The Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) that represents sea cucumber producers in the province, rejects FFAW’s recent criticism of lack of transparency in the seafood collective bargaining process, and upholds its schedule and sampling protocols for sea cucumber.
“It is completely appropriate, as this fishery matures, that we have a schedule containing conditions of sale which govern the grading and handling of landings and procedures for the determination of net weight for payment. What is more, it was the FFAW which served notice to negotiate this species, not ASP,” said, Derek Butler, Executive Director, ASP. “With sea cucumber now being subject to collective bargaining, codifying best practices for buying raw material is necessary for the industry to mature. And for my members, it means we do not buy water.”
Butler says any question of clarification on what was proposed during negotiations, should have been asked during the collective bargaining process.
“We offered proposals and invited counters in the initial negotiations, and received none. As late as the night before the arbitration hearing the FFAW said they were open to a discussion on grading, and even said the grading last year appeared robust,” said Butler. “Then they said they had no time to talk about it and now say the same grading — with no changes — is no good.”
What is more, Butler said, the current schedule is an agreement between the parties.
“The FFAW and ASP agreed on this schedule just over a week ago, with the price and grading. They served a reconsideration and asked the Price Panel to revise their initial decision. So we negotiated again and shook hands on this, with a price increase, and now it’s all an apparent travesty?” said Butler. “The thing is we have a grading program to make the appropriate deductions for foreign material, damaged sea cucumber and especially water, and that is what we should have.”
Butler says an appropriate schedule with sampling protocols and grading ensures consistent, premium quality seafood, which is what the province should be known for.