Tag Archives: FFAW

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

Nfld. & Labrador: Can you fish safely in a pandemic? Seafood industry facing hard Coronavirus questions

All commercial inshore fisheries are delayed until at least May 1,, as the department (DFO) and industry players work out protocols for safer operation of vessels and processing plants. According to Keith Sullivan, the president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union, plant workers and fish harvesters have many questions about how they are supposed to keep themselves and their families safe. “The vast majority of the input and the feedback and everything we’re hearing from members is that right now, with all of the advice that we have, they certainly don’t feel safe,”,,, Brenda Greenslade, physical distancing, “A harvester told me the other day, their accommodations when they sleep, their heads are so close together, they share the same dream,” she said. She’s hearing some suggestions that harvesters should be told to bring less crew out to sea, where possible. >click to read< 08:43

FISH-NL Taught FFAW A Lesson About Communication

If the challenge created by FISH-NL taught the FFAW anything, it’s about ensuring good communication with your membership. That’s according to FFAW President Keith Sullivan who was responding to the dissolution of FISH-NL, a group that had been trying to gain certification to represent inshore harvesters in the province. The FISH-NL movement was born from dissatisfaction with the Fisheries Union from some members. >click to read< 08:40

FFAW publicity stunt

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) calls the FFAW-Unifor’s submission of a land bid this morning to protect crab grounds a publicity stunt to deflect attention from the final days of FISH-NL’s membership drive. “The FFAW submits a fake cheque to protect snow crab grounds during the last week of FISH-NL’s drive the same way the union gave away free cod on the St. John’s waterfront the very day in early August that our drive began,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Inshore harvesters aren’t stunned— the FFAW just treats them as if they are. >click to read< 13:51

Fisheries union presents giant novelty cheque for $1 billion to C-NLOPB>click to read<

Police called as FISH-NL execs crash FFAW meeting in Baie Verte – Cleary and Leonard physically forced out

The president of an upstart fisheries union says he didn’t barge in on an meeting in search of a confrontation with the union that represents the province’s in-shore harvesters, but a confrontation is what he got.,,, What ensued was momentary, aggressive chaos, as Cleary shouted “I tell the truth” and “we want a debate,” amid other people yelling and swearing, before meeting attendees physically forced him and Leonard from the room. The RCMP were also called to the incident. >click to read<  16:37

Harvey Jarvis: Blame for fisheries woes lies with the union

Lately there seems to be more news stories about problems in the fishery then there are rodents at the Robin Hood Bay landfill. The province is blaming Canada, the provincial parties are blaming each other and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers-Unifor is blaming everyone but themselves for the mismanagement of our fisheries. The root cause of the problems with our inshore fishery today is it is micromanaged to a level that a fish harvester cannot go to the washroom without permission. Wither it be for a new species, an abundant species or a species deemed to be in the critical zone, there are more layers of management in Newfoundland and Labrador then there are Unifor members in the public service of Canada. “>click to read< 09:04

LETTER: Fish harvesters, plantworkers are stronger together

This letter is a response to Ryan Cleary’s letter “Single union can’t represent all sides of fishery” >click here<. Uniting workers in the fishing industry through a single union has delivered significant benefits to both fish harvesters and plant workers in the 50-year history of FFAW-Unifor and its predecessor unions. The only groups who do not support strong unions are the fishing companies we negotiate with, and Ryan Cleary and his group FISH-NL. by Keith Sullivan >click to read< 13:01

Outside buyers allowed in cod market as fishermen protest in St. John’s, Old Perlican

Buyers from outside the province will have a 14-day window to purchase cod from Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters, Gerry Byrne’s announcement comes as members of the The Fish Food And Allied Workers Union set up on the waterfront in St. John’s Monday morning, giving their cod catches away for free to protest what they say is a processors’ refusal to buy it. Union members are also protesting outside the Royal Greenland plant in Old Perlican, and the FFAW said it submitted an official request to Byrne Monday morning, asking that outside buyers be allowed into the market. >click to read< 16:48

Labrador fleet wants separate quota for northern cod – FFAW and FISH-NL do not support

Fishers from the 2J fleets partnered with the Labrador Fishermen’s Union Shrimp Company to make the proposal. In 2018, a 9,500-tonne limit was placed on the northern cod stewardship fishery for fishing zones 2J3KL.,,, Dwight Russell, a Mary’s Harbour fisherman, is chair of the 2J fishers. He told The Northern Pen the fleet is just looking for a fair share.,, Russell says he doesn’t believe the 2J cod fishing fleet, historically, has been given much opportunity to grow. He says if they could get a higher share of the total Northern cod quota, it would allow the industry to grow in the region. >click to read>08:34

Carbon monoxide leak at fish plant has union, processors at loggerheads

A carbon monoxide leak at the Ocean Choice International fish plant in Fortune has the union representing workers calling for major change in the industry. But the group that represents processors says the union’s call is nothing but a ploy to receive government money for the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union. In January, a carbon monoxide leak sent four OCI workers, two of them with serious side effects, to hospital. >click to read<17:23

Two years after CETA took effect, fisheries minister says Tory exemptions devalued the industry

In 2013, negotiations between Canada and the European Union over the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, included talks on how Newfoundland and Labrador might be compensated for losses once the deal was implemented. The provincial PC government of the time insisted on a $400-million compensation program, noted Byrne. “I can certainly understand why they’d take that position,” Byrne said. But that fund never materialized, >click to read<10:56

