Newfoundland Government Must Provide Financial Support to Crab Fishery, CAW says

April 26, 2010, 1:39 PM EST

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The Newfoundland and Labrador government must step in immediately with financial support to get the province's crab fishery started, CAW President Ken Lewenza says.

It's also critical the government play a role in finding long term solutions to the crisis in the crab fishery, which affects 20,000 harvesters and processing workers, Lewenza said.

Lewenza's comments were made after Newfoundland crab harvesters staged a protest outside of the Confederation building in St. John's on Monday to highlight the urgency of the crisis. The CAW/FFAW represents fish harvesters and fish processing workers throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

Several crab harvesters sold freshly landed crab outside the Confederation building for $1.35 per pound, which is same price that the province's fish price setting panel established recently. The problem is that most producers refuse to pay that much and the crab fishery remains stalled with a concern that producers are going to dump their product into the market driving prices down further.

"The provincial government has a responsibility to help get this fishery started and ensure a future for these hard working fish harvesters and processors," said Lewenza. "These workers are struggling with a major crisis and this is when they truly need government support the most."

"The government must stop hiding behind claims that taking action to help Newfoundland fish harvesters would somehow violate trade laws. Fish harvesters, their families and many Newfoundland and Labrador communities are suffering while the government refuses to act," Lewenza said.

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