© TC Media photo by Darrell Cole
P.E.I. Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley answers questions from the media following a meeting of fisheries ministers in Amherst, N.S. on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 in this Guardian file photo.
Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley is a “failure” for his complete absence on the rapidly expanding crisis in the lobster fishery, which saw boat quotas established and some fishermen unable to sell their catch at all this week, says PC Fisheries Critic Colin LaVie.
“Even though the fishery is spiraling back to where we were in May 2013, the minister is nowhere to be found,” said LaVie. “He has offered no guidance or solutions while the fishery flounders in a major crisis.”
LaVie referred to reports that processors are facing a labour shortage, which is contributing to a backlog of lobster at the plants.
“If this is true, then Minister MacKinley has failed both fishers and processors. He sat on $4.5 million in Rural Development money, which could have been directed to assisting rural Islanders get to work in our processing sector, or to assist processors to bring Islanders into the labour force. Instead, the minister let $4.5 million dollars in rural development funding lapse, and look where we ended up.”
Just for once, Lavie said, MacKinley needs to listen to fishermen and processors.
“It is time for the minister to either come out of hiding and take his job seriously, or turn it over to someone who will.”