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The British Columbia trapping industry and public administrative policy 1969

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THE BRITISH COLUMBIA TRAPPING INDUSTRY AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY * 7 NANCY JILL NEWBY B.A., University of Br i t i s h Columbia, 196? A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of ECONOMICS We accept this as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August, 1969 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C olumbia, I a g r e e t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and Study. I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department or by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f Economics The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada D a t e August 8, 1969. ABSTRACT This i s an investigation of the British Columbia trapping industry and associated markets. A major part of the study i s devoted to familiarizing the reader with the present industry. The product, trapline tenure, trappers, fur traders, earnings from trapping, marketing of the product, and administrative arrangements are described. Many problems are associated with the industry today — low incomes; raw fur prices which are declining, uncertain, and unstable; widespread ignorance of proper trapping techniques, pelt handling methods, and marketing opportunities; factor immobility; and lack of organization and contact among trappers. At the local level, there i s l i t t l e competition among fur buyers. Either there i s only one trader in an area, or i f there i s more than one, they often collude. In some areas, market imperfections such as ignorance of outside markets and lack of access to capital, provide an opportunity for fur buyers to exploit the primary producers. Public administrative policies are analyzed in terms of their economic consequences, and their a b i l i t y to handle the problems of trappers. Present policies lack clearly defined goals, are outdated, f a i l to consider the socio- economic needs of trappers * and provide few incentives for efficiency in resource use and development. Management i i i devices succeed in conserving the resource (once the most basic problem), but today with raw fur prices low in com- parison to a decade ago, they systematically lead to an underutilization of the resource. In the absence of any organized competition for traplines, there is l i t t l e assur- ance that the rights are possessed by the most efficient producers. The primary method of raising revenue, the collection of royality, negates the efficiency of the management system by encouraging economizing on the harvest and failure to report a l l animals trapped. Traders' fees ration buying rights on the basis of differential fees. Industry structure has been stagnated by measures that prevent f l e x i b i l i t y in the scale of trapping operations. Management lacks adequate information for informed policy- making. And non-enforcement of regulations and lack of control over Indian trapping further decreases the effec- tiveness of the management system. Moreover, there i s no effective organization for rationalizing conflicting land- use problems. As a way of overcoming these problems and leading to a more efficient development of the fur resource, the f o l - lowing recommendations are made: (i) f u l l negotiability of trapline boundaries, ( i i ) disposition of trapline rights through public auction, ( i i i ) simplification but expansion of present trappers' return form to include more information, (iv) extension of licensing and questionnaire requirements i v to a l l trappers, regardless of ethnic origin, (v) enforce- ment of regulations, (vi) abandonment of royalties, ( vii) reduction of fur-traders' fee to one nominal amount, ( v i i i ) expansion of trapper education programs, (ix) encouragement of the growth of trapping organizations, and (x) speeial recommendations for Indians. Data and information on which this thesis i s based were obtained from: (i) the provincial Pish and Wildlife Branch and the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, ( i i ) personal correspondence and interviews with trappers, fur buyers, provincial fur administrators, and Indian Affairs Branch authorities, (iv) mailed questionnaires to fur traders, (v) trappers' manuals, (vi) "A Report on the B.C. Pur Resources Study" (unpublished manuscript), and ( v i i ) fur industry studies for other provinces. A sample of income for trapping in B r i t i s h Columbia was derived through the use of simple mathematics, provincial average fur value s t a t i s t i c s , and the trappers' returns. V TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE INTRODUCTION 1 I. TRAPPING AND FUR MARKETING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA . 7 II. THE ECONOMICS OF THE TRAPPING INDUSTRY AND ASSOCIATED MARKETS . . • 35 III. IMPLICATIONS FOR ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY OF GOVERNMENT REGULATION OF THE FUR INDUSTRY 68 IV. SOME ALTERNATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS AND OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS 86 BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . 105 APPENDIX A. METHOD OF COMPUTING INCOME STATISTICS FOR NON-INDIAN TRAPPERS 110 APPENDIX B. FUR STATISTICS . 112 APPENDIX C. A METHOD OF RETAINING ROYALTIES WHILE DECREASING THEIR NEGATIVE FEATURES 114 v i LIST OP TABLES TABLE PAGE I. Number of Traplines, by Category, 1966 . . . 15 II. Gross Earnings Prom Trapping, by Zone, 1967/68 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 III. Number of Traders and License Pee Paid, by Category, B r i t i s h Columbia, 1967/68 23 IV. Schedule of Royalty on Pelts of Pur Animals Trapped in Br i t i s h Columbia, 1968/69 27 V. Direct Government Revenue from the Pur Industry, 1967/68 .. .. . . . . . 2 8 VI. Composition of.the Wild Pur Harvest, B r i t i s h Columbia, 1967/68 36 VII. Trapper's License Sales in B r i t i s h , . , Columbia, 1920/21 - 1966/67 . . . . . . ... .40 VIII. Average Percentage Change in Price of Beaver Prom One Season to the Next, Br i t i s h Columbia,. 1945/46. - 1965/66. .. .. 44 IX. Differential Costs for a Labour-intensive and a Capital-intensive Trapping Enterprise . 49 X. Highest Beaver Price Received and Market Used, by Trapper, 1962/63 59 v i i : TABLE PAGE XI. Format of Present Trapper's Return Form 75 XII. Sample Format for Trapper's Questionnaire 92 XIII. Total Wild Fur Production, B r i t i s h Columbia, 19*OA4 - 1967/68 I l l XIV. Average Prices, Three Major Species, B r i t i s h Columbia, 1927/28 - 1965/66 . . . . 112 v i i i LIST OF FIGURES' FIGURE PAGE 1. Hunting Zones in Brit i s h Columbia 20 2. Total Production of Wild Fur in Br i t i s h Columbia, 19^3/44 - 1967/68 . . . . 38 3. Price Trends for Three Major B r i t i s h Columbia Species, 1927/28 - 1965/66 k2 ACMOWLIH&MMTS I am deeply indebted to the many persons (trappers, traders, government o f f i c i a l s , and others) who generously provided me with information on the wild fur industry in B r i t i s h Columbia. Special acknowledgment is due Mr. W.A. McKay, Pur Management Biologist, who offered the co-operation of the Pish and Wildlife Branch of the provincial government, and to Mr. J. G-agnon, who gascre me a taste of what i t i s like to be out on a trapline in thirty degree below zero weather. I would also like to express my appreciation to Professor P.H. Pearse who read and crit i c i z e d an early draft of my thesis. To my advisor, Professor P.G. Bradley, I owe a special word of thanks for his patient supervision of my work. INTRODUCTION Primitive trapping in the forest wilderness combined with the fur trade, formed a significant factor in the ex- ploration and development of North America. Wild fur pelts provided the foundation on which the white mans' early economy was b u i l t . Commercial offspring are prospering and have pro- duced healthy descendands, but the very s p i r i t which led explorers and adventurers into the heart of the country in search of riches, has brought about the near-demise of the wild fur industry'. The forest frontier has been pushed north by the advance of c i v i l i z a t i o n . With the growth of agriculture, industrialization, and urbanization, furs have declined in relative importance in the economy. Today they only account for a very small fraction of the Canadian Gross National Product. Once the primary export, they have dwindled during the last two hundred years to a minor place, contributing only,.36 per cent of the total value of Canadian exports in 1965 . 1 Although the role of the industry in the Canadian and B r i t i s h Columbia economy i s small and becoming pro- Canada, DBS, Canada Year Book; 1967 (Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 19o7), p. 9 8 4 . This figure includes ranch-raised furs so i s an overestimate of the total value of Canadian wild fur exports. portionately smaller, i t remains important to those involved in i t . In many rural communities where employment oppor- tunities are lacking, trapping provides a major source of revenue to local inhabitants. At one time i t could yield a healthy l i v i n g , but today the industry i s prototypically 2 a "sick industry" as a commercial activity. It i s charac- terized by many small operators, the majority earning less than $300*00 P©r annum trapping. Pew producers are earning opportunity cost incomes. In the light of the significant role trapping plays as a .source of employment in economically depressed com- munities, i t i s relevant to ask whether the sick condition of the industry i s due solely to external factors beyond the control of trappers and administrators, or to internal factors capable of manipulation. External circumstances such as a shifting demand function have contributed to the decline of the industry. Public administrative measures have also retarded the natural rationalization of the industry and have failed to provide for efficient ex- ploitation of the resource. The trappers have been at 2A "sick industry" i s defined as an industry which, once prospered commercially, but with the passage of time, has failed to keep pace with the rest of the economy. It i s characterized by labour immobility and low incomes, but this alone would constitute only a depressed or declining industry. The trapping industry i s termed "sick" because there are economically justifiable administrative arrange- ments that could be adopted in preference to present measures, that would act as at least a partial cure, to the problems the present-day trapper faces'. fault too. Purpose of the Study This thesis presents a study of the trapping i n - dustry in B r i t i s h Columbia. The major concern i s to identify factors which are causing the industry to "be depressed, and to demonstrate measures which should both help to generate better earnings in the industry and lead to a more efficient development of the fur resource. Due to the pervasive influence of government administration on the growth and structure of the industry,,a major portion of the study i s devoted to management considera- tions and public policy. Outline Since most people are unfamiliar with the trapping industry, the f i r s t chapter describes the structure of the present industry in the province, and associated raw fur markets. General problems facing the industry are identi- f i e d . In Chapter II, supply and demand factors are ex- amined in brief. Greater attention i s given to the econ- omics of trapping and the efficiency of market organization The whole of this chapter relates to the industry under prevailing administration. An economic critique of existing administrative arrangements is the primary concern of Chapter III. Men- tion i s made of other policy issues such as the problems 4 emerging from differential treatment of trappers. In the concluding chapter, objectives of fur policy are assumed, and on the basis of these objectives, alter- natives to the present management system are discussed. Emphasis i s placed on devising arrangements which should help to overcome problems identified in earlier chapters. Definitions of (Perms Used Fur industry. In this study the fur industry i s narrowly defined to include only the trapping of wild furs and the marketing of the raw fur product. In a few i n - stances which are obvious, the definition i s extended to mean the whole industry from trapper to r e t a i l outlets. Fur-bearer. For purposes of provincial adminis- tration, the term "fur-bearer" refers to the fox, beaver, marten, fisher, Canada lynx, bobcat, mink, muskrat, land otter, sea otter, raccoon, skunk, red squirrel, weasel (ermine), or wolverine. Fur i s here defined as the pelt from any of these species. Except where otherwise i n d i - cated, the term fur-bearer i s restricted to wild species', and thus excludes a l l ranch-raised animals'.' Traplines. For the most part, trapping on Crown Land as opposed to private land i s referred to because government control over the latter i s restricted to a licensing and returns requirement. The word trapline i s therefore used synonymously with registered trapline. 5 In contrast to fishing, without biological confirm- ation, but on the strength of the author's observations, i t is assumed that traplines are large enough that the fur resource i s specific to the holder of each trapping area. Sources of Data One of the major d i f f i c u l t i e s in formulating this thesis was obtaining reliable information. L i t t l e written work has been done on the industry; information provided by fur managers i s inadequate and incomplete; and trap- pers are d i f f i c u l t to contact, to question, and to believe. Pur management arrangements vary among provinces so studies done for other provinces are not applicable to B r i t i s h Columbia. Other than o f f i c i a l statistics and technical information on administration, much of the descriptive section of this thesis i s based upon personal interviews, personal correspondence, and mailed questionnaires. Per- sonal interviews were held with the following persons: ( 1 ) W.A. McKay, Fur Management Biologist, Pish and Wild- l i f e Branch of the Department of Recreation and Conserva- tion, Victoria, B r i t i s h Columbia, ( 2 ) Cort Larsen and R. Kendall, Indian Affairs Department', Vancouver, ( 3 ) J . Gagnon, Wildlife Officer, Indian Affairs Branch, Port Saint James", ( 4 ) A. Huble, President of the B r i t i s h Columbia Trappers' Association, Prince George, ( 5 ) T. Pappas, Presi- dent of Western Canadian Raw Pur Auction Sales, Vancouver, ( 6 ) fur traders and trappers in Kitwanga, Hazelton, Prince George, Terrace, and "Vancouver. A number of these persons were also corresponded with. Questionnaires were sent to a l l currently licensed traders. Buyers who responded in detail and offered additional assistance were sent person- alized letters requesting further information. In addition the investigator spent two days on a trapline in Fort Saint James. CHAPTER I TRAPPING AND FUR MARKETING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA 1. THE FUR INDUSTRY AND THE ECONOMY Trapping, one of the earliest forms of productive activity of ci v i l i z e d man in North America, remains a part of the B r i t i s h Columbia today. However, i t s role in the commercial picture has declined greatly in importance. Methods of trapping have been refined and improved, but apart from new means of transportation and the introduction of steel traps, they have changed l i t t l e since the f i r s t furs were harvested. Trapping today i s one of the least sophisticated of industries, being a simple collection of nature's bounty. It has remained i n the primitive stage of natural resource development. In contrast, other natural resources which have subsequently been exploited have passed on to the "capital-intensive" and "controlled" stages of development'."1' The structure of the economy within which the trapper operates has undergone radical changes, partic- ularly in the postwar years. Social patterns have altered with the growth of population, industry, transportation, -LA. Scott, "The Development of the Extractive Industries," CJEPS, XXVIII (February, 1962), 71. Farming of mink and nutria has developed in the 20th century, but most species are raised only in the wilds• 8 and communications, Prom a primitive economy based upon trapping, hunting, fishing, mining, and agriculture, the province has diversified into a complex network of varying occupations. The discovery and development of other natural resources, especially in northern B r i t i s h Columbia, has provided alternative employment, both lucrative and depend- able, to the trapper. For those who are aware, mobile, and ski l l e d , many more profitable gobs are available'^ Falling absolute raw fur prices in the postwar period, combined with increasing costs of production and an almost constant technology have made trapping less attractive as a livelihood. With an improvement in the general standard of l i v i n g , trapping has l i t t l e to offer i n comparison with the security of f u l l time employment, or for that matter j' with the security of l i v i n g on welfare, or working at other part-time jobs, then l i v i n g on unemployment insurance. By existing on welfare a trapper can receive, without effort, more dollars per month than might be earned in the pre- carious, lonely, and arduous l i f e of trapping. Compulsory education, which ties family units to communities, has made trapping a more d i f f i c u l t activity to pursue than in the past.1 The majority of changes which have occured during the twentieth century have thus had a negative effect on the trapping industry. As a consequence the wild fur industry must now re-examine i t s position in a wider, more diversified economy. The days in which the province's "business and commerce depended upon the fur trade have long since departed. Today those who administer the industry must adapt to the new conditions rather than remain in a situation which has seen l i t t l e change for half a century. II. THE PRODUCT A great diversity of fur-bearing species i s found in the province due to the variety in natural environment. Differences in climatic features, food quality and avail- a b i l i t y , the time of year animals are trapped, and the way pelts are handled produce vast quality variations within species. As a consequence, prices for pelts of the same species vary greatly. Pelt value i s related to the length', lustre, colour, and density of the fur, the size of the pelt, the way i t i s prepared, and i t s general quality* The most valuable furs are usually found inland and in the north of the province. Areas such as the Mackenzie River Basin typically produce a high quality of fur. A l - though some areas support a consistently high quality of a particular fur-bearer, no one area is well enough suited to a l l species to produce the "best" quality of eachi Dif- ferences of geographic origin alone are so great that i t has been said i f a number of furs from various regions were displayed together, a good fur grader who knows the area could t e l l within a 50 mile radius from where they came. Because of the pervasive influence of environ- mental factors, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to find wild pelts that match. The fur pelt i t s e l f consists of three parts: under- fur or fur fibres, guard hairs, and leather. The leather is the skin of the animal. Guard hairs are long, lustrous, b r i s t l y hairs that grow from the skin and serve as protec- tion against the elements. The shorter, soft, lusterless hairs which keep the animal warm are the fur fibres. They constitute the most valuable part of the fur. From the time the fur i s taken from the animal until i t reaches the consumer in the form of a finished product, i t passes through various processes. After the carcass i s skinned, i t i s usually discarded. The fur i s then scraped, cleaned, stretched, and dried. The pelt i s s t i l l in i t s raw state and remains a perishable product throughout i t s passage through wholesale markets, to a tannery. Here i t i s prepared for manufacturers: dressed and perhaps dyed and put through other preparatory procedures. With few exceptions, fur animals have l i t t l e use other than producing fur pelts. Pelts have few uses outside the garment industry; fur manufacturers have no source of fur other than pelts. Some furs are taken from animals raised on fur farms, but many species are d i f f i c u l t ^Statement by Ronald Cote (fur-trader), personal interview, Terrace, B.C., Oct. 1 0 / 6 8 . 