In April, the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel set the minimum price for crab for 2018 at $4.55 per pound, accepting the price position of ASP. At the time of this decision, FFAW-Unifor voiced our strong disagreement with the Panel’s decision, noting that it was based on market conditions that would not reflect reality.
Under the Panel rules, FFAW is entitled to one reconsideration on crab each year and that reconsideration has to be based on substantial changes in the market or currency. As we only get one chance to change a previous decision, it was essential to wait until we had definitive evidence of a change in market to present to the Panel.
Last week we received our first official market return information on NL snow crab. That market information showed the market price to be up significantly from the market upon which the Panel based its decision. Harvesters are not receiving a fair price for their product. As the crab season began there were reports of a very strong market and high demand for crab, two things we made very clear in our original submission.
FFAW-Unifor and ASP presented our cases for the reconsideration earlier today, Tuesday, May 15.
Two decisions have been made this evening. First, the Panel decided whether or not to accept the proposal for reconsideration. ASP argued that the application for reconsideration should be dismissed and the price should remain at $4.55, despite market information clearly showing otherwise.
We are pleased to say the Panel rejected ASP’s request and that the request for reconsideration was accepted.
Second, the Panel had to then choose between either the FFAW’s final offer of $5.05 or ASP’s final offer of $4.90.
The Panel accepted ASP’s final offer of $4.90. This is an additional 35 cents per pound than the previous price. This new price means that based on quota that has not yet been caught, an additional $13 million will go directly to the inshore fishery and the coastal communities that rely on it.
However, as of today approximately 37% of the quota has already been landed. Buyers have made significant financial gains as a result of the strong market for snow crab, and in fairness these companies should pass on those benefits to harvesters.
FFAW-Unifor is therefore calling on buyers to provide retroactive price adjustments to harvesters who have already sold their catch at an undervalued price.
We would once again like to thank the negotiating committee for their hard work and dedication during a tough round of negotiations.