Updated: Feb 9
The math is pretty simple: In 2022 the FFAW-Unifor introduced a 2¢ levy on every pound of lobster landed in Newfoundland and Labrador, and given 13,165,547 pounds were brought in over the wharf, that works out to just over $263,000 to the union.
According to DFO figures, the province's 2022 lobster fishery had a landed value of almost $104 million (average per pound price of $7.884), making it the third most valuable fishery after snow crab ($758 million), and northern shrimp ($122 million).
The FFAW's 2¢/lb lobster levy doesn't amount to a whole lot of money in the context of a billion-dollar+ fishery, but most enterprise owners are still bothered by the principle: the union brought in the controversial fee without the clear consent of a majority of its members.
Opposition to the lobster levy was loud and clear.
SEA-NL wrote about it here: FFAW imposes 2¢/lb lobster levy despite members rejecting idea; processors told news first, and the FFAW itself acknowledged dissent among the rank and file
TIME HAS COME TO POLL ENTERPRISE OWNERS
DFO polled enterprise owners in this province last year about vessel-size restrictions, and license holders can just as easily be polled electronically when it comes to controversial/big-ticket issues like new fees.
The Prince Edward Island's Fishermen's Association polls its license-holder electronically on major issues, as does the Inverness South Fishermen's Association in Nova Scotia.
LOBSTER PRICE OUTLOOK
This province's lobster fishery doesn't get underway until mid April, which is about when the 2023 pricing formula should be negotiated between the union and processors.
The 2022 lobster pricing formula was set on April 13th.
At the end of January, the Undercurrent seafood news service compared North American lobster tail prices to a "fast-moving bullet" as supply had tightened.
As you can see from the below graph lobster landings in the province have risen steadily over the past 10 years, as has the price and landed value.
(OPENING WEEK) POUNDS LANDED LANDED VALUE
2022 — $9.77/lb 13.1 million $104 million
2021 — $9.96/lb 10.9 million $84.5 million
2020 — $6.76/lb 9.8 million $43.6 million
2019 — $6.47/lb 10 million $63.9 million
2018 — $8.11/lb 7.3 million $48.2 million
2017 — $9.86/lb 6.3 million $43.9 million
2016 — $6.20/lb 6.1 million $35.2 million
2015 — $7.55/lb 5.6 million $30.7 million
2014 — $6.61/lb 4.6 million $18.1 million
2013 — $5.37/lb 4.7 million $17.2 million
Executive Director, SEA-NL
Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is a professional, non-profit organization serving as the distinct voice for licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters.