contracts were entered into in good faith, and in most cases were strictly adhered to.

I point this out to show that forty years ago this industry was much more stable than it is at the present time. We have been going backward rather than advancing, and before I finish I hope to be able to prove that statement to be correct.

I now come to the period of the first great war. This system that I have described continued until 1916, as the year 1915 was the last year I remember when an established price was arranged between the fishermen and the canners. I well remember the price for that year was $15 for the spring season and $10 a hogshead for the summer and fall season. The year 1917 was a year of scarcity. Sardines sold as high as $90 a hogshead in the spring, but before the year was out the price had dropped back to $10 a hogshead. Perhaps 2 per cent of our fishermen received the benefit of the high prices and the other 98 per cent paid it back to the canners before the season was over.

In 1918, the year after this experience, by some international governmental arrangement a price of $25 a hogshead was established; this price held for the season ended November 30 of that year. As the canning period at that time was controlled in the United States-and it is at the present time-the period in which they could operate was from April 15 to November 30. The first year after the war, however-1919-prices again dropped to $5 and $10 a hogshead. Fishermen's unions were formed in an endeavour to cope with the situation, but their efforts were in vain. We drifted along until 1923, taking whatever was offered.

In 1923, another year of scarcity, the prices of sardines climbed in the latter part of the season to $50 and $60 a hogshead. Less than 5 per cent of those engaged in the industry received any benefit from the high price.

And the following year, 1924, those who did not benefit from the high prices in 1923 were held responsible and before that season was completed the $5 and $10 prices prevailed.

In the year 1925, through the efforts of the late P. J. Veniot, the then premier of the province of New Brunswick, a floor price of $10 a hogshead was put into effect. The canners resented government interference, and immediately decided to destroy this protection, not that the price of $10 per hogshead was excessive or unreasonable, but purely as a matter of principle.

I will now explain the methods they employed and how successfully it worked to the canners' advantage. The year 1925, when this arrangement went into effect, happened to be a year of plentiful supply. The canner would send his boats or carriers day after day to the same fishermen, ignoring those in the area around him. It created dissension among the fishermen. A fisherman would feel, "Well, if John Jones can sell his fish, there is something wrong; I am going to sell my fish." They broke up that arrangement inside of six weeks from the time it was established. After this episode we continued to drift with the tide. There was no organization. Fishermen were completely at the mercy of the canners.

Conditions were fair until the thirties. During this period of time sardines were sold in the county of Charlotte for as little as one-tenth of a cent per pound.

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

May I ask to what concern in the county of Charlotte those fish were sold? The hon. member spoke about fish being sold in Charlotte county. To what cannery or to what concern were they sold?

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

To Connors Brothers and American canneries.

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Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

What is the largest concern there?

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

There is one large cannery, Connors Brothers, in Charlotte county.

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Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

That is the chief market there?

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

No; I must give Connors Brothers credit. They have paid higher prices at all times than the American canners paid. But the prices have been down-away down.

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Albany M. Robichaud

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robichaud:

What about McLean's?

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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. Stuart (Charlotte):

That is Connors- the same thing.

Toward the end of the thirties conditions continued to be only fair; and after the outbreak of the second world war a ceiling price of $15 per hogshead was again established. This price was not established to protect the

fishermen, but was established to protect the canners. It was a ceiling price and, as I say, it was to protect the canners.

This was not considered to be too generous a price, but it did stabilize the industry; and while this price was maintained we enjoyed a period of moderate prosperity. After the abolition of the $15 price, which was too low when the subsidy payments had been removed from netting and other fishing equipment, we carried on normally until the past three years. Again we find we have a depressed industry, with very limited markets and abnormally low prices. In fact, the prices are far below the cost of production. There are sardines being sold today in Charlotte country for one third of a cent per pound. And no fisherman can produce fish under present-day conditions at that price.

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Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

So that the price paid in Charlotte county today is a higher price than paid in the Maine canning industry?

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June 19, 1952