11 or economically impractical to "breed in captivity. The various segments of the fur industry from trapper to manu- facturer are thus interdependent, though many persons involved in the industry are not aware of this, as wit- nessed "by the fact that there are few known cases of vertical integration. I I I . PUBLIC POLICY Policy Objectives Before judgment can be passed on whether or not the fur resource i s being administered and developed in a "desirable" manner, i t i s necessary to determine what the objectives of public policy are. However, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to find a clear statement of these objectives. It appears that there are several implied goals among different agencies and these are often not always compatible. To the Department of Recreation and Conservation, wildlife management is a primary objective. -To the Depart- ment of Indian Affairs, the provision for the Indians of the opportunity to trap i s important^ To B r i t i s h Columbia residents collectively, maximization of provincial welfare or income i s relevant. In speaking of policy objectives, therefore, i t makes a great deal of difference who the reference group i s . A large number of groups could be mentioned, and each group would hold different goals as significant. Through careful planning and co-ordination 12 of efforts these goals can often "be reconciled. For example, employment goals for Indians and the generation of maximum income from the resource need not he in conflict (as dis- cussed later in Chapter IV). In 1866 when Br i t i s h Columbia joined Confederation, f i s h and wildlife came under the jurisdiction of the province. Public retention of t i t l e to natural resources has been a deliberate policy of Canadian governments-', and B r i t i s h Columbia and the wild fur resource i s no exception. It i s not the purpose of this study to question the desirability of Crown"ownership of natural resources in the province. Given that the government i s the landlord of the fur resource, i t i s appropriate, however, to ask whether or not i t i s adopting policies which w i l l generate maximum benefits from the resource to the people of B r i t i s h Columbia. This may mean, of course, that the provincial interest involves using the resource in a way that w i l l benefit certain specific groups'. Policies adopted by government administrators have a significant effect on resource development. Since the provincial economy i s so highly dependent on natural resources, i t i s imperative that such policies be carefully formulated. Thus, this study is directed principally towards the effects of pre- 3P •H. Pearse, "Public Management and Mismanagement, of Natural Resources in Canada," Queen's Quarterly, LXIII, (Spring, 1966), pp. 86-99- ~ 13 vailing administrative policy on the fur industry. Evolution of Conservation Measures In the early days of the fur trade when there were s t i l l vast areas of unexploited territory, a mistaken im- pression existed that the supply of wild furs was inexhaust- i b l e . But with the expansion of settlement, mining and logging operations, and extensive, uncontrolled trapping, a serious decline in the fur-hearing population resulted.' At this time, the government recognized the need to institute conservation measures. Shortly after the middle of the nineteenth century, closed seasons were introduced. Pur-bearers could then be trapped only during the time when their pelts were prime. The large size of the territory to be regulated made this rule d i f f i c u l t to enforce. As a conservation measure i t was only partially successful because intensive trapping followed the opening of each season. The second step was the establishment of national and.provincial parks as wildlife sanctuaries, the f i r s t at Banff, Alberta in 1885, and shortly thereafter, Yoho Park in B r i t i s h Columbia. Today there are numerous parks in the province which ensure that some species at least w i l l sur- vive no matter how destructive trapping i s elsewhere. Nevertheless, as in the case of an unregulated fishery, no one had tenure over the resource, so no one had an incentive to exploit i t e f f i c i e n t l y . The trapper had no user cost since the furs he did not take one day- might he gone before the next, so he trapped as many animals as he could as fast as he could. But there was a social user cost. Poaching and thievery were also common. The Conservation Officers of the provincial govern- ment recognized these problems and feared the danger of the fur resource being depleted. As a consequence, the regis- tered trapline system of tenure was invented and instituted in B r i t i s h Columbia in 1926. Under this system each trapper registered an area of Crown Land and was given exclusive rights to trap there for the period of a year. Since Conservation Officers lacked adequate maps, i t took a long time to get the scheme organized. Other administrative regulations and devices were instituted in response to needs and problems as they presented themselves. Present management arrangements are thus not the result of a long term planning program, but have been put together piecemeal in answer to various problems as they arose I IV. STRUCTURE OP THE PRESENT TRAPPING INDUSTRY Registered Traplines Registered traplines, where most trapping takes place, are areas of rural Crown Lands upon which, under present administration, a man has exclusive rights to trap fur for the period of a year, registration being on an annual renewable basis. When the trapline scheme was orig- in a l l y instituted, lines were registered as they existed then and the practice continued as new trappers entered the f i e l d . Today a l l available land i s under trapline registration. Traplines in Br i t i s h Columbia vary considerably in size. In general, larger lines are found i n the northern country, although originally they were not established on any consistent basis. A census taken by the Department of Recreation and Conservation, Victoria, B r i t i s h Columbia, in March 1966 revealed there are slightly less than 3000 registered traplines in the province, over half of these being Indian li n e s . In addition, there are 517 private lines. Table I summarizes the number of traplines by category. TABLE I NUMBER OP TRAPLINES, BY CATEGORY, I966 Non-Indian traplines 1354 Indian traplines 1564-:̂ Total registered lines 2918 Private property lines 517 Total 3^35 384 of the 1564 Indian lines are band or company lines involving an indeterminate number of individuals. The Pish and Wildlife Branch estimate an average of 4 persons per l i n e . Number of Tyappers Taking into consideration that 3.84 of the Indian lines are band lines, i t has been estimated that there are approx- imately 65OO trappers in the province. However, many persons c a l l themselves trappers, yet have not trapped for several years. A more meaningful figure i s one that includes only persons who trap in any given year. In this paper, the term "active trapper" i s broadly defined as any person who has trapped one or more animals in a given year. To be more exacting a minimum annual value of furs handled by a trapper should be attached to the term in order to exclude the person who traps only a few animals in a year. However, for purposes of this study, the most significant division i s between (i) those who c a l l them- selves trappers and do trap every year and ( i i ) those who c a l l themselves trappers, hold trapping areas, but do not trap them." It has been estimated that as many as 700 Indian traplines are not in use, and as many more non-Indian 5 lines. This means that only about 1600 of the regis- tered traplines are being used. Thus, the number of Estimate made by the Pish and Wildlife Branch of the Department of Recreation and Conservation, Victoria, B.C. ^Estimates of the Indian Affairs Branch,. Vancouver, B.C. and the Pish and Wildlife Branch, Victoria, B.C. 17 active trappers i s considerably less ..than 65OO. Counting persons on the basis of one per line » a total of 2117 persons trapping i s computed — 1600 trappers on Indian and non-Indian lines and 517 on private lines. Even i f a l l of the band lines were in active use (which i s highly unlikely) and an average value of 4 persons were given to each, as a maximum, the number of active trappers would be slightly more than 3500. Earnings from Trapping In a study done in 1963 in the Port Saint James area, i t was found that in a sample of 57 trappers, only two persons depended on trapping as a sole source of income.? Five trappers lived on a combination of trap- ping income and welfare assistance; eight lived on trap- ping income and old age assistance of some kind; and forty two depended upon other sources of seasonal employment, unemployment insurance, and welfare assistance. Of the fifty-seven persons interviewed, the average annual fur take was $582.00 Old Age Assistance, Old Age Pension, and other sources of income provided an average of $1,751.00 per person, welfare payments, $129.00, a l l of "Assuming for the moment that band lines do not exist. 7Kendall and McKay, "A Report on the 1963 B.C. Pur Resources Study" (umpublished, July 24, 1963). Hereafter, i t i s referred to as the Kendall-McKay Report. this totalling up to $2,462.00 per trapper sampled. The average family size was 4.89» implying a dollar per person figure of 1503.48. With a provincial average personal i n - come of $2,579.00 per capita in 1967 , i t can be seen that the trapper's income f a l l s well below this level even when account i s taken of a l l sources of income. With the exception of this one study, l i t t l e income data are available for the province. There are, however, various ways i n which crude income statistics could be computed. For example, dividing an estimated total of 2100 traplines being used by the total value of fur pro- duction in the 1967/68 season, earnings of $327.26 per line are indicated. For purposes of this study, a sample of trappers' o incomes for the four fur management zones 7 was derived through the use of the trappers' returns and provincial average value f i g u r e s 1 0 . Figure 1 illustrates the four B.C., Bureau of Economics and Statistics, British Columbia Facts and Statistics; 1968 (Victoria, B.C., 1^48 - ).-p7T0" ^For purposes of defining open seasons, the prov- ince i s divided into four management zones, numbered one to four. The boundaries of the zones are based on broad climatic features. For ease of discussion, in this study the zones are referred to as the Coastal, South-Kootenay, Central, and Northern Zones. l°The Trappers' return forms record the number and kind of each species harvested by a trapper in a partic- ular season. These figures were multiplied by provincial average fur values minus royalty in order to produce income data. See Appendix A for further information on this procedure. zones. In Appendix A, the method of obtaining the sta t i s - tics i s discussed. Imprecise as the resulting figures may he, they do present a picture of the distribution and level of trapping earnings in the province. Table II records the data. In general, lowest incomes from trapping are found in the Coastal Zone, and highest, the further north and inland the zones, in the Coastal Zone, 6? per cent of the trappers earned less than $150.00 trapping, while 47, 40, and 20 per cent from the South-Kootenay, central and Northern Zones respectively, earned less than this amount. Ninety-eight per cent grossed less than $500.00 in the Coastal Zone, while 88, 78, and 56 per cent earned less than this amount in the other three zones. In both the Coastal and South-Kootenay Zones, a l l trappers grossed less than $1000.00. In the Central Zone, one trapper earned in excess of $5,000.00. In the Northern Zone, the highest recorded income was less than this amount. Well over 50 per cent of a l l trappers grossed less than $500.00 in the 1967/68 season. The higher incomes recorded in the northerly, i n - land areas are associated with larger traplines, a greater abundance of wildlif e , and/or more time spent trapping. Further south, the economic necessity to trap i s less and persons tend to prefer full-time, steady employment. Reasons for low returns are : numerous. Some are: Figure 1. Hunting zones in B r i t i s h Columbia. TABLE II GROSS EARNINGS FROM TRAPPING, BY ZONE, 1967/68 COASTAL SOUTH-KOOTENAY CENTRAL NORTHERN INCOME CLASS NO * PERCENT** ~W. PERCENT HO" PEPTCENT NO" PERCENT Uo income 38 36 17 7 $ 0 - 50 12 18 9 6 50 - 100 7 20 10 6 100 - 150 10 67 9 47 8 40 4 20 ..150 - 500 13 98 40 88 25 78 34 56 500 - 1000 1 100 12 100 8 89 24 87 1000 - 2500 - 6 6 11 2500 - 5000 - - - 1 100 5000+ - - 1 100 - Number of trappers within the income class. Cumulative percentage of trappers within each income class excluding those who did no trapping. lack of trapping s k i l l , lack of credit, lack of i n i t i a t i v e or enterprise, the high cost relative to returns of tech- nically efficient equipment, low fur prices, l i t t l e time, spent trapping, and traplines which are too small to he economic units• Other Employment Trappers vary considerably in the degree to which they depend on fur harvesting for their livelihood. In the northern part of the province and in isolated, rural com- munities where alternative opportunities are scarce, trap- ping i s an important commercial activity. Typically, trappers also hunt, guide, f i s h , log, prospect for gold, fight f i r e s , ranch or farm, as an addition to trapping, when fur-bearers are not in season. Fur-Traders A l l persons trading raw fur in Brit i s h Columbia are required under provincial law to be licensed. In the 1967/68 season, there were sixty-two licensed fur-traders in the province. These men were classified in three d i f - ferent categories and paid differential fees according to the grouping to which they belonged. A stationary resident trader i s a buyer who i s located in one area and operates his buying service from one point. A transient trader i s a person who i s licensed to travel to any area in the province to buy pelts. Resi- dent refers to someone who lives in B r i t i s h Columbia. Tabl III shows the three classifications, number of traders in each, and the associated fee. TABLE III NUMBER.OF TRADERS AMD LICENCE FEE PAID, BY CATEGORY, BRITISH COLUMBIA, 1967/68 CATEGORY NUMBER Stationary Resident Fur-Trader 53 Resident Transient Fur-Trader 6 Non-Resident Transient Trader 3 Total Number of Traders 62 Source: Fish and Wildlife Branch, Department of Recreation and Conservation, Victoria, B.C. Most stationary resident traders, are small oper- ators who buy furs on a part-time basis. In conjunction with buying pelts, many are general merchants in their communities or work as guides, trappers, or loggers. A few are large Vancouver operators who deal with furs on a full-time basis. A l l travelling buyers work in the fur industry throughout the year. V. MARKETING OF THE PRODUCT In i t s path from trapper to ultimate consumer, LICENCE FEE & 25.OG 10G.G0 20G.00 wild fur pelts pass through several sets of hands and several processes. The usual path i s from trapper to auction house or from trapper to local "buyer. Prom the local dealer the pelts are either shipped at intervals to an auction company or await the arr i v a l of a travelling trader. The traveller adds the furs to his collection and ships them as a lot to an auction or retains them himself for manufacture into fur garments. In the past only a small percentage of wild pelts was shipped to an auction by trappers. This percentage i s steadily increasing. The majority of Indian trappers s t i l l s e l l their pelts to a local trader, but most informed non- Indian trappers are now u t i l i z i n g outside markets. There are a few variations in the marketing pattern. Pelts may be sold to a taxidermist, a tourist, or retained for personal use. Small amounts are bought directly from both trappers and fur traders by manufacturers for their own account. Pelts are also sent to wild fur receiving houses, usually in Vancouver, from whence they pass to an auction or a manufacturer. Ultimately, most wild fur passes through one of Canada's eight auction houses situated in Montreal, North Bay, Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, and Vancouver Canada, DBS,. Canada Year Book; 1963-64 (Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1964), p. 629. Auction Companies Until after the First World War, most Canadian furs were marketed in London, England, and lew York. In 1920, the f i r s t Canadian auction was held in Montreal and soon after, fur auction houses were established in other parts of the country. The principal functions of auction companies are to sort and grade the pelts and place them in lots for public auction. The identity of the individual seller's furs i s lost within a particular lot in this process. The seller receives the average bid price per pelt minus royalty ( i f not already paid) and commission, of each lot within which he has a pelt. With the exception