Darden, NGO collaborate on lobster sustainability
By Christine Blank, SeafoodSource contributing editor
29 May, 2012
The environmental community and corporations such as Darden Restaurants are urging the Honduran government to work toward a ban on industrial lobster diving as the parties meet at the Third Annual Lobster Symposium in La Ceiba, Honduras, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Honduras has one year left on a two-year exemption from industrial lobster diving, and some groups are wondering whether the country’s government will enforce the ban next year.
“That may not be the way the government goes. It is really important for the government to stand up and say what the future will be,” said Jenny Barker, acting director of Global FISH Alliance.
The Global FISH Alliance’s Spiny Lobster Initiative, which promotes better management practices to increase lobster populations, involves a consortium of the Honduran government, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), several local groups and partners such as Darden. Based in Orlando, Fla., Darden is the world’s largest casual-dining company, with more than 1,900 restaurants, and one of the globe’s biggest lobster buyers.
“If the Honduran scuba diving issue is not amended, it will no doubt affect Honduras’s ability to maintain and grow markets in the future,” Roger Bing, Darden’s VP of seafood purchasing, told SeafoodSource.
The industrial diving ban is important as international foodservice buyers seek more sustainable lobster sources. Darden will not buy lobsters that are trawl-caught or harvested by a scuba diver, said Bing.
“We have also withdrawn purchasing from fisheries that have not demonstrated sustainable harvesting practices,” he added.
NGOs and corporations are also pushing Honduras to work toward sustainable fisheries for other seafood species besides lobster.
“The use of sustainable practices are important to preserve the gift for future generations and to address the developing markets that will be open to them in the future,” said Bing. “And this is not just for lobster, but other wild harvested seafood products and aquacultural products.”
29 May, 2012