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From ‘pot to plate’, SEA-NL encourages public to buy snow crab from inshore enterprises at the wharf

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, April 4th, 2023 — Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is encouraging the public to buy live fresh snow crab from inshore enterprises when they land at the wharf, and is preparing a “pot to plate” program to connect boats to buyers province-wide.

“The 2023 snow crab price to start the season will be half what it was last year, and the lowest in years, which will hurt every last small-boat enterprise around the province,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

“SEA-NL is asking the province as a whole to step up and buy fresh live North Atlantic snow crab direct from our fishermen and women at a fair price at the wharf.”

SEA-NL will consult with owner-operators around the province before recommending a “wharf price” to charge for snow crab, and plans to announce a price Thursday.

SEA-NL is also demanding the provincial government order local snow crab processors and buyers to stop shipping in product from out-of-province until prices normalize, and to help eliminate trip limits and fishing schedules.

The provincial government-appointed fish-price setting panel is expected to set the initial snow crab price to start the 2023 season this week — which could be up to 60% lower than 2022’s lowest price of $6.15/lb.

The ultimate price will depend on whether the panel chooses either the FFAW-Unifor price offer or the offer submitted by the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP). By law, the panel must choose one price or the other, and nowhere in between.

The FFAW submitted an initial price last week of $3.53/lb — or $1.38/lb more than the ASP offer of $2.15/lb.

However, the panel sent both sides back to the negotiating table to come closer with their offers. Both sides later forwarded new prices to the panel, but the amounts weren’t released.

The panel is expected to make a price decision this week.

“For most people losing half their income would be devastating,” says Pam Patten, President of SEA-NL.

“Inshore enterprise owners are no different. Our most valuable fishery is in crisis, and the public can lend a hand while reviving the tradition of buying fish direct from harvesters at the wharf.”

The landed value of Newfoundland and Labrador’s 2022 snow crab fishery was $757 million, more than all other commercial fisheries combined. DFO has set the 2023 quota at almost 55,000 tonnes or 121 million/lbs, up slightly from last year.

According to DFO statistics, the snow crab price in this province has risen steadily since 2016 when the average landed value per pound was $2.97.

According to officials with the provincial Fisheries department, boats in the inshore fleet can sell certain species — snow crab being one — to individuals buying for personal consumption.

Restricted buyers (including restaurants or retail fish shops) can also purchase snow crab directly from a harvester, but are limited to 300/lbs a week.


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 to join.

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