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.

Under the panel system, when the FFAW and processors can’t reach agreement on the price of a particular species to be paid to the inshore fleet, the decision goes to a provincial government-appointed, three-person panel.

Both sides put forward a price, and by law the panel must choose one or the other — nowhere in between.

In the case of shrimp, on April 24th the panel choose the $1.42/lb offered by the FFAW over the 90¢/lb put forward by the Association of Seafood Producers.

Only processors have been refusing to buy for that amount (even though the best fishing is in the spring), and boats in the Gulf and off the northeast coast and southern Labrador remain tied up despite the fishery opening on May 29th.

The panel’s decision is binding, but processors can’t be forced to buy.

A market report prepared for the panel on this year’s northern shrimp fishery predicted “good demand, low inventories, and higher prices.”

The Ryan’s estimated $100,000 loss is based on a shrimp catch of 50,000 pounds, plus wages for the crew, supplies, and the cost of fuel.