Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), already under fire for its lack of action on the collapsed Sockeye salmon fishery in B.C., is now in hot water for directing callers to its help line to an escort service.
The service, promising "tantalizing fun," inadvertently promoted by the DFO probably did not mind the upswing in its call volume, but the fishermen who were calling the government to get information on a brand new - and short term - funding program might be a little steamed. Liberal Fisheries critic, Jerry Bryne said in a press release that this was another example of Conservative government incompetence. “I don’t think this is the kind ‘stimulus’ lobster fishermen were looking for from their government. I wish it was a laughing matter, but when the fishing industry has been devastated by Conservative neglect, this is hardly the help our fishermen need.”
The purpose of the funding is to help fishermen during "crisis times," such as right now, when fisheries, like the lobster fishery, is in trouble. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) said it was sorry for the error and corrected it quickly.
Shea had to face angry fishermen when she released the details of a new, one-time financial assistance program specially created for lobster fishermen on Tuesday. Lobster fishermen are already upset with the DFO and its head, Gail Shea for the length of time it has taken the government to respond to their needs for financial assistance. When Shea announced that the $65 million financial aid package for fishermen only includes $15 million for a certain population of lobster fishermen, the anger of the fishermen grew. Lobster fishermen say most of them will not be able to access the financial assistance. Shea said Tuesday when she unveiled the plan that $15 million was earmarked for lobster fishermen hardest hit by poor markets. Shea made her announcement from Escuminac, New Brunswick. The rest of the funds that Shea announced are to go an Atlantic lobster sustainability program.
Lobster fishermen had said they were in trouble in May of this year, and the Harper government announced that the lobster fishery would get $65 million in June, under the stimulus funding.
There still is no word on whether or not the government of Canada will provide compensation to B.C.'s salmon fishermen after it became apparent that the Sockeye salmon run had collapsed this year.