Strug­gles for plant work­ers with snow crab de­cline

Worry build­ing in places like Bonavista

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Front page - BY JONATHAN PAR­SONS

The lat­est study on snow crab, re­leased by the Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans (DFO) this week, is caus­ing worry among those who work in the in­dus­try.

A new re­port by sci­en­tists from DFO, us­ing in­for­ma­tion gath­ered over a six-year pe­riod, says the biomass of snow crab is the low­est it’s been in 25 years.

While the fed­eral depart­ment is not talk­ing about quota cuts just yet — those de­ci­sions are usu­ally made in the spring — a plant worker in Bonavista says the 2019 sea­son could be a strug­gle.

Barry Ran­dell is pres­i­dent of the Fish Food and Al­lied Work­ers (FFAW) union lo­cal at the Ocean Choice In­ter­na­tional (OCI) plant in Bonavista.

About 300 peo­ple work at that plant; 270 of them on the se­nior­ity list, as well as man­age­ment and ca­sual work­ers.

“Any more re­duc­tion, you know it’s go­ing to have an im­pact,” Ran­dell told The Packet on Fri­day, not­ing over the last two years fish­ing quo­tas for crab were re­duced by 42 per cent.

“So any more cuts on top of that is go­ing to mean less work, less peo­ple at the plant.”

While the plant is a mul­ti­species fa­cil­ity, pro­cess­ing some tur­bot and capelin, it pri­mar­ily re­lies on the crab pro­cess­ing.

“The other (species) were a help to us this year, no doubt, but you can’t de­pend on that,” said Ran­dell.

Ac­cord­ing to Ran­dell one of the boats that sup­plied the plant since 1993 — the Katrina Char­lene — which fishes

FILE PHOTO

The Ocean Choice In­ter­na­tional fish plant in Bonavista pro­cesses snow crab each sea­son.

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