Low-interest loan expands to all lobster fishermen
'Takes pressure off' P.E.I. fishermen, says association president
The Fishers Low-Interest Loan Program will be expanded to include those lobster fishermen who fish in area 25, in the western part of P.E.I., the province announced Wednesday.
This ensures all Island lobster fishermen can take part in the program, which helps offset financial difficulties due to rising costs, low landings and low shore prices.
In an ideal world, the loan program wouldn't be needed because fishermen would be making enough money, said Mike McGeoghegan, president of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association.
However, the announcement comes as welcome news, he said.
"Well it will just take the pressure off. I mean, if you got properly paid you wouldn't have to be going to the government to get propped up like that. Fishermen don't want that. They want to get paid for their product," said McGeoghegan.
"It keeps you from going under right? So that's the thing, it just takes the hardness off it."
The province is working closely with industry to bring in key recommendations from recent lobster reports in an effort to bring up lobster prices, said Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley.
But expanding this program provides immediate relief for fishermen facing financial hardship, he said.
Finance P.E.I. is also extending the interest rate of four per cent for existing clients under the program for an additional year, so that fishermen will get the lower interest rate for a total of seven years instead of six.