of the Hudson's Bay Company's auction house in Montreal, the auction houses do not own the pelts they market. Rather, they receive a percentage of the sales price for their services. This i s usually 13 somewhere between 5 and 6 per cent of the sales price. Some make separate charges for storage and insurance. The f i r s t sales of the season are held with of- ferings of fresh ranch mink. L i t t l e , i f any, wild fur i s ready to be auctioned before January. Throughout the rest of the season regular offerings are held until the entire -^Ibid. •^Western Canadian Raw Fur Sales Limited in Vancouver, B.C. charges 5 per centi harvest i s sold. Lots of fin's are purchased through open competitive bidding by buyers who represent manufacturing firms from a l l over the world. They buy for their own account or the account of several different manufacturers. Once the furs leave an auction house, they are usually sent to a tannery to be prepared for manufacturers. V I . PRESENT ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS The wild fur resource i s administered by the Pish and Wildlife Branch of the Department of Recreation and Conservation of the provincial government. Prince George serves as the headquarters for the administration of the northern half of the province; Victoria, the southern half. Approximately seventy Conservation Officers are located in major areas of settlement. They are peace officers spe- cialized in the administration of the Wildlife Act, including, as a minor responsibility, supervision over trapping. Economic Controls Economic controls are measures used in the manage- ment of the resource which give rise to government revenue. Licensing. Every person, with the exception of an Indian, must possess a license to trap, the fee for which i s $5.00. No one i s allowed to trade raw furs unless licensed to do so. License fees vary in price according 27 to the classification of the traders. If a trader has more than one place of business, he must hold a license for each or possess a transient license. Royalty. A l l furs trapped in the province are subject to a royalty payment. Table IV summarizes the royalty schedule for B r i t i s h Columbia pelts. It is paid to the government by a l l holders of fur traders' licenses ( i f i t has not already been paid). The trapper never pays i t him- self, but i t i s nevertheless included in the price paid to him for his pelts. TABLE IV SCHEDULE OP ROYALTY ON PELTS OP PUR ANIMALS TRAPPED IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, 1968/69 SPECIES ROYALTY Badger $ 0.25 Beaver .75 Pisher 1.00 Pox .25 Lynx .75 Marten .50 Mink .50 Muskrat .05 Otter 1.25 Squirrel .02 Weasel .05 Wolverine .75 Bob cat .50 Source: B.C. Trapping Regulations: 1968-69 Table V tabulates the number of trappers and traders holding licenses in the 1967/68 season, license revenue collected, and total royalty paid. Values l i s t e d are the direct government revenue from the fur industry. TABLE Y DIRECT GOVERNMENT REVENUE FROM THE FUR INDUSTRY, 1967/68 NUMBER PRICE TOTAL REVENUE Licenses Resident Fur-Trading 53 $25.00 $1,325.00 Transient Fur-Trading Resident 6 100.00 600.00 Non-resident 3 200.00 600.00 Trapping 2,196 5.00 10,980.00 Royalty 33,722.87 Total Government Revenue $47,227*87 Source: Fish and Wildlife Branch, Department of Recreation and Conservation, Victoria, B.C. Registered Traplines Since 1926, fur trapping on Crown Lands has "been controlled through registered traplines. A registered trapline holder must he at least eighteen years old, possess a valid license to trap ( i f non-Indian), and either carry on active trapping to the satisfaction of the local Conservation Officer or receive permission to ,14 temporarily discontinue the active use of his line'. 15 If there are no open-lines available, the new- Department of Recreation and Conservation, Fish and Wildlife Branch, "Regulations Covering the Regis- tration of Traplines", (unpublished), 5 .01. 15An open-line i s a trapline which has come free either through failure of the former holder to re-register the area or trap i t , or through voluntary relinquishment of rights. comer to the industry must inherit or "buy" a line from a registered holder. Although registered lines are Crown property and the Pish and Wildlife Branch claims not to recognize sales, traplines are openly priced, and bought and sold between private parties with the concurrence of the government. When a person "buys" a trapline, a l l he is legally acquiring are the rights to trap an area for the period of a year. But the price of a line i s a reflec- tion of present and expected fur values, capital assets on the area, accessibility, productivity, and development of the l i n e . Trapping on Private Lands To trap on private lands, a person must have a valid license to trap and the permission of the land owner. G-ame Management Controls Measures taken to control the number, time of the year, and places where animals can be captured are game management devices. Closed seasons. For the purpose of defining open seasons for trapping, the province i s divided up into four zones based on broad climatic features. The purpose of the open and closed seasons i s to regulate both the number of animals taken and the period in which they are trapped. 1^ Some species such as the raccoon and skunk have no closed season in any of the zones. Animals should he trapped only when their pelts are prime. Thus in the Northern Zone, the season opens earliest and closes latest, extending from October 15 to May 15 for beaver, land otter, and muskrat, because temperatures are colder for a longer length of time than in the other three zones. In the ..Coastal Zone, on the other hand, the open 17 season extends, at the most, from December 1 to February 29. Closed areas.- Trapping may be prohibited in areas where"stocks are declining, for a length of time sufficient "18 to allow fur animal populations to build up their numbers. Special permit. Trapping out of season or on another's trapline may be permitted by special authority when fur- bearers are at nuisance population levels and are proving to be costly to other persons or industries. Other Controls Returns requirement. The fur administrative year extends from July 1 to June 30. Following the close of the trapping season, a l l license holders are to provide the nearest Conservation Officer with a complete l i s t of the number and kind of each species trapped and the markets where the pelts were sold. At one time catch returns were 1 7 B r i t i s h Columbia Trapping Regulations; 1967-68. 18rpo the author's knowledge, this has never been done • recorded on the reverse side of trapping licenses and these were returned to the Fish and Wildlife Branch for regis- tration renewal. Today the system i s basically the same except that now a separate "application for renewal and return of registered trap-line holder" i s used for this purpose. Since Indians are not required to hold licenses, they do not f i l e returns. Export permit. Anyone who wants to ship furs out of the province must f i r s t obtain an export permit, which i s issued without charge, the purpose being to provide a record of B r i t i s h Columbia pelts exported and to ensure the royalty has been paid. VII. PROBLEMS FACING THE TRAPPING INDUSTRY Low Incomes The most pervasive problems facing the trapping industry today are associated with the post-war decline in fur prices. As raw fur prices have fallen, outfitting and other costs have risen. Since productivity in the industry has not substantially increased, the economic prospects for trapping look rather grim. Trapping activ- i t y has decreased because i t i s no longer economically viable. To those who are dependent on the industry for economic or sociological reasons, low incomes pose a serious problem^ Ignorance As a result of the decline i n trapping activity, young people are not being initiated into the industry. Newcomers have few opportunities for learning the required techniques of proper trapping and pelt handling. Pur traders report there i s much scope for improving pelt quality through better handling procedures. They also note that many Indians are careless in preparing furs for the market. Many operators lack a detailed knowledge of animal habits and fur-bearing populations on their trap- lines, both essential requirements for successful trapping. The type and placement of the scent or bait used in a trap setting is often the distinguishing feature between the good and the poor trapper. There is a further problem of ignorance of mar- keting alternatives. With greatly advanced means of communication, this problem i s not nearly as serious as i t was in the past, but some trappers are too isolated to be reached by news media. Lack of Cohesion and Organization Because the industry i s atomistic and i s spread out over vast areas of land in single units, i t i s next to impossible to gather trappers together into a united group. With the exception of the Br i t i s h Columbia Trap- pers' Association which has a membership of approximately eighty out of an estimated total of 3500 active trappers there i s l i t t l e organization among trappers. In the ab- sence of contact with others in the same occupation, changes are slow in forthcoming and reform i s d i f f i c u l t . The Indian Problem Trapping was once an integral part of the Indians' l i v e s . It was viewed not only as a.means of providing for themselves, but also as a holiday. The men trapped; the women prepared the pelts; the children learned the s k i l l of the work by assisting their parents. But once the White race reached the province, the Indian society was radically changed. The Indians' incentive to trap was weakened by the coming of welfare payments. Compul- sory schooling for Indian children brought about the end of the family trapping unit. Today Indian trappers pose a special problem to fur administrators• Traditionally, the resource has been provided to them without cost'j and u n t i l a few years ago they were given priority when lines became vacant. In practice trapping regulations do not apply to Indians^ And since over half of the traplines belong to the Indians, these exemptions mean a substantial loss of control for provincial game managers. This would not be a serious problem i f Indians •^see p. 16 of this paper. were s t i l l keen trappers skilled in their work, but the reverse i s true. They cling to their old methods and are loath to accept changes. Many lack adequate equipment^ If they do have i t , they neglect i t . The young are not interested. Welfare to many former trappers provides an easier l i v i n g . Since alternative employment opportunities for them are lacking, the provision of trapping areas for Indians i s important to overall development. But i f they are not interested in using these areas, the resource is being wasted i f r i c h lines remain untrapped in their possession. Conclusion These are a few of the problems that plague the fur industry today. Others w i l l become evident in the course of this paper. Given these problems, i t i s appropriate to ask whether or not public administrative policies are well adapted for ameliorating theml CHAPTER II THE ECONOMICS OP THE TRAPPING INDUSTRY AND ASSOCIATED MARKETS The purpose of this chapter i s to establish the economic characteristics of the trapping industry and associated raw fur markets. In the f i r s t section the basic factors governing supply and demand are discussed. In the second and third sections, the economics of trapping and the efficiency of raw fur markets (both local and auction), respectively, are the feature topics'. I. SUPPLY AND DEMAND FACTORS Raw Fur Production In the 1967/68 season, 162,611 fur-bearing animals with a total value of | 687 ,255« l6 were trapped in Brit i s h Columbia. Squirrel accounted for 55 Per cent of pro- duction, and with beaver, muskrat, weasel, and marten, in that order, comprised 93•3 per cent of the catch. Of these species, beaver contributed the greatest individual portion of the total value*. The wild fur harvest in yield and value terms for each species i s summarized in Table VI. Prom one season to the next fur production has exhibited great fluctuations. Numerous factors determine what the harvest i s in any one year, the most important being the level of raw fur prices^ 36 TABLE 71 COMPOSITION OP THE WILD PTJR HARVEST, BRITISH COLUMBIA, 1967/68 PERCENTAGE ... PERCENTAGE SPECIES OP" TO SAL AVERAGE TOTAL UTHmUT SPECIES YIELD FOR YIELD VALUE VALUE % ' Beaver 28,445 18.0 14.39 409,323.55 59.0 Marten 6,996 4.0 10.77 75,346.92 11.0 Squirrel 89,861 55.0 0.58 61,105.48 9.0 Mink 4,500 3.0 8.70 39,150.00 6.0 Lynx 997 0.6 31^63 31,535.11 5.0 Otter 1,542 2.0 17.47 26,938.74 3.5 Muskrat 21,136 12.0 0.78 16,486.08 2.0 Fisher 689 0.4 14.43 9,942.47 1.5 Weasel 7,455 4.3 0.90 6,709.50 1.0 Wolverine 167 0.1 32.56 5,437.52 1.0 Bobcat 172 0.1 21.44 3,687.68 0.5 Pox (Red) 191 7.79 Pox (Cross) 38 0.2 8.69 1,970.01 0.3 Pox (Silver) 10 15.19 Raccoon 420 0.3 3.85 1,617.00 0.2 Total 162,611 100 687,255.16 100 Source: Fish and Wildlife Branch, Department of Recreation and Conservation, Victoria, B.C. Referring to Figure 2 , i t can be seen that total fur production in the province has shown a downward trend. This i s a result of declining numbers of active trappers rather than declining numbers of available species. Today the fur- bearing population i s underharvested in three ways, (i) An excess natural supply of animals i s evidenced by the pres- ence of beaver in numbers damaging to society and the beaver themselves, ( i i ) Rights to various traplines are being held but not exercised. There are persons who would trap some of these areas i f given the opportunity. ( i i i ) The resource is also being underharvested in the sense that ,1 less than a maximum sustainable yield i s being taken. Basic natural constraints on the fur supply. The fur supply available for harvest depends on: (i) quality and quantity of the animal's habitat (including food and climatic conditions), ( i i ) size of breeding stock and i t s reproductive success, ( i i i ) extent of disease, parasites, epidemics, and use by man, and (iv) random factors. Some species such as the lynx and marten exhibit cy c l i c a l population fluctuations in response to population vari- ations in their main prey. The supply of trappers. The number of trappers i s primarily related to the profit motive, although there xThis study does not advocate a maximum sustained physical yield objective. nsi/sa. Season Figure 2. Total production of wild fur in British Columbia, 1943/44 - 1967/68. Source: Appendix B, Table XIII. CO are other factors which influence "both the intensity and extensiveness of trapping activity. Ideally, an index of the number of trappers over a period of time would be guaged to include a l l operators regardless of ethnic origin, and would require a given degree of trapping in order to qualify. In the absence of this information, general trends only can be inferred. In spite of the fact that license sales have remained f a i r l y constant on the basis of ten year averages (as shown by Table YII), the number of active trappers and the intensity of their trapping have declined as fur prices have fallen and more profitable employment has become available. Many who continue to participate in the industry remain for reasons other than economic. Recreational trappers are a phenomenon of a new age of trapping. Conclusions on supply. The supply of a particular species harvested i s a function of: (i) the lagged price of raw fur from the previous season, ( i i ) current and predicted fur prices, ( i i i ) income from other occupations, (iv) demand for recreational trapping, (v) natural factors, and (vi) relative costs of farm fur and ranch fur produc- 2 tion. Production over the long run i s sensitive to price changes as evidenced by a decline in total production f o l - lowing the f a l l in fur prices. For species other than 2This refers to fur-bearers which are raised both domestically and in the wilds. TABLE VII TRAPPER'S LICENSE SALES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA 1920/21 - 1966/67* 1920- 21 2591 1921- 22 3230 1922- 23 2453 1923- 24 2178 1924- 25 2270 1925- 26 2979 1926- 27 3400 1927- 28 3312 1928- 29 3111 1929- 30 3015 1930- 31 2597 1931- 32 2364 1932- 33 2442 1933- 34 2610 1934- 35 2596 1935- 36 2758 1936- 37 2958 1937- 38 2690 1938- 39 2516 1939- 40 2399 1940- 41 2812 1941- 42 2630 1942- 43 2981 1943- 44 4518 TEN6YEAR AVERAGES 1944- 45 3393 1945- 46 3925 1920-30 2854 1946- 47 3086 1930-40 2655 1947- 48 3229 1940-50 3194 1948- 49 2965 1950-60 2847 1949- 50 3192 1950- 51 3270 1951- 52 2998 1952- 53 2933 1953- 54 2763 1954- 55 2798 1955- 56 2723 1956- 57 2589 1957- 58 2625 1958- 59 2583 1959- 60 2810 1966-61 2397 1961- 62 2596 1962- 63 2789 1963- 64 2437 1964- 65 2355 1965- 66 2398 1966- 67 2448 Source: Pish and Wildlife Branch, Department of leere' ation and Conservation, Victoria, B.C. Includes only noh-Indian trappers. beaver, the quantity harvested i s sensitive to price changes but i t is less than when there was a higher percentage of commercial trappers.-' The level of raw fur prices is not as important to recreational operators as i t was to the producers of the past. If raw fur prices do not r i s e , the proportion of recreational to commercial trappers w i l l rise so that production should become even more price inelastic. Market Trends and Conditions Since 1946 fur prices have shown a distinct down- ward trend. Figure 3 illustrates price trends for 3 major 4 B r i t i s h Columbia species. With the exception of wild mink , prices have risen in the last decade although they s t i l l f a l l short of the levels of 1946. Nevertheless, 1946 can not be considered a representative base year. Following prices further back, i t can be seen that raw fur prices are generally no higher now than they were in the depres- sion years. -'The beaver supply i s less price elastic than other species, because i t i s primarily beaver that recreational operators trap, and other species are trapped in conjunction with them. ^tyfild mink faces intense competition from ranch mink. New color mutations and the ease with which farm pelts can be matched make the domesticated product a popular good with manufacturers. 4ss t I I I I I I l' I i I i I I I I I I 1 1 I I 1 I I I I I L I I I I I I I I L t=*2-?/2<3 l ^ l / a X l«Va5/3C» \-=MPih& W-O/̂ W \S5l/&2. WSB/SC ^S=»/<=o l^c-a/c^ Season Figure 3 . P r i c e trends f o r three major B r i t i s h Columbia s p e c i e s , 1927/28 - 1965/66. Source: Appendix B, Table XTV. Using beaver prices as an example-^, Table VIII demonstrates the percentage change in price from one season to the next over the past two decades. The maximum change is a f a l l of 46.15 Per cent, the minimum a gain of .57 per cent. Raw fur prices are also known for their instability within a season. To cite an extreme example of this point, on the basis of market trends, several lynx were bought by the Raw Pur Department of the Hudson's Bay Company in Vancouver in October 1963, for $50.00 each. When they were auctioned in London three months later, they sold for $24.00 each, a loss of $26.00 per pelt.