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Fish Processors Unilaterally Impose Trip Limits on Harvesters

May 8, 2020

After many weeks of refusing to negotiate prices and conditions of sale for snow crab, processing companies are implementing uneconomical trip limits on harvesters throughout the province, while continuing to import truckloads of out-of-province snow crab. Processing companies are also bringing in company-controlled boats from out-of-province to land snow crab while attempting to severely limit local inshore fish harvesters. Any trip limits imposed that are not within the license conditions go against the collective agreement and will be grieved.

The Association of Seafood Producers has taken every available opportunity to undermine the collective bargaining process this year. These companies have taken advantage of the worldwide pandemic to manipulate and control inshore harvesters while reaping the profits. For years, FFAW-Unifor has called for increased transparency in the industry but the provincial government has not taken any action to protect inshore harvesters. Our provincial government cannot stand idly by while companies import snow crab from outside the province and blatantly disregard inshore harvesters and their collective agreement by unilaterally imposing uneconomical trip limits.

Processing companies will continue to operate in bad faith if there are no consequences for their actions. Every harvester should call or email Minister Gerry Byrne to express your concern over the actions of processing companies and demand that government protect inshore harvesters and your right to collectively bargain.

The federal government also has a role to play in enforcing owner-operator policies and putting an end to controlling agreements. Reports of company-owned Nova Scotia boats landing snow crab in Newfoundland and Labrador is a direct violation of these federal policies and is a contributing factor to the unauthorized trip limits being imposed on harvesters in this province.

Our governments continue to allow companies to skirt the rules to maximize their profits while hurting the inshore fishery and our coastal communities. While we can follow through with grievances, action must be taken now to stop the importing of out-of-province snow crab while NL harvesters are strong-armed by companies into abiding by these unfair trip limits.