Advertisement

Key FFAW rep steps down amid ongoing crab price formula negotiations

Fish harvesters are eagerly awaiting a deal to be struck between their union and the processors so that this year's crab season begins uninterrupted. Harvesters continue to push government to get involved and returned to the stairs of Confederation Building on Thursday.  (Peter Cowan/CBC - image credit)
Fish harvesters are eagerly awaiting a deal to be struck between their union and the processors so that this year's crab season begins uninterrupted. Harvesters continue to push government to get involved and returned to the stairs of Confederation Building on Thursday. (Peter Cowan/CBC - image credit)
Fish harvesters are eagerly awaiting a deal to be struck between their union and the processors so that this year's crab season begins uninterrupted. Harvesters continue to push government to get involved and returned to the stairs of Confederation Building on Thursday.
Fish harvesters are eagerly awaiting a deal to be struck between their union and the processors so that this year's crab season begins uninterrupted. Harvesters continue to push government to get involved and returned to the stairs of Confederation Building on Thursday.

Fish harvesters are eagerly awaiting a deal to be struck between their union and the processors so that this year's crab season begins uninterrupted. Harvesters continue to push government to get involved and returned to the stairs of Confederation Building on Thursday. (Peter Cowan/CBC)

A key negotiator for the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union has stepped down amid ongoing tense and highly anticipated crab price formula negotiations between the harvesters' union and the Association of Seafood Producers.

As first reported by ocean industry outlet Undercurrent News, FFAW negotiator Jake Rice has resigned. The news was flagged in a Facebook post in a fishery group by harvester Jason Sullivan.

Sullivan wrote FFAW secretary treasurer Jason Spingle is likely to take the reins.

In a statement to CBC News, the ASP said it's unable to comment on the matter as negotiations are underway.

"With regards to Jake's resignation, it would be best to contact the FFAW," wrote Sara Norris on behalf of the ASP.

The speed bump isn't the signal harvesters were hoping for.

For weeks they've stood on the steps in front of Confederation Building and flooded the public gallery of the House of Assembly to voice their concerns over the handling of the fishery, now just weeks away from the start of crab season.

Harvesters are calling for an open market — the ability to take their catch, regardless of species, to whichever buyer will take the product, whether that be within the province or outside it.

Protestors also set their sights on the province's Department of Fisheries building.
Protestors also set their sights on the province's Department of Fisheries building.

Protesters also set their sights on the province's Department of Fisheries building. (Danny Arsenault/CBC)

They're also hoping for a better and less disruptive crab season as compared to last year, when a fight over the $2.20 per pound price point on snow crab kept boats off of the water for weeks.

CBC News has attempted to reach the FFAW and Rice for comment. There has been no response as of the time of publishing.

House closed

Harvesters returned to the front steps of Confederation Building on Thursday, but the House of Assembly isn't sitting. The governing Liberals adjourned the House until the party releases the provincial budget on Wednesday.

PC Leader Tony Wakeham said the situation is disappointing and disrespectful to the people of the province.

Questions surrounding the fishery dominated the House since it reopened in early March. On Wednesday Furey was optimistic about the ongoing negotiations. The adjournment means losing two days in the spring session that could have been spent debating provincial issues.

"I think it's a sign of disrespect, total disrespect for the legitimate concerns that they have," said Wakeham.

"Here we are, they find themselves right back in the same position they were last year."

Download our free CBC News app to sign up for push alerts for CBC Newfoundland and Labrador. Click here to visit our landing page.