(St John’s, NL) In response to the DFO announcement today of a delay to the Newfoundland and Labrador Snow Crab fishery, Derek Butler, Executive Director of the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) says members have assured him they are ready for the season to start, and those that are not, certainly will be.
Butler says his members have been working night and day to ensure they have the appropriate procedures and protocols adopted in the face of the new realities around Covid-19.
“A delay to April 20th works, that is our target since last week. In the meantime we have been working, individual members have been working, as well as the Association, to ensure we have the appropriate SOPs – Standard Operating Procedures – in place to secure a safe fishery,” says Butler.
Butler said many ASP members already have people working in and around plants in preparation for the season ahead, and some are or were in actual production and already have SOPs adopted in response to Covid-19, including plants which have received input from Occupational Health and Safety.
“Those existing SOPs are being modified to develop an industry standard, and in a matter of days, early next week, that will be in the hands of all our members,” said Butler.
Butler says the industry is not alone in this, but has learned from other food processors and manufacturers in other sectors who are currently in operation.
“We are not alone in facing this,” says Butler, ”we can learn from the SOPs others have adopted, SOPs that are in place for other food producers, conversations we have had with them, in the province, across Canada and elsewhere in the world.”
Butler says the Association will continue to work with the relevant authorities to ensure the relevant procedures and protocols adopted by members are updated and revised as required. That will include, he says, changes to various practical aspects to the conduct and pace of the fishery.