May 22, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - A federal program to support this region's struggling lobster industry is worrying because it fails to provide direct aid to fishermen, Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet said today. He was responding to a program unveiled by his federal counterpart, Gail Shea.
"We welcome the additional funding that Ottawa is prepared to invest in marketing and promoting the region's high-quality seafood products," said Doucet. "However, this long-term initiative is overshadowed by the immediate challenges of lobster fishermen in our region who are getting significantly less this season for their catches."
Representatives of various fishermen's organizations met with Shea in Moncton on Friday, May 15. They expressed concern about the negative effects that the economic slowdown is having on lobster prices. They called for government intervention.
"Fishermen have identified adjustments to employment insurance as one possible way to offset anticipated revenue losses, but this is clearly the jurisdiction of the federal government," said Doucet, who noted that New Brunswick is limited in its ability to offer direct support to fishermen.
A delegation of provincial fisheries ministers from Eastern Canada are organizing meetings with federal ministers. The delegation will make a case for stronger federal intervention in both short- and long-term solutions for the fishing industry.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Paul Harpelle, communications, Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, 506-444-4218; Ashley Bursey, communications, Department of Fisheries, 506-457-3549.