Tag Archives: Greg Pretty

Cod stock reassessment prompts calls from producers to end moratorium

A recent reassessment of Newfoundland and Labrador’s northern cod stock has some in the industry calling an end to the commercial moratorium implemented in 1992. Alberto Wareham, president and CEO of Icewater Seafoods in Arnold’s Cove, says last year’s reassessment — the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, in reviewing historical data, moved cod from the “critical” zone to the “cautious” zone — could signal the potential for a limited commercial harvest. “We’re hoping now with more confidence in the stock we would see a reopening of a commercial cod fishery,” he said. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 10:48

NL Harvesters Say Thanks For Nothing, Bait Fishery Slap in the Face to License Holders

This morning, the federal government announced a bait fishery for Atlantic mackerel in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. A bait fishery for mackerel will do nothing for harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador, and harvesters are demanding a modest directed commercial quota for the province. “Newfoundland and Labrador has a history of a fully monitored directed fishery that provided top quality product in a traditionally fall fishery. FFAW-Unifor’s proposal for a directed fishery with temporal coverage would bridge the existing information gaps,” says FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer Jason Spingle. “Moreover, today’s release is not clear what portion Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters would receive and when,” Spingle says. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 13:36

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

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

N.L. government seeks injunction against fishermen amid tense protest at Confederation Building

The Newfoundland and Labrador government has gone to the Supreme Court to seek an injunction against fish harvesters who swarmed Confederation Building on Wednesday as part of an ongoing protest over fishery regulations that has led to the postponement of the provincial budget. The government announced the postponement after protesters blocked entrances to the building, refused to let government workers inside and had physical confrontations with police officers and horses. A protester complaining of leg pain and a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer have been taken from the scene in an ambulance. Protest organizer John Efford Jr. called the budget cancellation historic.”And I have a feeling it may be cancelled again tomorrow, the next business day and the next business day until we get what ? Free enterprise,” he said. Video’s, Photos, more, >>click to read<< 10:53

Fisheries minister commits to lifting processing caps, looking for outside buyers ahead of 2024 crab season

Fisheries Minister Elvis Loveless says he’s willing to meet some of the demands tabled by fish harvesters and their union amid continued protests. In a letter written to the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union on Tuesday — and on the eve of announcing the provincial budget for 2024 — Loveless told union president Greg Pretty the province is committed to raising processing capacity “in the primary processing sector” prior to the start of the 2024 fishery.  However, the extent of the increase will be informed, in part, by the total allowable catch that is yet to be announced by the federal fisheries minister. Further, Loveless said his department will issue an expression of interest for outside buyers for the 2024 snow crab fishery on Tuesday. more, >>click to read<< 15:44

FFAW broke collective agreement by telling crab fishermen to keep boats tied up, arbitrator rules

An arbitrator has ruled the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union broke its collective agreement with the Association of Seafood Producers by telling crab harvesters to keep their boats tied up at the start of last season amid a price dispute. In his decision, shared by the producers’ association Tuesday, 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. The tie-up lasted six weeks, and was fuelled by calls for better prices for harvesters. The price of snow crab was originally set at $2.20 per pound — where it remained when the tie-up ended — but rose to $2.60 per pound by the end of the season. Video, more, >>click to read<< 17:52

Commercial redfish fishery to reopen, but pending quota threatens to push some fishers out

“It hurts me to talk about it,” says Brad Genge, a 51-year-old inshore fisherman from Anchor Point, on the west coast of Newfoundland’s northern peninsula. Genge says what should have been a good news story – the Government of Canada’s historic reopening of the east coast commercial redfish fishery – is hitting fishermen in this province hard.  “Worst news we could have gotten,” says Genge. “Only thing that could have hurt more is if they came down and hit us in the face with a piece of lumber.” “We are done, we are out of the fishery,” says Genge, who tied up his trawler, the BNB Mariner, in early February. Video, more, >>click to read<< 08:22


FFAW-Unifor is holding a demonstration tomorrow, Thursday, February 8, 2024, at 1:00pm outside of the DFO Building located at 1 Regent Square in Corner Brook. The Demonstration is to call attention to federal mismanagement of fisheries – in particular the recent decision by Minister Diane Lebouthillier to allocate nearly 60% of the newly commercialized Unit 1 Redfish fishery to a handful of corporate offshore draggers, instead of the 100 or so inshore, owner-operator vessels that rely on it. Minister Lebouthillier has failed in her capacity as Minister to make decisions based on her mandate and the federal Fisheries Act. Specifically, management decisions should prioritize social, economic, and cultural factors as well as the preservation and promotion of the independence of independent license holders. None of which was evident in the Minister’s decision. more, >>click to read<< 16:11

Why Fairer West Coast Fishing Needs More “Boots on Deck,” According to New Report 

