Struggles for plant workers with snow crab decline
Worry building in places like Bonavista
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
The Ocean Choice International fish plant in Bonavista processes snow crab each season.