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