Paradise company donates jib crane to Torbay fish harvesters

A steel fabrication company whose workers are part of the same union representing fish harvesters has offered harvesters equipment the federal government won't pay for.

Steelfab Industries offered crane to help unload cod catches, FFAW says

Fish harvesters lug heavy bins of cod up over the wharf in Torbay, since they do not have a jib crane like many commercial ports. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

A steel fabrication company whose workers are part of the same union that represents fish harvesters is donating a jib crane to help Torbay fishermen unload their cod catches.

In a news release Thursday, the Fish, Food and Allied Workers said Steelfab Industries of Paradise stepped up after hearing that the federal government won't pay for the $50,000-crane this year.

Employees of the company are represented by another FFAW-Unifor local.

"The offer by Steelfab Industries is what being a union and working together is all about," said FFAW-Unifor Industrial Director Greg Pretty in the union statement.

The company donated a crane in a "show of solidarity" says the FFAW-Unifor, which represents workers there as well as fish harvesters. (Google)

Policy for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Small Craft Harbours division states communities have to land 50 tonnes for three consecutive years in order to get a jib crane, so Torbay would not qualify until 2018 at the earliest.

Previously there were two cranes in Torbay, but they were removed during wharf upgrades in 2013, when landings in the community were well below the threshold. 

The FFAW claims the upgrades benefitted recreational fishers and that the manual unloading of cod by commercial harvesters is a "serious safety concern."

Pretty said DFO still has to approve installation of the donated jib crane, and he hopes the equipment will be installed before the end of the cod fishing season.