June 13th, 2024

Harvesters refusing to fish crab in Newfoundland and Labrador, saying price too low

By The Canadian Press on April 8, 2024.

The union representing inshore fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador says its members are refusing to catch crab because the prices offered to them at the wharf are too low to make a living. Fish harvesters and their supporters protest outside the Confederation Building in St. John's on Thursday, March 21, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – The union representing inshore fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador says its members are refusing to catch crab because the prices offered are too low to make a living.

Crab season opened in much of the province on Saturday, but the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union says fishers have left their boats tied up.

The prices paid to fishers for their catch each year is set by a government-appointed panel, which hears submissions from fish harvesters and seafood processors.

The panel announced April 1 that fishers would be paid a starting rate of $2.60 per pound this year, a price proposed by the Association of Seafood Producers.

By comparison, prices in 2022 averaged about $6.87 per pound.

Last year, the panel set opening prices at $2.20 per pound, and harvesters refused to fish for nearly six weeks after the season opened.

Snow crab has been one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most valuable seafood exports, accounting for $883 million of the $1.6 billion generated by the province’s fisheries in 2021.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2024.

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