Tag Archives: Snow crab

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

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

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

How warming waters around P.E.I. could affect snow crab and lobster

Research scientist Joël Chassé says as the atmosphere warms, the ocean waters around P.E.I. are also heating up. “Changes are happening. It’s not deniable anymore. And if the these changes don’t slow down, we will have to adapt to these changes.” Chassé said there are implications for some fish species, some positive and some negative. Fisheries and Oceans biologist Tobie Surette said that while lobster is a warm water coastal species, snow crab prefer deeper, colder waters. “Lobster has largely benefited from the warming climates, at least so far,” he said. Surette said they don’t know exactly why that is. (Snow Crab) And for now, they are doing well: “We’re at the third-highest biomass in the history of the survey right now.” But Surette knows that could change. He has been in contact with snow crab scientists from Alaska. Photos, >click to read< 18:51

P.E.I. snow crab fishers thankful for big catches as price plummets

Snow crab fishers on P.E.I. say the price they’re getting for their catch is lower than it’s been in years. Crab fishers were getting $8 a pound at the wharf last year. This year, the price has plummeted to $2.25. Fishers in some other parts of the Atlantic region are staying off the water because of the low price. Meanwhile, Island snow crab fishers have wrapped up their season. Carter Hutt, who heads the P.E.I. Snow Crab Association, said the catch was so good this year, he made his full quota in just a couple weeks. The Northport fisherman said that with the price so low and expenses so high, it was the one thing that saved him from losing money. “If you make a trip for 5,000 pounds or come in with 20,000, it basically costs you the same amount for that trip,” he said.>click to read< 19:42

ASP Pulls Plug on Snow Crab Bargaining

Yesterday, the FFAW-Unifor Snow Crab Bargaining Committee engaged ASP to sit down to the table to discuss a way to move the industry forward. After initial commentary from both sides, the FFAW Committee presented the first offer. The FFAW Negotiating Committee’s first offer was minimum price starting at 2.30 at current Urner Barry (4.65USD) with 15 cent increases at 5.00USD, and 15 cents for every additional 25 cent increase to Urner Barry. ASP flatly rejected this proposal, ended discussions and left the premises, however Loder stated ASP would be available for the remainder of the day. >click to read< 13:25

Snow crab harvesters face final offer in search of better prices

The Fish, Food & Allied Workers Union and the Association of Seafood Producers have reached what the FFAW calls a final counter offer in their search for better snow crab prices. Details were shared on the union’s Facebook page at around 9:30 p.m. NT, over two hours after a meeting between the two parties began. The proposal sets $2.20 per pound as the minimum price of snow crab for the rest of the season. There is an opportunity for increases, which would be tied to the Urner Barry Index, which dictates the market price. The proposal, according to the FFAW’s Facebook page, is as follows: >click to read< 07:55

After tentative crab deal falls apart, fishermen settle in to wait for a better price

St. John’s crab fisherman Keith Boland said he and his fellow harvesters won’t accept a deal that sticks to $2.20 per pound, as decided by the provincial price-setting panel. “The $2.20 is still the major issue, and it will be, time going forward,” he said. On Friday, Fish Food & Allied Workers president Greg Pretty said a tentative deal had been reached with the Association of Seafood Producers: the $2.20 price would be locked in for the season, rather than the association requesting a lower price if the market continues to decline. But to prevent a glut of crab arriving at plants for processing, the deal would also include trip limits, with monetary penalties for fisherman who catch more than the trip limit. Calling it a union “slush fund,” Boland said fishermen won’t accept that. >click to read< 09:45

‘A Crisis of epic proportions’: FFAW rejects latest deal amidst crab fishery stalemate

The Fish Food & Allied Workers Union has rejected the most recent deal with the Association of Seafood Producers. Crab harvesters have stayed off the water since the original offer of $2.20 per pound was set by the provincial price setting panel on April 6. Since that time, the FFAW and the ASP have been stuck in a stalemate, with harvesters refusing to go out for the low price.  On Saturday evening, a news release from the union stated that the tie-on would continue, after members voted to oppose the current proposal. >click to read< 11:37


