September 13, 2019
The Association of Seafood Producers says this year’s squid fishery is in peril, but it could all be solved with the simple recognition that producers need a water deduction when they buy squid.
The Association says an apparent increased abundance of squid around the province is a great opportunity for harvesters and producers, after years of relatively low abundance and landings.
“All up the eastern seaboard, there appears to be a lot of squid, and Newfoundland and Labrador is no exception,” says Derek Butler, with the Association of Seafood Producers.
“It’s a great opportunity, a new opportunity really, for both harvesters in terms of additional income, and for plants to have sufficient supply to start looking at international food markets, as we did years ago when we had big squid
But Butler says there is a fly in the ointment, with the harvesters’ union and squid producers at odds over whether producers can deduct water from a load of squid when they buy.
“Obviously, as with others species we buy, there is a level of water in the load. For example, on a load of 1000 pounds of squid, as much as 10% or more can be water,” says Butler. “That would mean 100 pounds of water, for $0.75 a pound. That’s not a winning business proposition for the industry. When you extrapolate that to fisheries with millions of pounds landed, it just doesn’t make sense.”
Butler says he has been in talks with the FFAW to address the issue, and talks are ongoing, but to date the FFAW says there is no water in squid.
“We think that’s a contradiction, obviously, because the handling protocol the parties agreed to asks that harvesters carry squid in slush seawater, to keep up the quality, so clearly there is water in the load.”
Butler says their next proposal to the FFAW is a study over the next two weeks, to determine an appropriate water deduction, and then apply the findings to the landings this year.