MEDIA RELEASE: Northern Peninsula Shrimp Fleet Facing Crisis
June 30, 2022
The 4R shrimp fleet met in Hawke’s Bay today to discuss the assault on inshore owner-operators by the Association of Seafood (ASP) and their member companies, and the complete lack of support from provincial departments responsible.The 4R fleet on the northern peninsula are in a unique, troubling circumstance – they have no access to other species and the viability of their enterprise is dependent solely on shrimp. Without a price based on fair market values, harvesters will be unable to breakeven this year and many will face bankruptcy,” explains Keith Sullivan, FFAW-Unifor President.
“Companies have attempted to manipulate the collective bargaining process with most fisheries this year. Working together like a cartel, they are attempting to erode solidarity by putting harvesters in a very desperate situation. The Panel’s completely unjustified decision on the summer shrimp price means many will not get one day fishing this year,” Sullivan says.
Royal Greenland in Quebec has been buying northern shrimp from Quebec harvesters, caught in Newfoundland and Labrador waters, for $1.36/lb and are only offering NL harvesters a mere $0.90. The company, a crown corporation of Greenland, has also been processing offshore shrimp at the plant in St. Anthony since May.
“A company like Royal Greenland, which has the privilege of owning a significant share of the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery, should be supporting the local economy of our province. It’s an absolute slap in the face that these companies are paying $1.36 for the same product in other provinces while refusing to pay NL harvesters enough to make ends meet,” Sullivan says.
The provincial government has the tools to address some of the challenges fish harvesters face as a result of inequity in collective bargaining. For several years, the FFAW has asked the province to undertake studies on product yields and market prices – information that processing companies have refused to divulge. Despite repeated efforts by FFAW-Unifor and our members, the provincial government has failed to address any of the pressing issues facing the fishery.
“Enterprise owners not only have massive expenses like boat and license loans, they also have crew members to support. Companies are buying shrimp for a fair market price in other provinces and have no reason not to pay NL harvesters the same. The result is hundreds of harvesters and plant workers who will be out of work this summer if our government does not step in and stop this egregious behaviour,” Sullivan concludes.
For media inquiries, please contact Courtney Glode at [email protected] or call/text 709-743-4445.