Minister already eying 2011

Terry Roberts
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Clyde Jackman says he wants to avoid future disruptions to start of harvest

The tumult in this year's fishery is still far from settled, but Fisheries Minister Clyde Jackman said he's already eying the 2011 season.

"As soon as this crab and shrimp season and cod season gets underway, I am going to call the parties together to start (talks) on the fishery of 2011," Jackman said Thursday.

Fisheries Minister Clyde Jackman

The tumult in this year's fishery is still far from settled, but Fisheries Minister Clyde Jackman said he's already eying the 2011 season.

"As soon as this crab and shrimp season and cod season gets underway, I am going to call the parties together to start (talks) on the fishery of 2011," Jackman said Thursday.

Jackman said he doesn't want another repeat of the yearly disputes in the industry.

He said it leads to too much hardship, stress and uncertainty in an industry that is already one of the most dangerous in the world.

"People in leadership have got to look at this differently. It's time we expose things in this fishery that need to be straightened out. If that mean stepping on toes, so be it," he said.

Jackman made the comments Thursday, nearly a month into a delay in the start of the crab harvest, this province's most lucrative fishery.

There are also harbingers of discontent in the upcoming shrimp harvest.

Jackman has been calling on key players in the crab sector to iron out their differences over the price paid for raw material.

He has repeatedly bemoaned the fact that seafood producers and the union representing harvesters didn't have their first face-to-face talks until March 31, a day before the crab season was to open.

Subsequent talks have ended in stalemate, with about 20,000 seasonal workers hanging on the sidelines, hoping for a break in the deadlock.

"I'm disappointed that both sides could not reach an agreement between themselves," Jackman said.

The fate of the 2010 crab harvest is now in the hands of the province's Standing Price-Setting Panel, following a new proposal to the body on Wednesday by the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP).

It's believed the ASP is proposing a price of $1.19 per pound, well below the $1.35 established by the panel in mid-March.

The ASP is proposing a formula similar to one used in the Alaskan crab fishery, where harvesters are paid an upfront price, or "fishing price," and receive a dividend at the end of the season, based on market returns.

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers' union (FFAW) has said it supports further discussions on such a formula, but not for this season.

Jackman also likes the concept.

"If they agree with the merits of a seafood marketing council, open auditing based on market prices and receipts, there is merit in doing this," he stated.

"If they agree, we should not find ourselves in this situation next year."

He believes it's a fair and effective way of prosecuting the fishery.

"Once you get into auditing books, there are things you can't hide. So issues of openness and accountability and assurances that people are not being ripped off, they become issues that are diminished.

"The fact that both sides say this has merit ... I'm going to start this conversation very soon for 2011," he said.

For every day the harvest is delayed, it becomes harder for plant workers to get enough hours to quality for employment insurance benefits.

There are also concerns with soft-shell, a scenario whereby crabs shed their shells, necessitating a closure of the harvest.

Attempts Thursday to contact ASP executive director Derek Butler and FFAW president Earle McCurdy were unsuccessful.

troberts@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Association of Seafood Producers, Allied Workers

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Recent comments

  • Frank M
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Eying 2011....

    Not coincidently a provincial election year.

  • Free
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Minister Jackman
    How ofter must you be told?
    First of all, you are not allowed to make any changes. Secondly, the ONLY change that can change the fishery is to remove the mononoply situation that government have entitled the merchants with.
    !

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Here is an idea for 2011, anyone under the age of 55 buy the license back and allow them to re-train and then get them the hell out of the fishery. By doing this then the rest of the province can go about its daily business without having to hear about the bloody crab fishery.

  • Fisherman
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Why not follow the system in Newbrunswick - the fishermen there are getting a fair price of $2.35. The processors here are going to make a bonanza this year at $1.35 and government assisting them by eliminating licensing fees....nothing for the harvester only possibble bankruptcy.
    There must be heavy campaign donations being exchanged.

  • Toes
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    If that means stepping on toes . You made the exact statemant in Gander at the 9th Constitutional Convention for the FFAW. The ONLY change you made since then was to allow OCI to ship raw material to China be processed. The only toes that you stepped on by doing that was to the plant workers by denying them that work and the harvesters by allowing a processor to catch fish.
    Remember Minister Jackman, that if you step on too many toes there is a very good possibility you might get stepped back.

  • OffTheWall
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Oh this makes a boatload of sense. Bring in a legitimate model.....only dont bring it in this year, bring it in next year. Lets open a fishery for an unreasonable price and bankrupt the smaller processors in the province, then next year you will have even less options for the sale of your product. Great thinking Earle. Hey Earle if you really think your product is worth the price you want then accept the alaskan formula, it states that a dividend will be paid based on market prices at the end of the year. So if you believe your product is worth $1.35 then under this new model that requires tranparency maybe you will get $1.35 in the end, heck, maybe even more. Step up to the plate Earle and get this going.

  • Frank M
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Eying 2011....

    Not coincidently a provincial election year.

  • Free
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Minister Jackman
    How ofter must you be told?
    First of all, you are not allowed to make any changes. Secondly, the ONLY change that can change the fishery is to remove the mononoply situation that government have entitled the merchants with.
    !

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Here is an idea for 2011, anyone under the age of 55 buy the license back and allow them to re-train and then get them the hell out of the fishery. By doing this then the rest of the province can go about its daily business without having to hear about the bloody crab fishery.

  • Fisherman
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Why not follow the system in Newbrunswick - the fishermen there are getting a fair price of $2.35. The processors here are going to make a bonanza this year at $1.35 and government assisting them by eliminating licensing fees....nothing for the harvester only possibble bankruptcy.
    There must be heavy campaign donations being exchanged.

  • Toes
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    If that means stepping on toes . You made the exact statemant in Gander at the 9th Constitutional Convention for the FFAW. The ONLY change you made since then was to allow OCI to ship raw material to China be processed. The only toes that you stepped on by doing that was to the plant workers by denying them that work and the harvesters by allowing a processor to catch fish.
    Remember Minister Jackman, that if you step on too many toes there is a very good possibility you might get stepped back.

  • OffTheWall
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Oh this makes a boatload of sense. Bring in a legitimate model.....only dont bring it in this year, bring it in next year. Lets open a fishery for an unreasonable price and bankrupt the smaller processors in the province, then next year you will have even less options for the sale of your product. Great thinking Earle. Hey Earle if you really think your product is worth the price you want then accept the alaskan formula, it states that a dividend will be paid based on market prices at the end of the year. So if you believe your product is worth $1.35 then under this new model that requires tranparency maybe you will get $1.35 in the end, heck, maybe even more. Step up to the plate Earle and get this going.