06/08/2012 12:26 EDT | Updated 08/08/2012 05:12 EDT

Budget secrecy nixed consultation on DFO cuts

Federal Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield is citing budget secrecy as the reason Ottawa didn't consult with the Newfoundland and Labrador government on cuts contained in this year's budget.

A number of town mayors are complaining they weren't consulted before DFO decided to shut down six satellite enforcement offices in the province.

But Ashfield says that level of detail is not something the federal government typically shares, not even with the provincial government.

“In terms of a formal consultation, no, as part of our budget process, which restricted me in discussing the issue,” Ashfield said during an interview on CBC Radio’s Fisheries Broadcast.

The budget contained millions of dollars in cuts to DFO and the coast guard in this province.

In addition to the planned shuttering of six small enforcement offices in Newfoundland and Labrador over the next couple of years, there will be staff reductions and cuts to coast guard radio services.

The wave of cutbacks are part of the Harper government’s plan to cut DFO’s operational budget by $79.3 million.