FFAW and ASP dispute each other on origins of final offer presented to crab harvesters

Posted: May 11, 2023 12:51 pm
By Web Team

The FFAW and Association of Seafood Producers are disputing each other’s characterizations of a new proposal to end the crab price dispute.

The FFAW posted details of the new offer online Wednesday evening. The headline said the proposal came from the ASP. But in a statement Thursday, ASP said it did not send the proposal that is currently being discussed internally in the FFAW. The association says it will continue to follow and abide by the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel Decision.

The details of the proposal posted by the FFAW include:

  • Minimum price of $2.20/lb for rest of the season
  • When Urner Barry 5-8oz. Sections goes to 5.25USD, price will go to $2.25
  • At 5.50USD, the price goes to $2.30
  • At 5.75USD the price goes to $2.40
  • At 6.00USD the price goes to $2.50
  • Above $6.00USD, the Union can submit for reconsideration at the Panel

“The Bargaining Committee has done everything they can to move the price of crab from the original decision,” FFAW president Greg Pretty said. “It’s been a very difficult few weeks for our members. Enterprise owners, crew members, plant workers, dockside monitors and other fishery workers are experiencing economic strain and enormous stress due to the unknown. The important thing for all of our members to remember during this difficult time, is that without a sustainable inshore fishery, there will be no coastal Newfoundland and Labrador. The future of our coastal communities is dependent on the inshore fishery for their survival, for their economic sustainability, and for their long-term prosperity.”

But the ASP is accusing the FFAW of misleading the public.

“Yesterday, ASP was presented with an offer from the FFAW, similar to what they had submitted to the panel on March 31, 2023, an increase on the minimum price,” ASP said in a news release. “Those conversations quickly dissolved mid-day Wednesday, May 10. Later that day ASP was approached by the president and secretary-treasurer of the FFAW for a discussion and they outlined a potential solution verbally, which was agreed would be a FFAW offer to ASP.

“When the FFAW provided the details of the offer in writing to confirm, ASP clarified it was a FFAW offer for a potential solution. ASP requested clarification on why this offer was being presented as an ASP offer when it was a proposal from the FFAW. The FFAW then proceeded to issue a press release informing membership ASP had made a counteroffer. This was not true.

“If the FFAW would like to present ASP with a proposal, we are ready to listen. However, it has been demonstrated repeatedly that the FFAW do not have the authority to get a deal done to allow this fishery to start. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador deserve better. They have been misled by the FFAW and it is affecting the people of this province in a detrimental way.”

The FFAW fired back later in the day on Thursday, accusing the ASP of being disingenuous.

“After extended debate, the committee made the decision to send a revised offer, which Greg Pretty delivered to Jeff Loder,” the union said. “After a short period of time, ASP returned with the final counteroffer that was in turn presented to members for consideration. The committee attempted an additional counter, which was rejected.”

“It is disingenuous that the companies’ representative is being untruthful about the events of the past 24 hours in an attempt to turn our members against each other and the Union,” Pretty said in a statement. “Our organization has done everything possible to find a solution that will work for all parties and get a fishery going this year. It’s clear that we need immediate provincial intervention to get this situation sorted.

“Snow crab harvesters are facing an economic crisis unlike anything we’ve had since the cod moratorium thirty years ago. With everything at stake this year, we’ve been clear that an offer isn’t valid until our fleets sign off on it.”

The union says it will continue to consult with fleets and look for intervention from Premier Andrew Furey. The FFAW also says Fisheries Minister Derrick Bragg rejected the union’s request for outside buyers in lobster.

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