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N.L. crab fishers reject latest price offer from processors, as fleet stays at wharf

May 8, 2023
The Canadian Press

A view of lobster traps. (skyf/Adobe Stock)

Crab fishers in Newfoundland and Labrador are keeping their boats at the wharf after rejecting the latest price offer from the association that represents processors.

The Association of Seafood Producers’ offer of a minimum price of $2.20 per pound was tendered to the Fish Food and Allied Workers Union on Saturday, but union members voted it down.

In a news release, the union says the majority of harvesters “strongly oppose” the proposal, therefore boats would remain tied up.

Greg Pretty, the union’s president, says that the crab is staying in the water until harvesters get a higher share of the price.


The union says outstanding issues include a demand that processors provide clarity on the maximum catch that would be accepted, and that companies agree to not bring in crab from fleets based outside the province.

The snow crab fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador opened in most fishing areas on April 10, but harvesters have kept their boats tied up to protest this year’s price at the wharf.

Last season, prices opened at $7.60 a pound.

Prices are set by a government-appointed panel that hears arguments from the FFAW and the Association of Seafood Producers, which represents fish-processing companies.

Industry experts say the global snow crab market has plummeted after record-high prices during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that many sellers are still trying to sell off product from last year’s catch.

The fishers union has said that with wharf prices at $2.20 a pound, processors are asking harvesters to bear the brunt of the market fallout.

Snow crab is Newfoundland and Labrador’s most valuable seafood export, accounting for more than half — $883 million — of the $1.6 billion generated by the province’s fisheries in 2021.

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