MEDIA RELEASE: Government Report Fails to Acknowledge True Implications of Foreign Control | FFAW-Unifor | Fish Food & Allied Workers Union

MEDIA RELEASE: Government Report Fails to Acknowledge True Implications of Foreign Control

October 26, 2022

ST. JOHN’S, NL – Today, the provincial government released a report entitled, “A Review of Foreign Investment in the Newfoundland and Labrador Fishery.” While FFAW-Unifor is hopeful that the report’s recommendations will limit further foreign-control of our province’s resources, it fails to acknowledge or address the existing challenges hurting fish harvesters, plant workers, and coastal communities.

“The entire processing industry is controlled by a handful of large companies – companies that continue to eat up smaller companies, continually growing their share and reducing competition in the industry. This situation is hurting inshore fish harvesters and plant workers, and it’s hurting the economic sustainability for coastal communities,” says FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan. “We can try to limit further concentration, but we’re already in a situation where competition is essentially non-existent among the big players,” he says.

The Report states that the province’s experience with foreign investment in the processing sector as historically positive and asserts that, “Royal Greenland has made beneficial contributions to the competitiveness and productivity of the sector due to the investments it has made in improvement and upgrading its plant capabilities and providing longer-term meaningful work for its employees.”

In response, Sullivan says, “Companies like Royal Greenland are not here for the benefit of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and it’s a farce for our government to pretend everything is above board. This year, Royal Greenland aggressively attempted to shut down the small inshore shrimp fishery by refusing to pay the negotiated price to harvesters. Instead, they paid more for a lower valued product and told Inshore harvesters to steam their product to Quebec if they wanted a buyer.”

Consultation for this report was done virtually with the Inshore Council in January of 2022, which was prior to the fishing season that resulted in a focused review of the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel.

“We cannot make improvements without acknowledging a problem currently exists. Royal Greenland and the few other companies that control our fishery through the Association of Seafood Producers will continue to exert a market control over this fishery if our politicians continue to put their heads in the sand,” Sullivan concludes.

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For media inquiries, please contact Courtney Glode at [email protected] or call/text 709-743-4445.

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