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Strong Uptake of Lobster Loan

CANADA - A low interest loan program for lobster fishermen has proved popular with shellfish men on south side of Prince Edward Island.

The loan, introduced earlier this year, is helping lobster men faced with the double challenge of declining catches and rising input costs, says The Sou'Wester. The program is geared to both fall and spring fishermen on the Island’s south shore.

The province and the PEI Fishermen’s Association have been trying to convince Ottawa to institute a licence rationalisation program for the fall fishery, but the idea has so far met an unfavourable response.

Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development Minister Allan Campbell said 136 loans have been approved so far with another 19 still pending at the PEI Lending Agency. Three loans have been converted at conventional lending rates.

"There’s been a total of approximately $18 million in consolidated fishermen’s debt to help deal with the situation in the Northumberland Strait," Campbell told the legislature recently.

He said the program is unique in Canada and it has more than an 80 per cent approval rate to date. It remains under continued evaluation, says the Minister.

View the Sou'Wester story by clicking here.

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Ellen Hardy

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