Shrimp harvesters in the 4R region on the Northern Peninsula are almost entirely dependent on shrimp for their livelihood, with little to no other species to fall back on. This year, the Shrimp Negotiating Committee submitted a price of 1.58 per pound, basing their submission on the GEMBA market report which was favourable. However, the Price Setting Panel selected ASP’s price of $1.08 per pound, an appallingly low price that makes business viability impossible for these harvesters.
“The GEMBA market report is provincial government sanctioned and has long been used as the basis for our Panel price submissions. The fact this market report seems to no longer be held in regard by the Panel decision makers is concerning for our members and is one more nail in the coffin for the broken price setting system,” says FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer Jason Spingle. “It’s clear that a formula pricing system is the way to go for all species so that we can ensure fairness and transparency, but in the meantime, we need an immediate solution to get harvesters on the water, and landing shrimp in our province,” says Spingle.
Harvesters in other maritime provinces are being paid approximately $1.36 per pound, which is substantially higher than the price being offered in NL. Over two weeks ago, the 4R Fleet offered to fish for the same or similar prices in order to get this fishery going, but companies have so far refused.
“Harvesters are resorting to steaming their catch to Quebec in order to make a shrimp sale this season,” says Spingle. “It certainly does not have to be this way and is not an ideal situation for harvesters who would rather land their catch here in our own province and communities. Harvesters are simply asking for a fair price,” Spingle concludes.