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Evening Star, Issue 15638, 31 October 1914
Phofessor PiiixcL', the eminent Fisheries Commissioner of Can-
nda. whoso report on tho fisheries of tins
Dominion has just been presented to Parliament, is not only a- highly-trained i scientist, but has proved himself to be a v rv competent organiser and a- shrewd man of business. Under his management the fisheries of Canada have been developed to such an extent that their value now exceeds seven millions sterling per annum, and are only excelled by those of the United States of America and of Groat Britain, which respectively exceed £8,000,000 and £9,000,000 yearly. As compared with these colossal figures, the present value of the fisheries of New Zealand is very small indeed, hut the report now before ns shows that the seas around those islands teem with splendid fish, ami that in them this Dominion possesses a source of great national wealth. The long coastline of this country and the wide extent of tho surrounding water on which fishing may be carried on make this by tar the richest field in the Southern Hemisphere. Therefore fish should not only bo n cheap and abundant article of food to nnr people, but it should also be possible to export it in large quantities to Australia and other parts of the world. Bin, instead, tho local supply of fresh fish is not only defective, but the price charged to tho consumer is relatively iiigh, and at certain seasons is so inordinately beyond the average consumer's means that it can no longer be regarded as an article of food Moreover, the export trade in fish does not exceed about £60,000 per annum, while this country actually imports fish to the annual value of £110,000.' Many of the recommendations made by Professor Prince have been already 1 brought forward in Parliament—notably the establishment of a special Fishery Department, with an expert at the, head of it. as well as questions of the- State, making advances to tho fishermen on their boats and plant, ns is done, in England and Scotland, State insurance, of boats and gear, and generally tho furtherance and assistance of the industry by the Government. But a prophet is not without, honor save in his own country and in his own house ; and it usually requires a prophet from outsido to bring conviction to the minds of tho people. It is to be hoped that Professor Prince's report will convince all who have hitherto been dubious about tho subject, and lead to a. sound public opinion on the question. The possibility of establishing an export trade to the- Old Country has already been brought under tiic notice of tho Minister, and suggestions were made to him on the subject before Professor Prince came here. Skate, dogfish, and elephant fish, which at present are destroyed whenever taken, would probably command a good price in Europe, if properly prepared for that market. It, would also probably pay to export schnappor, bairacuuta-, and other abundant and cheap fish, but tho experiment hits not yet, been properly tried. Wo understand t.ha.ithe question has been brought before the High Commissioner in London, with a view to having inquiries made. Tho desirability of removing the Customs duly from all materials used, by fishermen in the prosecution of their work has also been urged. The. fact is that the industry wants assistance from the Government not by tiro imposition of any protective tariffs, but by the. removal n£ existing taxation 1 and of unduly restrictive, legislation ; by j urging on the Commonwealth of Australia tint remora; of its protective tariff; and by making it easier for our fishermen, who are usually men of small capital, to finance their operations. Professor Prince has gathered tip all these points in his report, and has emphasised them in detail. A matter of local interest which requites attention is that the restriction should ho taken off the netting and selling of trout captured in the ocean. Sea trout of graat size and of the, best quality occur in countless numbers in the coastal waters fiom the mouth of the Wai.iu River to Akaroa. They are. tho finest tis-li in the sea, and yet the restrictions on their capture and sale arc so great that they arc practically not obtainable. This should not he tho rase, and it is only in the interest? of a few anglers that this very lino fish supply in thus barred. No one wants to spoil or f<‘ imperil the sport of the trout-fisher, but he, should not he. permitted to hold up Mich a, supply of most delectable food.
Professor Prince, not only recognises the gee-el work which is being done ai- ihe fEh hatchery and biological station at Portohello, hot recommends a considerable, extension of surf; work in the Dominion, It should be possible to start another establishment. of the same, kind in the North Island, and this will doubtless bo done in the course of time. But it. is a condition precedent that the control and management of our fisheries should be placed without delay in the hands of a competent administrator. Tha success of Ihe Portohollo establishment has been duo largely to the foresight- and energy shown by local enthusiasts, and iu tho absence of such local enthusiasm ec must look, to :i properly-organised and efficiently-con-ducted Fisheries Department for the further prosecution of a work of this nature. The report that wo have been discussing is only a preliminary one, and on Professor Prince's return to Canada an extended and comprehensive one will be prepared by him and sent to the Minister of Marino. Meanwhile several of his recommendations can certainly be, given effect to with a comparatively small expenditure of public money, and from the sympathetic, attitude of the Minister of 'Marine towards the whole- question it. may confidently he anticipated that some definite action will soon bo taken by him.
Evening Star, Issue 15638, 31 October 1914
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