A Single Union Cannot Represent All Sides of the Fishing Industry

Since FISH-NL began our second membership drive in mid-August, the FFAW-Unifor has sucker punched its processor buddies, staged a free-fish giveaway, fallen for outside buyers, launched a seal petition and declared war on the oil and gas industry that it usually never says a peep about.

The FFAW-Unifor has also gone after its oil industry regulator buddy, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (which has funded the FFAW), for permitting oil and gas exploration in prime crab fishing grounds.

Keep in mind that it was only in 2017 that the FFAW gave the green light to federal regulations that would allow oil and gas activity in the Laurentian Channel Marine Protected Area, but ban all fishing.

It’s almost as if the FFAW-Unifor is purposely picking fights to make you forget it’s been asleep at the wheel for years — and that FISH-NL has a certification drive on the go.

Remember this, no matter what the FFAW throws on the table over the course of FISH-NL’s 90-day membership drive, one single union cannot represent all sides in the fishing industry.

Inshore harvesters, plant workers, workers on offshore factory-freezer trawlers, aquaculture workers, workers on oil tankers, workers on seismic boats, cold-storage workers, etc… under one FFAW umbrella, does not work.

Not for inshore harvesters it doesn’t.

Then consider the fact the FFAW operates as a union/manager in more and more fisheries, is paid millions of dollars a year from the Government of Canada it’s expected to hold to account for fisheries management, refuses to reveal the amount of funding it receives from the oil and gas industry and often functions in conflict of interest with the very members it serves.

Now look at the state of the commercial fisheries. Most commercial stocks are at/near critical levels, and the sharing arrangements for various species directly off our shores — from turbot and halibut to scallops and snow crab — are pathetic.

Our inshore harvesters are steadily losing access to adjacent fish stocks to the Maritimes, Quebec and foreign nations.

This has all happened under the watch of the FFAW-Unifor.

A question I’m often asked is how will inshore harvesters be immediately better off represented by FISH-NL over the FFAW-Unifor?

Simple — if the leadership of FISH-NL isn’t doing the job, they can be voted out.


Ryan Cleary
President, FISH-NL


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