Yesterday, ASP presented a new offer to the FFAW Bargaining Committee for snow crab, offering a minimum price of 2.20 for the entirety of the 2023 season with the ability for higher reconsiderations if markets improve. The proposal included trip limits as well as an overage fund. The Committee convened yesterday afternoon to review the proposal and consulted with their respective fleets over the last day. The majority of harvesters strongly oppose the proposal, per the fleet results below. “Leadership throughout the province have been clear today: the crab is staying the water until harvesters get a higher share of the price,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “FFAW-Unifor will formally reject ASP’s proposal, and the Bargaining Committee is preparing to meet for further discussions.” >click to read the Press Release< 20:05

Tentative deal reached that could see snow crab harvesters back on the water

The Fish, Food & Allied Workers union has reached a tentative deal that could see snow crab harvesters back on the water in short order. The FFAW and the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) have been stuck in a stalemate for weeks over the $2.20 per pound price set by the provincial price setting panel in early April. The industry is worth about $756 million. Many harvesters have said the $2.20 price wouldn’t make for a viable season after two years that saw prices over $7 per pound and the rising cost of fuel and other supplies. However, $2.20 per pound will still be the price for the catch but will remain in place for the entire season, not just for the three-week window offered by the ASP before it sought a price reconsideration from the price setting panel. Video, >click to read< 18:27

10 billion snow crabs disappeared from the Bering Sea. Scientists and fishermen are working together to understand why

The snow crabs’ population in the Bering Sea off the western coast of Alaska has fluctuated for decades. An increase in young crabs back in 2018 gave way to optimism that fishing would be good for years to come, but the hope was short-lived. Gabriel Prout and his family own the fishing vessel Silver Spray in Kodiak, Alaska. He said it was obvious something was wrong the last few years. The Bering Sea fishing grounds are usually covered in sea ice in the winter. But there wasn’t much ice, and they fished further north than usual. Finding snow crabs was still difficult. “It was just very poor fishing,” said Prout. “We searched for miles and miles and miles and really didn’t see anything.” >click to read< 10:15

SEA-NL demands province order ‘serious,’ sweeping review of fish-price setting system

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) demands the provincial government order a “serious” and sweeping investigation into the broken fish price-setting system after last year’s token review failed to fix it. “This province’s three largest commercial fisheries — snow crab, northern shrimp, and lobster — are all in chaos this season, and two of them for the second year in a row,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “It’s obvious that last year’s lightning fast, three-month review of the price-setting system — a review that didn’t even bother to consult with inshore enterprise owners — was a token attempt at reform by a government unwilling and unprepared to act.” >click to read< 20:09

“The market has collapsed.” With crab season on the line, seafood producers’ association digs in its heels on price

Jeff Loder, executive director of the Association of Seafood Producers said Monday the crab market has softened in the past few weeks, and the group will not negotiate a new price with fishermen. “The market has collapsed. Prices need to reflect that,” he said.  Loder said each day the industry is delayed, with fishermen in the Maritimes and Quebec already out on the water, the worse it is for everyone. “Snow crab is not selling. There’s a glut in inventory,” said Loder, speaking for the first time since the provincial price-setting panel set a minimum price of $2.20 Cdn per pound for harvesters, who responded with protests and say they can’t afford to fish for that price. “We need raw material to get those plants going, and to have any chance to compete with our competitors in Atlantic Canada, who are all fishing in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. at $2.25 a pound,” Video, >click to read< 16:00

Newfoundland and Labrador crab fishery grinds to a halt as harvesters protest prices

It’s peak crab season in Newfoundland and Labrador, but hundreds of fishers spent Monday morning on land, hoisting fists and signs in the air outside the provincial legislature to protest what they say is an unlivable price for snow crab. Some in the crowd said they would much rather be out on the water than protesting. But harvesters are refusing to fish this season after prices were set at $2.20 per pound, a price they say favours fish processors over those who catch the fish. “Our money tree is the fishery of Newfoundland and Labrador, and it’s time for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to wake up, for that group of companies is stealing it out from under you!” yelled St. John’s fisher Glen Winslow, pounding his fist on the lectern at the top of the legislature steps. >click to read< 10:00

UPDATED: With their season on hold, fishermen protest low price of crab on the steps of the N.L. legislature

With the price of snow crab less than one-third of what it was a year ago, Newfoundland and Labrador’s fishermen are rallying on the steps of the provincial legislature Monday morning to demand government action on the province’s most lucrative fishery. Members of the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union say they can’t afford to fish crab at the $2.20 per pound set earlier this month. Fishing season is open, but harvesters are keeping their boats docked in the hopes of getting a higher price. >click to read< with live stream feed.