The West Coast fishing industry finds itself in increasingly troubled waters, according to a recent report from the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (FOPO). The parliamentary committee says unfair regulations and a lack of federal intervention have led to an uneven playing field for BC fishers. Unlike the Maritime provinces, where regulations limit corporate control and prioritize independent harvesters, there are no restrictions on ownership of commercial licenses and quotas on BC’s coast. As a result, owner-operators are often shut out of the process, jeopardizing their ability to make a sustainable living. “Fisheries are the fabric of our coastal communities, and they have been particularly in Indigenous communities for 10 to 15,000 years. Fish in the water are the birthright of all Canadians,” Sonia Strobel, CEO of Skipper Otto Community Supported Fishery, told us in an interview. photos, more, >>click to read<< 07:45

Newfoundland fishermen get ‘best news’ on northern cod stocks in a generation

It’s a technical, scientific change: the Limit Reference Point, a key part of the assessment of a fish stock’s health, has been revised. Because of a change in their scientific method, officials at Fisheries and Oceans Canada now believe that Newfoundland’s northern cod stock has moved out of the critical zone for the first time in decades. When then-fisheries minister John Crosbie shut down most of the fishery in 1992, about 30,000 fish harvesters instantly lost their jobs. It was the biggest layoff in Canadian history. Fish harvesters were given $225 a week for 10 weeks to get by. The moratorium was only expected to last two years, but in the decades since, the northern cod stock never left the critical zone — until now. photos, >>click to read<< 07:44

ASP calls out alleged ‘intimidation’ of crab harvesters who want to fish for $2.20 per pound

The 2023 snow crab season started with a promise between the fisheries union and the processors association to work together — something akin to the Hatfields and McCoys striking a truce. It did not last long. Now three weeks into the snow crab fishery, not a single pound of the 10-legged species has been taken from the water, as fishermen protest what they consider a catastrophic price of $2.20 per pound. On Tuesday, Association of Seafood Producers executive director Jeff Loder called on the fish harvesters to get their boats in the water before it was too late. The FFAW held a news conference of its own on Tuesday where president Greg Pretty said he was disappointed by Loder’s comments. “What he’s outlined here is a recipe for absolute economic disaster for the province,” Pretty said. >click to read< 07:54

Hopes dashed for crab-pricing formula as union-producer talks end in failure

It started out six weeks ago as a rare show of unity between the fisheries union and seafood producers, but efforts to agree on a price formula for this year’s snow crab harvest have ended in failure. Jeff Loder, executive director of the Association of Seafood Producers, said in a press release issued Tuesday afternoon that the group couldn’t reach an agreement with the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union, which represents Newfoundland and Labrador’s inshore fishermen. “We negotiated in good faith with our best efforts to find a collaborative solution with the FFAW by defining a formula that works for both parties. Unfortunately, this was not possible,” says the release.  >click to read< 15:37

Atlantic mackerel population continues to decline a year after fishery moratorium

The Atlantic mackerel population is continuing to decline after a decade of falling numbers, according to a federal assessment presented to industry and environmental groups in Halifax this week. According to the 2022 assessment, mackerel stock remains in the “critical zone” — where serious harm is occurring — and the average number of fish reaching spawning age is only 27 per cent of what it was between 1969 and 2011. “The amount of young fish entering your population has been rather low in the last couple of years. That’s concerning,” Elisabeth Van Beveren, a biologist with the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans, said. In Newfoundland and Labrador, seafood companies and fishermen have claimed for years that DFO has it all wrong because mackerel are plentiful around their coast. >click to read< 15:32

New leaders of FFAW and ASP pledge to work together for 2023 snow crab season

The Fish, Food & Allied Workers union and the Association of Seafood Producers have long butted heads over issues related to the fishing industry but say they’re facing historic challenges this season and want to avoid any problems from the outset. “In light of the challenges we are facing this year, we have agreed that our best approach is to collectively discuss the challenges the crab fishery is facing and to seek support from both levels of government to ensure that we have a successful crab fishery in 2023,” said Paul Grant, board chair of the seafood producers’ board, in a press release ahead of the media availability. >click to read< 11:41

FFAW executive board endorses Greg Pretty as union’s next leader

On the same day Keith Sullivan unexpectedly announced his departure as president of Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest private sector union, the organization’s top ranks endorsed another longtime labour advocate, Greg Pretty, as his successor. At FFAW-Unifor headquarters in St. Johns on Thursday morning, Sullivan announced he was stepping down as president after eight years on the job and just one year into his latest three-year term. Despite Pretty’s strong support from the executive board, Doyle said the union will follow the rules of the constitution and hold a vote if other nominations come forward. The nomination period runs Dec. 15-29. >click to read< 15:01