Many owner-operators believe that SEA-NL had a hand in landing this year's "record" price of $7.60/lb, but what sucks any celebration out of the wheelhouse is reading that snow crab sold in October for $60/lb (US) in Seattle, Washington,
The 2021 snow crab total allowable catch in the NL region was 38,186 tonnes, a 29% increase from 2020. UnderCurrent news reported this week that DFO's lead biologist in NL has advised that "the population of crabs becoming available to the fishery is expected to rise over the next two to four years over most areas."
Where is the 2022 snow crab price headed?
Skyward. (Snow crab was described last month as "seafood gold" and "treasure", but I'll come back to that.)
The 2021 price paid to NL owner-operators was the best ever, but should have been a hell of a lot higher, which is one of the many ways SEA-NL will make itself useful.
SEA-NL will fight tooth and nail to ensure owner-operators get a fair-market return.
That did not happen this year, based on market indicators across the board.
To sign-up for SEA-NL'S Nov. 18th founding convention go here.
To see the list of positions up for election click here: Leaders wanted for NL fishery.
The FFAW-Unifor will remain responsible for negotiating the price of fish, but SEA-NL will keep one eye over the union's shoulder, and the other on world markets/trends/the province's fish-price setting panel/processors.
SEA-NL will keep the players honest, and owner-operators informed.
Once the province's fish-price setting panel set the 2021 price of crab in stone on April 25th, the legislated system did not allow for another price appeal when international crab markets continued to rise.
That must change.
Even Robert Keenan, the FFAW's Secretary-Treasurer, says the law (Fishing Industry Collective Bargaining Act) must be changed (page 7) to allow for more than one price reconsideration.
It's not enough to write that.
That's a hill to die on — now, when the House of Assembly is open, and before next fishing season.
God only knowns how much money owner-operators lost out on because their price was capped at $7.60/lb so early in the year. (The price was recalibrated weekly based on the US/Canada exchange rate, dipping as low as $7.46/lb.)
Not to mention the fact that the 2020 crab season was "exceptionally positive to processors" (when the price was set at $3.50/lb), while "harvesters experienced an abnormally low sharing of market returns."
Indeed, outside of crab and lobster 2021 prices paid to NL harvesters were flat across the board
As for how high the 2022 snow crab price will reach, Seafood News reports that usually in the month of October the market is flat, but due to the news out of Alaska (an 88% cut in snow crab quota), there's upwards pricing on the market.
The price of snow crab has been described as "inelastic."
In other words, like medicine or utilities, price changes do not effect demand for snow crab.
Owner-operators can be assured of one truth for 2022 — SEA-NL will have your back in landing the highest possible price.
Now is the time to have SEA-NL's.
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.