Minister calls for increased investments in marine infrastructure
Major investments in Prince Edward Island wharves and harbours are needed to support the growing needs of fishers and aquaculturalists.
Fisheries and Communities Minister Jamie Fox is calling on the federal government to significantly increase funding for the Small Craft Harbours program. “Small Craft Harbours are a federal responsibility and if they are to properly meet their responsibility, they need to provide more funding.”
A report of the federal Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans released in February 2109 identified several shortfalls in the program. The report said the annual funding required to keep fishing harbours in good working condition is estimated to be $150 million but the average annual budget is approximately half of that.
“With changes in the fishery, including overcrowding because of larger boats, the continued growth of the aquaculture industry and the impacts of climate change on sea levels, we need to more than double the amount of budget available for the Small Craft Harbours program,” said Minister Fox. “Keeping our marine infrastructure in good shape is critical for the growth and development of the marine sector, which is a key economic driver for rural communities.”
Minister Fox is also calling for a review of the Small Craft Harbours program. He said the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has a mandate to provide infrastructure for wharves and harbours and they need to engage with all stakeholders to improve this essential program.
“It is time that they review this mandate and be provided proper funding to recognize the impacts of climate change and growing sectors such as aquaculture and an evolving commercial fishery,” he said.
There are approximately 44 active fishing harbours in Prince Edward Island.