FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, May 12th, 2023 Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) warns Premier Andrew Furey there will be a political cost if his Liberal administration does not urgently move to free the inshore fleet from the hostage situation with seafood processors.
Port de Grave harbour. The province's inshore fleet hasn't fished crab since early April when the panel set the price at $2.20/lb.
“The Andrew Furey government controls the legislation that processors and buyers are using to hold the inshore fleet hostage,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.
“Owner-operators, the crews, and their families will remember if the Furey government stands by and does nothing as they’re starved out.”
The inshore fleet has been tied on in a dispute over the snow crab price since early April when the government-appointed panel set the price to start the 2023 season at $2.20/lb — a huge drop from 2022’s lowest formal price of $6.15/lb.
At the time, the price-setting panel said the “correct price” was somewhere between the $2.20/lb offered by the Association of Seafood Producers, and the $3.10/lb on the table from the FFAW.
The panel is forced to choose one price or the other under a final-offer selection system of fish pricing that’s dictated under the province’s Fishing Industry Collective Bargaining Act.
“SEA-NL advises the Premier to reconvene the House of Assembly as soon as possible to amend the Act to allow the panel to choose a price between two offers,” Cleary says.
By law, the inshore fleet is not permitted to strike or vote on fish prices, and is forced to sell only to local processors/buyers.
Inshore boats are also prevented from moving from one buyer to another, while processors are free to truck or ship in live crab from other provinces and countries for processing at local plants.
SEA-NL wrote Premier Furey last week to request his government call a second, sweeping investigation of the broken final-offer selection system after last year’s three-month review failed to do the job.
Executive Director, SEA-NL
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.