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Crab Harvesters Demand Fair Share

April 8, 2024

The crab fishing season officially started on Saturday, April 6th, yet all harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador stayed tied up demanding their fair share.

The Blackwood Report, commissioned by the province, demonstrated a fair-sharing arrangement for fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador. Harvesters refuse to fish for any formula that undersells their slice of the pie.

What are harvesters demanding:

  1. A formula based on historical sharing arrangements. If the ASP formula that the Panel chose was in effect between 2016 and 2023, roughly $450 million less would have gone to fish harvesters.
  2. Increasing share with increasing market. Historically, as the market value of crab has increased, the portion going to harvesters has increased as well. ASPs formula caps the percentage of market share at 37% at market values greater than $8.00 CAD. This is historically unprecedented.
  3. The ability to recoup value with market changes. The majority of crab harvesters land their crab when the market is at its lowest point. If the market increases after landing, there must be a mechanism to guarantee that harvesters also benefit from the market upturn.

Yesterday evening, the Bargaining Committee met to review an offer from ASP. The offer was unanimously rejected. The Union is prepared to engage in meaningful discussions to find a fair resolution.

The province has stood by the Blackwood Formula since it was published, and FFAW is demanding that they stand by it now to fix this injustice. ASP’s formula was not designed to bring stability to the industry, it was designed to put money in their pockets. Our negotiating committee is resolute: we will not fish for anything less than our fair share.