Crab prices

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.

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.

New offer brings crab industry ‘closer to a solution,’ FFAW says

For the first time in weeks, there are signs of hope for the crab sector.

The FFAW says the Association of Seafood Producers made an offer Friday bringing the industry closer to a solution this season.

Among the details:

  1. Price will not go below $2.20 a pound for remainder of the 2023 season;
  2. Both FFAW and ASP reserve the right for reconsiderations at prices above $2.20, so should market conditions improve, harvesters can submit a reconsideration for a higher price;
  3. Trip limits and scheduling will be enforced to ensure fairness and equity, and orderliness in the fishery

“There is also a strong commitment to buy crab for the whole season,” the FFAW said in a news release.

“The bargaining committee was presented with the offer this afternoon and followed-up with a virtual meeting with the Inshore Council and all Crab Chairs. Harvesters continue to express concern regarding the low price of $2.20 per pound, and whether companies are committing to buy for the whole season in all fisheries. Questions and concerns regarding the proposed trip limit schedule must also be resolved. Season extensions will also be requested to DFO.”

The FFAW leadership has requested to consult directly with their fleets over the next 24 hours and will report back findings for another call Saturday afternoon.

Both sides dig in on crab dispute as accusations fly about threats and intimidation

The crab fishery remains at a standstill as the Association of Seafood Producers held a news conference Tuesday to say it’s not budging on its offer of $2.20 per pound. NTV’s Jodi Cooke reports.

FFAW says solution needed soon for crab price dispute

Crab harvesters have still not gone out on the water as the crab price dispute enters its third week. The FFAW is warning if there is not a solution soon, it will be devastating for the industry.

FFAW to meet with labour minister as dispute continues over crab prices

The FFAW is calling for a meeting with the Premier, and Labour Minister to discuss the ongoing dispute over crab prices. NTV’s Marykate O’Neill has the latest in this report.

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