It was on June 15th that the decision was put in the hands of the price-setting panel to choose either the $1.36/lb the FFAW had on the table for the summer shrimp price paid to the inshore fleet, or the 90¢/lb offered by the Association of Seafood Producers.
SEA-NL reported last week that the summer shrimp price wouldn't be released until today (Sunday, June 26th) because of a personal matter with a member of the price-setting panel. But here it is Sunday evening, and still no word.
The delay is ridiculous, considering the shrimp fleets have yet to fish this season, and most of the province's Gulf fleet has little else to fish but shrimp.
From my perspective, the panel must go with $1.36/lb.
If anything, markets for cold-water shrimp have improved since April 24th when the panel set the spring price at $1.42/lb.
Back then the panel repeated a forecast of "good demand, low inventories, and higher prices," only local processors refused to buy for $1.42/lb
International seafood news outlets reported last week that supplies of cold-water shrimp to the United Kingdom may be threatened by the absence of a trade deal with Greenland as the result of the UK's departure from the European Union under Brexit.
That development should increase demand for shrimp from Newfoundland and Labrador.
Of course, if processors/buyers have their cash tied up in snow crab — the price of which has dropped since the season began — and they can't afford to buy shrimp, or don't have the freezing capacity available to store it, then that's another story.
La Scie fishermen Terry Ryan and his son Josh sold their first 60,000/lb-load of shrimp for the season to a Nova Scotia buyer last week for $1.36/lb, but the cost of diesel for the extra five-day steam across the Gulf cut into profits.
Mainland buyers also don't make deductions for EI or workers' comp from the money fishermen are paid for their catches.
If the panel does the unthinkable and sets the price at 90¢/lb, the shrimp fleet — which wouldn't fish for $1/lb last year — likely won't leave the wharf again (unless, like the Ryans, they go to Nova Scotia).
When processors stopping buying snow crab earlier this month SEA-NL took the stand that the province must allow harvesters to truck their product out of province.
The same would hold true for shrimp.
Executive Director, SEA-NL
To read more about SEA-NL, or to join the non-profit organization please visit sea-nl.ca