‘This catastrophe rivals the cod moratorium’: Newfoundland crab fleets won’t fish for $2.20 a pound, FFAW is considering ‘political actions’

They’re not going to fish. That’s the promise from crab fleets in Newfoundland and Labrador Thursday, April 6, after the Fish Price Setting panel announced its decision on snow crab prices to start the season. The panel chose the offer of $2.20 a pound submitted by the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP), a 10 cent increase from their initial offer. The Fish Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) negotiating committee had suggested $3.10, lowering their original offer of $3.48. In a news release Thursday afternoon, FFAW president Greg Pretty said the decision by the panel, “has put our industry in the most precarious position it’s ever been in.” “When it comes to dollars and cents, this catastrophe rivals the cod moratorium,” he said, repeating words first spoken by inshore fish harvester Jason Sullivan during protests over quotas for the inshore fleet earlier this month in St. John’s. >click to read< 11:38

Panel Decision on Crab Signals Economic Crisis for NL

The Standing Fish Price Setting Panel announced their decision on the price of snow crab for the start of the 2023 fishing season, selecting the Association of Seafood Producer’s (ASP) second price submission of $2.20, over the Negotiating Committee’s price of $3.10. Crab Committees throughout the province have made the unanimous decision to not fish at the unsustainable price and will review this position in the coming weeks. “The Panel’s decision today has put our industry in the most precarious situation it’s ever been in. The Final Offer Selection (FOS) process has completely lost its way when bottom of the barrel prices are being selected without absolutely any merit,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. >click to read the press release< 15:25

SEA-NL on Pot to Plate, new program to sell crab at the wharf

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is encouraging the public to buy live fresh snow crab from inshore enterprises when they land at the wharf, and is preparing a “pot to plate” program to connect boats to buyers province-wide. “The 2023 snow crab price to start the season will be half what it was last year, and the lowest in years, which will hurt every last small-boat enterprise around the province,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “SEA-NL is asking the people of the province to step up and buy fresh live North Atlantic snow crab direct from our fishermen and women at a fair price at the wharf.” SEA-NL will consult with owner-operators around the province before recommending a “wharf price” to charge for snow crab and plans to announce a price Thursday. >click to read< 14:05

After a record-breaking year for Atlantic snow crab, facing huge price cuts is ‘worse than the moratorium,’

“It’s going to be worse than the moratorium.” That’s Jason Sullivan’s gut feeling about the upcoming 2023 snow crab fishing season. He has no doubt that the record-breaking prices of 2022 are a thing of the past. There’s talk of prices starting somewhere around $2 a pound, a nearly 70 per cent drop from last year’s starting price of $7.60. Sullivan said that would translate to a huge loss for the provincial economy. “We had a billion-dollar industry and now we’re taking $500 million out of it right away,” said the Bay Bulls fisherman. “That’s going to be devastating, especially for rural areas.”  >click to read< 13:02

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

‘What we’re looking for is a fair shake’: Newfoundland inshore crab fishers resume pop-up protests around St. John’s

They didn’t get a clear answer from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on Monday, so inshore crab harvesters are holding “pop-up” protests again today, March 28, in St. John’s. Jason Sullivan and the 3L protestors say the crab stocks in the zone should be assessed as one biomass rather than as separate inshore and offshore stocks. That way, the protestors say, the inshore would be treated the same as the offshore fleets, using the same exploitation rate formulas if the crab stocks are growing.  >click to read<  14:52

Starvation price for snow crab fishermen

A week into the snow crab fishing season, processors in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on Friday agreed to a temporary dock price of $2.25/lb to $2.50/lb. “There’s more inventory on the market now than we thought, says Jean-Paul Gagne, Director General of the Quebec Fisheries Industry Association (AQIP).  For his part, Marc-Olivier des Îles-de-la-Madeleine’s captain, Marco Turbide, promises to put his cages back this spring. “Expecting a price of only two or three dollars a pound doesn’t give ambition, he comments. It’s not fun. For a heavily indebted fisherman like me, we can’t expect to make a profit in 2023 because of the significant loss from crab last year. If we agree to $4/lb, I’m very I’ll be happy!” >click to read< 11:45

In Depth: Alaska’s Fisheries Are Collapsing. This Congresswoman Is Taking on the Industry She Says Is to Blame.

