The Canadian Navy is halving its reserve fleet due to budget cutbacks and the shortage of sailors to operate the ships.

The fleet of six maritime coastal defence vessels used for patrols and surveillance will be cut to three on each coast and the remaining ships will be mothballed, according to thechronicleherald.ca.

Sackville-Eastern Shore MP Peter Stoffer said the reductions were expected to have a great impact on Canadian coastal patrol and surveillance capabilities, and on the economies of Halifax and Victoria.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the government was set to invest up to $40bn over the next 20 years, in naval capability, which includes new joint supply ships.

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The Canadian Navy Reserves use 12 Kingston Class ships primarily for coastal patrols and surveillance, along with search and rescue, minesweeping and law enforcement operations.