"What's the hold up?"

Teresa Wright
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MLAs want to know what MacKinley has done to help P.E.I.'s struggling lobster industry.

Ron MacKinley is minister of fisheries in Prince Edward Island.

Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley will soon have to explain to both Liberal and Tory MLAs what he has done to help the Island’s struggling lobster industry.

The provincial Standing Committee on Fisheries and Rural Development met this morning in Charlottetown to decide their work plan for the coming months.

Several MLAs brought up the ongoing crisis in the lobster industry and suggested ideas the committee could investigate that could help the fishery.

Government backbench MLA Buck Watts cited his frustration over the fact two reports have long been completed that include a number of recommendations on how to help the industry, yet none of these recommendations have yet been implemented.

“The ideas are there, there’s a lot of good ideas, but it takes too long to follow up to implement the ideas,” Watts said.

He pointed specifically to a one-cent per pound levy for lobster marketing, which both industry reports recommended.

“They should be collecting that this year, but they’re not,” Watts said.

“What’s the hold up? Jeez, why aren’t they collecting it? Because every year you lose, you’re a year further behind.”

He suggested MacKinley be once again called to appear before the committee to provide an update on the implementation of the two reports' recommendations.

His colleagues from both sides of the House, agreed.

The fisheries minister was called to the same committee in February to provide a similar update at that time on how he has helped address lobster fishery concerns.

MacKinley has repeatedly stated he is in favour of initiatives such as a lobster levy and better pricing mechanisms, but that industry must lead changes to the fishery, not government.

Nonetheless, the fisheries committee wants to find out what MacKinley has done to move things along.

“There were some great suggestions that came out those reports but what has been done?” said Opposition Leader Steven Myers.

“I’m sure there has been stuff done, but the problem is that we don’t necessarily know, the industry doesn’t necessarily know. How do we get answers?”

Deputy house speaker Paula Biggar agreed.

“I don’t think there’s any reason we shouldn’t expect to have an update on that,” she said.

The committee also plans to call the executive director of the Seafood Processor’s Association, Dennis King, as well as Innovation Minister Allen Roach to explore the issue of a shortage of workers at local lobster processing plants. 

Organizations: Standing Committee on Fisheries, Rural Development

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Seafood Processor

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Recent comments

  • don
    June 14, 2014 - 18:18

    can anyone tell me when are they calling in the police to find wes and ronnie they are missing?

  • country boy
    June 14, 2014 - 10:40

    PEI has one of the highest rates of unemployment and we can't find enough workers for the fish plants. Take them off EI and see how fast workers will show up asking for work. EI was designed for people who lost their jobs and NO other work was available...EI should never be a career choice....

  • brady Creed
    June 14, 2014 - 02:16

    Maritime wide daily quota problem is not only on PEI there is not enough processing ability anymore to handle the supply plus lack of workers..Over supply only so much can be shipped daily ,no holding tanks .Binns govt decimated the processing ability here on PEI .In 1988 Pei processed what was landed this may on PEI .6 plants in kings county thanks to Mike Currie and Newfies are now gone .Equipment put in those plants by the taxpayer was hauled away at night to Newfoundland.Plants not a penny .Penny won't do anything its a oversupply problem .

    • Teacher
      June 14, 2014 - 08:56

      Brady, proofread your writing before you push the submit button. Unacceptable!!

    • Crickfisher
      June 14, 2014 - 09:00

      Scalloping on your lobster bottom is like using your stewpot for a toilet. Same mentality.

      June 14, 2014 - 10:32

      brady Creed.... I see you are drinking the Kool-Aid. Who says there is not enough processing plants or no TFW available. This is all hyperbole and everyone is falling for it because they have no idea what is wrong. The simple answer is there is no market for these lobsters. If it was a case of not enough processing, lobsters would be in short supply and be worth $6.00 to $7.00 a pound, but they are not, in fact the price keeps going down. Please do a little research b4 submitting a comment.

