This year’s northern shrimp fishery is a Canadian embarrassment, and Newfie joke. Demand for cold-water shrimp is reportedly rising in Europe, along with the price, and most of this province's inshore fleet remains tied to the wharf. The boats won’t fish for the ridiculously low price of 90¢/lb that even the government-appointed panel that set the "binding" price warned "may not result in a fishery."
What a farce. What a joke.
Bernie Davis, the minister responsible for the price-setting panel, should step aside for sheer uselessness. The time has come for action, which the minister clearly is not up for.
It's also not good enough for Derek Bragg, Minister responsible for Fisheries, to pass the ball to Davis, and wash his hands of the fish-pricing fiasco.
That's a political cop out.
This province system of fish pricing — which sees a three-personal panel set a minimum price for certain species when the FFAW and processors can't agree — collapsed two weeks ago when processors began ignoring "binding" panel prices, as was the case with snow crab.
On July 4th, SEA-NL first called on Premier Furey to step in and restore confidence in fish pricing, but nothing has been done.
Other panel prices (sea cucumber, northern shrimp) have not resulted in fisheries when the panel was created by the provincial government almost 25 years ago to bring "stability and predictability" to the fishery.
That clearly is not happening.
Meantime, the entire system of fish pricing is excluded from the federal Competition Act — which is where the Canadian embarrassment comes into play. (SEA-NL wrote Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in late April asking that fish pricing be included with amendments to the act.)
The current 90¢/lb price of shrimp to the inshore fleet does not result in a fair market share, which is acknowledged and unacceptable.
Big fat period.
The province must intervene.
LATEST NEWS ON COLD WATER SHRIMP
Undercurrent News, an international seafood news outlet, reports today that a possible 20% tariff on Greenland shrimp entering the United Kingdom before the end of summer should increase demand there for Canadian shrimp.
Only there's limited supply of cold-water shrimp from this province — which the seafood news article blames on the "either or" system of fish pricing that saw the panel choose the 90¢/lb offer by processors over the FFAW's $1.36lb.
That system is "not getting the job done."
A tariff on Greenland shrimp, combined with a shortened shrimp season in this province, are expected to drive up prices, which have already been rising to pre-Covid levels.
The best shrimp fishing is in the spring, but most inshore boats have remained tied up since the fishery opened on May 29th.
The 2022 quota for the northern shrimp stock fished by the inshore fleet off southern Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland — known as shrimp fishing area (SFA) 6 — is set at 6,563 tonnes, a 1.1% cut from last year. This year's quota for the shrimp area of the Gulf (area 8) fished by the province's inshore fleet was cut by 19%.
Canada's largest market for shell-on fish caught by offshore factory-freezer trawlers is China, although this year's fishery struggled with severe ice conditions.
Executive Director, SEA-NL
To read more about SEA-NL, or to join the non-profit organization please visit sea-nl.ca