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The Plan 

The short-term plan for the 2024 fishing season is to pool the collective quotas of our members, and either sell product directly to existing independent processing companies or hire them to process fish for a per-pound fee.
The longer term goal of the FPC is to become self-sufficient in all aspects of seafood operations — including processing, marketing, and sales.

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The FPC vision is a thriving fishing industry driven by prosperous fleets to the benefit of rural communities and future generations of harvesters.


Our mission is to empower members to collectively become masters of their fishing destiny by maximizing the economic potential of the seafood resources they harvest from the sea.


Our purpose is to protect and advance the economic interests of licensed independent inshore enterprise owners, and strengthen wild fisheries and rural economies on all coasts.


Our values include self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, transparency, fairness, equality, equity, and solidarity.


The FPC is bound by the seven co-operative principles: 1) voluntary and open membership; 2) democratic member control; 3) member economic participation; 4) autonomy and independence; 5) education, training, and Information; 6) co-operation among co-operatives; and 7) concern for community.


Existing Fishery Co-operatives

Three fishery co-operatives currently operate in Newfoundland and Labrador:


• Formed in 1983, the Petty Harbour Fishermen’s Co-op is a successful worker co-operative owned and operated by around 50 inshore fish harvesters in the small fishing community outside St. John’s.


• The Fogo Island Co-operative Society is a multi-stakeholder co-operative that began in the late 1960s, and includes members involved in harvesting and processing. The Fogo Island Co-op underpins the island’s entire economy, and operates three processing facilities that buy from local fishermen.


• The Torngat Fish Producers Co-operative Society, Ltd. is an aboriginal co-operative incorporated in 1980 by fishers and plant workers from five north coast Labrador communities.


Labrador Fishermen Own-Operate
their own social enterprise


The Labrador Fishermen’s Union Shrimp Company Ltd. is not a co-operative so much as a social enterprise “founded on principles of cooperative operation.”

Started in the late 1970s by 130 small-boat fishermen from L’anse au Clair to Cartwright, the shrimp company today operates all five processing facilities in Labrador, plus buying and service stations.


The company employees over 500 people in the processing sector, servicing hundreds of Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters.


In addition, the shrimp company owns two middle-distance boats, and has a 50% share in an offshore shrimp trawler with a fishermen’s co-operative in New Brunswick.


The shrimp company’s success may be a blueprint for FPC success on the island portion of the province.

Situational Analysis


While Labrador fishermen successfully capitalize on adjacent seafood resources through the social enterprise that is the shrimp company, inshore enterprise owners in Newfoundland have a mostly confrontational relationship with foreign and domestic seafood companies, an ill will continuously stirred by generational mistrust.


Inshore enterprise owners are told when to fish, and how much to fish through fishing schedules and trip limits imposed by a local processing industry that’s severely limited in terms of competition.


Licensed owner-operators are generally not free to move from one processor to another.


For years processing companies have been accused of working together as a cartel to control the movement of harvesters and keep fish prices down, but fish pricing is excluded from the federal Competition Act (Section 4) and appeals for an investigation have gone unanswered.


It’s suspected the majority of inshore enterprise owners are tied to processing companies through financial arrangements that include catch agreements, which give companies the right of first refusal to purchase fish.


It’s not known how many inshore enterprises are tied to processors through financial arrangements, but speculation is the vast majority at more than 75%.


Indeed, the issue was highlighted in a December 2023 report, Foreign Ownership and Corporate Concentration of Fishing Licenses and Quota, by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa.


The report included a recommendation for the creation of an independent fishery financing agency “with sufficient risk tolerance to finance and mentor new entrants to acquire licences and quota and to refinance existing licence holders to become independent of illegal trust and supply agreements with fish processors.”


Legislative control clearly weighs on the side of fish processors.


Licensed companies in Newfoundland and Labrador can import fish from the Maritimes, Quebec, and other countries for processing at local plants, while those same companies can order the inshore fleet (which can’t access outside buyers, or truck their catches out of province) tied to the wharf on trip limits and fishing schedules. 

Fishing industry overview

According to the province’s Seafood Industry Year in Review, the market value of the 2022 commercial fisheries was $1.4 billion.

Further, in 2022 the fish and seafood industry employed more than 17,000 people in over 400 communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador — including 6,350 fish processing employees and 10,105 registered fish harvesters.

According to the most recent statistics from Fisheries and Oceans Canada from September 2023, there were 3,008 licensed inshore fishing enterprises in Newfoundland and Labrador. (Plus roughly 380 communal commercial licenses held by six indigenous organizations.) 

That number of inshore enterprises has dropped dramatically from more than 20,000 full- and part-time fishermen in the early 1990s.

The number continues to drop every year as the cost of fishing enterprises and commercial licences is out of reach for the vast majority.

The most valuable commercial fishery is snow crab, with a 2023 landed value of $258 million — almost $500 million less than 2022 when the landed value reached $757 million.

The $757-million crab fishery was worth more than all other commercial fisheries combined.

The collapse of the snow crab price since then has been a brutal economic blow to the inshore fleet, revealing, yet again, the severe weakness of an over-reliance on a single species.

The province’s second most value fishery in 2023 was lobster, with a landed value of $117 million, up from $107 million in 2022.

The third most valuable fishery is northern shrimp, with a 2023 landed value of $107 million, down from $127 million in 2022.

The snow crab resource in Newfoundland is in good health according to the most recent stock assessments, as is lobster.

While the shrimp stock is down dramatically in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the redfish stock there has surged.

The cod stock in the Gulf off Newfoundland west coast is under moratorium, and the cod stock off the south coast remains in the critical zone, meaning fishing is to be kept to a minimum.

At the same time, DFO is considering lifting the 32-year moratorium on the northern cod stock off Labrador and eastern Newfoundland.

The department introduced a new assessment model last year that lifted the iconic stock from the critical zone to the cautious zone.


The capelin stock was elevated to the cautious zone from the critical zone this year for the same reason. 

As of December 2021, there were 92 active fish processing plants in Newfoundland: 69 licenses for primary processing, five licenses for secondary processing, five licenses for aquaculture processing and 13 licenses for in-province retail processing.

Of the 69 primary licenses, 23 are licensed to process snow crab.

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