Tag Archives: Association of Seafood Producers

Head of seafood processors’ association says he faced threats over crab dispute

The head of the Association of Seafood Producers says he and his family faced threats in recent weeks during the conflict over snow crab. “There has been threats against me for the last 30 days, and I have been in regular contact with the [Royal Newfoundland Constabulary],” ASP executive director Jeff Loder told Radio-Canada Tuesday. “They were directed toward my personal safety, directed towards my credibility, directed towards our members, directed towards our office. And it was really, really inappropriate. I understand this is an emotional time, I understand that this is about people’s livelihoods. This is a serious issue…. However, making threats is entirely unacceptable.” more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 16:48


FFAW applauds new deal on crab pricing, but says system still needs fixing

Harvesters refused to fish for more than a week, until the FFAW and Association of Seafood Producers reached a deal on Sunday that included increases to minimum prices and a settlement at the end of the season. That deal will override the panel’s decision. The deal struck Sunday includes a floor price of $3 per pound for the entire 2024 season. Both sides will be able to file for a reconsideration if the market price goes above $6.50 US. Harvester Glen Winslow was getting ready to finally start his season Monday morning in St. John’s. He said it’ll likely be a few days before boats head for the crab grounds. “I’m quite satisfied with where we got, to be honest with you,” Winslow told Radio-Canada. Photos, more, >>click to read<< 06:11


This evening, the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) reached an agreement with the FFAW Snow Crab Bargaining Committee, ensuring the start of the 2024 snow crab fishery. As a result, plans for a demonstration tomorrow are now cancelled. “This is an historic pricing agreement for harvesters in our province, restoring fairness in the crab fishery and giving harvesters a sharing arrangement they have not seen in a long time. We’re very pleased about the progress made here today and thank Premier Furey for ensuring the fishery gets off the ground as quickly as possible for the benefit of all those involved,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “I also want to extend my sincere thanks to all members of our Bargaining Committee, who stood strong throughout this process and ensured that harvesters in our province would not be shortchanged their fair share,” he says. more, >>click to read<< 18:09

Crab harvesters heading back to Confederation Building on Monday morning, Efford says

John Efford, the unofficial leader of a fisheries union protest that has gripped Newfoundland and Labrador’s seafood industry, says crab harvesters will be back to protesting on Monday morning. In a Facebook post on Thursday evening, Efford called on harvesters to meet outside Confederation Building at 7 a.m. NT on Monday to protest for a better deal to start the lucrative snow crab season, along with other demands. Efford called on harvesters from all over the province to head to St. John’s to begin protests. The main crux of the protest relates to the ongoing dispute over the crab season. The FFAW and the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) have exchanged barbs in recent days, accusing each other of spreading misinformation. more, >>click to read<< 12:35

Accusing union of refusing all offers, ASP warns crab tie-up will soon have an economic whammy

Association of Seafood Producers executive director Jeff Loder says the current crab tie-up is getting to a point where it is going to negatively affect the market for the rest of the season — and other fisheries after that. It’s been nearly a week since the snow crab season was scheduled to begin. Fish harvesters have tied up their boats, however, refusing to fish under the pricing formula that an independent panel set just before the start of the season. Loder said it’s lining up to be a repeat of last season, in which harvesters tied up their boats for six weeks. “We are now reaching the point where [we] were to last year where there will be negative implications if the crab fishery does not start,” he told reporters Thursday. Video, more, >>click to read<< 17:43

Crab harvesters’ union calls for price formula set out in past provincial report

With their boats tied up and crab pots still on dry land, fish harvesters and union officials are calling on the Newfoundland and Labrador government to revisit a 2023 report that sets out what they say is a fair way forward for the snow crab fishery. At a news conference in St. John’s on Wednesday, Fish, Food & Allied Workers union president Greg Pretty pointed to a report last year from the province’s fish price-setting strategic review team, chaired by Glenn Blackwood. Pretty says the pricing formula set out in that report, which followed a six-week tie-up last season, would give harvesters a fair market share. Glen Winslow, a St. John’s harvester who was part of the bargaining committee, says the formula set out in Blackwood’s report would have allowed for a larger share for harvesters if the markets had performed better. “The Blackwood formula would have fixed all our problems, but it was thrown out at the last minute.” Video, more, >>click to read<< 18:24