^ There are seasonal fluc- tuations in prices which could be counteracted through arbitrage and sometimes are, but raw fur being perishable, i t must be marketed soon after i t i s caught. The extreme unpredictability of price changes within a season make traders reluctant to gamble on such fluctuations'. Consumer Demand for Furs Demand for raw fur pelts i s derived from the u l t i - mate consumer's demand for finished fur goods. This i s ^Beaver price trends were chosen to illust r a t e fluctuating prices, since a l l beaver pelts entering the market are of wild origin. Therefore, these prices re- fle c t figures for a wild product only and no attention need be given to farm production. ^Personal interview with representative of Hudson's Bay Company's Raw Fur Department, Oct1 25/68. TABLE VIII AVERAGE PERCENTAGE CHANGE IN PRICE OP BEAVER PROM ONE SEASON TO THE NEXT, BRITISH COLTJMBIA 1945/46 to 1965/66 * . PERCENTAGE SEASON AVERAGE VALUE CHANGE IN P] 1945/46 $52.00 1946/47 -46.15$ 28.00 1947/48 + 7.14 30.00 1948/49 -^3.33 17.00 1949/50 +29.11 21.95 1950/51 22.21 + 1.23 1951/52 -44.48 12.33 1952/53 +12.90 13.92 1953/54 -25.08 10.43 1954/55 +54.27 16.09 -35.11 1955/56 10.44 1956/57 + .57 -12.00 10.50 1957/58 9.24 1958/59 + 6.49 9.84 1959/60 +21.95 12.00 1960/61 -15.83 10.10 1961/62 +13.86 +14.61 11.50 1962/63 13.18 + 2.20 1963/64 13.46 -13.00 1964/65 11.71 1965/66 +32.36 15.50 *Average Value figure taken from BBS, Pur Production. "based -upon two needs: warmth and "conspicuous consumption" , the latter probably being the more important of the two today. Uncertain and unstable prices are not uncommon to those engaged in primary industries, but the one additional feature which distinguishes the fur industry from other industries i s i t s extreme dependence on taste, an un- predictable factor, but one capable of manipulation. The prices the primary producer receives for individual furs are largely a result of the strength of consumer demand for the various species. The demand for a fur is a function of the lagged price of the finished product, the price of other furs, income, and fashion. Taste based on fashion is the most important feature governing demand, price being of Q secondary importance. Although both supply and demand curves are unstable for the industry as a whole, changes in the level of raw fur prices for each species result more from shifts in demand than supply. The Decline in Raw Fur Prices. Both fur and non-fur prices have shown fluctuations, but the movements of fur prices have been generally more violent and downward whereas non-fur prices have moved 7v.R. Puchs, The Economics of the Pur Industry (New York: Columbia University Jfress, 1957), P- 05. 8 I b i d . , p. 7 1 . upward. The fur industry today i s facing both an uncer- tain and a declining market due to the vagaries of fashion and the increasing product competition. With the recent promotion of ranch furs, foreign furs, synthetics, and sub- stitutes, a l l of which are competing strongly on world markets, i t appears promotion of wild furs (and furs in general) w i l l have to be accelerated or they w i l l continue to lose ground in the race for the consumer dollar. I I . .THE ECONOMICS OP TRAPPING Classification of Trappers Trappers may be classified as (i) full-time, ( i i ) part-time, ( i i i ) weekend, or (iv) recreational operators, although the groupings overlap in many cases. Pull-time trappers are entirely dependent on trap- ping for their working income. These are persons with labour opportunity costs close to zero because they are too old to work, live in isolated areas where work oppor- tunities are few or non-existent, or lack the necessary s k i l l s for gainful employment. Such persons are found in rural depressed areas. PSrt-time trappers, many of whom live in the northern part of the province, trap two or three months of the year and engage in other acti v i t i e s for the remainder of the time. Weekend trappers hold full-time jobs elsewhere, but 9Ibid., p. 83 spend their days off trapping for recreation and to supple- ment their regular income. The recreational trapper f a l l s into a classification which poses neither a sociological nor an economic problem. In contrast to the members of the other groups, cost of production i s not a significant factor to the recreational operator. To him trapping i s a sport much like hunting and fishing. It has a recreational value to him for which he is willing to pay. He thus subsidizes his enterprise by purchasing technically-efficient, but costly equipment (e.g. snomobile) to f a c i l i t a t e the trapping of a given quantity of animals. Use and Non-Use of Traplines To both recreational and weekend trapper, proximity of his trapline to his home i s important. Therefore, the demand for traplines close to communities is great, but much less for lines further away, in spite of the fact that they are frequently richer in furs. Many traplines l i e idle for want of someone to trap them. They are not necessarily uneconomic to trap, but they do not appeal to today's trapper. As l i v i n g standards have risen, i t i s natural to prefer the comforts of home to weeks or months alone on a trapline. If the fur resource is to yield i t s maximum bene- f i t to B r i t i s h Columbia, then trapping should not take place in instances where the cost (including the opportun- i t y cost of the trapper's time) exceeds the return, or consumer surplus from recreational trapping i s less than the cost of trapping. One problem i s to find out whether the present balance between idle and utilized lines i s optimal. Lists of persons requesting traplines suggest that this i s not the case. Since many lines have not been trapped for several years, yet the rights to these areas have been retained, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to determine which could be used profitably.. In the absence of a centralized body for bringing buyer and seller of trapline rights together, the supply and demand situation for traplines i s unknown. Unless he talks to local trappers or the Conservation Officer in a particular area, the prospective buyer has no way of find' ing out what lines are available, and even then, this knowledge i s imperfect. In turn, a man who wants to s e l l his rights has d i f f i c u l t y in contacting buyers. Trapping Costs Average cost and expenditure figures by enterprise have not been computed for this study as trappers lack knowledge of their own labour and capital costs. Many costs are implied. Much of the equipment used while trapping could be used elsewhere, so only incremental cost attributable to trapping should be tabulated. Many articles may be either bought or hand-made. Transporta- tion costs ('usually the greatest of expenses) vary according to mode of travel, distance covered, and size and geography of the trapline. In spite of these dif f i c u l t i e s 7 , before any meaning can be given to income s t a t i s t i c s , i t i s necessary to obtain a rough idea of costs involved. Basic supplies and equipment for the trapper i n - clude: trapping license, trapline, transportation, trap- ping, skinning, and stretching equipment, shelter, and other l i v i n g needs such as food, campstove, and sleeping bag. Table IX l i s t s sample differential costs for a capital-intensive and a labour-intensive enterprise. These total $1615.00 and $215.00 respectively. TABLE IX DIFFERENTIAL COSTS FOR A LABOUR-INTENSIYE AND A CAPITAL-INTENSIVE TRAPPING ENTERPRISE LABO "UR-INTENS I VE ENTERPRISE Article Price Dogteam $100.00 Harness 50.00 Sled Leghold traps 4 dox. small 44.00 6 large @ $3.50 21.00 CAPITAL-INTENSIVE ENTERPRISE Article Snomobile Canoe 4 h.p. motor Conibear traps 4 doz. small 6 large Price $1000.00 200.00 250.00 100.00 65.00 $215.00 $1615.00 Capital costs of trapping are low i f the trapper uses the simplest equipment, already has a trapline, and i s willing to spend many long, arduous hours on i t . Nevertheless, for 50 an industry in which less than half of the trappers gross as much as $500.00 in a season, the costs are relatively high. A trapper can make a trade-off between high-cost, technically efficient equipment combined with low labour costs and low cost traps and transportation and high labour costs. For the man who i s dependent on trapping for a l l or a major portion of his income, there i s l i t t l e choice but a method of operation which involves much labour and l i t t l e capital. His trapping, aside from any lack in s k i l l s , suffers in efficiency from lack of equipment!. Pro- ductivity for him i s extremely low. The only way an enter- prise of this nature can be considered a livelihood i s i f a man's labour opportunity cost approaches zero. Most Indian trappers are labour-intensive operators. It is not d i f f i c u l t for Northern trappers who aug- ment their earnings by hunting, guiding, or prospecting at other times of the year, to outfit themselves adequately. In turn, their lines are of size and productive a b i l i t y to justify the required expenditures. Recreational trappers tend to have capital-intensive operations, but much of the equipment they use with the exception of specialized trapping gear, can also be used in their regular occupation or for other recreational purposes. Therefore, their trapping costs may amount only to time involvement, the cost of t^aps and other equipment unique to trapping, and fuel charges. In many ways then, recreational trappers are best equipped to trap and have an advantage over those who depend on this activity for a livelihood. Unless a trapper has some outside source of funds to supplement his trapping earnings, at least in the f i r s t few years of operation, he embarks on a vicious circle because he can not afford the equipment to trap his line e f f i c i e n t l y , so his returns are low, and returns being low, he has not the money with which to purchase adequate equipment. If he i s forced to turn to the local trader for credit, then he is l i k e l y placed in a situation where credit costs are unduly high and prices received for his pelts unduly low, as demonstrated later in this study. Even i f the money were available, small traplines, unless extremely produc- tive, do not economically justify the purchase of costly equipment. Small Traplines: A Source of Inefficiency? Most areas are currently underharvested, so there is scope for increased production without depleting the stock of fur-bearers. Many traplines have not been worked for a number of years, and those lines that are used are usually trapped only in ,the most productive parts. Per- haps the fur resource might yield more net i f i t were trapped more extensively and less intensively by fewer individuals. There i s a strong possibility that larger-scale, more capital-intensive operations would lead to a more ef- ficient exploitation of the resource. Mechanized trans- portation enables a trapper to cover up to ten times as much territory as when travelling by foot and six times as much as when travelling by dogteam and s l e d ^ This suggests a trapper can handle a larger trapline than previously. With small lines, i t i s not economical to make large capital i n - vestments and the line-holder i s more profitably employed by engaging in another form of business. Both price and output uncertainties make the small operator loath to invest his time and money in such an uncertain venture. Small traplines are cri t i c i z e d as a possible source of inefficiency, but a qualification should be made on this point. Leaving aside the question of economics of scale to be capitalized on in larger scale operations, i t i s not so much the size of lines that i s a problem as i t i s that many small producers lack trapping s k i l l , ingenuity, capital, time, youth, and energy. One of the unfortunate results of an industry de- clining relative to other industries i s that the people who are f i r s t to leave i t usually possess the most valuable characteristics and those who remain there tend to be less mobile, less skilled, less educated, and more risk-averseo 1 0(reneral consensus of opinion among trappers to whom the investigator spoke. 5 3 than persons in other industries ."^ Hence a declining industry often "becomes depressed as the trapping industry i s today. The question arises whether or not the industry should become more capital-intensive. As a recreational activity the answer could be positive, but as a commercial operation the answer is debateable. Whether capital-intensive operations are higher cost or lower cost means of production than labour-intensive operations depends upon the situation of each trapper. A few trappers with capital-intensive operations net a healthy income from trapping. Closer observation reveals, however, that these men are in unique 1 2 positions favorable to their trapping. In most instances, unless part of the costs are balanced by a recreational bene- f i t , trapping as a commercial activity is almost a phenomenon of the past. Under present administrative arrangements, the only persons who can make trapping a successful commercial activity are those who possess capital, entrepreneurial a b i l i t y , and large, productive lines where furs remain prime for several months of the year. ^A.D. Scott, "Policy for Declining Regions: A Theoretical Approach," Areas of Economic Stress in Canada, D. Woods, ed. (Queen's University, 1 9 6 5 ) » p. 8 6 . For example, a trapper who i s a train operator has free transportation privileges and time off that f i t s in well with his trapping activities'. Reasons for Remaining in the Industry To those persons who trap today, there are sub- stantial non-pecuniary benefits associated with the activity. The satisfaction some trappers receive is such that they are willing to subsidize their trapping through other sources of income. Others knowingly forego earning their oppor- tunity cost income. Trapping as a way of l i f e appeals to an individualist. It i s an activity which leaves a man on his own, able to make his own decisions, free from the constraints of or- ganized society. For a trapper who prefers to liv e alone in an isolated cabin and who hunts as well as traps, mone- tary needs are small. A labour-intensive operation i s the rule for this man, but perhaps he would s t i l l choose this way of trapping, even i f given an opportunity to operate with more sophisticated, time-saving equipment. Trapping has a special attraction for some persons because of i t s part-time nature. At most (in the Northern Zone), a person can trap for seven months of the year and within that period, he i s able to trap as much or as l i t t l e as he pleases. He is therefore free to engage in other enterprises at the same time and during the remainder of the year. Present administrative arrangements do not discourage the retention of rights to l i t t l e used lines, so some trap- pers carry on a small amount of trapping in the hope that 55 fur prices w i l l r i s e , at which time they w i l l "begin to a c t i v e l y trap or s e l l t h e i r rights f o r a c a p i t a l gain. There i s an element of the fisherman's dream of "the lucky catch". There are also persons who are not aware they are incurring economic los s e s . Accounting methods used by the majority of trappers are rudimentary i f they e x i s t at a l l * I t i s not uncommon for the unsophisticated who are s e l f - employed to f a i l to place a value on t h e i r own labour time. To a l l of these men, trapping has a psychological s a t i s f a c t i o n which would be d i f f i c u l t to quantify. But i t does e x i s t , and provides a strong impetus fo r trappers to remain i n the industry i n spite of low monetary returns. Future Direction of the Industry If the trapping industry i s to be revived and become vi a b l e , i t w i l l probably have to move i n a capital-intensive d i r e c t i o n as a recreational a c t i v i t y or as a commercial a c t i v i t y on a larger scale. Lack of data prevents the formulation of any d e f i n i t e conclusions as to the di r e c t i o n the r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of the industry should take, therefore, i t i s extremely important that administrative arrangements be designed to allow the scale of operations to change na t u r a l l y as conditions d i c t a t e . III. EFFICIENCY OF MARKET ORGANIZATION Local Buyers and Markets 13 "Limited monopsony" J i s the term adopted in this paper to describe a l l degrees of local buying power. It means there i s only one buyer in an area (or i f there is more than one, they act collusively), there are no close substitutes for his buying service, but there are many imperfect substitutes. For example, the buyer who services one community while another i s located within thirty miles, exhibits limited monopsony power. Assuming there i s no collusion between these two buyers, there i s a limited range within which he may choose to set his prices and not lose business. If he i s also a general merchant a.nd extends credit, he i s in a more influential position than the independent buyer. But i f he pays prices which are consistently lower than those in neighbouring areas and the trappers realize this and are not tied to him by ad- vance credit arrangements, they w i l l take their pelts to his nearest competitor i f the cost of doing so (in terms -14 of time and money) does not exceed the gain. In a few areas in the province, the buyer has power approaching pure monopsony. This occurs in isolated areas where markets are small, trappers are ignorant of outside marketing opportunities, and are completely dependent on •̂ A.M. Moore, Mimeographed lecture notes. l^This requires market knowledge on the part of the s e l l e r . 