Crab fishermen hope to make up for lost time
Fishermen were moving quickly on Monday to catch crab off the coastlines of Newfoundland and Labrador, following a weekend deal that resolved a pricing dispute that sparked protests.
The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union reached a deal with seafood producers that increases the price of crab by 17 cents, to $2 per pound — although that price remains in effect only until May 4.
"I'm going setting pots, as fast as I can get them in the water," said Danny Callahan, who fishes from St. John's.
"It was getting too long in the season and everything else. There's a lot of relief, everyone wants to get back on the water, crew members, everyone," he added.
Most crab fishermen in the province kept their boats tied up during the dispute, with frustrations boiling over last week at Hickman's Harbour on Random Island, where crab was taken from the Golden Shell Fisheries plant and dumped over the wharf.
The company is now suing the FFAW for $85,000 in lost product, and has blamed the union for instigating the problem.
FFAW president Earle McCurdy said his members were eager to get to work.
"A compromise was necessary. I think we found one," he told CBC News.
McCurdy said the union's next goal is to come up with a better way of setting the prices that fishermen are paid.
"We agreed to set up a joint working group to try and improve on our price setting structure to try and avoid these kinds of disputes in the future," he said.
The crab season runs until July 31.