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Shrimp fleet eyes at least $1.30/lb to start season

$1.30/lb was last fall’s price, as set by the province’s price-setting panel, and it’s a good place for the 2022 shrimp season to start considering what appear to be healthy markets, world doors closing on Russian seafood (including cold-water shrimp), and dramatically increasing costs such as fuel to the inshore fleet.

In late February, DFO science reported a slight decrease in the stock fished by the inshore fleet in shrimp fishing area (SFA) 6, from Cartwright to Nortre Dame Bay. DFO science also acknowledged a 30% reduction in trawl survey coverage because of mechanical problems with the research ships. The shrimp stock in the Gulf has been declining for several years as the redfish stock takes off.



Last September’s northern shrimp price of $1.30/lb was 20¢/lb more than the summer price set in mid June.


But by then 99% of the quota had been taken off Labrador and eastern Newfoundland (fishing zones 2J,3KL), and little quota remained in the Gulf (fishing zone 4R).


Can't make this stuff up.

The FFAW and Association of Seafood Producers have been negotiating the northern shrimp price this week, but no word on the price either side has in mind.


The price-setting panel has set Thursday (April 14th) as a potential hearing date if a price for the shrimp fleet has not been set, with a binding collective agreement (meaning there's no vote on price) in place by May 4th.


What's clear is that diesel fuel costs to the inshore fleet have risen dramatically over the past year.


An average shrimp trip this year is expected to cost $10,000 in fuel, more than double the cost in 2021.


Traditionally, spring shrimp prices were also higher because the shrimp were said to be of better quality, with higher yields.


The federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans is expected to announce the northern shrimp quota off Newfoundland and Labrador by May.


Last week the minister set interim quotas for Gulf shrimp, which didn't go over well.


STORY ON THE 2021 SHRIMP PRICE

In late April 2021, the spring price of shrimp was set by the price setting panel at $1/lb, a decline from 2020’s short-term high of $1.18/lb, and 2019's $1.65/lb.


The Gulf fleet (fishing zone 4R) refused to untie for $1/lb, although some boats from the northeast coast (fishing zone 3K) fished right away.


In mid-June, the price-setting panel set the summer price of shrimp at $1.10/lb, which was another disappointment to the inshore fleet, and then the price rose again at the end of the season to $1.30/lb.


The primary markets for Canada's cold-water shrimp are the United Kingdom and Denmark.


Canada has enjoyed a significant advantage in UK markets via the post-Brexit trade agreement, but the United Kingdom started trades talks with Greenland (which also supplies cold-water shrimp into that market) this past January.


At the same time, the European Union's sanctions on Russia for its war on Ukraine has been expanded to include cold-water shrimp.


In February of this year, the United States imported 10% more Canadian shrimp than the same month last year, at an average price of $10.96/kilo — an 11% increase.


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 sea-nl@outlook.com Please sign SEA-NL's petition to the House of Commons on non-core commercial fishing licences here.


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