57 the trader for credit, food, and supplies. Since he has no fear of being outbid, the trader can offer unduly low prices. More commonly, there are one, two, or even three local buyers. Rather than being a result of attractive fur market opportunities, the existence of more than one buyer often arises from the desire of local store-owners to attract business. The significance of oligopsony depends upon the degree of collusion among buyers. If they operate independ- ently, the trapper receives competitive prices for his pelts. Independent price competition among store-owner traders may mean the merchants operate at an economic loss as far as fur buying i s concerned, but they nevertheless find i t i s a good business practice to offer this service. Some col- lusion exists among buyers in local markets. One technique used i s to make a low offer to an Indian for his pelts, then telephone another trader and t e l l him the amount of the offer. He in turn makes the Indian a similar or lower offer, and in this way the seller receives less for his furs than i f the buyers operated independently. A countervailing pressure to local powers is the existence of transient fur traders. They stimulate compe- t i t i o n in areas they regularly v i s i t . The problem is that areas with the least competition are usually places where business i s too scarce to warrant the v i s i t of a travelling buyer. Moreover, by nature of his travelling, he i s often excluded from dealing directly with the trapper. Those who s e l l furs to transient traders report higher prices than 58 those paid by local dealers. Therefore, in areas where travellers pay regular v i s i t s , trappers benefit either directly by selling their pelts to them or indirectly by selling their pelts to local buyers whose prices are rendered more competitive by the presence of outside dealers. The local trader i s further limited in his pricing policy by the existence of outside markets. The trapper has the alternative ( i f he is able to take advantage of i t ) of bypassing the middleman and sending his pelts d i - rectly to an auction or wild fur receiving house. Ultimately, fur prices are determined in world markets by the forces of supply and demand. Where both buyers and sellers are aware of world price trends, the local trader i s constrained from setting unfair prices. Evidence of exploitation, (i) In the Kendall-McKay study, fifty-seven trappers in the Fort Saint James region l i s t e d the highest price each had received for a beaver pelt in the 1962/63 season. Table X shows the prices for each, and market used, separating Indians from non-Indians. A l l but one of the forty Indians used the local market, while only four of the seventeen non-Indians did. Instead eight sent their pelts to the coast, presumably to the fur auction, and five sent their pelts to Saskatchewan. The highest price received by an Indian was $34.00 at the coast. A l l but one of the four non-Indians who used the local market received a higher price than the highest paid to an Indian. Indians 59 TABLE X HIGHEST BEAVER PRICE RECEIVED AND MARKET USED, BY TRAPPER, 1962/63 INDIAN TRAPPERS NON-INDIAN TRAPPERS P r i c e Market P r i c e Market $25.00 L o c a l $35.00 L o c a l 22.50 L o c a l 33.00 Saskatchewan 25.00 L o c a l 25.OO Loc a l 22.00 L o c a l 36.00 Coast 27.00 L o c a l 36.OO Lo c a l 26.00 L o c a l 28.00 Saskatchewan 30.00 L o c a l 37.00 Coast 25.00 L o c a l 30.00 Coast 27.OO Loc a l 22.00 Coast 24 .00 L o c a l 30.00 Saskatchewan 23.00 L o c a l 38.00 L o c a l 15 .00 L o c a l 35.50 Saskatchewan 34.00 Coast 35.00 Saskatchewan 24.00 L o c a l 30.00 Coast 20.00 L o c a l 26.00 Coast 19.00 L o c a l 38.00 Coast 20.00 L o c a l 20.00 Coast 20.00 L o c a l 25.00 L o c a l 16.00 L o c a l 17.00 L o c a l 28 .00 L o c a l 17.00 L o c a l 17.00 L o c a l 10.00 L o c a l 17.00 L o c a l 27.00 L o c a l 16.00 L o c a l 23.50 L o c a l 24 .00 L o c a l 27.00 L o c a l 25.00 L o c a l 20.00 L o c a l 28 .00 L o c a l 28 .00 Lo c a l 21.00 L o c a l 26.00 L o c a l 25.00 L o c a l 27.00 L o c a l 28 .00 L o c a l Source: Kendall-McKay Report, 1963. and non-Indians respectively, received $ 2 3 . 0 0 and $ 3 1 . 7 0 as an average value, making a difference of $ 8 . 7 0 . "Variations in pelt preparation were not significant, but Indians showed a preference not observed in non-Indians for traders with merchandise stores who extended credit. Therefore, part of the discrepancy can be attributed to carrying charges for the extension of credit. Nevertheless, a difference of $ 8 . 7 0 appears too great for a service charge only. 1 5 ( i i ) Another way Indians are openly exploited i s through the use of alcohol. After having a few drinks with the trader, Indians often s e l l their pelts for prices they would not accept earlier, ( i i i ) In Port Saint James, the Wildlife Officer found that when Indian furs were marketed directly through an auction, they brought 30 to 60 per cent "16 more than i f they had been sold l o c a l l y . On the basis of this evidence i t i s tentatively concluded that Indians, at least in some areas, are being ^The argument would be more convincing i f the investigators had recorded the size of the average account and the length of time i t was carried. Gagnon, Wildlife Officer for the Stuart Lake Agency of the Indian Affairs Branch collected pelts from the Indians in the 1966/67 season and sent them to the Vancouver auction. He recorded what the local buyers told each Indian they would pay for his furs and compared this with what the Indians actually received for the sale of his pelts. In cases where the Indian had not had a local bid on his furs, Mr. Gagnon graded the furs himself and used as a local price, the value which the local..buyers told him they would pay for each species and quality. exploited "by local traders. Moreover, higher returns are received through selling in outside markets. Explanation for local exploitation of fur sellers and use of local markets. Non-Indian trappers are i n - creasingly shipping their pelts to auction houses or other outside markets, but more than 90 per cent of the Indians s t i l l s e l l their furs to local traders. By eliminating the middleman greater returns are possible, yet local markets continue to be used. Several factors explain this phenomenon. There was a time when trappers were totally unaware of marketing alternatives, but today with rapid communications, many are informed via mailed auction bulletins, newspaper advertising, radio, or word-of-mouth. Nevertheless, market knowledge i s highly imperfect. For those in isolated areas and those who lack reading s k i l l s , the local buyer may be the only trader they know. Even i f ignorance of marketing alternatives i s ruled out as a market imperfection in B r i t i s h Columbia (an un- r e a l i s t i c assumption) and i t i s assumed trappers are aware that they can receive more for their pelts by selling them by auction (shipping and insurance costs included), im- perfections of the capital market w i l l force some trappers to s e l l l o c a l l y . The extension of credit is less prevalent than heretofore among fur traders, but i t i s s t i l l common in the northern part of the province. Many trappers must rely on the local trader as their sole source of credit. Hence the merchant has the opportunity to e x t r a c t excessive margins both on the s e l l i n g of goods and the "buying of f u r s . Many trappers use l o c a l markets because t h e i r demand f o r cash i s immediate. Most auction companies do not extend c r e d i t , except o c c a s i o n a l l y on l a r g e l o t s . Even i f they d i d , to many trappers the few days' wait would be too l o n g . They need money f o r r e - o u t f i t t i n g , f o r food, and sometimes even 17 f o r gas money so they can r e t u r n home. When trappers s e l l t h e i r p e l t s to a l o c a l d e a l e r , they are paid immediately. This f a c t has p a r t i c u l a r appeal to the Indians who l i v e more on a day-to-day b a s i s than non-Indians. To an I n d i a n , $10.00 today, may w e l l have greater u t i l i t y than $20.00 s e v e r a l days from now. Most trappers have only a few p e l t s to dispose of at a time and f i n d i t more convenient to s e l l l o c a l l y f o r cash r a t h e r than going to the t r o u b l e of packing and s h i p - p ing t h e i r f u r s , then w a i t i n g f o r payment. The absolute d i f f e r e n c e between p r i c e s r e c e i v e d from a middleman and those from an outside market are much l e s s when p e l t s are s o l d i n s m a l l r a t h e r than l a r g e q u a n t i t i e s . And i n s e l l i n g to the l o c a l dealer the trapper has some r o l e , however s m a l l i t may be, i n determining the p r i c e p a i d f o r h i s p e l t s . He al s o has the c e r t a i n t y of knowing what he w i l l r e c e i v e f o r them as soon as he takes them to the buyer. The p r i c e he 17The reference here i s to persons who depend on t r a p p i n g f o r a major p o r t i o n of t h e i r working income. Hence, i n the m a j o r i t y of cases, they would be Indians. would receive at an auction sale i s completely outside his control. It is the local trader who then has to hear the ris k of rapid price changes. It i s d i f f i c u l t for a trapper to ensure against market risks. He can send his pelts to a wild fur receiving house (which sends out a yearly price l i s t ) and thus be assured in one year what he w i l l receive for each of his pelts. He can also use such tactics as freezing his pelts to keep them fresh, then placing them on the market when demand is strong, but this i s costly. By carefully watching market trends within a season and over time, he can market different species to his advantage at various auctions throughout the year. But this requires three things which the majority of trappers do not possess: credit, the time and a b i l i t y to read and understand market bulletins, and freezer storage for pelts. Summary and conclusions on l o c a l buyers and markets. The person most dependent on the local trader i s an Indian trapper. Others who use local markets are older trappers who have always dealt with the local trader, persons in need of immediate credit, and recreational and part-time operators who do only a small amount of trapping. Where trappers are isolated, in need of credit, or ignorant of outside marketing opportunities, the local dealer i s able to exert a substantial amount of monopsony power. In some instances, trappers are being openly exploited. The local buyer has hitherto sounded like an un- scrupulous dealer who takes advantage of trappers at every opportunity. Sometimes this may he so, hut in many cases he acts as an extremely important intermediary, smoothing the flow of pelts from trapper to auction. He can provide a valuable service to those who are unable to send their furs to outside markets. The local trader may supply credit where-needed, pays immediately as pelts are brought to him, assembles small lot s , takes risks, and possesses special- ized market knowledge. The trader who does treat his customers f a i r l y and pays prices allowing for a normal return on his capital, labour, and services offered, with the addition of a risk premium, is an asset to the market- ing system. The problem i s that the "invisible hand" that leads profit-maximizing individuals to act in ways that w i l l produce socially desirable results does not function to the benefit of a l l when there are imperfections in the system. Market imperfections provide an opportunity for local traders to exploit those who are dependent on them. Recognizing that the existence of local traders i s desir- able, the only problem involves closing the opportunity for exploitation of local sellers^ Auction Markets and Other Wholesale Outlets Most B r i t i s h Columbia pelts are marketed at the Saskatchewan, Edmonton, or Vancouver fur auction sales. The high concentration of auction houses is attributable 65 to economies of scale. Since i t receives only a percentage of the sales price for i t s services, the success or failure of an auction company rests largely with i t s a b i l i t y to attract large consignments of furs. If a great quantity and selection of furs are offered, world buyers are attracted to the sales. A large auction involving many buyers and s e l - lers results in a greater demand for furs than would other- wise exist in the absence of a centralized marketing body. In spite of the competitive nature of the sales, many trappers have become disillusioned with auctions. Prices received for pelts are often not as high as pre- auction price l i s t s suggest. Either the trappers have overestimated the quality of their pelts, pre-sale estimates were overly optimistic, knowing or unknowingly, or in isolated cases the pelts have been improperly graded. Palling general fur prices are no fault of the auction, but i t i s possible that some unsophisticated trappers place the blame with the method of marketing. It i s d i f f i c u l t to imagine a system that would produce complete satisfaction on both sides. The purpose of this paper is not to question the integrity of trappers or auction companies. If producers feel they are not receiving f a i r treatment from one company, they can send their pelts to another. However, unless enough pelts are shipped to another sale to allow them to be mar- keted in large lots, the fur© w i l l not be particularly attractive to buyers. Other marketing outlets exist in B r i t i s h Columbia and the other provinces. In Vancouver there are four or five firms buying from trappers and local traders. They buy pelts primarily to r e s e l l in quantities to suit manufacturers. Since they are both buyers and sellers at the Vancouver auction they help to make the sales more competitive. Sellers can send in their furs to these firms and receive cash in return, immediately on receipt of goods. These buyers therefore assist in smoothing the passage of pelts from trapper to manufacturer. Seven other auction houses in Canada provide ef- fective competition for the Vancouver company. Most B r i t i s h Columbia pelts are marketed in the province or close to i t because of the high cost of transporting large quantities to eastern markets. However, small bundles of pelts are shipped to distant markets when the opportunity looks at- tractive to seller. But i f companies were suddenly to raise the commission to an amount greater than 5 Per cent, sellers would l i k e l y begin shipping their pelts in small lots to 1 Pi companies with a lower commission. Conclusion on the efficiency of auction markets. As long as sellers receive a fixed and reasonable share of the purchase price for furs and the auction i s honest, open, -•-"Small bundles (25 lbs. or less) of pelts sent via parcel post are very inexpensive to ship to eastern markets. and c o m p e t i t i v e , there i s no reason to suppose these markets e x p l o i t the primary producers. On the c o n t r a r y , i t would be d i f f i c u l t to v i s u a l i z e a b e t t e r arrangement f o r a t t r a c t i n g world demanders and ensuring p r i c e s f a i r to a l l p a r t i e s . The r e g u l a r i t y w i t h which s a l e s are h e l d , the l a r g e q u a n t i t i e s of f u r s o f f e r e d , and the attempts at stand- a r d i z a t i o n and grading, make auctions popular w i t h world buyers. The p r a c t i c e of Canadian a u c t i o n houses spacing t h e i r s a l e s so that buyers can attend a s e r i e s of s a l e s across the country, provides a f u r t h e r stimulus f o r world buyers. I t i s u n l i k e l y that any major changes could improve marketing at t h i s l e v e l of the i n d u s t r y . ^ 19A.G-. Loughrey, "The Economics of. the Fur Industry i n Canada", Resources f o r Tomorrow, v o l . I I (Ottawa: Queen's P r i n t e r , 1961), p. 849. CHAPTER III IMPLICATIONS FOR ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY OF GOVERNMENT REGULATION OF THE FUR INDUSTRY I. INTRODUCTION Evidence suggests "both trappers and prevailing administrative arrangements are responsible for an i n - efficient exploitation of the fur resource. In Chapters I and II, ignorance of trapping techniques and preparing and marketing of pelts was noted. This chapter provides an economic critique of present fur management methods and general fur policy. Need For Reform Arrangements for managing the fur resource have been basically unchanged, with few exceptions, since 1 9 2 6 when registered traplines were introduced. Even i f the administrative system were ideal then, now some forty- three years later, i t i s useful to enquire whether i t is ideal for an economy which has undergone a multitude of changes in the last half century. Concerned government o f f i c i a l s have been asking themselves this question. In the Kendall-McKay Report, the need for reappraisal and revision of fur management arrangements was stressed. Since neither of the investigators had had economic training, their suggestions were constructive, but tended to be resource-oriented and lacked an appreciation of economic principles. Nevertheless, the report was signif- icant "because i t pointed out the need for reform and showed a concern for the industry which few others have f e l t . Whatever the level of public support, i t i s always appropriate to ask i f maximum benefits are generated under existing administrative arrangements. In the light of the industry's unhealthy condition, i t i s important that gov- ernment administrators be made aware of the economic implications of present management tools. Limits Within Which Provincial Pur Policy Must Function Whatever policies fur administrators adopt, there are certain limits constraining the fulfillment of their objectives. The government can do l i t t l e to affect the level of fur prices. But government influence could do something about how monies received from the sale of furs are distributed among the government (i . e . royalties), wholesalers, and trappers. Divided jurisdiction provides another limit to policies established by fur managers. Lack of control hampers the efforts of provincial author- i t i e s to manage the fur resource effectively. Economic growth is beyond the control of fur administrators^ Pop- ulation expansion and urbanization have both had negative effects on the industry. Within these limits, however, measures can be taken to ensure that the fur resource i s being developed and marketed as efficiently as possible, and that the land resource i s being placed under i t s highest use (or combin- ation of uses). In the following section, existing regulatory devices are analysed with a view to establishing their economic worth. II . AN ECONOMIC CRITIQUE OP ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS Control features such as closed seasons and areas are not discussed since they are established on the basis of biological c r i t e r i a . The following critique i s concerned only with economic considerations. Organization and Administration of the Industry Registered trapline system. In principle, the introduction of registered traplines was a good idea. It solved a common property problem and gave the resource users security of tenure over specific areas of land. Trappers were thus provided with an incentive to develop the resource efficiently (at least in the short jun) because they could be assured of benefiting by developmental policies they pursued. In short, the registered trapline system is an important and constructive feature