Canadian fisheries union denies fraud allegations in contract award

A competitor union is asking for explanations on how the FFAW-related fishing vessel got the 'lucrative' contract.

The Canadian Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union is denying claims it intentionally selected a board member's vessel for a lucrative contract to guide the tow-out of an offshore drilling platform, according to CBC.

The FFAW said the boat was selected in a random draw, refuting accusations made by the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (Fish-NL) that the contract was given unlawfully to the Eastern Princess II, a boat owned by FFAW board member Nelson Bussey.

"To suggest the FFAW has a conflict of interest with the oil and gas industry shows ignorance to the necessary interaction that exists between the fishing industry and oil and gas activities," said Robyn Lee, the union's petroleum industry liaison.

"These two industries are both essential to the economy of our province, and as the union representing fish harvesters in the province, we are doing everything possible to best mitigate any effects from the oil and gas industry on the fishing industry."

The Fish-NL federation demanded an explanation from the FFAW on the case.

“The FFAW decides which fishing boats are hired through the union’s Fishing Guide Vessel Program. It’s not known how many fishing boat owners expressed interest in the contract,” said Ryan Cleary, president of Fish-NL.

Boat owners are paid upwards of CAD 10,000 ($7,536/€6,760) a day to serve as marine escorts, with the FFAW taking a cut of more than 40 percent off the top, according to Fish-NL.

“The fact that a senior executive of the FFAW has received a contract worth a small fortune through the union while also serving on the board of One Ocean raises yet another obvious question of conflict of interest,” Cleary said.


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