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FFAW Says No to Out-of-Province Crab

April 4, 2023

The Union representing over 14,000 inshore fish harvesters and plant workers in Newfoundland and Labrador is calling for a commitment from members of the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) to refrain from importing out-of-province snow crab until local challenges are addressed.

“We’re hearing concerns from our members in both harvesting and processing about what could happen if companies start bringing snow crab in from other province before the details in our own fishery are sorted,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “In the interest of good faith bargaining, of not making a mockery out of the negotiations process, and of preventing additional conflicts within our communities, we’re asking companies to refrain from bringing in any outside crab until it’s clear our own fishery can be fully executed in an orderly manner,” Pretty says.

FFAW-Unifor is currently awaiting a decision from the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel on the starting price for the 2023 snow crab season. Last week, Minister Murray announced an 8.4% overall increase to the snow crab quota in NL, meaning the inshore fishery has over 54,000 tons in total to be harvested at prices that will have serious economic impacts on inshore enterprise owners and crew members. Prices that are undoubtably impacted as a result of adverse markets, skyrocketing inflation and the resulting consequences on luxury seafood markets.

“Fishing industry workers have serious concerns they could be in physical danger going to work if companies start bringing crab in from other provinces without ensuring a smooth and peaceful fishery in our own province,” relays Pretty. “Non-union sanctioned threats of violence have already been a concern this year, and this cannot be tolerated or endorsed in any manner. Bringing crab into the province will throw fuel onto an already volatile situation,” he warns.

“We’re in a very precarious situation right now with many small business owners in jeopardy of going bankrupt, not to mention the thousands of crew member families they support through the snow crab fishery. Folks are in an extremely tough situation, and we need a commitment from companies to do everything in their power to prevent additional civil discord,” concludes Pretty.