According to a story in Newfoundland’s Telegram, the fishermen descended on the parking lot in front of the Confederation Building on Monday to protest the stalemate between harvesters, producers and the government over the price of crab.
The controversy stems back to a recent government proposal that calls for a pound of crab to sell for $1.34, which is a price that many fishermen believe is much too low. Evidently, crab processors believe the price is too high, and they’re refusing to buy it. Both parties’ failure to find a compromise has caused a three-week standoff that’s directly affecting crab season and some 20,000 people in the industry.
Once the ad-hoc fish market was set up and the news hit local radio, it wasn’t too long before local restaurants and crab lovers showed up with an appetite for a good deal. People were spotted leaving with shopping bags full of whole crab for the very low cost of $1.35 a pound.
While the debate continues to rage inside the House of Assembly, the fishermen’s union is also involved, calling on the province to pony up $100 million to help stabilize the industry. “The provincial government has a responsibility to help get this fishery started and ensure a future for these hard-working fish harvesters and processors,” Ken Lewenza, president of the Canadian Autoworkers Union, was quoted as saying in The Telegram (The CAU is the national wing of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers’s union.).
The government has said it’s not interested in any short-term solutions.