of existing adminis- trative arrangements. The method of administering traplines, however, is open to question. Since registration of traplines i s on an annual renewable basis, trappers legally have tenure over the resource for the period of a year only. Yet few trappers have "been refused renewal of their trapline rights so that in practice the trappers have had almost the same security of tenure as private property owners. Neither ex- treme is desirable. One year tenure is too short a period of time for efficient exploitation through time and permanent tenure combined with market imperfections leads to i n e f f i - ciencies and precludes the area from other usea which may become relatively more valuable than trapping with the passage of time."'' As long as a trapline holder pays his trapping license fee, re-registers his line, and meets minimal use requirements, there is no way another trapper could occupy his l i n e . This i s not a serious problem i f efficient pro- ducers are in possession of the lines buti;(as seen in a later section) this i s not always the case. The method of allocating trapline rights, is also questionable. There i s l i t t l e competition for these rights. Trapline rights were originally allocated on a "first-come, first-serve" basis. Today this tradition i s perpetuated by a system of distributing available lines to persons at the top of waiting l i s t s . In the absence of an organized market in trapline rights, buyers and sellers are connected in a haphazard fashion. There i s thus no assurance the resource i s making i t s way into the hands Permanent tenure would be less undesirable i f there were a well-functioning market in trapline rights. of the most efficient producers. If efficiency in exploit- ation i s deemed desirable, then competitive bidding for rights would be more satisfactory as a method of allocation. One-line l i m i t . The provincial government instituted a one-line limit per person on trapline holdings in order to prevent persons from holding more than one line in various places around the province, not trapping any one intensively, instead just taking the best furs or the easiest to catch from each. Perhaps the resource might yield more net i f skimmed over a large area. With the exception of a few amalgamations of small lines into larger units and the formation of band lines, trapline boundaries have been basically unchanged since registered traplines were i n - troduced. There has thus been l i t t l e alteration in the scale of operations in response to changing conditions. A one-line limit per person on trapline holdings combined with unchanging and non-negotiable boundaries, has prevented f l e x i b i l i t y in industry structure. If there has been a trend towards economies of large scale production, the one-line regulation has retarded the natural rationalization of industry structure and thus impeded the growth and pro- f i t a b i l i t y of the industry. Condition of use. The condition of use rule stating a trapper must trap his line every year to the satisfaction of the local Conservation Officer (or receive permission to 73 discontinue i t s use temporarily) i s open to much abuse and provides for a wide avenue of interpretation. There are not enough Conservation Officers to enforce this regulation ade- quately. To an officer who i s overburdened handling other wildlife problems, this may mean no use at a l l , while another officer might set a more rigorous standard. A use-rule i s justifiable only on the grounds there i s evidence other persons would trap unused lines i f able to procure the rights. Yet i f a use clause were s t r i c t l y en- forced, trappers would have to trap their lines each year, irrespective of economic conditions, i f they wished to continue trapping. In effect, the government would be legislating economic inefficiency by requiring persons to trap on a maximum sustained yield basis. The "best use" of the fur resource in a particular year may be no use at a l l , while in another year when fur values are high, i t may mean going beyond the point of a maximum sustained physical yield, then leaving the fur resource alone for a few years. 6 . Even i f fur values are not high, good management, economic factors considered, may s t i l l c a l l for varying harvests per year. It might be in the trap- per's own best interest to trap intensively one year, then his line alone for a few years while populations of fur-bearers build up. 2This i s looking at the resource as a commercial rather than a recreational resource. The basic problem l i e s with the present system of providing lines free. If the government were to charge a high enough rent for the resource, a use rule would not be necessary. If traplines went to the highest bidders, i t would not matter whether or not the rights were exercised. Trapper 1s return form. Trapping information on an individual basis is essential for informed policy-making and efficient resource management. So both non-enforcement of the returns requirement and failure of the rule to apply to a l l trappers, regardless of ethnic origin, are two great failings of the present system. Moreover, not enough i n - formation i s requested to give an adequate picture of the industry. Through the use of a more comprehensive, but simplified questionnaire, a much better view of the struc- ture and p r o f i t a b i l i t y of the industry could be obtained. Table XI demonstrates the format of the present questionnaire. It could be improved substantially to increase both ease and accuracy of reporting. For ex- ample, i f the number of animals trapped i s l e f t blank, i t is d i f f i c u l t to determine whether the trapper did not trap during the past season or was lazy about completing the form. This problem could be eradicated simply by the addition of a sentence saying, "I did not trap". This could be followed by a box in which the producer could mark an "X" i f he has not trapped. Chapter IV presents further sugges- tions for a revised questionnaire. TABLE XI FORMAT OF THE PRESENT TRAPPER'S RETURN FORM Region * ' Reference Map No. ' ' " ' - ' PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA WILDLIFE ACT APPLICATION FOR RENEWAL AND RETURN OF REGISTERED TRAP-LINE HOLDER Name of applicant _' P.O. address ' ' _____ (Print or type) Date of last a p p l i c a t i o n N o . of current trapper's licence The following i s the number and kind of fur-bearing animals trapped on my, registered trap-line during the last trapping season and a l i s t of the markets or fur-traders to which the furs were sold. Fur-bearers Taken Markets Used Badger Fox _ Otter Wolf " Beaver " Lynx __ Raccoon " Wolverine __ _, Bobcat Marten ___ Skunk ' Other _______ , Coyote __ Mink ' Squirrel ____ Fisher Muskrat Weasel Dates this day of _, 19 at (Signature of trapper) , B.C 76 Public Charges and Royalties Trapping fees and licenses. Licensing i s important "because i t provides a means of obtaining records of names and addresses of trappers and thus provides an avenue for getting information to and from trappers. T h e r e f o r e j the exemption of Indians from this requirement is a serious shortcoming of existing management. Other than covering the cost of printing and issuing licenses, there is no economic justification for a license fee, so i t i s appro- priate that i t be no greater than $5»0()P Royalty system. By increasing the marginal cost of an animal, royalties induce economizing on the catch. Since in the case of the fur industry today there i s no physical scarcity of fur-bearers for trappers, but there is an economic scarcity, a per unit charge is undesirable. A royalty system fac i l i t a t e s the collection of fur harvest s t a t i s t i c s , but there i s no reason to presume royalty records are a necessary condition for the collection of other data. On the contrary, the fact that a payment has to be made would suggest some persons f a i l to report their total catch in an effort to avoid the charges. Moreover, royalties do nothing to encourage a trapper to release the rights to his line when i t i s not being used. If he traps 3it i s not desirable to rest r i c t entry through higher fees, because the resource i s presently under- ut i l i z e d . n o t h i n g , then he pays n o t h i n g . Since the charge i s i n f l e x i b l e ( i . e . a set amount f o r each s p e c i e s ) , i t bears l i t t l e r e l a t i o n s h i p to the market value of the f u r . when raw f u r p r i c e s are low, r o y a l t i e s are a l a r g e r f r a c t i o n of the t o t a l value of the f u r s than when p r i c e s are h i g h . Attempts have been made to keep r a t e s at approximately 5 Per cent of the value of each species (the average p r i c e at the auction l e v e l ) , but since there are great q u a l i t y d i f f e r e n c e s w i t h i n each s p e c i e s , and f u r p r i c e s are very u n s t a b l e , t h i s i s an a l - most impossible t a s k . I t has been suggested t h a t r o y a l t i e s be assessed as a percentage of a c t u a l p r i c e s r e c e i v e d by t r a p p e r s . Prom a d i s t r i b u t i o n a l p o i n t of view t h i s scheme would have some m e r i t , but i t would be a complicated way of a p p r o p r i a t i n g rent f o r the government. And i t s t i l l does not overcome the other o b j e c t i o n s , (already mentioned) to the existence of r o y a l t i e s f o r the f u r i n d u s t r y . Thus, although they are an important source of government revenue, they do not help the a l l o c a t i o n problem of g e t t i n g the resource i n t o the hands of the best producers I f i t i s thought d e s i r a b l e t h a t the p u b l i c should r e c e i v e par t of the r e n t from the resource, there are more e f f i c i e n t ways (to be discussed i n the next chapter) of doing t h i s . ^Manitoba: 1962-1965. Report of the Committee on Manitoba's Economic Future (Winnipeg, 1963), p. v -5-2. Fur trading fees and licenses. Presumably licensing traders is to provide data and the associated fees are a source of government revenue. By supplying a record of a l l persons who trade raw furs, licensing may serve the purpose of discouraging the emergence of unscrupulous buyers. There fore, the practice of licensing traders i s a constructive feature of administrative arrangements. But the associated prices of the licenses are questionable. It has already been noted that competition among fur buyers at the local level is far from ideal, so the government is not helping the situation by charging license fees which res t r i c t entry into the primary level of buying. The economic rationale behind a scaling of traders' fees i s dubious. According to a provincial authority-', the Pish and Wildlife Branch favours s t a b i l i t y so encourages established businesses ( i . e . local buyers) by charging them a license fee considerably lower than travelling buyers Finding transient traders erratic ( i . e . "grab and run"), the Branch discourages their existence by charging them a higher fee. Non-resident transients are charged a penalty fee as a special concession to B r i t i s h Columbia enterprise. In practice fur trading fees act as rationers of trading rights on the basis of differential fees. Rationed l i c - Ŵ.A. McKay, Fur Management Biologist, personal correspondence. enses imply a higher income for traders and lower income for trappers than would exist in the absence of restricted entry. In establishing public policy, economic considerations do not always take precedence. If the people of Brit i s h Columbia feel that the encouragement of provincial enter- prise i s an important objective, then a $ 2 0 0 . 0 0 annual non- resident trader's fee might be desirable. Nevertheless, i t should be realized there are economic costs involved. Resi- dent traders' incomes are greater than those they would earn in the absence of differential fees, while trappers' incomes are lower. Since one of the trappers* primary problems i s low fur prices, any measures that prevent competition in the buying of pelts should be seriously questioned'. The need for competition outweighs the arguments for discriminatory fees. If a lowering of license fees to one nominal level for a l l traders would encourage a greater number of buyers in the local market, then such a move should be the serious consideration of provincial adminis- trators. III. OTHER POLICY ISSUES Non-enforcement of Regulations If regulations are carefully devised for purposes of management and not enforced, they might as well not exist. Laws that are not regarded too seriously are subject to evasion, and i f a time comes when the government wants to 80 enforce them s t r i c t l y , i t may he p o l i t i c a l l y d i f f i c u l t to do so. A good example i s the present tenure system, legally trappers are entitled to the use of the resource for only one year at a time. In the Kendall-McKay Report, i t was noted that traplines were not established on any consistent basis and that trapline boundaries should be -.reorganized. If the government had seen f i t to do so, i t could legally have intervened at the end of the trapping season, cancelled a l l trapping rights, reorganized trapline boundaries to conform with natural waterways, re-established traplines into manageable economic units, then put the lines up for bid or otherwise disposed of the rights. Yet trapping stands out as a prime example of an industry in which regulations have not been stringently enforced. Consequently, the ingenuity of the producer group has discovered ways of circumventing administrative arrangements. The government has either ignored such activities or openly accepted them. The Pish and Wildlife Branch does not recognize the sale of trapline rights, yet they reregister the line in the name of the new holder. And since the "buyer" has paid the previous "owner" for the trapline, the government is constrained from cancelling rights. So regulations that were established for specific purposes are losing their force (be i t desirable or not), and actions that would be legally feasible would be virtually impossible from a p o l i t i c a l viewpoint. Differential Treatment The role of aboriginal rights i s not clearly defined and as a consequence fur administrators, to save confusion, have l e f t Indians on their own, exempt from important regu- lations for trapping. Traditionally, when lines became free the Indian Affairs Department was given f i r s t choice, of pur- chasing the lines for Indian trappers. When Indians s t i l l trapped this was perhaps a good policy because i t provided them with an opportunity of carrying on their traditional pursuit. But since welfare payments have been readily available and economic prospects in trapping have faltered, the Indians' incentive to trap has been drastically reduced. Today many Indian lines are not being used, yet the rights to these lines remain in their possession. If the lines were held by non-Indians, they could be seized by the provincial government and some, at least, could be given to persons who would trap them. Even when leaving their lines idle, Indian trappers are'fiercely protective towards them. Few non-Indian trappers would attempt to gain pos- session of an Indian l i n e . Obviously, there i s a need to define clearly Indian rights with regards to trapping. At present the status and rights of Indians are important topics of discussion in Parliament. From the current trend of talks in Ottawa new legislation may well evolve which w i l l change and cla r i f y the position of Indians. In any case, unless there i s a constitutional reason why Indianntrappers should be treated differently from non-Indians, persons who trap should be classified as one group, subject to the same rules and regulations. If the Indian Affairs Department wants to subsidize Indian trapping a c t i v i t i e s , i t can do so by looking after financial commitments Indians would be required to make to the provincial government for the use of the resource, and subsidize them by supplying equipment, credit services, or other assistance. Indians could s t i l l be within the confines of provincial fur administration. The importance of loss of control now resulting from dif- ferential treatment, bringing about inefficiency in manage- ment and production, can not be over-stressed. Multiple-Use of Fur-Bearing Areas In some instances, multiple-use of fur lands i s possible, while in others i t i s not. Forestry, agriculture, community development, mining, and fishing have a l l had their effects, complementary and otherwise, on trapping a c t i v i t i e s . There does not appear to be any effective arrangement for rationalizing conflicting land-use problems. Management of various resources i s fragmented among di f - ferent government departments, the sole purpose of each being the management of the resource under i t s jurisdiction. Other resource users are often not given adequate consid- eration in decision-making. Efficiency c r i t e r i a c a l l for the weighing of the costs against the benefits under each form of use, and putting the area to such use or multiple of uses that net benefits are maximized. This i s a d i f f i c u l t task since for many uses, trapping included, adequate data are lack- ing, and some value has to be attached to non-priced costs and benefits. Unbiased benefit-cost analysis may suggest some areas should be taken completely out of trapline use. When a new use infringes on an old one, the question of compensation arises. Therefore, since a single trapper lacks a strong voice in comparison with that of a large company, (e.g. logging company) i t i s imperative that trap- line tenure be explicit in what i t includes. As evidenced by the emergence of acts such as the Agricultural and Rural Development Act (ARDA), economic analysis is taking a more significant place in government and p o l i t i c s . However, i t i s s t i l l relegated to a minor role. Without economic analysis, decision-makers are not as well informed as they should be. Conclusions on Government Policy Public fur management policy appears to lack clearly defined goals, and has tended to overlook the socio-economic needs and problems of primary producers. Although i t is not responsible for the depressed state of the industry, i t has done l i t t l e to better the situation and in some instances i s actually aggravating the sickness of the industry. It i s reasonable to assume that policies should be adopted which w i l l maximize provincial welfare or income. Instead, policies have for the most part been directed solely towards the resource as apart from the producers, and are lacking in economic logic. Non-enforcement of regulations and exclusion of Indians from various regulatory measures renders the management system ineffective in many ways. But