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For several weeks, there have been disputes between the producers and the Newfoundland and Labrador snow crab fishermen over the prices fixed per kilo for the species. Now, Andrew Furey, the Premier, has intervened in the negotiations between the two parties.
Since 10 April, Newfoundland and Labrador fishers should have been fishing for snow crabs. However, they have not been. Harvesters have refused fishing in protest of this year’s dockside price of $2.20 per pound. A figure that is a sharp drop from last season’s starting price of $7.60 a pound.
“The Fish Food and Allied Workers Union rejected the proposal, stating that harvesters demand a higher share of the price. The outstanding issues include the demand for clarity on the maximum catch that would be accepted, and that companies agree to not bring in crab from fleets based outside the province,” said Atlantic Canada Seafood Group.
The snow crab fishing stalled by low prices in the season, in Newfoundland and Labrador had Furey intervened in negotiations between fishermen and producers, according to the province’s largest fishermen’s union, reported CBC.
The Fish, Food and Allied Workers told the CBC on Tuesday that talks were taking place between the union and the Seafood Producers Association earlier in the day. These as reported by the network “continued throughout the day and were expected to continue into the evening.”
“The premier’s intervention today signals the extent of the current crisis and the need for action to find an agreeable solution for harvesters,” said a press release from the union Tuesday afternoon. However, there are no new developments regarding the negotiations.
How are prices set?
The government appointed a panel to listen to the arguments of the fishermen’s union and the seafood processors’ association, and with the data they offered, they intended to settle. However, on this occasion, they have not reached an agreement.
These costs are due to a collapse in the market for snow crab after reaching record highs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In general, inflation-weary consumers become less inclined to pay high prices for premium foods.
A hard decision
The mayor of La Scie, a small town on Newfoundland’s Baie Verte peninsula, explained on CBC that “the community is divided.” Negotiations do not seem to progress, so some crab fishermen have defied the harvesters’ union and are back to the water.
This is because crab fishing is a significant part of the income of the fishing community. Therefore, the debate is not only to leave or not but, perhaps, to sustain themselves until next season. CBC reported that the first break in the Fish, Food & Allied Worker Union’s decision to tie up the boats occurred over the weekend. Thus, skipper Jamie Mouland posted on Facebook that “he was heading to the water to support his family and crew,” returning on Tuesday without giving interviews.
Justin Giles explained it plainly. This fisherman supported Mouland’s decision and said the reality of the situation affects more fishermen as their employment insurance begins to run out.
“It’s time to get stuff on the go, you know? I know it’s $2.20 a pound, it’s not a lot of money, but people gotta make a living,”, said Justin Giles, for the CBC. “That’s my opinion on it. Few dollars is better than no dollars, at the end of the day.”
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