UPDATED: FFAW announces deal with ASP to start crab fishery, cancels protest

Posted: April 14, 2024 7:45 pm
By Web Team

The FFAW reached a deal with the Association of Seafood Producers to start the crab fishery, the union announced Sunday evening.

As a result, the FFAW says plans for a demonstration Monday morning are now cancelled. Protest organizer John Efford initially cast doubt on that on Facebook, but later posted that the protest is cancelled.

“Update protest canceled,” Efford wrote on Facebook. “We met with [Fisheries Minister Elvis] Loveless and staff today to follow up concerns on free enterprise and outside buyers and we have just received confirmation that outside buyers are being approved immediately as the meet the criteria set out as would buyers from NL and will be approved in the coming days and all other aspects of free enterprise are confirmed as per written in agreement. WE HAVE FREE ENTERPRISE!!

“The bargaining committee has reached an agreement on price and system that will see a share of market sales with a minimum price. It’s up to harvesters to now use FREE ENTERPRISE to put competition to the buyers and get your best price. Call buyers from outside and make your local processors compete for your products. There will be a transition now to a competitive market but it will open up as we move through the season. Again there will be a transition and more hurdles to overcome but we are moving in the right direction. It will get easier as we move forward but we will continue to hang onto what we have achieved.”

Meanwhile, the FFAW leadership is hailing the deal as historic.

“This is an historic pricing agreement for harvesters in our province, restoring fairness in the crab fishery and giving harvesters a sharing arrangement they have not seen in a long time,” FFAW President Greg Pretty said in a statement.

“We’re very pleased about the progress made here today and thank Premier Furey for ensuring the fishery gets off the ground as quickly as possible for the benefit of all those involved. I also want to extend my sincere thanks to all members of our Bargaining Committee, who stood strong throughout this process and ensured that harvesters in our province would not be shortchanged their fair share.”

Terms of the agreement are: 

  • The minimum price for the 2024 crab fishery is $3.00 per pound.
  • The settlement price will be determined by actual FOB Boston sales of 2024 5-8oz sections from the start of the fishery through three weeks after the fishery ends, based on a statistically significant representative sample of the actual sales of 5-8oz sections, FOB Boston, determined by an independent third party.
  • The settlement price will be 38.5% the value listed above.
  • Both parties will be entitled to a reconsideration; there will be a reconsideration after the market reaches $6.50 USD.
  • The agreement will be signed without prejudice.
  • All other terms and conditions of sale are as per the Panel’s decision.

“Significant gains have been made for fish harvesters in recent weeks, despite the forces still working so hard to roll back the clock. Our union will continue our work in ensuring harvesters have a buyer for their catch, not just for snow crab, but for all commercially fished species,” Pretty said.

The provincial government also issued a statement after the deal was negotiated Sunday at Confederation Building.

“Today at the Confederation Building in St. John’s, the Honourable Dr. Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, met with leadership of the Fish Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) and the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP). The meeting culminated in an agreement between the FFAW and the ASP to commence the 2024 crab fishery,” the statement said.

“We encourage all parties to maintain public safety and respect the process. Police agencies will continue to monitor the situation closely to protect the safety of all those involved. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador remains committed to working with communities and our police agencies to ensure all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians feel safe and secure.”

The government news release included statements from all parties, including the ASP.

“This is a positive day for Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly for plant workers, processors and harvesters,” said Paul Grant, board chair of ASP. “The ASP will continue to work with all stakeholders to advance and grow the crab fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

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