Ron MacKinley blasted for not helping lobster industry

As another spring lobster season draws near, the Conservative opposition is pointing fingers at the province, accusing the Liberals of inaction to prevent a repeat of last year’s crisis.

Lobster price dropped to $3 per pound last spring

Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley was blasted by opposition MLAs for inaction when it comes to the province' lobster industry.

As another spring lobster season draws near, the Conservative opposition is pointing fingers at the province, accusing the Liberals of inaction to prevent a repeat of last year’s crisis.

Opposition MLAs blasted Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley when he appeared before the legislature's standing committee on fisheries on Tuesday.

"You are spending all your time talking to people. When that didn't work, you created a working group and a steering committee,” Steven Myers, the leader of the opposition, said.

“You are paying people to talk to you because people are sick of listening to you because you are not doing any work."

The million-dollar industry took a heavy blow last year when prices dipped to about $3 per pound.

The price was once again the focus at the standing committee on Tuesday when MacKinley was asked about the upcoming season.

He said he doesn’t know yet, but he remains optimistic.

“If you look at the weather situation and the Canadian dollar versus the U.S dollar, that's a plus," he told the committee.

There has been an independent review of the province's lobster industry and a Maritime lobster panel has been established. Both suggest there needs to be strong leadership within the industry.

The reports also recommend a marketing levy on every pound of lobster caught, as well as a mechanism to establish a price before fishermen go out on the water.

Colin Lavie, MLA for Souris-Elmira, said he wasn’t impressed by MacKinley’s response.

“This minister has done absolutely nothing for the industry on PEI," he told CBC News.

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