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FFAW Responds to ASP Media Statement, Lack of Capacity Still Core of Protests 

March 21, 2024

FFAW adamantly disputes ASP’s claim that lifting provincial processing caps will harm existing processing plant workers. To be clear, the vast majority of fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador experience trouble finding a reliable buyer for their catch. 

This is not a one-off problem, in a single fishery. This is a widespread, systemic issue facing the provincial processing landscape in our province. 

FFAW-Unifor inherently supports keeping work in our province. Longer seasons and more work is better for everyone involved in the inshore fishery. 

Harvesters are not able to land their allotted quotas because the plant they are tied to either refuses to – or cannot due to caps – buy their product. Combined with dramatic decreases in prices last year, and similarly dramatic increases in expenses, the inshore owner-operator fishery is confronting an acute breaking point.  

Thousands of owner-operator enterprises are facing bankruptcy, while the small handful of corporations that control the fishery get bigger and bigger. Competition in recent years has declined significantly. ASP member companies employ nearly half the crab processing workers now than when the province had similar quota levels. 

Unfortunately, processing companies tell their workers that increasing market access for harvesters will mean losing their jobs. This is a lie, and a harmful one that drives our membership apart. 

In recent years, rather than improve work for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the majority of ASP member companies have focused on bringing in Temporary Foreign Workers. If these companies were so committed to coastal communities, emphasis would be put on finding ways to recruit and retain local workforce. 

More competition is better for our fishery. It is better for fish harvesters, better for plant workers, and better for the long-term sustainability of coastal communities. Because one cannot survive without the other.

Demonstrations will continue tomorrow, Friday, March 22, 2024!