The Association of Seafood Producers isn’t moving on new grading protocols for the sea cucumber fishery, which they describe as “appropriate and right” (read the ASP press release here), and the fleet remains tied to the wharf.
This is the first year that the sea cucumber price paid to inshore harvesters has been formally negotiated, and it was done at the FFAW’s request.
The union didn’t even debate the protocols (at least not before the panel), which will drive down the agreed-to price of 70¢/lb paid to inshore harvesters.
The FFAW's has a different version (read the union's press release here):
Something doesn't add up.
It’s worth noting that besides representing sea cucumber harvesters, the FFAW-Unifor represents workers at two of the unionized plants where sea cucumber are to be processed — St. Lawrence (OCI), and Grand Bank (Clearwater).
There's that ugly old conflict of interest again.
HARVESTERS WANT A FAIR DEAL — NO MORE NO LESS
The Atlantic-wide export value of dried sea cucumber product to the United States reached as high as $51.24/lb in 2019 (read about it here).
Prices to harvesters increased between 2016-2019 — from 50¢/lb in 2016 and 2017, 70¢/lb in 2018, and to 80¢/lb in 2019.
The 2020 price during the height of the pandemic was 60¢/lb, which the panel initially set as the 2021 price on June 2nd (even though it was pretty much operating blind, with little information to base its decision on).
The FFAW was expected to ask the panel earlier this month for a price appeal or "reconsideration," but the union and ASP came to an agreement on 70¢/lb for sea cucumbers, with no changes to the grading protocols that will cut into the harvesters' bottom line.
Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL
Independent licensed owner-operators are encouraged to join SEA-NL here. These blog posts will be public for a limited time, before becoming exclusive to the membership.