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Fishermen who pay their dues are eligible to buy fuel for their boats at a discounted price. (CBC)

The P.E.I. government has sent a letter to 82 fishermen saying if they don't pay an annual fee to the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association, they'll lose their fuel tax exemption.

The letter advises the fishermen that because they have not paid their dues their permit for discounted fuel has been revoked.

For years P.E.I. has had legislation that says fishermen can get a tax break on fuel they use to run their boats, but only if they pay a $105 annual fee to the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association. Those rules have never been enforced, but the Fishermen's Association has been lobbying for enforcement for years.

Montague fisherman Dan MacKinnon got a letter from the province's finance department saying if he doesn't pay up he'll lose the tax break. Currently, he's still thinking he'd rather not pay the association dues.

"I guess I'll have to pay regular price for my fuel," said MacKinnon.

"I think it's really stupid. The only thing the PEIFA does is break the bad news that the Department of Fisheries has to tell us."

Finance Minister Wes Sheridan said the association is working on a number of important issues for fishermen.

"I think that it's the proper time, there's an awful lot of consultation over the last year and a half. A lot of talk inside the association," said Sheridan.

"They decided, they took a vote, and they decided inside their association that they would have everyone pay."

The fuel tax break is about 15 cents per litre. Farmers are also eligible for the discounted fuel, but the province doesn't have any plans to enforce association membership rules for them right now.

For mobile device users: Should fishermen have to belong to an association to get a discounted price on fuel?