The last (and only) review of this province’s shrimp fishery was commissioned by the provincial government in 2002 — 21 years ago — and the price-setting panel says it’s time for an up-to-date report — including yield rates that may not be accurate.
The province's fish price-setting panel set the summer shrimp price at 92¢/lb on June 23rd, but then didn't release the written decision (which wasn't unanimous; Earle McCurdy disagreed) until July 26th, 33 days later. That's an unreasonable delay.
The panel's written report highlighted a disagreement over the meat yield calculation.
A 2002 report commissioned for the provincial government of the day estimated the yield at 27.4% (which stands to this day).
Technology has improved a hell of a lot since then, and the manager of two shrimp processing facilities in northern Norway (Norges Råfisklag, a Norwegian fisherman-owned sales organization) recently put the yield at 38-40%.
The panel, for its part, said it will continue to recognize the 27.4% yield until there is a "new report" or further evidence from shrimp processing here in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The panel called for a new report, but the provincial government doesn't exactly jump at the fishery's call.
Shrimp processors should be made to show their true yields, but then the province isn't in the habit of making processors do anything they don't want to do.
A May 26 2023 decision on shrimp prices by the Quebec tribunal known as the Regie set the price for shrimp landed there at $1.36/lb.
The panel noted that the Quebec price was only for April 1-June 30th, and summer shrimp in Newfoundland and Labrador traditionally sells for lower than the spring fishery due to size, yield, and roe sac.
MCCURDY DISAGREED WITH PANEL DECISION
In his dissenting report, Earle McCurdy (former FFAW president) said the panel didn't give enough recognition to the historic relationship between shrimp prices in this province and Quebec
"Given the 13-year history of similarities between Quebec and NL prices, a 44 cent per lb. gap ($0.92 v. $1.36) is very difficult to justify," McCurdy wrote.
You're damn right it is.
The final-offer system of fish pricing in this province is beyond salvation. It's a joke.
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.