In the early 1900s, tours running from Vancouver to Bowen Island took place aboard steamers operated by J.A. Cates, manager of the Terminal Steamship Company. They would frequently stop to watch members of a population of approximately 100 humpback whales inhabiting the Strait of Georgia and Howe Sound. Although a whaling fleet using boats with oars and sails and hand-thrown harpoons sporadically hunted this population as early as the 1860s, the modern hunting techniques available by 1907 quickly began to decimate the population. In 1907, Captain Cates wrote his Member of Parliament in protest of the Pacific Whaling Company's hunting of humpback whales in Howe Sound. He wrote: "It is only natural to say that everything that lives should be allowed a certain amount of protection and I might say that by the extermination of these whales from the waters of Howe Sound it would seriously interfere with our Local Trade as during each year there are hundreds of tourists and others from all over the world who come to Vancouver and engage passage on our boats especially to see the whales in Howe Sound." The language of Cates' letter is remarkable in its modern tone and call for conservation.