Fish plants, union reach deal

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Francois Paul Lushman getting ready for the lobster season, with help from Clyde Marsden. Fishers in outport communities along the south coast did not have a way to sell their lobsters until plants and the union agreed on a pricing scheme on May 4. Christine Durnford photo




Francois fisher George Fudge was relieved to learn N.L. provincial fish plants will again buy lobster this season. Living where he did made it difficult for the union’s co-op to get to him and other fishers in the surrounding areas.

“I can rest easy now knowing I have someone to sell my lobster to,” said Fudge.

On May 4 t he FFAW and t he Seafood Producers of Newfoundland and Labrador reached an agreement on lobster prices for the remainder of the 2012 season.

The amended formula will still be tied to Urner Barry commercial market reports but will have provincial plants paying 2.5 percent less.

Lobster caught in Francois and Grey River will be sent to Burgeo on the ferry and then be sold to Eric King Fisheries.

“This is very good news for all of us in these communities that the co-op have a hard time getting to,” said Fudge. He has been fishing for the last 50 years. Twice he put a bid in for the ongoing licence buyout but both bids were rejected.

Fishing is all he has know since the age of 16 and by next year he hopes to be out of it.

“I won’t have to worry about the buyers or the co-op next year,” he said. “I will be clear of fishing by then I hope.”

Earl McCurdy, president of the FFAW, said they wanted to take some of the stress off the fishers who lived in remote areas and this will definitely help.

“The co-op is alive and well and here to stay,” he said. “However we felt that this would be in the best long term interest of the co-op and the fishers rather than have a situation where fishers were losing their lobster, their livelihood.”

According to McCurdy, the co-op has clearly made a breakthrough in the lobster fishery he thinks they will have something to build on for the future.

“We want to show our members that we are quite determined that the co-op is here to stay,” he said. “At the same time we did not want to see our members lose lobster so this was a strategic move on our part in the best interest of the fishers.”


Organizations: Seafood Producers of Newfoundland and Labrador

Geographic location: Grey River, Burgeo

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