Tag Archives: FFAW

FFAW, N.L. government team up in push back against lobster, snow crab being labeled foods to avoid

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program which runs what it calls a science-based seafood recommendation list to inform consumers, chefs, and business professionals, placed all Canadian lobster and snow crab on an “avoid” list because of what the group calls a potential impact for North Atlantic right whales to become entangled in fishing gear. But Jason Spingle, secretary treasurer of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW), says the snow crab and lobster recommendation is “totally unfounded.” Spingle said of the hundreds of harvesters he has heard from, none have actually seen a right whale while fishing. What’s more, Spingle said, he only knows of two sightings in Newfoundland waters, neither during lobster fishing season and zero reports of entanglements. >click to read< 07:37

FFAW Responds to Seafood Watch “Avoid” Placement of Snow Crab, Norther American Lobster

The FFAW is responding to the US-based Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch which has placed North American lobster and Canadian snow crab among seafood species to “avoid.” The reason is based on the potential impact of gear on the North Atlantic right whale which is prone to entanglements with surface gear. The Fisheries Union says the North Atlantic right whale is not commonly found in waters around Newfoundland and Labrador. According to the union, there have only been three sightings of North Atlantic right whales in waters around this province in the last number of years, and no reports of entanglements. >click to read< 07:59

Profit over people: Royal Greenland isn’t here to help Newfoundlanders

Jarding’s assertion that Royal Greenland truly wants product landed and processed in Newfoundland and Labrador has proven to be categorically false. The company, a Crown corporation of the country of Greenland, flatly refused to buy shrimp from NL harvesters at a fair price earlier this summer, telling harvesters if they wanted to fish, they must bring their product all the way to Quebec if they wanted a buyer. Why could the Royal Greenland plants in Quebec pay double the price for the same product? Why did Royal Greenland refuse to pay the same to NL harvesters? These are the key questions Mr. Jarding has conveniently sidestepped. >click to read< 11:45

We’re not going anywhere — FFAW

According to Mr. Butler, fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador are living like kings and queens while the poor processing companies struggle to balance the books. It’s a tale that’s been spun by Butler and his cronies with the Association of Seafood Producers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ah yes, Derek Butler, champion of corporate profits, knows much about the rich shrimp harvesters of the Northern Peninsula (who, by the way, have no access to crab). They haven’t been able to sell their shrimp for enough to make ends meet, while the same companies buy the exact same product for over 50 per cent more at their facilities in Quebec. >click to read< 07:44

Why are NL fishers going out of province to land their catch?

Although Port au Choix has a growing tourism industry, the fish plant is still the focal point of the harbour and it depends significantly on the fishers and their fishing boats to keep it going. The arrival of the summer shrimp fishery would usually mean this port would be buzzing with activity,,, But today, the usual thrum at the wharf is replaced with a murmur, as participants get ready to take the mic. Together, they’re rebuffing this year’s minimum price offered to fishers landing their shrimp at this plant, operated by Ocean Choice International L.P. “I was one of the first ones to land shrimp to this plant,” says long-time Flowers Cove fisher, Ren Genge, stepping up to speak. “I see people here, who were the first to shell that shrimp by hand. I’ve been here for 55 years fishing shrimp, and I’m not about to let three companies take me out of business.” Video,  >click to read< 07:46

Northern Peninsula Shrimp Fleet Facing Crisis

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.  >click to read< 09:57

Panel Decision Opposite of Strong Market Indicators, Harvesters Outraged

Shrimp harvesters across the province are outraged by the result of the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel’s decision to set the minimum price for summer shrimp at just $0.90/lb. The decision to side with ASP’s final offer is entirely unsupported by market realities, which show distinct market improvements in recent months. “The Panel’s decision yesterday is incomprehensible. Taking into consideration the significant increase in operational costs, particularly for fuel, fish harvesters will not come close to breaking even at this insultingly low price,” says FFAW-Unifor Sullivan President Keith Sullivan. “The Panel has absolutely not justified themselves in selecting this price,” he says. >click to read press release<  19:06

Fisherman who vowed to dump shrimp if no buyer stepped forward has found one,,, in Nova Scotia

The La Scie inshore fisherman who vowed to dump his first load of northern shrimp for the season if he couldn’t sell the catch has found a buyer across the Gulf in Nova Scotia. “Thank God we don’t have to dump it,” says Ryan, who operates the fishing enterprise, F/V Atlantic Blue Too, with his son Josh, the skipper and license holder. “A Nova Scotia buyer has agreed to purchase the shrimp for significantly more than buyers are willing to pay here.” Most of the province’s shrimp fleets in the Gulf and off the east coast have yet to untie this season, despite the fact the spring price was set on April 24th, and the fishery opened on May 29th. >click to read< 08:04

