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Who knows the mind of a squid?

Not many, which is partly why it’s hard put a price on it. Bait prices charged to fishermen rose 75% when the crab price was taking off

Inshore harvesters report good signs of squids this year. This picture was taken last week washed up on the shore of Southern Bay, Bonavista Bay. More squid beached with the caplin on Northern Bay sands.

The 2021 price paid to NL inshore harvesters for squid is to be negotiated by July 21st, or it will go to the province’s fish-price setting panel to make the decision.

That’s according to the panel’s schedule for the year. (Find it here.)

The price of squid — used to catch much more lucrative snow crab ($7.53/lb to inshore harvesters in mid-June) — didn’t go to the price-setting panel in 2020.

Instead, the FFAW and processors reached a deal on their own. While the panel releases a written report with its pricing decisions, the union and processors do not.

The most recent squid price on the FFAW website is from 2018. Find it here.


There are two prices to remember: the price harvesters are charged for squid bait, and the price they’re paid for the squid they land.

This past crab season, NL harvesters were charged $1.70/lb-$1.75/lb for local squid, and $2.50/lb for imported squid (most recently from Argentina).

At the same time, harvesters were paid $1/lb for the squid they landed last year, with the price dipping as low as 70¢/lb.

The last time the price-setting panel set the price of squid was August, 2019 (find it here), when the initial price was set at $1/lb for all squid landed up to 4,500 tonnes, and .75¢/lb after that.

As it turned out, recordings of squid landings were "inadequate,” and upon price “reconsideration” the panel set the price at 75¢/lb for all squid greater than 150 grams.

The panel’s 2019 decision on squid price also laid out some basis information on the squid fishery.

There’s no much information in recent years on the squid fishery since landings are almost exclusively for the local bait market — primarily for the crab fishery. There’s also limited information on squid imports.

An estimated 1,200 tonnes of squid were landed in 2018, up from 300 tonnes in 2017. The squid's short lifespan make it hard to study. See this story.

At the same time, local fisheries go through about 4,500 tonnes of bait, with most imported from other countries, which has become increasingly expensive.

Bait prices rose 75% between 2015 and 2018/19 — to $2.10 from $1.10.

At the same time, the price of crab over that period rose 128% — from $2.33/lb in 2013 to a high of $5.33/lb in 2019.

Meantime, the price paid to harvesters for the squid they landed increased to .85¢/lb from .55¢/lb over the same time period.

Receipts to harvesters don't distinguish between locally supplied, and imported squid for bait, and increases in landed prices to squid harvesters have not kept pace with the increase in bait prices and processors’ margins.

Hell of a lot more work to do on price, and, as usual, too much information is hidden.

Ryan Cleary,


Independent licensed owner-operators are encouraged to join SEA-NL here. These blog posts will be public for a limited time, before becoming exclusive to the membership.

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