June 26, 2013
For immediate release
Province committed to re-examining Low Interest Loan Program for fishers
Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development
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“Our commitment to re-examine the terms of the Low Interest Loan Program, and look at lobster prices and volumes before determining how best to help fishers, has not changed,” said the minister. “We have been following landings closely over the spring season and we are reviewing the request from the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association to assist fishers through the Low Interest Program with Finance PEI.”
Board members of the PEIFA met with government in May after fishers tied up their boats because of low lobster prices. Fishers requested financial consideration due to potential difficulty making loan payments to Finance PEI.
The Low Interest Loan Program is unique in Atlantic Canada. It began in 2007 and was designed to build strength and sustainability in the lobster fishery. Loans were provided at an interest rate of four percent for a term of six years. It has been reopened twice to include more applicants. The program has supported 275 fishers with loans totalling more than $40 million.
“Work to examine factors affecting lobster prices in Atlantic Canada is ongoing,” said Minister MacKinley. “Prince Edward Island’s former Auditor General Colin Younker is examining pricing structures in the industry, and I am continuing to meet with Maritime Fisheries Ministers and Federal Minister Keith Ashfield to discuss the current situation in the lobster fishery. I also met with Maine Senator Roger Sherman and Maine Canada Trade Ombudsman Daniel Deveau to discuss the issue. We are all committed to the long-term viability of the lobster fishery.”
Maritime Fisheries Ministers recently named a three-member panel to examine the factors affecting lobster prices in Atlantic Canada. The panel will report back to the Ministers in September.