  • Now Really
    June 14, 2014 - 02:14

    Small business get jack all for assistance and the fisherman make over 100 k in 2 months plus the 2 claims of EI and yet ask the government to do their work,lol. Most people do not know that if a fisherman makes say 15 k gross by June 1 st he summits a Summer EI claim,then as he continues to fish after that he clams the money earned.The money made after June 1 then goes toward a winter EI claim.So most will have more than enough money made by June 30 th for both claims.Then the fun starts,the fisher goes to EI July 1 st to claim his Summer claim,does the 2 week wait and has a full EI check waiting at the end of July.This goes on until Dec 15 th when the Summer claim comes to a end.After this the Fisherman applies for the winter claim Dec 15,has to wait the 2 weeks and by the end of Dec has another full pogey check,this then continues until they start fishing lobster the next year.Pretty good scheme making about $ 400 or more clear every week,and still crying for the government to help,no other business would be allowed this,if you think this is a false statement contact your local EI and they will tell you the same. BooHoo pass the hat to the poor fisherman.

  • Fisherman
    June 13, 2014 - 22:10

    Right now we are experiencing record catches and the price is only down a dollar from a good one. If these young guys can't make their payment, maybe it's a sign you are not cut out to be a fisherman. I don't think Finance PEI should be letting these fishers going without paying. They should be auctioned off so someone can pay the loan and contribute to our economy.

  • Disgusted taxpayer
    June 13, 2014 - 22:00

    Why can't the Guardian or CBC report on all the dilinquent loans at Finance PEI. I'm quite sure the public is entitled to know how our tax dollars are being spent. There's lots of money for the material things in these fishermans lives, but no payments are being made!!!

  • The sceptic
    June 13, 2014 - 16:57

    What are they talking about I have a friend with 33,000 Lb catch and a better price than last year .They are very happy and talking about new trucks . One of them is already over $110 K in lobster sales so far with a Half month left to fish .

  • Al
    June 13, 2014 - 16:55

    Why does Ronnie have to sell the fish,gov should stay out of the fishery.

  • Al
    June 13, 2014 - 16:51

    Why does Ronnie have to sell the fish,gov should stay out of the fishery.

  • Why would he do anything?
    June 13, 2014 - 15:19

    Government should not be in business of doing business at all. It is up to fishermen and fish processors to make this industry succeed or fail - it should nothing to do with Ron MacKinley unless he cares to do it in his own, unpaid/vacation time.

    • Really?
      June 13, 2014 - 17:47

      What do you suggest mckinley do to earn his salary then? What do you thing the job of the MINISTER OF FISHERIES should be?

  • WTF
    June 13, 2014 - 14:55

    Good Greif ! Mike Curries right hand man when Polar Foods was hatched is involved in the fishery again ! Lord help us all .

  • Giving up
    June 13, 2014 - 14:27

    This has been going on to long as young fishermen have no money to pay their bill...Last year they should of froze their loans with the Lending Agency..A lot of fishermen just picked up more debt 0n interest....so there is no help what so ever from the Gov....There's not going to be many young guys left in this industry unless they get so help....Ronnie's got to go.....

    • don
      June 13, 2014 - 16:40

      there must be some in cornwall that can run against ronnie? or is the voters scared to vote this fake minister out? i agree ghiz and the gang should not be in this but the bully must have control over everything. you all know what a bully is? next they will be in your bedroom telling you what to do.

    • Accountant
      June 13, 2014 - 21:50

      Freeze loans??!! You have to be kidding! The fishermen have enjoyed low interest loans as well as a lot of years where they didn't make their payment. One fisherman in Georgetown has had a delinquent loan for 10 years now!!! He never even paid the interest!! In your next breathe you'll want the loans wrote off lol!! It's time to start living with the rest of the world.Take the sunglasses off and walk up the wharf and talk to some ordinary islanders. There's no sympathy for foolish spending and poor business practices.

    • WTF
      June 15, 2014 - 14:10

      If what accountant says is true people at Finance PEI must go not just this fisherman !

  • What a Minister!!!!!
    June 13, 2014 - 14:12

    It will not take McKinley long to tell the committee what he has done for the lobster industry; about one to two minutes! However; it will take him a lot longer to bad mouth all the members on the committee!! What a Minister of the crown to represent PEI fishermen at any meeting; especially out of province meetings!!!!!

  • don
    June 13, 2014 - 13:22

    ronnie has to wait ill he is told what to say, plus he is still finishing off last weeks lobsters free meal. we all know he knows nothing about the job he has but then he never did in the past 150 years.