Crab fishery

FFAW ‘reluctantly’ signs offer to start crab fishery

After more than six weeks, the FFAW Snow Crab Bargaining Committee has “reluctantly” agreed to sign off on a final offer from ASP to start a crab fishery this year.

According to the FFAW, the offer guarantees a minimum price of 2.20 and includes incremental increases as the Urner Barry price increase, which ensures the price will not drop lower regardless of potential market drops. The agreement was made on the stipulation that Premier Furey publicly commit to revamping the final offer selection (Panel) process and work towards a formula prior to the 2024 season.

– 2.20 to start and a minimum for the year
– 2.25 @ 4.85
– 2.30 @ 4.95
– 2.60 @ 5.50
– 2.75 @ 6.00
– Reconsideration at 6.01 USD
– Without prejudice, for the 2023 season only.

“Nobody on the Committee is happy to be signing this deal today. This Committee put hundreds of volunteer hours into trying to find a better outcome for harvesters, and having this industry at a standstill for over six weeks was incredibly challenging on many fronts,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “Harvesters hoped the market situation would improve over the last several weeks. Those hopes did not materialize, and without a doubt the Committee was backed into a corner,” Pretty says. 

FFAW-Unifor is continuing to lobby for changes to EI qualifications this year. Our members are facing a significant reduction in earnings this year, and they must receive commitment that financial help will be there to help them make it to next season. Our Union has been in constant communication with all levels involved in this assistance and are working on a comprehensive benefit proposal that will ensure members are supported through these exceptional circumstances.”

NTV’s Rosie Mullaley is covering the story and will have full details on the award-winning NTV Evening Newshour.

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

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.

Minister at a loss after crab fishery deal falls through

After what looked like a deal in a dispute that has shelved the province’s crab industry, fell apart over the weekend. The Minister of Fisheries is left wondering how to resume the $2 billion dollar industry.

NTV’s David Salter reports.

Crab crisis continues as harvesters reject latest offer

The FFAW is rejecting the latest offer from processors after a majority of crab harvesters opposed the deal.

The Association of Seafood Producers presented a new offer Friday to the FFAW Bargaining Committee for snow crab, offering a minimum price of $2.20 for the entirety of the 2023 season with the ability for higher reconsiderations if markets improve. The proposal included trip limits as well as an overage fund.

But on Saturday, the FFAW said a majority of harvesters are strongly opposed to the deal.

“Leadership throughout the province have been clear today: the crab is staying the water until harvesters get a higher share of the price,” FFAW president Greg Pretty said in a news release. “FFAW-Unifor will formally reject ASP’s proposal, and the Bargaining Committee is preparing to meet for further discussions.”

The FFAW leadership says it is adamantly against an overage fund of any kind. Harvesters are demanding more clarification on the trip limits and will not agree to uneconomical or unfair limits. The union also says it will not agree to a fishery unless processing companies agree to not bring in outside crab while N.L. harvesters are on any sort of limits or scheduling.

“The bottom line is this crisis isn’t ending here today,” Pretty said. “We need immediate action from our provincial government on a snow crab marketing board, and to mandate a pricing formula. Provincial intervention is desperately needed to work on long term solutions to protect this industry.”

The FFAW continues to call on the federal government for benefit extensions for crew members, plant workers, and other fishery workers.

Opposition calls for government intervention in crab price dispute

The House of the Assembly reconvened today after Easter break. As NTV’s David Salter reports, the uncertainty regarding the province’s crab fishery was a hot topic.

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