Crab harvesters will lose out on $30M because price-setting panel sided with processors, says Efford

With the time-sensitive snow crab season set to begin in a few days, fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador are once again talking about tying up their boats due to the price of crab. One vocal critic says the new decision will cost harvesters as much as $30 million from a lucrative fishery that has become the economic mainstay in the industry since the cod collapse of the early 1990s. The province’s price-setting panel sided with the Association of Seafood Producers on Monday evening, setting a price floor of $2.60 per pound with the ability go up as market factors change. John Efford, the Port de Grave fisherman who led protests throughout March, said when he heard the price setting panel had chosen the ASP formula his first reaction was one of disbelief. Photos, Video, more, >>click to read<< 16:35

FFAW blasts price-setting panel after it sides with ASP on crab-pricing formula

With the time-sensitive snow crab season set to begin in a few days, fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador are once again talking about tying up their boats due to the price of crab. The province’s price-setting panel sided with the Association of Seafood Producers on Monday evening, setting a price floor of $2.60 per pound with the ability go up as market factors change. The panel rejected a formula proposed by the Food, Fish & Allied Workers union, which was closely tied to the formula suggested by an independent report at the end of last season. “There was a better way to do this,” said FFAW president Greg Pretty. “The work was already done by Glen Blackwood in his report. The Blackwood formula provided a way for harvesters to be paid a fair market share, but that was tossed aside for a formula that is not tied to information harvesters can trust.” more, >>click to read<< 11:26

Fishery protests ’embarrassing for the province’, says head of producers’ association

Fish harvesters gathered in protest at Confederation Building from Wednesday to Friday this week, calling on the provincial government to change capacity limits for harvesters and allow them to sell their catch to out-of-province buyers. A deal accepting those demands was reached Friday afternoon. “Personally, I found it embarrassing for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. That type of signal that we’re sending to the markets, that that’s the level of stability and co-operation we have as the major industry partners, is really unfortunate,” Loder said Friday. photos, video, more, >>click to read<< 08:07

Key FFAW rep steps down amid ongoing crab price formula negotiations

A key negotiator for the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union has stepped down amid ongoing tense and highly anticipated crab price formula negotiations between the harvesters’ union and the Association of Seafood Producers. As first reported, FFAW negotiator Jake Rice has resigned. The news was flagged in a Facebook post in a fishery group by harvester Jason Sullivan. Sullivan wrote FFAW secretary treasurer Jason Spingle is likely to take the reins. For weeks they’ve stood on the steps in front of Confederation Building and flooded the public gallery of the House of Assembly to voice their concerns over the handling of the fishery, now just weeks away from the start of crab season.  Harvesters are calling for an open market — the ability to take their catch, regardless of species, to whichever buyer will take the product, whether that be within the province or outside it. more, >>click to read<< 13:30

Tensions run high as crab harvesters call on N.L. government to introduce outside buyers

More than 150 fishermen led an anger-fueled protest on the steps of Confederation Building on Tuesday, calling on the Newfoundland and Labrador government to free up the fishery and allow harvesters to sell their product to outside buyers. Under the current rules, harvesters are only allowed to sell their catch to processors in the province at a price agreed upon by the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union and the Association of Seafood Producers. Harvesters are calling on the province to give them more control over where they can sell their catch and how much they can sell it for. “The plants are telling us when to come and when to go and how much crab to bring…. So we need some free enterprise to be able to go as we please and fish as we please,” said Dwayne Maher, a crab fisherman of more than 30 years from Salvage. Photos, video, more, >>click to read<< 20:52

Despite arbitrator’s ruling that FFAW strike was illegal, president says he’d do it again

