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April 26, 2023

Lobster chairs from all over the province met virtually this evening to discuss the latest developments in the recently opened lobster fishery. Earlier today, all but one buyer colluded together to stop purchasing Newfoundland and Labrador lobster because the price calculated by the longstanding formula was deemed not to their liking.

“The summary of this evening’s call is that harvesters will not entertain any discussion of altering the current lobster formula. Furthermore, the FFAW is demanding the provincial government allow any outside buyers who would like to purchase NL lobster at the formula price,” says FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer Jason Spingle. “Newfoundland and Labrador lobster harvesters are experts in quality handling procedures. They should also be allowed to ship live product themselves,” he adds.

Today’s formula calculation is based on market prices and puts the harvester share at $14.37 per pound. The ASP position at Panel would have put the price at 14.20, 17 cents lower. While this number is expected to drop in the coming weeks as fisheries open throughout the Atlantic Canada, this starting price is an all-time high for Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters. The formula is producing the best price yet but at a later market peak than most years due to lower landings in southwest Nova Scotia. As a result, companies are colluding to shut down all fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador and retaliate against harvesters for refusing to fish crab at the unviable price of 2.20.

“We’ve got a handful of companies whose poor business models have put them in a situation where they aren’t prepared to buy at fair market prices,” explains Greg Pretty, FFAW-Unifor President. “On top of terrible business models, licensing policies are holding our fishery hostage with a complete lack of competition, transparency and accountability from processing companies,” he says.

“We’re planning to meet with the provincial government as soon as possible to discuss how they plan to fix the situation fish harvesters and plant workers are in this year as a result of corporate control in the fishery,” Pretty adds. “Because the provincial government absolutely has the power to put fairness into this fishery,” he says.

FFAW-Unifor will continue to monitor market conditions and communicate with leadership throughout the province. Any updates will be provided when available.

In terms of EI extensions, the Union has a meeting with Minister Qualtrough’s office tomorrow evening and will update members accordingly. Continue calling your MP’s offices to ensure they understand the urgency of this request.