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MEDIA RELEASE: Panel Selects ASP Formula, Pulling Fair Market Share from Harvester Reach

April 1, 2024

ST. JOHN’S, NL – Minutes ago, the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel announced their decision for the 2024 snow crab season, siding with the Association of Seafood Producers formula. FFAW’s offer was based on the Blackwood report and would have seen harvesters capture a fair market value based on historic shares. 

ASP’s formula is not based on historic data, nor was justification found within their submission document. Moreover, there is no mechanism for harvesters to benefit as the market increases. ASP caps harvester share at 37% once the market reaches $8.02CAD, contrary to historic pricing shares that increases the harvester share as market prices increase. 

“Today’s decision by the Panel is extremely disappointing to the Negotiating Committee, to harvesters around the province, and also to the provincial government who devoted all these resources towards the Blackwood Report. In the end, the Panel chose to throw out that work and those well-researched recommendations for a formula that is tied to nothing except more money for the processors,” says Greg Pretty, FFAW-Unifor President. 

ASP’s submission is similar to the pricing formula using between 1998 and 2008, which eventually led to the final offer selection process because the majority of fishing was occurring between the lowest market period. ASP’s pricing system gives companies even more opportunity to manipulate prices because here is no mechanism to recoup value should they dump crab to low market prices. This also gives companies the ability to control what harvesters earn more than they currently do; if a company refuses to let someone land at a certain time it could significantly impact earnings. 

FFAW-Unifor is disappointed the Provincial Government chose to go to the Price Setting Panel with two formula offers rather than implement the Blackwood formula the government itself commissioned.

“There was a better way to do this. The work was already done by Glen Blackwood in his report. The Blackwood formula provided a way for harvesters to be paid a fair market share, but that was tossed aside for a formula that is not tied to information harvesters can trust,” Pretty says. 

“We’re in a much different situation than we were last year. Snow crab inventories are down, and market prices are rebounding. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Panel it’s the same old, same old. We’ve seen that harvesters are no longer in the mood to be told when they’ll fish, how much they’ll fish for, or who they can sell to,” Pretty concludes. 

Click here to read the Panel’s full written decision.