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Scallop harvesters victorious in lawsuit against FFAW

Flower’s Cove fisherman Edmund Moores was pleased to hear a wharf upgrade was coming for Flower’s Cove. But there’s no extension planned, and says the purchase of his adjacent waterfront property would have been a great solution to the problem.<br /><br />
Flower’s Cove fisherman Edmund Moores was pleased to hear a wharf upgrade was coming for Flower’s Cove. But there’s no extension planned, and says the purchase of his adjacent waterfront property would have been a great solution to the problem.<br /><br />

License holder and fish harvester Edmund Moores was happy the judge didn’t side with the union.

“Woo hoo,” was his first reaction when asked about the decision favouring scallop harvesters over their union FFAW.

Moores is an active fish harvester. Over the past few years he has focused on the crab and turbot fishery, but will be returning to scallops the upcoming season.

“I’m very pleased with the conclusion.”

A judge in St. John’s ruled in favour of harvesters Feb. 29 after a 2014 dispute planted them against the FFAW.

A section of the Strait of Belle Isle along the coast of Labrador was no longer going to be viable for scallop harvesting. The area is going to be used by Nalcor Energy for a cable for the Muskrat Falls project. It totaled about 45 square kilometres.

The more than 70 scallop license holders for Area 14A took the FFAW to court after agreeing the union could represent them in negotiations with Nalcor.

Harvesters have said over the past two years they were not expecting the FFAW to make decisions on their behalf without consultation, but that is what happened. The harvesters believed the funds allocated after negotiations excluded those that did not actively fish, even if they had licenses. They also believed they would get paid in annual installments over the next three decades.

“I have no alternative but to conclude that FFAW failed to inform the plaintiff of: the development of the negotiations, the principles to which FFAW intended to and, in fact, did subscribe and the intended and known consequence for each fisher upon subscription to the consent which FFAW sought to obtain in terms broadly worded,” said Justice Carl R. Thompson’s decision.

Harvesters will share a $2.6 million payout from the union, which is the amount negotiated with Nalcor.

The strong part of the process, Moores said, was that all the fishermen stuck together.

“(The union) tried to tear us apart, but they never got it working,” he said. “We won our case.”

Moores said the group is in need of representation, and those that have handled the negotiations and dealing with the harvesters have not been getting that representation.

“It’s always a battle,” he said.

Keith Sullivan of FFAW spoke briefly on the subject at a press conference March 2 in St. John’s.

“We’ll talk to those active harvesters who were impacted and review the details of the case,” he said. “It is only very new. But like I said, I think it was a good job, it was a good deal, so we’ll be reviewing the details of that in the coming days.”

When asked about potential damage between the union and the harvesters, Sullivan didn’t acknowledge any such thing, but did point fingers at the inactive harvesters.

“In many cases, it was the harvesters who generally didn’t see themselves probably fishing in the future — inactive harvesters taking some action against active harvesters who would really be impacted by the decision,” he said.

Moores disagreed, noting he is returning to the scallop harvest after a short hiatus, and anyone with a license has that right.

— With files from The Telegram

“Woo hoo,” was his first reaction when asked about the decision favouring scallop harvesters over their union FFAW.

Moores is an active fish harvester. Over the past few years he has focused on the crab and turbot fishery, but will be returning to scallops the upcoming season.

“I’m very pleased with the conclusion.”

A judge in St. John’s ruled in favour of harvesters Feb. 29 after a 2014 dispute planted them against the FFAW.

A section of the Strait of Belle Isle along the coast of Labrador was no longer going to be viable for scallop harvesting. The area is going to be used by Nalcor Energy for a cable for the Muskrat Falls project. It totaled about 45 square kilometres.

The more than 70 scallop license holders for Area 14A took the FFAW to court after agreeing the union could represent them in negotiations with Nalcor.

Harvesters have said over the past two years they were not expecting the FFAW to make decisions on their behalf without consultation, but that is what happened. The harvesters believed the funds allocated after negotiations excluded those that did not actively fish, even if they had licenses. They also believed they would get paid in annual installments over the next three decades.

“I have no alternative but to conclude that FFAW failed to inform the plaintiff of: the development of the negotiations, the principles to which FFAW intended to and, in fact, did subscribe and the intended and known consequence for each fisher upon subscription to the consent which FFAW sought to obtain in terms broadly worded,” said Justice Carl R. Thompson’s decision.

Harvesters will share a $2.6 million payout from the union, which is the amount negotiated with Nalcor.

The strong part of the process, Moores said, was that all the fishermen stuck together.

“(The union) tried to tear us apart, but they never got it working,” he said. “We won our case.”

Moores said the group is in need of representation, and those that have handled the negotiations and dealing with the harvesters have not been getting that representation.

“It’s always a battle,” he said.

Keith Sullivan of FFAW spoke briefly on the subject at a press conference March 2 in St. John’s.

“We’ll talk to those active harvesters who were impacted and review the details of the case,” he said. “It is only very new. But like I said, I think it was a good job, it was a good deal, so we’ll be reviewing the details of that in the coming days.”

When asked about potential damage between the union and the harvesters, Sullivan didn’t acknowledge any such thing, but did point fingers at the inactive harvesters.

“In many cases, it was the harvesters who generally didn’t see themselves probably fishing in the future — inactive harvesters taking some action against active harvesters who would really be impacted by the decision,” he said.

Moores disagreed, noting he is returning to the scallop harvest after a short hiatus, and anyone with a license has that right.

— With files from The Telegram

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