No. 77
Downing Street
9 May 1861
Dear Sir
I have the honor to transmit to you herewith the copy of a Memorandum on the subject of the protection of the Salmon Fisheries of British Columbia which has been submitted to me by Mr Ffennell aMemberManuscript image Member of a late Fishery Commission in this Country. I also enclose copies of a subsequent correspondence with that Gentleman and I have to invite your attention to a subject which will probably ere long become one of some importance to the Colony. I have requested the Governor of Canada to forward to you the official documents bearing upontheManuscript image the matter mentioned in Mr Ffennell's letter of the 19th of April, and in the meantime I enclose a report of the British Commissioners which may probably afford you information that will be useful to you in legislating on the Fisheries of British Columbia.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
Humble Servant,
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Copy, Ffennell to Fortescue, 27 March 1861, on the protection of the salmon fisheries of British Columbia. Transcribed below.
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Extract, Ffennell to Fortescue, 19 April 1861, on the salmon fisheries of British Columbia, and the "state of the Canadian Salmon Fisheries." Transcribed below.
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Copy of a "Memo on Salmon Fishery British Columbia," by Ffennell, no date. Transcribed below.
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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Downing Street
27th March 1861
The Duke of Newcastle desires me to thank you for the memo which you have been good enough to furnish him on the subject of the protection of the salmon fisheries in the Rivers of British Columbia.
His Grace is fully aware of the importance of the subject which you propose, and his prepared to instruct the Governor to take steps for the proper preservation of these fisheries, but before doing so, he would be glad to be furnished with the titles of any public documents [???] which it might be desirable & supplyManuscript imagesupply him for his assistance in copying out the subject in his view.
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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Extract of a letter from Mr. W.J. Ffennell, to Mr. Chichester Fortescue M.P. Dated 19th April 1861
I would beg to refer you to the following documents for the information of His grace the Duke of Newcastle.
Fishery acts upper and Lower Canada, printed in Quebec by the Queens Printer—
Report of Comm(r) of Crown Lands of Canada for
  1. - - - - - 1857
  2. - - - - - 1858
  3. - - - - - 1859

(I have not yet seen Report 1860.)
These reports contain much valuable information with respect to the Laws enacted for the protection of the Fisheries of Canada, the state of the Fisheries had fallen into, — and theManuscript imagethe means now in operation for their regulation. I believe the salmon Fisheries of British Columbia far exceed in extent & capabilities chase of Canada and that is would be highly expedient to place them under as system of state regulation before abuses creep in, with the view of inducing private enterprises embarking in their commercial development and at the same time guarding against the establishment of abuses and improvident practices which must tend ultimately to diminish materially if not totally to destroy a great natural source of wealth. Manuscript imageThe state of the Canadian Salmon Fisheries appears to furnish an example fully supporting this view of the question.
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
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Memo on Salmon Fishery British Columbia


It is suggested that the Salmon Fisheries should be placed under supervision as well as the land, to give security to private enterprise and to prevent confusion of rights and waste, and that an area of water producing salmon is likely as civilization progresses and Commerce extends to become more valuable by one hundred-fold and more than the same area of land.
That the first step towards promoting the objects referred to should be the employment of a person of practical knowledge to review the rivers to an extent sufficient to enable him to report upon their capabilities, and toManuscript imageto print out the steps which should be taken to prevent abuses before they have set in and to suggest the mode by which a system of healthy enterprise may be promoted in the colony.
By adopting this course many persons from this country might soon be induced to embark in the Salmon Fishery of B. Columbia by necessary information which would rely upon if communicated on the authority of a person of practical knowledge while at present they can only obtain fragments of information derived from persons in the colony whose attention has been attracted to the question by the immense quantities of fish which they [???] exist, and which a few have communicated but are unable to offer any opinion upon Manuscript imagethe practicability of embarking in such an enterprise.
The quantity of salmon which at present exist in British Columbia and the extent of rivers producing them is so far beyond anything which the waters of Great Britain and Ireland ever produced or could produce that no idea can be formed at present of their relative value.
The salmon fisheries of that Country appear to be one of the resources of the Colony which might be most readily brought into commercial development if measures were taken to promote it.
Those fisheries are in their present state natural and unimpaired but as population increase abuse are certain to follow as in Canada for instance where the government are Manuscript imagenow obliged to take up the question & appoint officers to check the evil whereas of timely measures be taken to prevent encroachment & destruction much ultimate loss to the country may be prevented.
The Government now possess those Fisheries — no real or assumed vested rights by Individuals have been established and it is suggested that now is the proper time to place them under the protection of the state, and that they may be soon profitably disposed of under judicious regulations to enterprising individuals and [???] bring a large Revenue into the country affording increased capital for further and more general operations of industry.
(By W,J. Ffennell Esq. Fishery Commr [???]
Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes to Douglas, James 9 May 1861, LAC RG7:G8C/9, 441. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria.

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