St. John’s, NL (February 20, 2024) – The Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) is committed to transparency and a timely start to the 2024 Snow Crab fishery.

Section 19.13 of the Fishing Industry Collective Bargaining Act (FICBA) states that, “A fisher shall not engage in a cessation of business dealings and a bargaining agent representing the fisher shall not take a vote as to cessation of business dealings between fishers and processors or authorize or participate in taking a vote or declare or authorize a cessation by that fisher.”

In 2023, the snow crab fishery was delayed by six weeks by the FFAW. As a result, on July 15, 2023, ASP filed a grievance stating that the FFAW led tie-up was contrary to the Master Collective Agreement (MCA) and the FICBA.

Hearings for the grievance were held on January 22 and 24, 2024. The decision on liability concluded that the FFAW breached the FICBA and the MCA, by declaring a cessation of business dealings contrary to s.19.13 of the FICBA and the MCA.

The grievance arbitration will now proceed to the damages phase, where the arbitrator will determine the damages owing to ASP flowing from the FFAW’s breach of the MCA and FICBA. ASP are seeking complete indemnification of processors’ losses and costs, to be assessed at arbitration as well as punitive damages commensurate with the level of punishment required to deter the FFAW from future unlawful conduct injurious to processors, processing workers, harvesters, as well as the public good reflected in the Act.

“It’s imperative that neither the FFAW or ASP seek to circumvent or ignore the price setting process and undertake what is effectively economic warfare,” says Jeff Loder, Executive Director, ASP. “The FICBA exists to restrict this type of behaviour and to ensure the value associated with the fishery, which is a public good, is realized for harvesters, processors, plant workers and businesses who rely on the fishery.”

ASP’s ultimate goal, consistent with the legislature’s aims under FICBA, is to ensure a shutdown of the provincial crab fishery never occurs again.

In 2022, snow crab accounted for approximately 61 per cent of the total fishery value and 2.3 per cent of the provincial GDP.

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The decision can be found here: Grievance Decision

Published On: February 20, 2024 / Categories: 2024, Press /