A week after an arbiter ruled the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union illegally broke its collective agreement with a six-week strike at the start of the crab harvest, union president Greg Pretty says he’d do it again. The Association of Seafood Producers filed a grievance over the 2023 tie-up held to protest the low price of crab. Arbitrator David Orsborn concluded the union declared a “cessation of business dealings,” which violated the terms of the agreement and the Fishing Industry Collective Bargaining Act. “I have a job to do. We have a job to do. Our elected leadership has a job to do. Our … crab bargaining committee has a job to do. So I’m not sure we would do things a lot differently.” more, >>click to read<< 11:38

Flawed snow crab price-setting system needs overhaul soon, FFAW says

The president of the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union says time is ticking on getting a new formula-based seafood pricing system in place ahead of the 2024 season. A November report from the province’s three-person fish price-setting team submitted to the provincial government said the current seafood price-setting process is flawed and changes need to be made to avoid another tie-up that halted the snow crab industry for six weeks last season. The report offered nine recommendations, including that a formula-based pricing system be implemented by the end of January. FFAW president Greg Pretty said that process is underway. more, >>click to read<< 14:16

Seafood-pricing system is flawed and a new one needs to be in place by end of January, says report

A new report from the Newfoundland and Labrador government says the current seafood price-setting process is flawed, and it outlines the need for a formula-based system that would improve the industry for harvesters and plant owners. The report was sparked by a tie-up in the spring that delayed the start of the snow crab fishery. Prices were set at just $2.20 per pound at the start of the season, and the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union and Association of Seafood Producers failed to produce an agreeable pricing formula. It says the current process for price setting, which is done by a panel, is flawed — and that the panel has an “impossible task” when faced with a fluctuating market. >>click to read<< 17:56

N.L. processors dumped 5 times as much crab in 2023 as they did last year

Newfoundland and Labrador fish processors dumped more than 300,000 pounds of snow crab during the past season — more than five times the amount dumped last year — according to data from the provincial Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture. In 2023, processors dumped 303,202 pounds of crab, compared with 59,239 in 2022 — a 411 per cent increase. Officials have not confirmed the reasons for the increased dumping, but harvesters blame a compressed season and unusually warmer waters. The 2023 snow crab season was marred with conflict from the outset: a six-week standoff over the $2.20-per-pound price that pushed the start of the season well into May, sending harvesters scrambling to catch what they could before cut-off and creating a bottleneck of boats on the water and product at plants. Photos, >>click to read<< 09:46

Crab plant workers have punched their time in spades this season, and are being called heroes

Workers at seafood processing plants in Newfoundland have been working all summer long in an effort to make sure snow crab quotas for the shortened 2023 season are met, and they say they’re ready for a break. “This season has been one of the hardest seasons that we have worked here, because we had to do a lot of crab in a short period of time,” Louise Power, a floor supervisor at the Quinlan Brothers Ltd. plant in Bay de Verde, told CBC News Tuesday. She worked at the plant for 46 years, and has had four days off since May. “We all got through it, and made the season work,” she said. “Right now, [I’m] happy as a lark.” >>click to read<< 11:50

Crab chaos leads to cod condundrum for Newfoundland and Labrador fishing industry

Chris Button, a fish harvester from Old Perlican, was one those trying to sell his catch at the wharf last week. The problem for Button and the others is that since the cod fishery opened on July 23, catches have been good but not every processing company is buying. Some of them are still busy with capelin and crab. They can’t accommodate cod just yet. Even if some processors are buying, many have a limit on how much they will buy per week from each licence holder. While the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) allows a licence holder to land 3200 pounds of cod each week, many processors are buying only 2,000 pounds a week per licence. That’s frustrating for Button, and others, who have been seeing good catch rates in their cod nets. >click to read< 09:05

Still a lot of crab to be caught in Newfoundland and Labrador

A 2022 report by consultant David Conway, who was commissioned by the province to review the fish price setting system, recommended the industry begin discussions in October of that year to establish a formula for crab prices for the 2023 season. However, discussions between the FFAW and ASP didn’t get going until March, partly because both groups saw a change in leadership over the winter with Keith Sullivan resigning as union and Derek Butler leaving as executive director of the ASP. The decision on prices for this season fell to the province’s Fish Price Setting Panel which used the final offer selection model, where processors and the union each made a pitch on price and the panel had to choose one or the other. >click to read< 13:12

