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SEA-NL calls for Derek Butler’s resignation from Association of Seafood Producers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, March 30th, 2022

"In 2016, Canada exported more than $800 million worth of snow crab around the world, and the largest share of that snow crab passed through tiny Bay de Verde, N.L., home to the Quinlan Bros. processing plant."

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, representing owner-operators in the inshore fleet, is calling for the resignation of the executive director of the association representing buyers/processors after publicly criticizing the province’s snow crab resource.

“Derek Butler said on NTV News Tuesday that our snow crab is second-rate compared to product from the Maritimes, worth 30% less,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “For the spokesman for seafood companies in this province to say that publicly shows poor judgement, and reflects poorly on what is the best snow crab in the world. He must no longer speak for industry.”

Butler told NTV that snow crab caught in the Maritimes is a better product than snow crab from this province, worth up to $3/lb more because it’s a “different product” — “no barnacles, redder crab, bigger crab, better yields, and closer to markets.”

In fact, snow crab from other East Coast provinces is often shipped into Newfoundland and Labrador for processing with locally caught crab.

Butler also said that in “given years” the province’s inshore fleet takes 70% or more of the market value. SEA-NL challenged Butler to release all financial information on snow crab sales.

“Derek Butler can cherry pick numbers till the cows come home, but he can’t explain why the processors he represents, who have exclusive buying rights to Newfoundland and Labrador seafood, are prepared to pay our inshore fleet up to $4.40/lb less than on the wharf in Nova Scotia,” said Jason Sullivan, President of SEA-NL.

The province’s price-setting panel was scheduled to meet Tuesday to hear a motion by the Association of Seafood Producers to remove Earle McCurdy, with another hearing scheduled for today (March 30) on the snow crab price.

As collective bargaining agent, the FFAW-Unifor has laid $9.05/lb on the table to start the 2022 season, compared to the ASP’s $7.60/lb, a rollover of last years’ price.

At the same time, the price paid last week on a wharf in Nova Scotia for snow crab there was $12/lb.


Ryan Cleary, Executive Director, SEA-NL To read more about SEA-NL, and for owner-operators to join please visit our website or e-mail Sign SEA-NL's petition to the House of Commons on non-core commercial fishing licences here.

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