SEA-NL calls for review of price-setting panel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, June 30th, 2021

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says this year’s snow crab fishery had the highest landed value in the province’s history, but there’s evidence inshore harvesters may not have gotten a fair share of market returns.

“When the market price of snow crab continued to rise after the final price to inshore harvesters was set at the end of April — with no way for harvesters to appeal that price — then the system must be overhauled or scrapped, says Ryan Cleary, interim Executive Director of SEA-NL.

“In that light, SEA-NL is asking the Andrew Furey administration to review the panel system of fish pricing.”

On April 25th, the province’s Standing Fish Price Setting Panel locked in the crab price paid to inshore harvesters at 7.60/lb.

Under the panel system, the FFAW (which represents inshore harvesters in collective bargaining) had already used its one and only opportunity to appeal the initial 2021 crab price of $5.73/lb — which had been set by the panel on March 31st.

That means that since April 25th harvesters have had no way to appeal the $7.60/lb price — even though the market price of snow crab reportedly rose almost weekly after that — and continues to rise to this day for frozen crab.

“The fact that fishermen weren’t able to tap into that rising crab price is an obvious weakness of the panel system of fish pricing that must be reviewed and addressed,” Cleary said.

SEA-NL has estimated the landed value of this year’s snow crab fishery at up to $640 million — a 246% increase from 2020 when the price per pound to harvesters was set at $3.50.

This year’s snow crab quota in waters around Newfoundland and Labrador was 38,186 tonnes — a 29% increase over last year — and the first quota increase in more than 20 years. In 2018, there were 2,431 licensed crab harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Contact: Ryan Cleary


Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Inc.

709 682 4862