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Seal Fisheries

Volume 32: debated on Tuesday 9 April 1895

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I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether a proposal has been received from the Government of the United States for the summoning of a Conference of the Powers concerned to deal with the seal fishery in the North Pacific Ocean; whether consent to join such a Conference involves or permits interference with the decisions of the Paris Arbitration of 1893; and whether Her Majesty's Government will refuse consent to join such a Conference unless the Conference be authorised and instructed, on the lines suggested by the Arbitrators at Paris in 1893, to deal with the whole of the question of the seal fisheries, specially including preservative regulations and limits within the territorial jurisdiction of the Powers?

No such proposal has been received. A Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives and passed, which, among other points, provided for the conclusion of negotiations with Great Britain, Russia and Japan for the appointment of a joint commission to investigate the conditions, habits and feeding-grounds of the fur seal herds, and to consider and report what further regulations were needed. The Bill was rejected in the Senate.

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any petition or other communication has come from the Canadian Dominion suggesting that, in consequence of the inability of Congress last Session to appropriate the sum agreed upon by the Government to pay the damages to sealers under the Paris Arbitration Award, and in view of the serious financial difficulties thereby brought upon many of them engaged in the sealing industry, Her Majesty's Government can see their way to advance some portion of the sum awarded by way of loan, pending a final settlement with the United States Government?

I am not in a position to give any answer to the question at present.