Funding for all core fish­ers: PEIFA

Pres­i­dent Bobby Jenk­ins says ap­pli­ca­tions should be ready in two weeks

Journal Pioneer - - COMMUNITY - BY DAVE STE­WART news­room@jour­

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.

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