nl-dumped-crab-20130415

Protesting fishermen grabbed crab from a Random Island fish processing plant and dumped it over the wharf. (CBC )

The company that runs a Random Island fish plant at the focus of a mass dumping of crab this week has filed a statement of claim against the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union.

About 200 fishermen protested at Golden Shell Fisheries in Hickman's Harbour on Monday. Some of them entered the plant, removed about 30,000 pounds of crab and then dumped it over the wharf.

Golden Shell is asking for $85,000 for the crab, and also wants the union to pay for the cleanup and the company's lawyer.

The company obtained an order from a justice at Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Clarenville that prohibits members of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union from protesting at the property.

A copy has been sent to FFAW president Earle McCurdy.

An official with the company said the plant had returned to processing crab on Wednesday.

Crab fishermen have been upset about a price dispute that has prevented much of the industry from kicking into gear.

A panel that operates at arm's length of government set the price at $1.83. Many fishermen say they need $2 per pound to make their work worthwhile.

Minister condemns protester actions

Fisheries Minister Derrick Dalley said the actions of protesting fishermen in Hickman's Harbour this week are not the way to deal with pricing problems in the fishery.

"The action down at Hickman's Harbour was just not acceptable, it's just not good for the industry, and certainly doesn't send a good message anywhere in this province," Dalley said.

In the house of assembly on Wednesday, Dalley said McCurdy is not helping the situation, but rather making things worse.

"As minister, I would encourage the leadership of the FFAW that telling lies on TV or issues such as flip-flopping on important issues in the fishery, and certainly condoning acts of throwing away crab — these are not the route, Mr. Speaker, to find a resolution," he said.

Dalley acknowledged the annual pricing issue disputes that occur within the fishery, but said until someone comes up with a better way, the current system will stay in place.

"Certainly, the last eight or 10 years, it's become an annual norm in the fishery, and I'm sure the public, and I'm quite sure the stakeholders in the fishery, Mr. Speaker, are tired of it," he said. "And obviously, if we can find a better solution, I'm certainly be willing to support it."