The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) was formed on Oct. 27, 2016 during its inaugural convention in Gander, Newfoundland, and is dedicated to representing the best interests of the province’s inshore harvesters. FISH-NL’s status as a properly constituted union was almost immediately challenged by the FFAW-Unifor, a challenge that went all the way to the province’s Supreme Court. In January 2019 the court dismissed the FFAW-Unifor’s appeal, ordering the FFAW-Unifor to pay FISH-NL’s court costs.
FISH-NL's first application for certification to the province's Labour Relations Board was dismissed in September 2018 — 21 months after the application had been filed. The Board ruled that the 2,372 membership cards presented with FISH-NL’s application for certification did not represent at least 40% of the membership, which would have trigged a vote.
On Monday, Aug. 12, FISH-NL began a second membership drive, with intentions of filing another application for certification with the Labour Relations Board this coming November.
FISH-NL's current executive was elected during a January 2019 convention at Gander's Albatros Hotel. (From left) Peter Leonard, Vice-President; Keith Boland, Captain Under 40 Fleet; Ryan Cleary, President; Jason Sullivan, Secretary-Treasurer; and Boyd Lavers, Captain Over 40 feet.
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
FISH-NL will be Transparent: All revenue, expenditures, and salaries must be available to the membership.
FISH-NL will be built on Consultation: the union must abide by the wishes of the membership. Not the other way around.
FISH-NL is for Fish Harvesters First: FISH-NL’s raison d’être now and forever more is fish harvesters first. Period.
FISH-NL must hold the Government of Canada to account for its fisheries management, science, and enforcement responsibilities as outlined by the Terms of Union.
FISH-NL must use the principles of Adjacency and Historical Attachment to fight for ALL fish resources off Newfoundland and Labrador. (Ottawa cited these principles as reason for its recent decision re LIFO; now the feds must recognize those principles in terms of all fish resources of the province’s shores.)