Caplin news not strong: DFO

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) said Monday that despite a small increase in 2018, the spring acoustic abundance index remains at a relatively low level, similar to levels observed in the late 2000s. “A new forecast model predicts that the abundance index will increase slightly in 2019, but decrease in 2020,” a technical briefing document states.What this information means for the caplin fishery this upcoming season is no real change from last year. >click to read<17:43

Redfish making a big comeback in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

“We won the lottery.” That’s not a phrase you normally associate with someone doing stock assessments for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. But DFO biologist Caroline Senay is excited by the amount of redfish they’re tracking off the island’s west coast in the Gulf of St. Lawrence: about 2.5 million tonnes of fish in an area referred to as unit 1. By comparison, Iceland has a total redfish biomass of 430,000 tonnes. >click to read<09:00

FISH-NL calls on DFO to take direct control of scientific quota of redfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

“The FFAW-Unifor should not be controlling science quotas,” says Boyd Lavers, an inshore harvester from Port Saunders on the Great Northern Peninsula, and Captain of FISH-NL’s over 40-foot fleet. “The only fair way to deal with this experimental quota is for it to be handled directly by DFO, so the FFAW doesn’t get a chance to show favouritism as to who fishes the quota, or to take a cut from the sale of the fish.”,,, Further, harvesters have been told by the union they will have to sell the redfish to a plant of the FFAW’s choosing, and pay the union half the money from the sale of the fish. >click to read<18:35

FFAW seeking clarification on EI extension for fishery – Fish harvester wants answers

President Keith Sullivan says his impression was that all fishery workers would be covered by the extension that was announced earlier this week, but now he’s hearing concern that plant workers are covered but fish harvesters are not. Alfred Fitzpatrick is an inshore fisherman out of Garnish on the Burin Peninsula. He says that the extra five weeks of EI would greatly benefit fish harvesters. He questioned an FFAW decision to issue a press release about the EI victory when doubts still remain about whether harvesters will qualify as well. “There’s a good news story for some of the membership but not all. And some of the most vulnerable are being left behind again. I don’t like it,” said Fitzpatrick, who sits on the FFAW’s inshore council. >click to read<21:31

Latest joke in labour circus; FFAW’s top executives acclaimed after thousands blocked from union election: FISH-NL

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) calls the final slate of candidates for the FFAW-Unifor executive the latest joke in an ongoing labour circus. “How Keith Sullivan or Dave Decker can look the membership in the face is beyond me,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “But then how any labour leader in this province can stand by as the democratic rights of inshore harvesters are stripped from them is another mystery.” Nominations for the FFAW-Unifor’s 16-member executive board closed May 28th, and the union announced Monday that the top two union positions — president (Sullivan), and secretary-treasurer (Decker) — were uncontested. >click to read<09:29

Ryan Cleary: What makes an inshore fish harvester?

I write this letter to inform your readers why it’s important to define an inshore fish harvester for purposes of a vote by the Labour Relations Board to ultimately decide which union should represent them. Here are three, real-life examples: 1) Two men who hold commercial fishing licenses are on the provincial government’s “sunshine list” as having made more than $100,000 in base salary/overtime in 2016 (one alone made more than $130,000), should they also be eligible to vote? 2) A teenager worked aboard his grandfather’s boat a couple of summer’s ago to help him out, and had a fish sale put in his name, with dues automatically remitted to the FFAW/Unifor. Should he be given a vote? 3) A man works aboard a fishing boat for a trip or two a couple of summers ago, never to set foot on a boat again. Should he be entitled to a ballot? >click to read<10:41 

FISH-NL calling on labour board to shed thousands from FFAW list

The Federation of Independent Seafood Harvesters (FISH-NL) is arguing that the ranks of inshore harvesters in the province’s fisheries union is swollen to nearly twice its actual size by individuals with no serious connection to the industry. As a result, it wants the labour relations board to strip thousands of card-carrying members of their right to vote in any certification process. “Everybody who pays dues is not a harvester,” FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary told reporters.,,, “We just want bona fide, full-time boots on the deck harvesters to participate in a vote,” >click to read<20:31

No mutiny: FFAW bans all FISH-NL supporters from running in its elections

All fish harvesters and processors who tried to split from Newfoundland and Labrador’s only fisheries union are now banned from running for executive positions. The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) has altered its constitution to require anyone running in this summer’s election to sign an affidavit stating they have never signed a card with another organization. “If there’s people out there who are looking to tear down the organization, those people certainly cannot run for office,” Sullivan said.>click to read<10:00

Throw out FISH-NL application, FFAW says after labour board ruling

The results of an investigation by the Labour Relations Board is proof that FISH-NL has insufficient support to trigger a ratification vote and its application to represent inshore fish harvesters should be dismissed, says Fish Food and Allied Workers union president Keith Sullivan. FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary, however, says the latest development is just more “smoke and mirrors” by the FFAW.  Sullivan issued a news release Friday saying an investigation by the provincial government board has confirmed that membership numbers presented by the FFAW are accurate. >click to read<12:14

Northern cod numbers no reason to panic: FFAW

Last week’s news on Northern Cod wasn’t what anyone was hoping for, but it’s no cause for panic. There will be fluctuations in biomass from year to year in any stock that’s rebuilding. These same cod stocks had declines from 2009 to 2011, but the overall stock still increased 12-fold in the last 15 years, from an estimated 25,000 metric tonnes to 315,000 metric tonnes. This year’s decrease was not a result of the very small stewardship fishery; natural mortality has been driving the trajectory of this stock since the moratorium. The harvest limits approved,,, >click to read< 19:35