07/16/2012 03:45 EDT | Updated 09/15/2012 05:12 EDT

P.E.I. small craft harbours to get $3.5M for repairs

Some Island fishing harbours will get $3.5 million from Ottawa for repairs, maintenance and construction projects, federal Egmont MP and National Revenue Minister Gail Shea announced Monday.

"The Harper government knows that accessible and efficient fishing harbours are critical to those who make their living from the fishery," Shea said in a news release.

The federal government wants to ensure fishermen across Canada have well-kept fishing harbours, according to the federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister, Keith Ashfield.

"Never before has such high priority been placed on small craft harbours nor have infrastructure investments been so extensive," Ashfield said.

The federal government is investing a total $51.7 million in about 95 fishing harbours across Canada.

That will fund major repair, maintenance and construction projects, as well as dredging, the release said.

Minor repairs and maintenance projects will be funded throughout the year as needed.

Annual funding for the Small Craft Harbours Program was increased by $20 million in 2007.

Canada's Economic Action Plan provided $200 million over two years, beginning in 2009, to accelerate maintenance and repairs and carry out necessary dredging at Canadian small craft harbours .

That budget was reduced once that special program was over.

In March 2011, a $71.6 million federal investment was announced to clean-up and repair winter storm-damaged small craft harbours in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Manitoba. About $6.5 million was for P.E.I. repairs.