Thank you, Bernadette. I'll take a crack at the first and third questions, and ask the commissioner to respond on the removal of larger vessels.
On the $250 million, I want to thank you publicly for your help in securing that funding, Bernadette, with respect to small craft harbours. As you know, the department has a normal, existing program. It's a series of points allocated, and the normal A-base program of small craft harbours puts out about $100 million a year. That's woefully inadequate compared to the need.
That program will continue to operate with the priorities that are established—often in multi-year capital plans, and so on. Some of this funding will go to some divestiture projects. I think the budget mentioned four specific projects; they are not all divestiture projects, but were used in the budget as examples in different parts of the country of specific projects that would receive funding.
There's no doubt that some provinces and communities have asked us about divestiture, such that we invest what we need to, to get their wharves or their particular harbours up to a standard where a province or a municipality could take them over. To be honest, I don't think we have an exact proportion yet of what money will be used for divestiture. Obviously, we will use a significant portion of this money to complement the urgent requirement that had fallen off the table from the existing program. In your constituency it's some of the most lucrative and economically important fishing grounds in the whole country.
With you, I visited a number of harbours in your riding that are perfect examples of deferred maintenance. If you think of the economic impact of these harbours and the jobs they facilitate and the importance to the economy of these coastal communities, my hope is that over the next two years we can catch up on a great number of these projects that had been deferred.
We'd be happy to work with your office and others to get your priorities, and I say this as well to other colleagues who have small craft harbours in their ridings. We are wide open to receiving your views on priorities and we'll work with you to ensure that this new funding can meet some of those objectives.
On enforcement, you're absolutely right. One of the challenges I heard from Newfoundland to Bella Bella, British Columbia, was the importance of having more fishery officers, conservation and protection officers, habitat protection officers, but particularly fishery officers, C and P officers, on the wharves, on the water. I visited small detachments where there used to be five or six people and now they're down to three, but it takes two to patrol safely. You can imagine that with three in a particular detachment, you've massively reduced their ability to enforce the Fisheries Act. Their presence is a deterrent to those who perhaps might not be inclined to follow the law. It's also a safety aspect in many communities. These people are first responders.
In Bella Bella last week I met two fishery officers who are in an isolated detachment there. They are, in many cases, the only federal presence along that part of the coast. I chatted with them about some of the challenges in recruiting and maintaining their staffing levels. We will be increasing by at least 70, or I hope more, permanent positions of fishery officers across the country. Help is on the way for those working in detachments now. The money that we got—almost $300 million—with the new fisheries act that we're proposing, will be a good first start, but I'll continue to try to rebuild that capacity.
Before we run out of time, I'll let the commissioner respond as well. We know the importance of the Farley Mowat. That left. You and I saw that together, Bernadette.