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Labour Day in La La Land

The inshore fishery of Newfoundland and Labrador takes place in La La Labour Land where skippers are punished for speaking their minds on OpenLine and Facebook by processors/buyers who refuse to buy their fish.

Winterton, Trinity Bay, on Labour Day weekend.

Sell your crab to another company and pay a similar price. Government knows companies abuse licences, and sides with them by doing nothing.

In La La Labour land the head of the fisheries union buys radio ads over Labour Day weekend to celebrate the seven-week crab tie-up as a $44-million win for communities.

Never before in the history of the final-offer selection system of fish pricing has the union surrendered price reconsideration — its fundamental right to appeal the initial price to start the season.

The union floundered at the negotiating table and got its clock cleaned, but the radio ads didn't mention that.

When the tie-up ended and boats finally got on the water enterprise owners were told when to fish, and how much to bring in.

In a blatant sign of profit over conservation, companies eliminated the 20% tolerance for smaller crab, and DFO didn’t say a word.

In La La Labour Land everyone knows the inshore fishery is fixed (but not why it is excluded from the Competition Act), and the Andrew Furey admin is OK with the union and companies working it out again between themselves like they did in 2022.

The biggest snow crab fishery in the world is worth $500 million less than than last year, and while seafood markers around the world are beyond our control, the pricing system is in the hands of the provincial government.

That system stands in place of a free and open market, and, as such, must ensure a fair market return to the inshore fleet.

This being La La Labour Land, that’s not the case. Happy Labour Day to the inshore fleet! Please God your Labour Day will come.

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. Contact me at or 709 682 4862.

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