FFAW met with Minister Derrick Bragg and Minister Bernard Davis on Thursday April 7th in follow up to the demonstrations in St. John’s and Corner Brook on March 28th. The discussion focused on the need for collaboration with both Ministers to deliver fairness to the collective bargaining process, as well as the need for increases in competition and capacity due to corporate concentration of the processing sector. An increase in capacity is urgently needed to support the 2022 fisheries for many species such as crab, cod, capelin, squid, and others where harvesters do not have a sale for their catch. Increased competition is needed and FFAW put forth that the opportunity clearly exists for new local processing. FFAW reiterated that outside buyers, while not what harvesters see as ideal, would deliver much needed competition in the industry where they have been mistreated by a very concentrated processing industry. Thank You to Inshore Council members Tony Doyle, Jim Chidley, and Glen Winslow for participating in this meeting and contributing your valuable insights and suggestions.
Minister Bragg stated that he was seriously looking at the concerns put forth by FFAW and Minister Davis stated in this meeting that they are willing to sit with FFAW and ASP to find the best way to satisfy all concerns and maximize the marketplace. However, no commitments were made. Since March 30th, almost 600 letters have been sent to provincial government by frustrated harvesters who want a resolution after expressing the same concerns for several years with little to no change.