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Wednesday, 5 October 1910
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Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) .- Senator Stewarthas stated that certain fishermen have condemned the trawler, and said that it is of no use in assisting them to carry on their avocation. That is quite possible ; but I remind the honorable senator that trawling is a branch of fishing which has not hitherto been carried on in Australia.

Senator Guthrie - We had a couple of trawlers in South Australia.

Senator PEARCE - Not to any extent.

Senator Guthrie - One was wrecked, and the other was laid up.

Senator PEARCE - One can. well understand that those who go in for fishing in a small way have derived no particular benefit from the progress reports of the Endeavour, because the class of fishing it is seeking to establish is deep-sea fishing. In order to assure Senator Stewart that some practical good has resulted from the circulation of the reports in Australia and the Old Country I may mention that two Melbourne men have started a company to work in Queensland waters, and so satisfied the State Government as to their bond fides that it has made them a concession of land below Moreton Bay for their factory. Furthermore, one of the big firms engaged in trawling in Great Britain have made investigations into the progress reports of the Endeavour, and are so satisfied with them that they are sending out their manager to make inquiries on the spot, with a view to commencing operations here. That has been the result before a concrete report of the whole work has been drawn up. We have every reason to be satisfied that something tangible has been accomplished. Senator Guthrie said that the work has been somewhat spasmodic, in that the Endeavour has been moved about. That is quite true; but it was done for a good reason. When the vessel was first equipped and sent out in the winter, she was sent into the waters round Victoria and Tasmania. Every Australian who has travelled knows that -in the winter those waters are very rough, whereas Queensland waters are very smooth. When the worst of the winter arrived, and before she had completed her work in the rough waters, the Endeavour was sent up to Queensland to work in smooth water; but in the summer she will be brought down to complete her work in the southern waters. That is why the change was made.

Senator Chataway - They could not trawl in the Queensland waters, owing to the coral bottom, could they?

Senator PEARCE - I do not know. Of course, they are investigating the sea bottom, which will be charted. In addition to marking out the parts which can be trawled, they are also marking out the places where certain fish are known to be, and whether they are there in quantity or not. Apart from the fisheries investigation, the trawler is doing a very useful work in ascertaining the depths and the currents. The results of these investigations are being tabulated for future use. Senator Stewart will see that, because a few fishermen have criticised the trawler as being of no use to them, he should not, on that scanty information, condemn the work which she has been doing.

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