The P.E.I. government had to end its relationship with the P.E.I. Shellfish Association for an oyster enhancement program, it says, because the association was unable to supply necessary documentation from the 2016 program.

The association had for years been operating a program that spread oyster spat on public shellfish beds. But its funding was cut this year, and the province is now looking for a new contractor to perform the service.

Former directors of the association have complained the province cut its funding after disagreements over how the program was running and other industry issues.

In a news release Wednesday morning, the government said it could not finalize the 2016 Shellfish Enhancement Program contract, because the P.E.I. Shellfish Association did not provide required invoices and cancelled cheques.

The government noted with any contract that involves the spending of public funds, the department requires documentation that indicates that the public funds were spent on the activities covered by the contract. It said department representatives met with the association board and accounting authorities a number of times to try to address the issue.

The government also said it was trying to have the association take charge of monitoring the effectiveness of the program, and provided funding in 2016, but the association did not sign the contract and the monitoring did not happen.

Consultation on new program

The department will be seeking input on seed spreading locations from members of the industry, who will also be invited to observe the enhancement activities when they occur.

An independent monitoring body will assess the effectiveness of the enhancement activities, the news release said.

CBC News reached out to the P.E.I. Shellfish Association for comment, but didn't immediately receive a response.