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Press Conference Statement From Greg Pretty, FFAW-Unifor President, April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

Statement from Greg Pretty

The crab fishing season officially started on Saturday, April 6th, yet all harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador stayed tied up demanding their fair share of the market.

We began bargaining for a snow crab formula in December of last year. We were weeks at a hotel in St johns to try and move this forward, without a repeat of last year.

This is not just about a base price, but rather a system that is built to work against fish harvesters, plant workers and coastal communities.

The Blackwood Report, which was commissioned by the province, demonstrated a fair-sharing arrangement for fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador. Harvesters refuse to fish for any formula that undersells their slice of the pie.

We understand the importance of getting this fishery up and running as soon as possible. For plant workers, enterprise owners, crew members, and for other species that we need to pursue in a timely manner.

However, our members, both in the plants and on crab boats, are once again disadvantaged by the reluctance of ASP members to arrive at a proper market share. While the Blackwood Report shows a fair market share to harvesters and processors, ASP would not entertain it. Hence the $29 million difference in the two opening offers. This situation we now find ourselves in is about closing that gap.

Specifically, there are three main problems with ASP’s formula.

  • ASP’s formula is not based on historical sharing arrangements. If the ASP formula that the Panel chose was in effect between 2016 and 2023, roughly $450 million less would have gone to fish harvesters.
  • ASP’s formula has no provision for increasing harvester’s share with an increasing market. Historically, as the market value of crab has increased, the portion going to harvesters has increased as well. ASPs formula caps the percentage of market share at 37% at market values greater than $8.00 CAD. This is historically unprecedented.
  • ASP’s formula has no ability to recoup value with market changes. The majority of crab harvesters land their crab when the market is at its lowest point. If the market increases after landing, there must be a mechanism to guarantee that harvesters also benefit from the market upturn.

The province has stood by the Blackwood Formula since it was published, and FFAW is demanding that they stand by it now to fix this injustice.

What’s causing quality issues? Less capacity. Fewer plants. Fewer plant workers.

We need an urgent provincial review of this province’s licensing policy and the effects on our industry. And this time, they need to institute the recommendations.

We need stability. We need more jobs. And we need a better share. That’s our target.

ASP’s formula was not designed to bring stability to the industry, it was designed to put money in their pockets. Our negotiating committee is resolute: we will not fish for anything less than our fair share.



  • Greg Pretty, FFAW President
  • Jason Spingle, FFAW Secretary-Treasurer
  • Abe Solberg,  FFAW Market & Policy Analysis
  • Glen Winslow, Inshore Council & Bargaining Committee
  • John Efford, Fish Harvester
  • Andy Careen, Inshore Council & Bargaining Committee
  • Nelson Bussey, Executive Board & Bargaining Committee

The materials that were provided to Media at today’s Press Conference are linked below:

2017−2019 Comparison of Actual Price vs ASP Formula

2013-2013 Panel Decision Summary

Final Export Price of Snow Crab vs Average UB 5-8 Price

NL Export Prices compared with UB 5-8 monthly average (CAD) June – Sept 2023



Processing Plant Capacity Graph