Fisherman who vowed to dump shrimp if no buyer found suffers vessel breakdown, threat stands

The La Scie fisherman who vowed to dump his first load of northern shrimp for the season if there was no buyer returned to port today without any catch after his fishing boat suffered mechanical problems at sea. But Terry Ryan says he expects the Atlantic Bluefin Too will be repaired as early as Friday, and he plans to follow through with his pledge. “Full-steam ahead,” says Ryan, who operates the enterprise with his son, Josh, the skipper and licence-holder. Terry Ryan threatened to dump their first load of shrimp at an estimated loss of $100,000 if there’s no buyer when the catch landed as a protest of the province’s panel system of fish pricing. >click to read< 15:14

Shrimp fisherman prepared to dump 50,000-pound catch if processors not prepared to buy it

Terry Ryan of La Scie, who together with his son Josh operate the Atlantic Bluefin Too, vows the boat will start fishing shrimp on Saturday, and if there’s no buyer for the 50,000/lbs they expect to have aboard by late Sunday/early Monday when the vessel returns to port, the catch will be dumped as a means to shake up the fishery and get it going. The spring shrimp price was set at $1.42/lb on April 24th, and Fisheries and Oceans opened the fishery on Sunday, May 29th (after public complaints by Terry Ryan on VOCM Open Line/The Broadcast), but the inshore fleet has yet to untie because processors say the price is too high.  Which leads back to the increasingly popular question: what’s the good of the government-appointed price-setting panel? >click to read< 07:46

Snow crab prices plummet in Newfoundland

It wasn’t the news fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador wanted to hear. They’ll get less for their snow crab after today, as the result of a decision by the province’s fish price setting panel. After reviewing a request from the Association of Seafood Producers and arguments by the Fish Food and Allied Workers, the panel went with the processors’ pitch of $6.15 per pound. That’s down nearly 20 per cent from the $7.60 per pound price that was set for the start of the season on April 1. In Nova Scotia, fish harvesters also saw a drop in snow crab prices a couple of weeks ago. They are now getting $8.25 a pound for snow crab, according to Gordon Beaton, local president with the Maritime Fishermen’s Union.  >click to read<  11:06

Northern cod 30 years after the moratorium: Confederation’s greatest shame

As the 30th anniversary of the northern cod moratorium looms, DFO cannot say with certainty whether the at-sea fall survey will be completed this year, the small-scale inshore fishery limps on with an average price of 64¢/lb, and the number of active enterprises has fallen to 1,259 — a shadow of the fishery’s glory days when the stock supported 30,000-40,000 workers. On the plus side, scientists with Fisheries and Oceans finally acknowledge that seals “undoubtedly” have an impact on cod — just not as huge as the lack of caplin (which seals also eat by the millions of pounds, but one DFO baby step at a time). >click to read< 08:02

Ottawa announces closure of Atlantic mackerel, bait fisheries to restore stocks

Fishers on the East Coast are expressing their disappointment with Ottawa after DFO closed the Atlantic mackerel and commercial bait fisheries, citing concerns that dwindling stocks have entered a “critical zone.” The department said in a release Wednesday it was taking “urgent action” to help preserve the stock of southern Gulf spring herring and Atlantic mackerel with the closures in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray said she recognizes many harvesters depend on the fisheries, and she promised to work with them and others in the industry to preserve the stocks. Fishers in the sector, however, want the decision reversed. Martin Mallet, “It’s going to have a major impact — an atomic bomb impact — on our whole East Coast fishery, from Newfoundland to Quebec to southwest Nova Scotia,” >click to read< 18:52

FFAW “Shocked” by Federal Fisheries Minister’s Comments on Climate Change

The union says Minister Murray put forward her ideas and vision for the east coast fishery at the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters Federation annual meeting. She outlined her goal to leave as many fish in the water as possible and to grow as much vegetation in the water as possible so that the Atlantic Ocean can better absorb carbon to combat climate change. She indicated that fish harvesters would have to accept the sacrifice as part of Canada’s commitment to fight climate change and noted that with technological advancements harvesters could change career paths and work remotely from their homes. >click to read< 08:29

FFAW Calling on DFO to Cease Plans with Weak-Rope Policy

The FFAW is once again calling on DFO to immediately cease its plans to implement a weak-rope policy for harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador. The policy is being introduced across Atlantic Canada to help save rare and endangered North Atlantic right whales from entanglement. The whales are surface feeders and are prone to ship strikes and drowning after becoming entangled in fishing gear. The weak-rope policy is being brought in to allow the creatures to break free. >click to read< 10:55