The late 1990s and early 2000s were boomtimes for halibut fishermen in Alaska. Over 80 million pounds of the flatfish were being harvested annually. Deckhands could earn $250,000 a season. The small boat harbor in the southcentral city of Homer, known as the “halibut capital of the world,” was bustling. Erik Velsko, 39, was one of those fishermen. He started buying annual shares in 2001 when the halibut population was at near historic highs. But within a few years, the stock plummeted by more than half and the quotas for commercial fishermen were slashed accordingly. Halibut wasn’t the only so-called directed fishery to experience such a catastrophic drop. The crab fleet — made famous in the reality show “Deadliest Catch” — has been mostly stuck in port for two years after the near total collapse of the snow crab population and the decades long decline of red king crab. Photos, >click to read< 11:42

N.L. snow crab population remains healthy, though market uncertainty persists

Newfoundland and Labrador’s most valuable fishery may be encountering rough market conditions, and the economic outlook for this year is bleak, but an assessment reveals that snow crab stocks remain strong, a few years after nearly collapsing. “We’ve seen an increase in the last few years in exploitable biomass,” Five years ago, alarm bells were sounding as the biomass shrank to historic lows, resulting in steep quota cuts for commercial harvesters and worries the industry would collapse. Landings hit a 25-year low in 2019. But now industry leaders sound much more upbeat about the health of the stocks. >click to read< 17:27

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

Snow crab prices down by nearly 60 per cent in U.S. market

The snow crab season in Atlantic Canada usually doesn’t get going until mid-April, but that doesn’t mean fresh snow crab is not already hitting the U.S. market. Alaskan fleets finished up their tanner crab season this week. That crab is often marketed under the name “snow crab,” being of similar size and colour. If the Alaskan tanner fishery is a portent of things to come, snow crab catches this year will have much less value than in 2022. The tanner fishery started Jan. 15 with wharf prices at US$3.25 to US$3.35 per pound, according to the latest blog from U.S. seafood analyst Les Hodges. The initial offer from processors was $2.50 a pound, but that offer prompted a strike by the crab fishing fleet, that prompted a bump in the offer from processors. >click to read< 14:04

Left-over inventory and inflation could take a bite out of N.L. snow crab prices this year

Trevor Jones has been in the fishing business long enough to know you can’t predict the success of any year until the last pot is hauled and the nets are stored. Jones owns a 65-foot longliner, F/V Samantha Nathan, carrying on the family business that was started by his father. These past few years, snow crab has become the most important catch. Last year crab accounted for just over half the revenue for his enterprise. The record high prices, even with a drop to $6.15 a pound from $7.60 at the start of the season, helped buffer against the cancellation of the mackerel fishery and the no-go for capelin. >click to read< 10:10

N.L. snow crab sales to Japan displaced by Russia

While many countries are imposing sanctions on Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine, Japan is taking advantage of low Russian snow crab prices. Clifford Small, MP for Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame and federal fisheries critic, says that is preventing Newfoundland and Labrador processors from selling their crab to Japan, as they normally do. “To have one of our major markets dry up on us, and to dry up in a sense that basically they started buying from a country like Russia — that’s at war in Ukraine — flies in the face of what you’d expect from a great trading partner and an ally,” he said. >click to read< 15:44

Alaskan snow crabs are canaries for worsening fishing woes

The Bering Sea crab industry was booming when Chuck Hosmer became captain of the F/V Baranof in 1980. At the time, crew members could take home up to $90,000 in a single season. But his sons Adam and Andrew, who grew up fishing on Whidbey Island and followed their father’s footsteps into seafood, may never see the industry return to what it once was. Alaskan crabbing is not for the faint of heart. In the past, the payout was worth the risk. “No one thought snow crab would disappear. Nobody. Even a year ago, we never would have expected a canceled season for snow crab,” said Adam Hosmer, one of the Baranof’s first mates. “They used to just be a dime a dozen. If you ask any of the old-timers, they used to be everywhere. Everywhere.” Photos, >click to read< 11:04