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Price Setting Panel Sides with ASP for Price of Snow Crab

May 1, 2020

Today, the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel released its decision on the minimum price for snow crab. The Panel selected the ASP position of $2.90 per pound, rejecting the $3.50 price position submitted by FFAW.

FFAW is shocked and deeply frustrated by this price decision. The ASP price proposal contained no market analysis, arguing only that the Newfoundland and Labrador price had to be lower than the Maritimes because that is how it usually is. This is a simplistic argument that does not hold up to scrutiny.

The ASP position is also based on a misrepresentation of the price in the Maritimes, where processors have committed to paying a rebate at the end of the season based on market performance. FFAW wanted a similar system this year and proposed one in its first offer, to which ASP replied with an offer of 1 cent.

This year was a significant step backwards in labour relations between fishers and processing companies. In the midst of the worst global crisis since the Second World War, ASP members went to extreme lengths to sow division amongst harvesters and undermine their collective bargaining rights. Now is the time to develop strategies for sharing risk; not for executing schemes to acquire cheap crab and undermining the economics of rural communities.

Lastly, while the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel has provided a fair process that supports the interests of fish harvesters in the past, this decision is a significant misstep, and joins recent decisions on squid and herring in a growing list of price decisions that cannot be justified. The Panel is enshrined in legislation and exists regardless of who serves as a member. It is time to review the qualifications and experiences of those who serve as Panelists. A commitment to fairness, market analysis, and the collective bargaining process is essential.