PEI

P.E.I. Shellfish Association director, president, some board members resign

A now former director of the Prince Edward Island Shellfish Association says he, the president and a few other board members have resigned.

Former member cites frustration with the provincial government for resignation

A spokesperson for the P.E.I. government says the province didn't provide funding to the association this year because it's decided to run the program on its own. (Submitted by Jacob Dockendorff)

A now former director of the Prince Edward Island Shellfish Association says he, the president and a few other board members have resigned.

Former director Stan Casey said the resignations were out of frustration with the provincial government.

For years, the province has provided funding to the association to run a program that enhances P.E.I.'s wild oyster fishery. 

Casey said after a few disagreements with the province over the handling of the program and other industry issues, the funding dried up. 

'We're all volunteers'

 "It was getting too much," he said. "We're all volunteers. The only reason I took on this job was to help the wild oyster fishermen of Prince Edward Island."

Casey said without the government funding and resources, the association hasn't been able to carry out one of the program's main activities: collecting juvenile oysters from its biological station in Bideford River, P.E.I., which are then spread on public oyster beds around the island. 

"We couldn't open the station or anything — you can't expect the fishermen to take the time away from fishing to go down and enhance the waters when the government's supposed to pay for the workers," Casey said.

Government takes over program

A spokesperson for the P.E.I. government told CBC News the province didn't provide funding to the association this year because it's decided to run the program on its own. 

The spokesperson wouldn't provided details on why government has taken over the program, or how it will be run differently, except to say "for this year, [the province] thought it was a more effective approach."

'The sneakiest way they could ever do it'

Casey said part of his frustration is that the province didn't inform the shellfish association about its plans.

"Why didn't they sit down with us and say 'this is what we're planning on doing?'" he said.

"They did it the sneakiest way they could ever do it."

The province said it will likely be some time this fall before it starts its enhancement work. 

According to the spokesperson, an independent third party will monitor the program to see how well it runs. 

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