Fairness in Scheduling and the Targeted Elimination of the Small-Boat Fleet

Three weeks into the snow crab fishery and dozens of attempts made to work out a fair arrangement for fish harvesters, FFAW-Unifor is calling on the provincial government to better regulate processing companies, issue additional processing licenses, and open the province up to outside buyers immediately to allow inshore harvesters to sell their catch. “Processing companies are engaging in unethical business behaviour to the targeted detriment of the small boat fleet in our province. The fishery may be open with a price agreement in place, but with no avenue to sell, harvesters are still in crisis,” says FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer Jason Spingle. “Our Union has made every effort this year to work out a fair proposal to ensure all fleets have a fair opportunity to participate in the fishery, but at every turn we’ve only been met with the same fish merchant-style tactics,” he says. >click to read< 15:10

Crab catch price creeps up and plants ramp up as delayed N.L. harvest enters third week

The protests and the rhetoric have somewhat subsided, and the catch price has improved slightly, as Newfoundland and Labrador’s long delayed and controversy-riddled snow crab harvest enters a third week. “It’s been a very smooth start largely due to the state of readiness that producers have been in now for eight weeks,” Jeff Loder, executive director of the Association of Seafood Producers, said Friday. But there’s rarely smooth sailing in the fishing industry, with tensions continuing to simmer between the ASP and the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union, which represents harvesters and plant workers. Some outstanding issues include trip limits for fishing vessels to ensure an orderly harvest and maintain the highest quality, changes in the long-standing policy,,, >click to read< 17:37

Snow crab producers, harvesters ready to move on from 6-week delay to start of season

“We have a shortened season, we have an increase in quota, and it’s very important that we keep our focus not on what has happened, but where we need to go,” ASP executive director Jeff Loder told reporters Tuesday. Loder did show slight frustration around the length of the holdout, saying both the price of $2.20 and the incremental increases were part of conversations months ago. Although the FFAW wasn’t able to change the $2.20 per pound set by the price-setting panel, President Greg Pretty says the work done in six weeks of holding out, like making sure $2.20 is the minimum price along with incremental increases, is a positive. >click to read< 15:06

Deal reached in Newfoundland and Labrador crab fishery, harvesters to start fishing

A bitter standoff that shut down Newfoundland and Labrador’s lucrative snow crab fishery for nearly six weeks came to an end on Friday. The union representing inshore fishers and plant workers announced its negotiating team had reluctantly signed a deal with the group representing seafood processors to start the fishery. The deal guarantees prices would not fall below $2.20 a pound, the price fishers were protesting in the first place. Shortly after the union announced the agreement, the provincial government issued a news release saying the deal was the culmination of a meeting that day between the union, the processors association and Premier Andrew Furey, who thanked the two parties for working together. >click to read< 07:56


This morning, the FFAW Snow Crab Bargaining Committee reluctantly agreed to sign off on a final offer from ASP to start a crab fishery this year. The offer guarantees a minimum price of 2.20 and includes incremental increases as the Urner Barry price increase, which ensures the price will not drop lower regardless of potential market drops. The agreement was made on the stipulation that Premier Furey publicly commit to revamping the final offer selection (Panel) process and work towards a formula prior to the 2024 season. >click to read the press release< 11:56

Crab fishery stalemate creating fear and uncertainty in Newfoundland fishing towns

The days of mounting fear and unease in Humber Arm South, N.L., feel like 1992, when the federal government ended the province’s cod fishery after stocks had collapsed, said Humber-Shears, the town’s mayor. “I was a teenager during that time, but it’s just that eerie kind of feeling. It’s an eerie silence,” she said. “People are really starting to fret over, ‘Where am I going to go to find work? How am I going to feed my family? How am I going to pay my mortgage?”‘ Crab fishers in Newfoundland and Labrador are refusing to fish after prices were set in early April at $2.20 a pound, a sharp drop from last year’s opening price of $7.60 a pound. The fishers say it’s not enough to make a living, and so far they haven’t budged. >click to read< 10:03

