The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is today launching a major fundraising drive — Fish or cut bait — to support the break-away union’s certification application before the Labour Relations Board.
“Fish or cut bait is an appeal to inshore harvesters — to the entire province — that if you want change in the fishery it’s time to step up and put your money where you mouth is,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “We need all hands on deck.”
“The FFAW is trying to crush the intense and growing labour unrest within the fishery with delays and legal costs at the Labour Relations Board, but we can’t allow that to happen.”
Fish or cut bait is a direct appeal to harvesters to pay a “representation fee,” the size of which would depend on the fleet they’re in and role in the fishing enterprise. Licence holders in the over 40-foot fleet are encouraged to pay $150, while licence holders in the under 40-foot fleet are asked to pay $100. Crew members are asked for a $50 donation.
All contributions are welcome, including from members of the NL community at large — with the exception of fish processing companies and the offshore sector. FISH-NL is for inshore harvesters only, and contributions are strictly voluntary.
FISH-NL operates based on fairness for all harvesters — contributions do not translate to influence within the organization.
The bulk of funds raised will be used to pay for legal fees, which could reach well over $100,000 during the potentially months-long certification process. Funds will also be used to operate FISH-NL’s office until the conclusion of the certification process, at which point the union will be fueled by membership dues.