FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, April 6th, 2023 — Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) recommends its membership of inshore enterprise owners sell snow crab at the wharf to the general public for $5 or $6/lb to start the season.
“You won’t sell all your crab to the local market, but you will sell some for $5 or 6/lb — double the price to be set by the pricing panel, and a bargain to the public,” says Pam Patten, SEA-NL president and a Fortune-based inshore enterprise owner.
“The extra money will help until the price of snow crab picks up in world markets, and at the same time the inshore fleet can build a local market for fresh seafood.”
SEA-NL’s executive board, made up entirely of inshore enterprise owners from around the province, met this week and unanimously recommended a wharf price of $5 or $6 a pound, depending on the price dictated by the government-appointed price-setting panel.
Under provincial government law, when the union/processors can’t reach an agreement on price, the panel must choose one price or the other (nowhere in between).
In the case of snow crab, the price offered by the Association of Seafood Producers is rumoured to be $2.20/lb, vs $3.10/lb put forward by the FFAW.
SEA-NL recommends a wharf price to the public of $5/lb if the panel chooses the ASP price, vs a wharf price of $6/lb if the panel chooses the FFAW offer.
The ASP and FFAW attempted earlier this year to work out a price-setting formula for snow crab (similar to turbot and lobster), but the talks didn’t go anywhere.
Under the Pot-to-Plate program, members of the public around the province interested in purchasing snow crab can fill out a “SEA-NL Hook-Up” form on our website: sea-nl.ca. The form will be active prior to the opening of the snow crab fishery.
From there, SEA-NL will connect the public with SEA-NL members around the province to work out the details, including landing times and amounts.
“There's a great local market for seafood, especially during upcoming tourism season, but until now there's been no way for buyers and fishermen to connect at the wharf,” said Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.
“SEA-NL will be the bridge, with the potential to expand to all other species.”
SEA-NL has also demanded the provincial government order local snow crab processors and buyers to stop shipping in product from out-of-province until prices normalize, and to help eliminate trip limits and fishing schedules.
DFO has set the 2023 quota at almost 55,000 tonnes or 121 million/lbs, up slightly from last year.
Under provincial government law, boats in the inshore fleet can sell certain species — snow crab being one — to individuals buying for personal consumption.
Restricted buyers (including restaurants or retail fish shops) can also purchase snow crab directly from a harvester, but are limited to 300/lbs a week.
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 sea-nl.ca to join.