with the exception of the Kendall-McKay Report, l i t t l e concern has been shown for the unhealthy state of the industry. Even attempts at change which arose as a result of the report have been for the most part abortive. In the trapping industry, reform i s slow for several reasons. The industry i t s e l f has changed l i t t l e in relation to the altered economy. Although i t i s area-intensive and involves vast acreages, i t has l i t t l e effect on those not directly involved in i t . Few, i f any, negative repercus- sions are associated with the industry, so i t exists in an atmosphere of public apathy. Many persons in the southern part of the province are unaware that trappers s t i l l exist. Lack of cohesion and organization among trappers has already been noted in Chapter I. In the absence of any kind of group effort to better conditions and draw attention to them through publicity or p o l i t i c a l pressure, there is not l i k e l y to be much public awareness of the needs of the industry. Changes that would yield considerable long term benefits often have short term painful and disruptive effects. Thus what might be p o l i t i c a l l y desirable, may "be d i f f i c u l t to bring about because of the human factor involved. In addition, among the various resources admin- istered by the Pish and Wildlife Branch, trapping has low priority as a f i e l d of concentrated administrative effort. There are less than seventy Conservation Officers to manage wildlife in the province, and trapping is a minor concern even to them. The trapping industry as compared to hunting is small business both in terms of government revenue colr- lected (from licenses and royalties) and numbers of persons engaged in i t . Other previously mentioned factors which make reform d i f f i c u l t are the problems of different ethnic groups and divided jurisdiction. In the light of these obstacles, i t is not surprising that publie fur management policy i s out-dated and not well adapted for handling the problems the present day trapper faces. Whether funds available for management are generous or inadequate, the money should be handled efficiently and allocated to uses and in support of measures that w i l l maximize benefits from the resources. In the next chapter alternative suggestions for efficient fur management are discussed. CHAPTER IV SOME ALTERNATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS AND OTHER RE00MMENDATIONS In this study, the assumed general objective of fur policy has been to manage the fur resource so i t w i l l make i t s greatest possible contribution to provincial welfare. Preceeding chapters show that fur administrators lack clearly defined goals, and that policies adopted f a i l to produce an optimum use and development of the resource. Prevailing administrative arrangements lack f l e x i b i l i t y and do not provide incentives for economic exploitation. This chapter therefore attempts to outline alternative arrangements to overcome these criticisms and problems identified in earlier chapters. Objectives of Pur Policy Assumed in the Study If provincial welfare is to be maximized, then the primary objective of fur policy i s efficiency in resource exploitation, both in the short run and through time'. There are also a number of secondary objectives, which may entail a degree of compromise on the primary one. Since Indians pose a particular problem in the province an attempt should be made to give them special treatment as Indians. This might involve a loss of efficiency in trapping, but a gain for the economy in overall develop- ment. Indians, however, at the present time are wards of the Federal Government so special assistance should flow from that source. Thus, a provincial mandate to manage the fur resource eff i c i e n t l y and Indian goals need not he in con- f l i c t . If the industry i s to he unsubsidized, i t must provide the provincial government with enough revenue to cover costs of administering it". Since wild fur is a public resource, i f and where there are rents being earned part of them should go to the Grown. Basically, the resource should be managed in the interest of those who are presently in the industry and those who wish to trap, but due care should be taken to ensure that incentives for efficiency are' fost- ered. Numerous other objectives like those relating to sta b i l i t y or regional employment could be singled out as important, but for purposes of this study economic e f f i c - iency in resource exploitation is the a l l important goal. By analyzing policies on purely economic grounds, the cost of serving secondary objectives i s elucidated. Moreover, by making economic efficiency the touchstone of the manage- ment system, the need for pursuing secondary objectives in the most efficient manner is stressed. In the following section, issues relating to present management are discussed and suggestions are made as to how various administrative measures could be used to achieve the assumed objectives of the study. 88 I. SOME ALTERNATIVE ARRANGEMENTS Trapline Administration Trapline organization* Traplines should be set out on reasonable c r i t e r i a of size and productive a b i l i t y , with boundaries conforming to natural geography. Boundaries should be flexible through time to provide the most ef- fici e n t economic units. This implies f u l l negotiability of trapline rights. If the resource yields more net by being trapped extensively rather than intensively, i t should be so used. Trapline tenure. A trapper should have tenure over the resource for a fixed period of years long enough to depreciate his capital investment. Trapline tenure should be (i) f u l l y transferable so that when there is a buyer, a trapper can s e l l his rights and invest his money elsewhere, and ( i i ) f u l l y negotiable (subject to government approval) so he can expand or contract the size of his line to suit his needs."'' To overcome the problem of a trapline being exhausted in i t s last lease year, a regulation could be added stating a person can not trap any more in the last year than he did on the average over the previous three ^In a trapline lease system, f u l l negotiability of trapline rights would provide a few administrative problems, but not insurmountable ones, and the benefits t-from f l e x i b i l i t y of boundaries would justify the trouble. 89 years. Method of allocating traplines. Trapline rights could he disposed of through public auction. Since they would go to the highest bidders, the rights would tend to reach the hands of the most efficient producers. No limit need be placed on the number of lines held by an individual as long as he meets a l l requirements. Instead of paying the f u l l bid price at the time the rights are purchased, the leasee could be required to pay p/n each year for the duration of the lease, where P is the bid price and n i s the number of years of the lease'. This method of payment for the resource would have three important features. (i) It would overcome the obstacle of a large capital outlay at one time for the purchase of a li n e , ( i i ) It would encourage the exercise of rights, ( i i i ) Rents from the industry would be capitalized in the leases (assuming no gross market imperfections). If no rents are being earned, the leases would be worth nothing and trap- ping rights would be provided without cost. Nevertheless", in case there i s no competition for some lines, a minimum bid price should be established to ensure that these lines are not purchased without payment. If the leasee f a i l s to pay his annual amount, then the line should be taken from him and auctioned again. And i f he dies, the trapping rights should go to his heirs for the duration of the lease. To be successful, a system of auctioning of trapline 90 rights would require a high degree of communication among trappers themselves and an equally effective liaison between trappers and the provincial government. Neither of these conditions are satisfied at the present time. It would also require more data on individual traplines. Trapping License and Returns Requirement Both a licensing and returns requirement are con- structive parts of existing administration so should he retained. Since there i s no economic justification for a license fee, i t should he nominal ($5«°0 or less) as i t i s now. There i s no obvious reason why Indians should be ex- cluded from either of these obligations to the provincial government. Complete records of a l l who trap and the number and species of animals they are trapping are prerequisites for efficient resource management. But whether or not Indians should pay a license fee is debatable. There may be a constitutional reason why some Indians should not pay fees. If there i s no reason for the resource being provided to Indians free, other than a traditional one, then Indians should be required to pay the usual fee. Again, i t would be the Federal Government's decision whether or not they wanted to provide i t to the Indians without cost and would not require special prov- i n c i a l arrangements for Indians'. If the Indian himself i s unable to f i l e • h i s own returns, then the co-operation of the Indian Affairs Branch 91 should he solicited to see that i t i s done. More information on an individual trapper basis i s needed, so i t i s recommended that the present trapper's return form he expanded to include a greater variety of questions. Written answers should be abolished where possible and be replaced by "yes" or "no" answers or registered on a "check in the box" basis. Thus answering would be made easier for the trapper and compilation of stati s t i c s would be simplified for administrators. And i t precludes the problem of i l l e g i b l e handwriting. Table XII shows a sample format. A rule could be introduced requiring each license applicant to f i l l out a questionnaire, and each year there- after in order to renew his license, submit a completed questionnaire relevant to the past season. A similar system i s in effect now, but i t i s not implemented. Other information could be solicited through the questionnaire as the need arose. The form could be designed so that of- f i c i a l information could be printed on the reverse side'. Royalties Royalties should be abandoned as a source of public revenue. Since the fur resource i s not physically scarce, they serve no useful economic purpose and foster the wrong incentives for production. The only justification for their existence is the provision of data. Aggregate annual production statistics collected by this method are TABLE XII SAMPLE FORMAT FOR TRAPPER'S QUESTIONNAIRE 92 Please print or type where written answers are requested and mark the "boxes with an "X" where your answer i s "yes". Private trapline • Trapping licence no, Name Age Registered trapline P.O. address • Indian or Non-Indian • Part-time: Weekends • 2 - 3 months or Full-time D I did not trap last season I trapped last season • (Please f i l l in number of each species trapped) Badger Beaver Bobcat Coyote Fisher Fox Otter Wolf Lynx Marten Mink Raccoon Skunk Wolverine Other Squirrel Muskrat Weasel I sold my pelts to: Local buyer • Travelling buyer Income from trapping last season • Auction • Other outside Market j j Dated this day of 19 at jB • C • Signature of trapper good. Yet data would probably be more accurate and easier to collect i f no payments of a per unit nature were necessary. And although data are needed, they are more useful on a per trapper or per line basis. Therefore, i t is advocated this whole system of charges be abandoned in favor of an enforced annual trapper's questionnaire. If royalties are deemed necessary by managers and administrators for data collection purposes, one method of retaining them yet at the same time reducing their negative features i s discussed in Appendix C. Fur Traders' Requirements Traders' fees and licenses. As a way of increasing competition at the local level and thus decreasing the op- portunity for trapper exploitation, i t i s suggested a l l traders be licensed, but that fees be kept low and the same for a l l categories of traders. The primary j u s t i - fication for licensing buyers is for information and control so licenses should be non-transferable and issued on a personal or company basis. Economic losses to present buyers from increased competition would more than l i k e l y be offset by a gain to trappers. Other requirements. As a further way of decreasing the opportunity for trapper exploitation, i t i s suggested that traders be required to keep a record of a l l furs traded by each person (as in the past), prices paid for each pelt, and whether the seller was Indian or non-Indian. These records should be open to inspection by provincial authorities at any time. Conservation Officers should make a practice of checking these books for signs of discrimin- ation or exploitation. To help eliminate suspicion on the part of some trappers, auction companies should submit more information to the people whose furs they market'. Public Education The need for information on a l l aspects of trapping and marketing of pelts is obvious. It would be a construc- tive move on the part of the government i f trappers were sent information on market trends, trapping techniques and equip- ment, available traplines, marketing alternatives, new ideas, and anything else pertinent to the industry. If the auc- tioning system is to work, there must be contact. It looks as i f investment in trapper education programs would be profitable. These could be carried out at the local level through sponsorship of trapping organizations or Conser- vation Officers. Trapping Organizations Local trapping groups throughout the province headed by a strong central body could do much to augment knowledge of various aspects of the industry, and to increase the effectiveness of the primary producer. One of the greatest hindrances to organizing trappers i s the trapper himself. Traditionally the trapper has been an individualist enjoying the independence of working alone, l i v i n g a solitary l i f e for weeksvat a time, and turning his hack on organized society. He i s not by his very nature the type of man who would be enthusiastic about joining a union 4| or serving as a committee member. It would be d i f f i c u l t to make him into a conformist, even i f the change might be to his own advantage. The recreational trapper belongs to a new breed of men and can be expected to see the benefits of concerted action. Organization of trappers i s essential for the betterment of their position, so the government should encourage any steps in this direction. Marketing F a c i l i t i e s Members of the Br i t i s h Columbia Trappers1 Association advocate establishment of a national fur marketing service. The main advantage of such a service is that i t could bene- f i t from economies of scale. With many offerings of large lots , auctions would prove very attractive to world buyers. With fur marketing centralized into one body, i t would be possible to increase dramatically the small amount of ad- vertising done at present. Product promotion i s essential for the success of the wild fur industry. Since a federal marketing service for trappers i s not l i k e l y to evolve, the trappers themselves are beginning to look into the possibility of establishing a federal trappers* co-operative in conjunction with the Ontario -'3 Trappers' Association. J Such a body would probably do much to assist trappers, but the problems associated with forming an effective organization are immense. A prelim- inary step would be organization of trappers on the local l e v e l . Special Indian Policy If lack of s k i l l s i s a primary reason for Indian unemployment, a most v i t a l need is to prepare Indians to enter a productive society. But training and the associated adjustments take time, so measures that could involve them in gainful employment during the transitional stage should be considered. Although a policy of encouraging persons to enter a depressed industry is generally unwise, as a short term means of combating an economic i l l , older Indians should be encouraged to trap rather than exist solely on welfare. Indians and their trapping are the concern of the Federal Government so benefits from supporting the indus- try would have to be evaluated within the context of the whole Indian economy. If Indians do not want to trap and would not trap even i f given substantial concessions, i t would be f u t i l e to spend money on the industry on their behalf. But i f a program of education in trapping and pelt handling techniques, supervised credit, and subsidized equipment' could result in substantial reductions in welfare payments, i t would be advisable for the Indian Affairs Department to consider such an investment. Rather than being consumers only, the Indians, being producers, would be adding to the Canadian Gross National Product. If welfare is readily available i t is natural for Indians to accept i t in preference to trapping. Thus i f ; Indians engage in trapping, welfare assistance should not be reduced by amounts equal to their trapping income. Steps should be taken to help the trappers find employment in other seasonal industries in order to help them capi- talize their trapping a c t i v i t i e s . Market imperfections which place Indians in the position of realizing less than f u l l market value for their pelts should be the serious concern of the government, in particular, the Indian Affairs Branch. Marketing f a c i l i t i e s for Indians. The possibility of establishing marketing f a c i l i t i e s for Indians should be investigated. Experimental marketing has been done in the Port Saint James region. Indian pelts were collected by the Wildlife Officer of the Indian Affairs Department and sent to auction, the Indians being paid 50 per cent of the estimated value of the furs, and the remainder ^A. Tanner, Trappers, Hunters and Fishermen (Yukon Research Project Series, No. 5» Ottawa: Northern Co-ordination and Research Centre, 1966),p. 75• after the sale, The one way in which this program failed was that in each case the Officer had to make a report to the Prinee George northern headquarters "before he could obtain funds to pay the Indians. This meant trappers were paid no money for two or three days. The necessity of re- ceiving funds immediately has already been stressed in Chapter II. A marketing service with a direct feed-back on each trapper's pelts would have several positive effects. It would allow Indians to u t i l i z e outside markets yet s t i l l be paid before the pelts are sold. By having their mis- takes in pelt preparation reported to them, i t would act as a training ground. Some Indian apathy towards trapping i s the result of a lack of marketing f a c i l i