Short term help for fishermen - maybe not what they thought

Phone number detailing Maritime lobster aid information is actually sex line
September 22, 2009 - 17:28

HALIFAX, N.S. - Maritime lobster fishermen in need of financial help got a lift of another kind Tuesday when they were directed to a toll-free number that was supposed to detail an aid package but connected them to a lusty sex line instead.

One of the several toll-free information numbers released by Fisheries Minister Gail Shea hooks callers up to a sex line that offers fishermen nary a detail on the lobster stimulus package.

“Hey there hot stuff, I’ve been waiting for your call,” a breathless female voice proffers.

“Are you ready for some tantalizing fun?”

The phone message confounded some fishermen in the region, who have been pressing Ottawa to provide financial support after a dismal season at sea.

“That’s supposed to be the line the information’s on?” said Ken Drake of the P.E.I. Fisherman’s Association.

“It don’t sound very good.”

The hotline - one of five for Atlantic Canada and Quebec - is supposed to offer details about a short-term assistance program for lobster fishermen Shea announced this summer.

The department’s four other numbers were working properly.

Scott Cantin, a Fisheries spokesman, said the error occurred when two digits in the phone number were somehow transcribed improperly on the news release and the department’s website.

The number was mistakenly sent out where, with a credit card, callers can be linked to “nasty girls” offering “the hottest action.”

“We’re not exactly sure where the error occurred, but we know it was just a typo and we regret it and we corrected it immediately,” Cantin said from Ottawa.

The incorrect number sat on the site for several hours, but Cantin said he didn’t know how many people had called it before the correction was made. He said they hadn’t received any complaints.

Shea released the spending measures in June in P.E.I., where fishermen had tied up their boats because of prices that had dropped to historically low levels of $3 a pound.

The minister said $15 million will go toward short-term transitional aid for harvesters hardest hit by the low prices and will likely be based on a percentage of how much they lost in revenues compared to their catches last year.

There will also be another $10 million for marketing.

The package also includes $50 million to help fishermen develop and implement long-term sustainability plans, which would include retiring licences to ease the pressure on the fishery.

Shea said fishermen can receive a maximum of $5,000 if they meet certain criteria that will be based largely on the value of their landings.

But lobster fishermen say they have seen the value of their catches decline by tens of thousands of dollars this year, making the $5,000 maximum payout seem paltry.

Christian Brun of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union said he hadn’t heard from any of the group’s 1,500 members in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia about the incorrect number.

“It adds a bit of humour to the whole thing and puts a bit of an extra element in it,” he said with a laugh.

did you ever notice that the Government has Aided the following groups…Lobster fishermen…Autoworkers, Eastcoast fishermen, Farmers…and I have yet to see them offer any sort of compensation to the Fishermen/Shoreworkers in BC. Yet the news keeps talking about the fishing stocks not being there? Go Figure…