Snow crab harvesters ‘at wits’ end’ during protest outside union building – suggest fisheries minister should resign

Snow crab harvesters say their patience with the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union has run thin, and made their voices heard at a protest outside its St. John’s office Thursday. Around 100 protesters stood in the office’s parking lot to seek response from leadership, tired of a lack of updates from the union. When it was clear that FFAW leadership wasn’t going to make an appearance at the protest, fisherman Jason Sullivan addressed the crowd. “They’re the biggest bunch of cowards you ever see in your life. They won’t come and tell us what’s going on…. They’re gonna say ‘sit tight and keep waiting and keep waiting.’ Waiting for what?” Sullivan said. “It just goes to show, you know, the complete lack of ability to negotiate on the FFAW’s behalf. I mean I wouldn’t let them negotiate my phone bill.” 2 Videos,  >click to read< 17:47

‘We got to go fishing’: More Newfoundland crab boats set sail as FFAW ramps up demands over prices and processing

Rod Rowe and his brother own two boats between them, with about a half million pounds of crab on offshore licences, and 12 crew members depending on these boats for their season’s wages. Before anyone suggests it, he added, their boats, the Atlantic Sound and the Avalon Run, are not “company boats.” While the Rowes and their crew were loading ice and bait today, the executive of the FFAW was preparing for a late-afternoon press conference.  The union, in its press release and press conference Wednesday afternoon, accused the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) of trying to break the union. photos, >click to read< 08:59


Six weeks into a provincial shutdown of the snow crab fishery and no movement on the minimum price from the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP), FFAW-Unifor is calling for a complete overhaul of the province’s processing industry starting with immediately allowing outside buyers for all species. The FFAW-Unifor Snow Crab Bargaining Committee has agreed to sign off to start a crab fishery at the current minimum price on the condition that the provincial government immediately allow outside buyers and permit harvesters to truck-out their own product for all species without restrictions. “This tie-up has become about more than just about a minimum price of 2.20 per pound, it’s about the stranglehold these companies have on our province,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty.  FFAW-Unifor has requested a response from Premier Furey by 3:00pm today and will hold a press conference at 3:30pm. >click to read the press release< 13:12

Premier Intervening – La Scie divided as harvesters wait for resolution to snow crab standoff

Mayor Marlene Regular said Tuesday things are tense, with fishermen wanting to earn money for their families but also wanting to keep their boats tied up in protest of the $2.20 catch price. “We’ve got some that want to get up and go. They want to get up in the morning, they want to go to work,” she said. “We got more that want to stand with their fellow fishermen, which is to be expected, but we don’t know their situation. Like, you can look at someone and say, ‘Oh, they’re well-to-do. They don’t mind having to stay in.’ But there’s other people, you don’t know their situation, when they look at their kids. What do you do? Do I look at my kids, or do I look at my fellow fishermen, right? It’s a big choice.” It’s difficult to see people on opposite sides of the issue, she said. Photos, video, >click to read< 17:37

NO TO 2.20: Harvesters Protest at ASP and OCI Offices

Harvesters expressed their frustration today by protesting outside of two locations in St. John’s after the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) walked back on their counteroffer yesterday. The two sides converged outside of the Ocean Choice International (OCI) office in St. John’s, where harvesters were clear they won’t be fishing for 2.20 per pound. “ASP may have reneged on their offer, but our organization still carried out significant consultation with members on whether it would have been accepted. The writing is on the wall: harvesters aren’t fishing unless there’s movement on the minimum starting price. Photos, >click to read the press release< 13:44

Tensions rise in snow crab negotiations as producers make talks with union public

The head of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Association of Seafood Producers is now putting negotiations with the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union out in the open, saying the union mischaracterized meetings between the two groups. The two sides met Wednesday to discuss what the FFAW called a final counter offer from the ASP in the battle for better snow crab prices for harvesters. The offer surfaced in a >news release from the union on Wednesday night<, saying it was made by the ASP. On Thursday morning, ASP executive director Jeff Loder said that statement is untrue. Now, after the FFAW’s press release, Loder says his association will be making any negotiations with the union public. >click to read< 15:14