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Dredging at Naufrage needed for fishers’ safety, harbour manager says

Shelley Deagle, the manager of the Naufrage Harbour Authority, says dredging has become particularly important since post-tropical storm Fiona hit P.E.I. in 2022.

Posted on May 1, 2024

Shallow waters are a safety concern for fishers on P.E.I.’s North Shore as the lobster fishing season in the area approaches.

Shelley Deagle, the manager of the Naufrauge Harbour Authority, said dredging is an ongoing issue that became particularly important after post-tropical storm Fiona struck P.E.I. in 2022. Even after a dredging, a strong northeast wind on west tides can push the sand back into the channel.

Some boats hit bottom last week even though they weren’t weighed down by lobster traps, Deagle said.

“That’s bad enough when it’s like that, but you can’t have loaded gear on and people on board,” she said.

Deagle was relieved to hear that the federal government committed millions of dollars to pay for ongoing dredging to clear out silt and sand in five small craft harbours on P.E.I.: Naufrage, Malpeque, North Lake, Howard’s Cove and Tignish.

Naufrage Harbour, about 70 kilometres northeast of Charlottetown, is also getting federal funding to reconstruct its aging launching ramp, which suffered extensive damage in Fiona.

You need these things, these are necessities to run and to run properly and safely. — Shelley Deagle

“You need these things, these are necessities to run and to run properly and safely,” Deagle said.

“We definitely need the slips, we need to be able to move around the harbour, be safe and be able to go and catch fish. We only have a short time to do this and that’s our window. Even now, we can’t get out [lobster fishing] probably until Saturday, so we’re losing days. We can’t lose days because we can’t navigate.”

The federal government hasn’t said how much the ramp project or the dredging efforts will cost, nor has it provided a timeline for the work.

Ottawa has committed to spend nearly $500 million over the next three years for the repair and maintenance of small craft harbours, mostly in Eastern Canada.


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