The redfish fishery is returning. So is angst about quotas for inshore harvesters

A coalition led by the union representing workers in Newfoundland and Labrador’s fishing industry is sounding the alarm about plans for an emerging commercial redfish fishery, saying there are big concerns about potential quotas for inshore harvesters.,, That process is favouring the offshore sector, according to the president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union, and forgetting the inshore harvesters when it comes to redfish. Keith Sullivan and the FFAW spoke out at Thursday on behalf of a coalition that includes inshore harvester associations, Indigenous groups and seafood processors in Atlantic Canada. >click to read< 09:17

The NLGIDC Supports the Position of an Inshore Fisheries Coalition on the New Redfish Fishery – >click to read<

The Squid Tsunami in Newfoundland

Thousands of pounds of the tentacled invertebrate are so plentiful this year they’ve been washing up on beaches around the island of Newfoundland. In fact, the amount of squid landed this year will likely double last year’s landings, according to Derek Butler.,, “It’s huge landings this year and it’s more than we need, to be quite blunt,” he said, adding squid landings have also been good in Argentina, which also supplies the bait market. Some Newfoundland processors have already stopped buying. >click to read< 10:47

Will fishing shrimp be worth it this year?

The price set by the Association of Seafood Producers came in at one dollar a pound Thursday, with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union pushing for a price of $1.50. Shrimp harvester Rendell Genge has been in the industry since 1970, and has seen up and down years fishing on the west coast of Newfoundland. This summer, he wonders if taking his boat out will be feasible. “There’s no way we can fish for a dollar,”,,, “We had a group meeting  and 100 per cent agreed not to go fishing [unless] we do the $1.50, at least $1.50 right now.” >click to read< 19:46

FFAW submits a request for Snow Crab price review in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Fish Food and Allied Workers has submitted a request for reconsideration of snow crab prices to the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel for Newfoundland and Labrador,,, FFAW said the panel has 96 hours to either establish a new price or maintain the current price of $5.73 per pound. If the panel decides to set a new price, it would come into effect Sunday. April 25. Crab fishers in Newfoundland and Labrador have questioned the apparent gap in snow crab prices from province-to-province in Atlantic Canada.  They’ve been sharing information that suggests snow crab fishers in the Maritime provinces have been getting $8 to $9 per pound for crab. >click to read< 18:42

“DFO operates in denial of Reality”- Scientist says seal predation not having a significant impact on spawning cod stocks 

Instead, Karen Dwyer, weighing in on the contentious debate over the health of cod stocks, said Thursday that environmental factors and a limited supply of the cod’s primary food source — capelin — are more to blame.,, Trinity Bay fisherman Keith Smith said DFO continues to downplay the impact of seal predation on cod. “It’s like DFO operate in denial of reality,” Smith said. “Fishing mortality is at an all-time low while natural mortality, likely led by the growing seal population that consumes vast amounts of both capelin and cod, remains high,”,,, >click to read<  11:04

2020 shrimp price disagreement for NL fish harvesters goes to arbitration

There’s 58 cents worth of disagreement over shrimp prices between the union that represents fish harvesters and the organization that represents processors in Newfoundland and Labrador. According to the union, the Association of Seafood Processors (ASP) proposed 70 cents per pound while the FFAW proposed $1.18. The matter is now before the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel, which met today in St. John’s to hear the proposals from both sides.,, The union also said, “This is a challenging year for shrimp, as the market is lower than it was last year.” However, the union also said the 70 cent offer from the ASP “is a price that cannot be justified by any rational assessment of the market.” >click to read< 16:07

New oil regulation means step backwards for fishermen

The change to allow environmental assessments for exploratory drilling offshore to be done quicker will impact Newfoundland and Labrador’s fishing industry,,, The move was made to help the province’s oil and gas industry, which has faced countless setbacks over the course of the year. However, FFAW President Keith Sullivan says the new regulation has removed fishermen from the consultation process. Sullivan said the faster approval of environmental assessments, along with seismic work expected to take place in the province later this year, adds up to a larger impact on the environment and the waters people fish in. “More exploration and drilling in areas can cause problems either directly, and then there’s added risk of things like oil spills  >click to read< 17:37

Coronavirus: A fisherman’s daughter’s perspective

I am a fisherman’s daughter who is very aware of the beauty and the dangers of the ocean. Fishing isn’t for everyone — it is a physical, dangerous, high-risk profession in which generations of fishers have gone out on the water and, all too often, not come home. The fishery is one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s many highly dependent resource sectors employing thousands of people directly and indirectly. This year the obstacles facing this sector are beyond what any industry should have to deal with on their own. Since mid-March, fish harvesters were deeply concerned about the potential impact of COVID-19. Safety was and continues to be top priority as it is impossible to social distance while working in a fishing boat. Meagan Careen, St. Bride’s>click to read< 17:12

Protesting fish harvesters shout ‘We got no union!’

