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PEI reopens, expands low-interest loan program for struggling fishermen

Tyson Gaudet separates lobsters while fishing off Tignish, Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Lobsters are divided by size into the smaller canners and the larger market lobsters.

Nathan Rochford/The Globe and Mail

The PEI government is reopening and expanding its low-interest loan program for fishermen who've received poor prices for their catch this year.

Innovation Minister Allen Roach says fishermen in lobster fishing areas 24 and 26A will be able to apply for loans on their fishing-related debts due to market conditions, rising costs and low landings.

The program was first launched in 2007 and will be reopened to allow new fishermen to apply.

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The Finance Department says it will extend the interest rate of four per cent for those already enrolled in the program for an extra year, so they will receive the lower rate for seven years instead of six.

Mike McGeoghegan, president of the PEI Fishermen's Association, says the program will go a long way to helping young fishermen.

But Progressive Conservative Leader Steven Myers says the program doesn't go far enough to keep the Island's lobster industry alive.

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