October 19, 2023
CORNER BROOK, NL – The FFAW-Unifor Inshore Council met this week in Corner Brook to discuss, debate and provide recommendations for the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing industry. Twenty-eight (28) elected members from around the province attended the 3-day meeting where important topics such as price negotiations, employment insurance, snow crab, northern cod, northern shrimp, redfish, sea cucumber, lobster and more were discussed at length.
“2023 has been the most difficult year for our members since the cod moratorium. The fishing industry has fallen to the bureaucratic backburner despite being the primary industry for our rural communities, providing $1.4 billion each year in new money to our province. This is not chump change, and the 17,000 people whose livelihoods depend on this industry are not disposable,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “The Inshore Council has a strong message for those in provincial and federal government, ‘We will be heard.’”
The Council resolved to demand in-person meetings with key government leaders before the end of 2023, including meetings with Premier Andrew Furey, Minister Elvis Loveless and Minister Bernard Davis, as well as meetings with the province’s Members of Parliament and the DFO officials responsible for provincial fisheries management. Council members have been clear that they expect significant time allotted to an in-person meetings where they will be able to discuss at-length the key issues affecting this important provincial industry.
“The disconnect between people living and working in the fishery and those who control it is growing wider and wider. Enough is enough. We cannot have these people who’ve never stepped foot in a boat making policy decisions that destroy our livelihoods,” explains Tony Doyle, Vice-President of the Inshore Council and fish harvester from Bay de Verde. “The future and long-term sustainability of our communities is too important,” Doyle says.
In addition, Council passed a number of resolutions and action items on:
Finding urgent solutions to employment insurance and protecting seasonal workers,
Strengthening owner-operator and fleet separation policies,
Protecting inshore 3Ps cucumber licenses,
Improving access for young harvesters and intergenerational transfers, and
Improving regional engagement and establishing new, species-specific working groups where needed.
Elected Inshore Council members who were in attendance this week:
Greg Pretty, President
Jason Spingle, Secretary-Treasurer
Tony Doyle, Vice-President
Nancy Bowers, Executive Board (Women’s Position)
Nelson Bussey, Executive Board (Avalon)
Kevin Hardy, Executive Board (West and Southwest Coasts)
Glen Newbury, Executive Board (Northeast Coast)
Mike Noonan, Executive Board (Crew Member)
Loomis Way, Executive Board (Northern Peninsula and Labrador)
Jamie Barnett, St. Brides to Swift Current
Darren Boland, Highlands to Cox’s Cove
Harrison Campbell, Henley Harbour to Cartwright
Andy Careen, At-Large
Jim Chidley, Pouch Cove to Point Lance
Blaine Crocker, Trout River to Eddie’s Cove West
Alfred Fitzpatrick, Monkstown to Garnish
Ren Genge, At-Large
Troy Hardy, Francois to Codroy
Matthew Jones, Crew Member
Ivan Lear, Young Harvester
Delores Penney, Women’s Representative
Alvin Petten, Harbour Grace to Portugal Cove North
Robert Robinson, Cape St. John to North Head
Mike Symmonds, Quirpon to Englee
Daniel Walsh, Crew Member & Young Harvester
Glen Winslow, At Large
Bill White, At-Large
Eldred Woodford, North Head to Port Albert, New World Island & Twilingate
“Our elected Councils are comprised of experts in their field, and their ideas, their solutions, their commitment to this industry, is the most valuable thing our Union has,” Pretty says. “This year has been incredibly difficult for our members, and our top priority is ensuring those who rely on the fishing industry can remain in their communities to stay in the industry next year and in the years following. Protecting the owner-operator fishery and protecting and growing our seasonal workforce is essential to the long-term sustainability of Newfoundland and Labrador,” concludes Pretty.