A protest involving 100 fish harvesters was heading Tuesday to Confederation Building after police urged demonstrators to disperse from the St. John’s headquarters of the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union. Tuesday’s protest is the second in the last several days in which harvesters demanded action on several issues, including crab prices, trip limits and safety concerns related to COVID-19.,, While protestors spilled out onto the street to space themselves out, many in the group said they were staying put to drive home their points. Ronnie Bidgood, a Petty Harbour harvester, he and others were standing up for their livelihoods and wouldn’t be leaving. >click to read< 18:12

A call for patience and empathy in a fishery dealing with Coronavirus

This letter is in response to Gabe Gregory’s May 4th letter, “Fish union’s delay tactics appalling.” Contrary to Gregory’s assertions, fish-processing companies are not operating during the COVID-19 crisis under some noble sense of duty to the province or nation and they are certainly not sacrificing for the greater good. Being labelled an essential service was a relief to processing companies. It meant they could operate and bypass social-distancing, crowd-size, and travel restrictions. It meant that the companies could take full advantage of the very lucrative snow crab fishery ($500 million in 2019) and lobster fisheries ($100+ million in 2019) that would be starting while the COVID-19 pandemic would still be highly active in our country. Being an essential service also allowed them to be amongst the first in line for government subsidies. By Keith Sullivan President, FFAW, >click to read< 15:49

Coronavirus: Atlantic Canada’s fishing industry calls on feds for help

Crab and lobster fisheries throughout Atlantic Canada have faced delayed season openings due to fears about the coronavirus spreading in small communities and close working conditions. A significant drop in prices due to a collapse in retail and restaurant markets in the United States, Japan and China, major export markets for Canada’s seafood, overshadow the start of the season for many. Responding to a question during Tuesday’s virtual House of Commons meeting, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said support for the industry would be announced in the coming days, but by Thursday no additional details were available. >click to read< 09:09

Opinion: Fish union’s delay tactics appalling

It is disgraceful what is happening in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our government declared our food supply essential weeks ago. Those involved had to step up, despite the pandemic, to maintain the food supply. Most industries were ordered to close, a societal lockdown the likes of which we have never witnessed before. The closest comparison is past world wars. The global economy has been thrown into mayhem. Soon after, Newfoundland and Labrador seafood processors mobilized their people to prepare for COVID-19.,,, The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union (FFAW) was kept fully informed, through 15-plus Zoom meetings and numerous phone calls over six weeks. By Gabe Gregory, Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s  >click to read< 10:53

FFAW, processors remain at odds on opening Newfoundland and Labrador crab season

It remains to be seen whether harvesters in the province will eventually start fishing for crab and offloading it at plants for processing. According to the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor), two vessels from outside the province were turned away in Port Aux Basques and denied the opportunity to offload crab as of Monday morning, and three transport trucks carrying crab harvested outside the province were being blocked from making deliveries to fish plants, two in South Brook and one at Goobies. “The fishery was postponed three times on health and safety issues,” Pretty said. “During that time, the bargaining for the price of crab should have progressed, but instead of progressing,,, >click to read< 19:46

Coronavirus brings financial and physical worry for fish harvesters

“Whatever way this goes, it’s going to be a very hard year in the fishery, I think, overall,” said Jason Sullivan, a fisherman on the Avalon Peninsula. “There’s no way to sugarcoat that.” He said DFO’s release of the snow crab management plan — which saw an average quota increase of about 10 per cent — has lifted the spirits of some fish harvesters. Still, he figures others are going to have a tough decision to make this year. “If they do open the fishery, and I says ‘well, jeez I’m not going fishing, I don’t feel safe,’ the bank is going to call me and say ‘Jason, why didn’t you make your payments,'” he said. “Do you think they’re really going to care?” >click to read< 16:34

Coronavirus: FFAW calling for delay of crab fishery, NL-FHSA released 12 control measures to prevent spread of virus on fishing vessels

The FFAW’s crab committee chairs met Sunday and voted to delay the fishery opening again. President Keith Sullivan said the recommendation will be sent to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, who holds the authority to open or delay the fishery. “We have to be able to ensure that we have a safe fishery for everyone involved,” Still, Sullivan said harvesters aren’t ready to call off the 2020 crab fishing season, which employs thousands and is worth more than $300 million, including export value and spin offs.,, Meanwhile, The Fish Harvesting Safety Association (NL-FHSA) has released 12 control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on fishing vessels, if fisheries open later this spring. >click to read< 18:14