Avoidable Crisis in Crab Fishery Due to Flawed Price-Setting Process, Review Finds

A recent review conducted by a dedicated team has shed light on the avoidable crisis that occurred in the province’s crab fishery this year. The team, in its report released today, emphasized that the current price-setting process was insufficient and offered a number of recommendations to prevent future disruptions.

One of the key recommendations put forth by the review team is the adoption of a formula-based pricing approach for snow crab before the commencement of the 2024 fishing season. This proposal necessitates initiating the necessary preparations as early as fall and early winter of next year. Additionally, the team highlights the necessity of establishing an independent fisheries management structure, as previously suggested in separate reviews conducted in 2003 and 2005.

Based on their analysis, the review team argues that the existing structure for setting fish prices does not maximize the inherent value of the resource. They stress the potential for significant economic opportunities through a market-based approach that prioritizes quality. Moreover, the team aims to resolve the ongoing debate surrounding the distribution of market returns. They argue that the reported 34.3 percent market return to harvesters for raw product is inaccurate and misleading, drawing attention to the inappropriate comparison made between live crab and section value.

Both the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) and the Fish, Food, and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) have expressed appreciation for the review team’s exhaustive analysis. ASP Executive Director Jeff Loder emphasized the importance of stable pricing systems, underscoring the consequences of not having such a framework in place. Loder believes that addressing all of the contributing factors that influence the value of fish species is crucial.

FFAW President Greg Pretty welcomed the review, highlighting the flaws in the previous price-setting system. He also expressed enthusiasm for efforts to enhance marketing strategies. Pretty regards the report as an insightful assessment of the past season and emphasizes the need to take proactive measures to ensure that preparations for the upcoming season are carried out effectively.


  • Can the crisis in the crab fishery this year be attributed to inadequate price-setting?
    Yes, the review team concluded that the crisis was avoidable and stemmed from the flawed price-setting process.
  • What is the main recommendation proposed by the review team?
    The review team recommends adopting a formula-based pricing system for snow crab prior to the start of the 2024 season.
  • Why is an independent fisheries management structure deemed necessary?
    The team believes that an independent structure will better serve the objective of maximizing the value of the resource and provide significant economic opportunities.
  • What is the key point raised regarding the sharing of market returns?
    The team argues that the reported market return of 34.3 percent for raw product is inaccurate and misleading due to inappropriate comparisons made between live crab and section value.
  • How have the ASP and FFAW responded to the review team’s report?
    Both organizations appreciate the review team’s work and acknowledge the importance of stable price-setting systems. They also express a readiness to address the issues raised and improve the marketing process.