Rustico-Emerald MLA Brad Trivers says if he’s successful in winning the Progressive Conservative leadership, the appointment of a dedicated deputy minister of fisheries will be part of his platform for the 2019 election.
Agriculture and fisheries have been united under one minister and a single deputy since the Wade MacLauchlan government took office in 2015. The P.E.I. Fisherman’s Association has asked on several occasions for the portfolio be split or a deputy minister of fisheries be appointed.
Trivers, who is facing Stratford-Kinlock MLA James Aylward in the leadership race, says a dedicated deputy would reflect the fact “fishing and aquaculture continue to be important economic drivers to all of Prince Edward Island.”
He says seafood products from Prince Edward Island are second to none, which speaks to the dedicated men and women in the fishing and aquaculture sectors. Mussels, oysters and lobster continue to be the dominant products, but there’s now a move to develop secondary processing and new products.
“I will work with the industry to focus on new product development and increased marketing efforts. World-class operations such as the Culinary Institute and the Food Technology Centre will play an essential role in these efforts.” Trivers says.
The Canada-European Union trade agreement recently came into force and Trivers says this should provide the Island seafood industry with enhanced opportunities within the EU.
The party will be choosing its new leader Oct. 20.