Funding for all core fishers: PEIFA
President Bobby Jenkins says applications should be ready in two weeks
The president of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association says all core fishermen will be able to access the funding announced last week. Bobby Jenkins is talking about the announcement made in Pooles Corner where federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc joined a variety of P.E.I. politicians to give Island lobster fishermen $2.4 million to install new storage and handling equipment on their vessels.
It’s designed to keep the lobsters fresher and healthier.
“It’s open to all core fishers on P.E.I. so if there’s a core fisher out there without a lobster licence and he needs insulated boxes, say, for halibut or herring or something like that, that can be addressed, too,’’ Jenkins said.
Jenkins said applications should be ready within the next two weeks and, while he’s not sure if those who have already purchased equipment can qualify for funding, money is available for upgrades. Fishermen qualify for a maximum of $3,000 each.
Jenkins said it’s all about ensuring the best product hits the market.
“We’re hearing from a lot of the lobster buyers right now that it’s quality, quality, quality, so anything we can do to address the quality of the lobster, that’s what we want to do.’’
Jenkins said the catches are bigger now than they used to be and the water is warming up a lot faster and staying warmer a lot longer into the fall. Storage equipment is needed to cool the lobsters down.
“The lobster is weaker when it comes out of warm water, so we want to get it into an insulated box as soon as it comes aboard the boat and get some ice on it so the quality is way better when it gets to the wharf.’’
Lobster fisherman Charlie McGeoghegan said, depending on where he’s fishing, the trip back to the wharf could be up to 12 hours.
“In order to keep them that long, you have to keep them chilled, and insulated tanks with ice is the best way to do that,’’ McGeoghegan said.
“It’s all going to help, and anything we can do to help the price is a good thing.’’
The fishermen also talked about a couple of pieces of equipment that would help keep the lobsters cool but noted that, for example, a canopy that extends back and keeps the lobsters in the shade runs about $4,000 alone so any funding is a big help.