The Canadian Minister (Massey) to the Secretary of State
Sir: With reference to your note No. 711.428/1072 of March 1st. on the subject of the pike perch fisheries in Lake Champlain, I have the honour to state that the competent Department of the Dominion Government which has had the matter under consideration, represents that the conditions affecting the situation in Lake Champlain remain unchanged, such conditions being briefly outlined in the following manner.
It is explained that the fisheries of Missisquoi Bay are the property of the province of Quebec and are being administered by the Provincial authorities, who are opposed to the prohibition of a reasonable amount of seine fishing in the Bay, though while pike perch or pickerel resort to the Bay for spawning purposes fishing for them is prohibited during the spawning season. While the exclusive power to make regulations in all parts of Canada rests with the Federal Government, in an area where the fisheries are owned and are being administered by the Provincial authorities, the Federal Government hesitates to impose regulations that are not desired by the Provincial authorities unless the conditions are extraordinary in their character.
Although the question of fishery regulations in Lake Champlain was not referred to the Canadian American Fisheries Conference in 1918, it was brought to the attention of the Conference by delegations representing the States of New York and Vermont, and indeed the question was raised by the American members of the Conference at its preliminary sittings. It was at the time anticipated that the recommendations of the Conference would be approved by both countries, and accordingly as the fishing season was then approaching, on the recommendation of the Canadian members of the Conference to their Government, a regulation was adopted in February 1918, prohibiting all net fishing in Missisquoi Bay. The Conference completed its work and submitted its report in September 1918, and its recommendations were subsequently approved by the Canadian [Page 516] Government, though such approval was not given by the United States Government. The regulation was, however, maintained in the face of continuously growing opposition until March 1922, when it was annulled as there was no indication at that time that the recommendations of the Conference would be approved.
Attention is further called by the Department to the fact that the Missisquoi Bay situation was covered by the Treaty of 1908 for the regulation of the fisheries in boundary waters, but that the regulations drawn up by the Commission appointed under that Treaty failed to receive the approval of the United States Senate.
After consideration of all circumstances, the Canadian Government is still of opinion that the Missisquoi Bay situation should be dealt with in connection with other outstanding matters and not by itself and I am accordingly requested in bringing their views to the notice of the United States Government, to take advantage of the opportunity to dwell upon the importance of early attention being given to the settlement of the outstanding fishery questions between the two countries.
I have [etc.]