For years the leadership of the Fish Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union, such as Earl McCurdy and Dave Decker, have continually portrayed the Barry Group as a company in a monopoly position on herring and have alluded to non-competitive pricing.
They continually lobby against Barry's position in the business despite us having operated for five generations and we have unique skills and a history to survive this globally competitive business.
Recently in an interview with Randy Simms, Mr. McCurdy stated:
"And I got to tell you in the herring fishery, it's scandalous really what goes ahead in the herring fishery. A virtual monopoly by the Barry Group and most of that herring is, there is no labour content, it just goes out for bait in the lobster fishery in Nova Scotia where harvesters out there have told us, my (inaudible), we're paying way too much for bait from you fellows, but fishermen here aren't getting it."
Well, here is the reality:
- Global herring quota: 3,000,000+ tons
- North American quota: 300,000+ tons
- Atlantic Canada quota: 150,000 tons
- Newfoundland quota: 30,000 tons
- Barry NL quota: 7,500 tons
Surely, these numbers hardly constitute a monopoly.
Even in the case of Newfoundland, Barry has about 25 per cent of the available provincial quota. It is important to note in Newfoundland practically all processing companies have licenses to buy and process herring.
Mr. McCurdy should ask: 'Why do people choose not to buy and process?'
The answer is simple: 'They cannot make any money at it in this globally competitive herring environment'.
For Mr. McCurdy's information, this is a fishery that has to be caught in volume, processed in volume and marketed in volume, or you cannot make it work. If Barry's did not have its current share to support this business, we would be like all the other processors in the province; we would not be buying at all.
On another deception by Mr. McCurdy: he alleged Barry's product has little labour and we export mostly bait. That is a disgraceful statement; in the past five years less than three per cent of our sales were for bait purposes and most of our production goes for skinless, boneless products for the USA, Europe and Asian markets.
Our products represent some of the highest labour components of any fish products in Newfoundland. A business started by past generations, and we have been lucky enough to hold on to it by staying competitive.
The only monopoly I see in Newfoundland is the one provided to the FFAW through provincial legislation - fishermen must be members, whether they want to or not.
It is no wonder there are ongoing calls for your resignation. One has to wonder, if you continually try to deceive the public with your erroneous statements about the Barry Group, who else are you deceiving, and, more importantly, who is listening to you?
Barry Group Inc.