t i e s . In many instances they have never had f a i r grading and f a i r value for their furs so they do not know the difference between poorly prepared and well prepared pelts. Even i f they do know the difference, the time taken to prepare pelts care- f u l l y is not f u l l y compensated for by higher prices. If the industry is to be upgraded, f a i r grading of Indian furs i s necessary. Credit f a c i l i t i e s . Por those who are small producers lack of credit is a serious handicap. These people (espe- c i a l l y Indians who lack real property as collateral for a loan) are forced into using local markets. Research into ways to supply credit to trappers i s needed. A credit system would have to he carefully supervised so that i t would not end up as a subsidy program. If i t did become a way of giving cheap welfare, i t should be restricted to assisting those who are genuinely in need. Amalgamation of Indian traplines. The idea of band lines appears to be an efficient way of allocating Indian lines among Indians. In no way does i t restrict the number of persons who trap the area, and the harder working, more competent members w i l l do the majority of the work. Also i t concurs with the Indians 1 sociological preference to trap in groups. Since the family trapping unit i s a phenomenon of the past, the possibility of further amalgamations should be investigated as a means of greater uti l i z a t i o n of the fur resource on Indian li n e s . Allocation of Traplines Between Indians and Non-Indians If efficient development of the fur resource were the only consideration, trapping areas should go to the most ef- ficient producers, be they Indian or non-Indian. Efficiency in overall development may however dictate the necessity of setting certain areas aside for Indian use. Until the ques- tion of Indian rights i s c l a r i f i e d , l i t t l e can be done about placing Indian traplines under the same management system as non-Indian ones. Ideally this i s what is recommended to satisfy efficiency c r i t e r i a . It would give the provincial government all-inclusive control over the resource, but i t 100 would not prevent the Federal Government from providing the resource to the Indian people free of charge i f thought desirable. If Indian lines are to remain permanently as Indian property, and are not used, a clear agreement should be drawn up among Indians and provincial and federal author- i t i e s , allowing the use of these areas by Indians of another band or non-Indians, for a stated period of time. This could involve a leasing of trapping rights or any other accepted relationship. Since the fur resource is renewable, i f properly managed no harm should come to an Indian trapline which i s temporarily trapped by another person. Transitional Arrangements Since the existing system of management i s of long standing, a new system ( i . e . trapline leases and abolition of royalty payments) would have to be implemented gradually so as not to impose undue hardships on present trappers. Fi r s t , a l l trappers should be notified of the changes. Persons presently trapping should be allowed to hold their traplines under present tenure and royalty arrangements unt i l they die or relinquish their rights, up to a maxi- mum of twenty years. The revised system would go into effect when trappers acquired a trapline under the new arrangements. During the transitional period there would thus be two classifications of trappers. Private trapline holders should be placed on the 101 new system in the following season. A l l lines that have not been trapped at any time for three years should be put up for Grown bid immediately, providing they are well ad- vertised. Even i f i t were possible to place Indian lines under the new system, holders of unused lines should be notified of the possibility of seizure under the new system, and given a year's warning to trap or relinquish their rights. It i s imperative for the success of the auctioning system that the government make immediate, substantial moves to develop effective contact with a l l trappers. An enforced returns and licensing requirement for , a l l trappers should thus be implemented in the following season, and other administrative changes should be introduced as soon as possible. II. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Even i f i t were possible to revise the adminis- trative system completely so maximum possible benefits were generated from the fur resource, the trapping industry might s t i l l remain a depressed industry in the sense that monetary returns to many who trap would be low. The maj- ority of profit-maximizing individuals may turn from the industry, i f they have not already, and go into more pro- fitable lines of employment. However, others w i l l remain, Reasons for this are varied. In Chapter II, motives for t r a p p i n g i n s p i t e of economic l o s s e s were give n . To the ma j o r i t y of t r a p p e r s , there are s u b s t a n t i a l non-pecuniary b e n e f i t s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the a c t i v i t y . Even i f a trapper knows he can earn a higher income elsewhere, he may s t i l l p r e f e r to t r a p . For t h i s reason, the economist who f a i l s to consider the p s y c h o l o g i c a l s a t i s f a c t i o n a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t r a p p i n g , may always c l a s s i f y the i n d u s t r y as s i c k . A l l the economist, s o c i o l o g i s t , b i o l o g i s t , and f u r a d m i n i s t r a t o r s together can do to he l p the i n d u s t r y , i s to i d e n t i f y the costs and b e n e f i t s i n v o l v e d , determine the most e f f i c i e n t way to e x p l o i t and u t i l i z e the resource, and while c o n s i d e r i n g the socio-economic needs of the pro- ducers, provide f o r a system of management which w i l l s a t i s - f y an economic e f f i c i e n c y o b j e c t i v e , compromising where necessary to serve worthwhile secondary o b j e c t i v e s . In view of the l i m i t e d e d u c a t i o n a l background of many t r a p p e r s , i t i s c r u c i a l that r e g u l a t i o n s be c l e a r l y defined and simple to understand. Above a l l , a degree of f l e x i b i l i t y i s needed so that those who wish to t r a p are able to do so w i t h con- s i d e r a b l e freedom of a c t i o n , subject to a d m i n i s t r a t i v e i n c e n t i v e s f o r economic e f f i c i e n c y . For a more comprehensive and exacting study, an exchange of op i n i o n among a team of s p e c i a l i s t s ( p r o f e s s i o n - a l s and f i e l d men) from various d i s c i p l i n e s , would be r e q u i r e d . This study represents one economist's approach towards the i n d u s t r y and hence l a c k s a p r a c t i c a l knowledge of the f e a s i 103 b i l i t y of suggested a l t e r n a t i v e arrangements. The extent of the study has been hampered by a l a c k of r e l i a b l e i n - formation and data. Nevertheless, by drawing together i s o l a t e d fragments of inf o r m a t i o n and c r i t i c a l l y a n a l y s i n g a d m i n i s t r a t i v e arrangements, i t has pointed out the i n - adequacies of the present system, and paved the way f o r more s p e c i f i c r esearch. The b a s i c observation upon which t h i s t h e s i s began was the hypothesis t h a t the present t r a p p i n g i n d u s t r y i s " s i c k " . Evidence has been given to support t h i s hypothe- s i s , and other problems a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the i n d u s t r y have been i d e n t i f i e d . Although many of the problems are a r e s u l t of e x t e r n a l changes w i t h i n the r e s t of the economy, n e i t h e r trappers nor a d m i n i s t r a t o r s have been adopting p o l i c i e s which w i l l maximize b e n e f i t s from the resource. P u b l i c f u r management p o l i c y i s geared almost s o l e l y towards the resource and f a i l s to consider the needs and problems of the primary producers. Government measures could be taken i n order to help m i t i g a t e these problems. Thus i t appears government a d m i n i s t r a t o r s should study the i n d u s t r y , c l e a r l y d e fine t h e i r g o a l s , and devise measures of management that w i l l implement t h e i r o b j e c t i v e s . In the f i n a l chapter t h e r e f o r e , some suggestions have been made on ways i n which management could be reformed i n order to increase b e n e f i t s to be had from the resource. The p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t the t r a p p i n g i n d u s t r y w i l l once again become a commercial activity capable of sup- porting large numbers of persons is unimaginable, but through proper management i t w i l l remain. In the future i t may increasingly become a recreational activity, or i t may remain both recreational and commercial. Whatever course i t may take, i t should be managed with knowledge and foresight so that maximum possible benefits w i l l be generated from Bri t i s h Columbia's fur resource. BIBLIOGRAPHY A. BOOKS Bain, Joe S. Industrial Organization. Few York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1959. Pp. 406-57. Hawthorn, H.B., et a l . The Indians of British Columbia: A Study of Contemporary S.ocial Adjustment. [Toronto] "~ University of Toronto Press, 1958. Pp. 100-6. Innis, H.A. The Fur-Trade of Canada. Toronto: Oxford Univers- i t y Press, 1927* 172 pp. B. BOOKS: PARTS OF SERIES Bowden, G., and P.H. Pearse. Non-Resident Big Game Hunting and the Guiding Industry i n British Columbia: An Economic Study. Economics of Wildlife and Conservation Series, No. 2. ["Vancouver, B.C., e. 1968]. Fuchs, Victor R. The Economics of the Fur Industry. Columbia Studies i n the Social Sciences, No. 593. New York: Colum- bia University Press, 1957. 168 pp. C. PUBLICATIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT, LEARNED SOCIETIES, AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS British Columbia. Bureau of Economics and Statistics. Department of Industry, Trade, and Commerce. British Columbia Facts and Statistics: 1968. Vol. XXI. Victoria, 1948- British Columbia. Department of Recreation and Conservation. Fish and Wildlife Branch. British Columbia Trapping Regulations. 1966/67 - 1968/69. Victoria: A. Sutton, Queen's Printer . British Columbia. Statutes, 1966. "Wildlife Act", c. 55. Victoria: A. Sutton, Queen's Printer, 1966. 106 Buckley, Helen. Trapping and Fishing i n the Economy of North- ern Saskatchewan. Saskatoon: Research Division, Centre for Community Studies, University of Saskatchewan, 1962. 189 pp. Buckley, Helen, _et a l . The Indians and Metis of Northern Saskatchewan: A Report on Economic and Social Development. Saskatoon: Centre for Community Studies, 1963. 114 pp. Canada. Dominion Bureau of Statistics. Canada Year Book, 1963/64, 1967. Ottawa: Queen's Printer, Annual. . Fur Production, 1919/20 - 1966/67. Manitoba. Committee on Manitoba's Economic Future. Manitoba 1962-1975. Report to the Government of Manitoba. Win- nipeg, 1963. Pp. v-5-1 to v-5-8.. Manitoba. Department of Mines and Natural Resources. Wildlife Branch. The Manitoba Trappers' Guide to Better Quality Fur. 2d ed. Winnipeg, 1965. 112 pp. Melven, J. The Fur Industry of Manitoba. Winnipeg: Economic Survey Board, Province of Manitoba, 1938. Ontario. Department of Lands and Forest. Fish and Wildlife Branch. Trapline Management Section. Trapper's Manual on Handling Furs, [n.p., n.d.]. 88 pp. Tanner, Adrian. Trappers, Hunters and Fishermen: Wildlife U t i l i z a t i o n i n the Yukon Territory. Yukon Research Project Series, No. 5. Ottawa: Northern Co-ordination and Research Centre, Department of Northern Affairs and Natur- a l Resources, 1966. Pp. 13-39, 75. D. PERIODICALS Pearse, P.H. "Public Management and Mismanagement of Natural Resources i n Canada,'' Queen's Quarterly, LXXIII (Spring, 1966), 86-99. Prentice, Arthur C. "Fur Trends and P o s s i b i l i t i e s , " Canadian Fur Trade Annual. V (April, 1964), 35. Scott, A.D. "Development of the Extractive Industries," Canadian Journal of Economics and P o l i t i c a l Science, XXVIII (February, 1962), 70-87. 107 VanStone, James W. "Changing Patterns of Indian Trapping in the Canadian Subarctic," Arctic: Journal of the Arctic Institute of North America. XVI (September, T 9 S 3 ) , 159-73. E. ARTICLES IN COLLECTIONS Pearse, P.H. "Natural Resource Policies i n British Columbia: An Economist's Critique," Exploiting Our Economic Potential: Public Policy and the Bri t i s h Columbia Economy, Ron Shearer, editor. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Ltd., 1968. Pp. 45-57. Scott, A.D. "Policy for Declining Regions: A Theoretical Approach," Areas of Economic Stress i n Canada, D. Woods, editor. Queen's University, 1965. Pp. 73-93. Loughrey, A.G. "The Economics of the Pur Industry i n Canada," Resources for Tomorrow, I I . Vol. I-III, + supplement. Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1961. Pp. 845-56. P. ENCYCLOPEDIA ARTICLES Lanceley, W.H. "Pur Production and Conservation," Encyclo- pedia Canadiana, IV, 301-6. Ottawa: The Canadiana Co., 196*57 G. UNPUBLISHED MATERIALS Bri t i s h Columbia. Department of Recreation and Conservation. Pish and Wildlife Branch. "Pur Management Activity Report, 1963/64." Victoria, 1964. (Typed.) i . "Regulations Covering the Registration of Traplines." Victoria, n.d. (Mimeographed.) Kendall, R., and W.A. McKay. "A Report on the 1963 B.C. Pur Resources Study," Report published by the two authors, representatives of the Indian Affairs Branch and Pish and Game Branch, respectively, July 24, 1963. Brit i s h Columbia Registered Trappers' Association. Minutes from annual conventions, 1965-69. (Mimeographed.) 108 Moore, A.M. Mimeographed lecture notes. Saskatchewan Raw Pur Dealers* Association. "Submission to the Honourable J.H. Brockelbank, Minister of Natural Resources and Industrial Development." Saskatchewan, n.d. (Typed.) APPENDICES APPENDIX A 110 METHOD OP COMPUTING INCOME STATISTICS POR NON-INDIAN TRAPPERS Income data for non-Indian trappers presented i n this thesis were derived i n the following manner. A total of 828 trapping return forms for the 1967/68 season were obtained from the Pish and Wildlife Branch of the Department of Recre- ation and Conservation of the provincial government. In order to obtain a sample of returns, these forms were categorized by- zones, and every second form was selected, making a total of 414. Prom the total sample, an "effective sample" for each zone was made by eliminating a l l incomplete forms and those which recorded no trapping activity. The break-down of the number of returns for each zone through the selection process: was as followsJ COASTAL SOUTH-KOQTENAY CENTRAL NORTHERN' Number of Returns 174 . 276 182 196 Total Sample 87 138 91 98 Effective Sample 43 99 67 82 A l l returns for the effective sample were taken, and the number and species of animals harvested by each trapper were multiplied by the provincial average value for each species minus the royalty. The resulting statistics were grouped into broad income classes by zones. Since provincial average value figures are based on prices at the auction level of marketing, they overestimate I l l prices received by persons who s e l l their pelts locally. Quality variations, hence price variations are great, so that average values are not representative for those trappers who s e l l either the lowest or highest qualities of particular fur- bearers. Nevertheless, i n spite of these problems, income stat i s t i c s derived through the use of trappers* returns and provincial average prices, are indicative of the range and v a r i a b i l i t y of trapping income for non-Indians. APPENDIX B 112 PUR STATISTICS TABLE XIII TOTAL WILD PUR PRODUCTION, BRITISH COLUMBIA, 1943/44 - 1967/68 SEASON NUMBER OP PELTS 1943/44 664,818 1944/45 678,336 1945/46 579,285 1946/47 726,210 1947/48 590,802 1948/49 501,527 1949/50 472,441 1950/51 597,133 1951/52 595,285 1952/53 445,382 1953/54 400,127 1954/55 424,592 1955/56 306,809 1956/57 255,020 1957/58 313,390 1958/59 244,709 1959/60 537,722 1960/61 467,325 1961/62 291,746 1962/63 312,396 1963/64 158,268 1964/65 244,070 1965/66 146,332 1966/67 181,941 1967/68 162,611 Source: 1943/44 to 1965/66 from DBS, Pur Production; 1966/67 to 1967/68 from provincial records of the Pish and Wildlife Branch, Department of Recreation and Conservation, Victoria, B.C. 113'. TABLE XIV AVERAGE PRICES, THREE MAJOR SPECIES, BRITISH COLUMBIA, 1927/28 - 1965/66 SEASON 1927/28 1928/29 1929/30 1930/31 1931/32 1932/33 1933/34 1934/35 1935/36 1936/37 1937/38 1938/39 1939/40 1940/41 1941/42 1942/43 1943/44 1944/45 1945/46 1946/47 1947/48 1948/49 1949/50 1950/51 1951/52 1952/53 1953/54 1 9 5 4 / 5 5 1955/56 1956/57 1957/58 1958/59 1959/60 1960/61 1961/62 1962/63 1963/64 1 9 6 4 / 6 5 1965/66 BEAVER LYNX MINK $24.99 $42.02 $11.72 ' 26.95 52.33 15.95 18.18 46.72 6.12 12.00 25.00 5.00 : 9.00 25.00 5.50 i 10.00 22.00 8.00 10.00 25.00 10.00 8.50 30.00 8.00 i ' . 12.00 35.00 15.00 13.00 40.00 21.00 > 10.00 35.00 12.00 i 18.10 41.00 10.00 i 19.90 41.73 7.04 24.75 46.15 10.95 ! 24.60 43.48 11.04 i 31.00 45.00 11.00, 33.70 53.50 17.80* i 38.00 44.00 21.00 i 52.00 38.00 27.00 28.00 26.00 17.29 i 30.00 20.00 16.26 ' 17.00 11.00 20.00 21.95 8.90 19.60 22.21 12.33 16.80 : 12.33 4.35 15.89 i 13.92 5.15 15.85 10.43 3.25 13.46 i 16.09 5.15 18.61 10.44 6.12 16.19 10.50 6.76 11.00 i 9.24 7.58 10.25 9.84 12.52 11.27 12.00 16.00 14.00 10.10 9.00 9.00 11.50 8.73 10.19 13.18 13.53 10.31 13.46 13.75 10.65 11.71 20.27 12.19 15.50 35.00 9.75 Sources DBS, Pur Production. Wild and domestic species to 1 9 4 3 / 4 4 , wild mink only, thereafter; standard mink, 1948/49 to 1957/58; a l l mink species, 1958/59 to 1965/66. 114 APPENDIX C A METHOD OP RETAINING ROYALTIES WHILE DECREASING THEIR NEGATIVE FEATURES. Royalties could "be reduced to nominal amounts, applic- able to a few broad classifications of fur-bearers. When a trapper sends i n a complete record of a l l animals he has trap- ped i n a particular season, he could be refunded 50 per cent of a l l royalty he has paid on the pelts. To prevent a person from reporting more animals than he has trapped, receipts of a l l fur sales would have to accompany his statement, and fur buyers would have to be required to keep good records of a l l furs purchased. The yearly partial refund of royaltyjpaid would act as an incentive for men to report a l l fur-bearers harvested, while the reduction of the i n i t i a l payments should lead to less eva- sion of the original reporting. Nevertheless, unless a royalty system i s the only workable method of collecting data, i t should be totally abol- ished. The second-best solution presented here i s both time- consuming and unwieldy.


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