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4R Harvesters Hold Meeting on Shrimp Fishery

July 20, 2020

Shrimp harvesters in 4R held a meeting in Anchor Point today to decide whether to fish at a price below the negotiated price of $1.08/lb while processors in the province refuse to purchase shrimp, illegally locking out inshore shrimp harvesters. Harvesters unanimously voted to refuse to sell for anything less than the fairly negotiated price of $1.08. 98% of the fleet was in attendance for the meeting.

Harvesters are calling for a halt to industrial (offshore) shrimp processing while processors undermine the collective bargaining process. Plants that remained shuttered hurt not only inshore fish harvesters, but the plant workers who are relying on work this year. 4R shrimp harvesters are dependent on the shrimp fishery and do not have other species to rely on.

“Harvesters in the shrimp fleet can’t accept that a company who has the privilege to operate in this province are buying shrimp from factory vessels to process and put on the market but refuse to buy from local inshore harvesters. The panel selected a fair price and buyers here need to step up and let this fishery go ahead for both harvesters and plant workers alike,” said Rendell Genge, Chair of the 4R Shrimp Fleet.

Today’s meeting follows weeks of frustration in the industry as buyers in Newfoundland and Labrador refused to pay the initial negotiated price of $1.18, leading to a reconsideration where the Panel selected the FFAW’s second offer of $1.08.  ASP’s first price submission was for an unjustified $0.70, followed by a still unacceptable $0.85 at the reconsideration hearing. The offers from ASP were far below what the market indicates is a fair price inclusive of the market impacts from COVID-19. The Panel chose FFAW’s price, which was supported by the latest market information, at both hearings. The price of $1.08 is already 32% below last year’s price of $1.65/lb.

The majority of processors have refused to buy at the negotiated price, undermining the collective bargaining process and putting thousands of harvesters and plant workers out of work during an already difficult year. Shrimp processors in New Brunswick and Quebec, including a Royal Greenland owned plant, have been buying shrimp from harvesters in that province while refusing to purchase from Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters. All indicators suggest buyers in other provinces are paying similar prices to the negotiated price in NL, yet they refuse to buy in our province.

Currently, the only processor buying inshore shrimp is the Labrador Fisherman’s Union Shrimp Company in Charlottetown. Plants not currently operating include the Ocean Choice International (Port aux Choix), Royal Greenland (Old Perlican), Barry Group International (Anchor Point), and Fogo Island Co-Op (Seldom). Royal Greenland is currently processing industrial shrimp.