Syd­ney-Vic­to­ria MP says aid pack­age for lob­ster fish­er­men fell short

Cape Breton Post - - NORTHSIDE/VICTORIA - BY JULIE COLLINS

wharves and from other MPs is that the up­take is slow and all the money hasn’t been used,” Eyk­ing said. “I’ve al­ready writ­ten to the fisheries min­is­ter and brought it up in the House of Com­mon, but I can’t get at the min­is­ter to press for more help for th­ese fish­er­men be­cause par­lia­ment is pro­rogued.”

Eyk­ing said young lob­ster har­vesters are the hard­est hit, adding that de­spite mas­sive in­vest­ment in boats and li­censes, those new to the in­dus­try don't qual­ify be­cause they didn't hold a li­cense in 2008.

“There should be some way this aid pro­gram could be re­vamped,” he said. “My staff is presently work­ing on get­ting the num­bers on who has been ap­proved, who hasn’t, the age group and in­for­ma­tion on ex­actly how the pro­gram was ad­min­is­tered.”

Now that the pro­gram has ended, Eyk­ing wants the min­is­ter of fisheries to re­visit the pro­gram and dis­trib­ute the funds that weren’t used to peo­ple who didn’t qual­ify be­cause of a tech­ni­cal­ity.

“This aid is sup­posed to be for fish­er­men in trou­ble and there are still a lot who are in se­ri­ous trou­ble. Fish­er­men are com­ing to my of­fice telling me they lost the qual­i­fi­ca­tion ei­ther be­cause of a date or the amount they caught, some­times within a cou­ple of hun­dred pounds.”

Eyk­ing said the only thing the ap­pli­cants should have had to prove in or­der to qual­ify, is that they fished.

“Some peo­ple are on the verge of los­ing ev­ery­thing and I be­lieve the fisheries min­is­ter should re­visit the pro­gram to see what can be done to help.”

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