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Fish pricing formulas positive step, but processing companies must show market receipts: SEA-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, Nov. 16th, 2023

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says any new formula used to set the price of fish cannot guarantee a fair market share to the province’s inshore fleet unless processing companies show actual market receipts.

Petty Harbour.


“Any formula not based on the market price that the fish actually sells for would be a magic formula in terms of numbers and credibility,” says Ryan Cleary SEA-NL’s Executive Director, in response to the release Thursday of the latest review of this province’s broken fish pricing system.


“All numbers can be manipulated except for those on the receipt,” Cleary added. “The review committee seems to have missed that point.”


The report released Thursday into this province’s fish-pricing system recommends prices paid to the province’s 3,008 licensed inshore enterprise owners be based on negotiated formulas for all species — starting with snow crab for the 2024 season.


In its submission to the review committee, SEA-NL stated that in the absence of a free and open market this province’s legislated fish-pricing system must guarantee a fair-market return to the inshore fleet, which can only happen with market receipts.


Only processing companies have been reluctant to produce receipts, and the provincial government has refused to make them. The end result is a fishing industry void of transparency or trust, and a pricing system that has failed to get commercial fisheries up and running.

The review committee did mention that the existing pricing formula for halibut is based on market returns, but there was no mention of receipts for snow crab — the province’s largest commercial fishery with a 2023 landed value of $258 million.


The review committee also seemed to stray from its mandate in recommending the need for joint federal/provincial fisheries management — an authority similar to the Canada/Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board in the oil and gas sector (which SEA-NL agrees with).


“What’s not clear is why the committee didn’t also stray from its mandate to address the huge elephant on every wharf in this province in terms of the cartel-like control companies have over the inshore fleet,” Cleary said.


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Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director, SEA-NL

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is a professional, non-profit organization that serves as the distinct voice for licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters. Visit sea-nl.ca to join. If you have any issues contact me at sea-nl@outlook.com or 709 682 4862.

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