Most NL harvesters are familiar with the FFAW’s “shrimp slush fund.”
But few harvesters, if any, have any idea where the tens of millions of dollars have been spent since it was created in the early 2000s.
In 2015 alone, shrimp harvesters in fishing zone 3L estimate they contributed $1.8 million to the fund.
The slush fund works this way: DFO sets the annual TAC for northern shrimp and the industry basically manages itself.
If a harvester goes over their “cap” or trip limit, the dollar value of the extra shrimp is paid by the processor directly into the fund. For example, if a harvester exceeds his cap of 90,000 pounds by 5% or 4,500 pounds, the dollar value of that extra shrimp (4,500 lbs X $1.42 a pound = $6,390) goes into the FFAW shrimp fund.
It’s been said that when the fund was created the money was to go to charities such as the Janeway. (In 2003, for example, $5,000 was given to the Badger relief fund.)
While a portion of the money may go to charity or scholarships, fish harvesters are suspicious of where the bulk of the money is spent — considering FFAW transparency is non-existent.
In FFAW literature surrounding its battle to eliminate the LIFO management policy in the northern shrimp fishery, it stated: “The union was able to support this effort financially because of the shrimp fund, which helps pay for the extensive advocacy work required in the shrimp fishery.”
The FFAW has never provided a detailed accounting of where exactly money from the shrimp fund is spent. Some harvesters say the funds are directed into the FFAW’s executive gold-plated pension plan.
The questions won't be going away.