Almost all of Atlantic Canada’s lobster stock has been certified sustainable now that the Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Golf of St. Lawrence lobster trap fishery has earned an approval nod from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
After independently assessing the fishery in question, SAI Global saw fit to bestow MSC’s blessing; lobsters sourced from the fishery are henceforth eligible to sport the blue MSC ecolabel, demonstrating that their point of origin is a well-managed and environmentally sustainable.
The distinction marks a watershed moment for the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick inshore lobster fishery, as well as MSC itself – more than half of all Canadian fisheries are now said to engage in the MSC program.
“The MSC congratulates the harvesters, live shippers, processors and buyers/dealers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for coming together to achieve this milestone,” said Jay Lugar, MSC Program Director, Canada. “Certification of this fishery is exciting news for both global markets that will welcome this large volume of MSC certified lobster, and for Canada as a global top 10 fishing country. Approximately 67 percent of all Canadian fisheries are now engaged with the MSC program, further reinforcing Canada’s position as a world leader in seafood sustainability.”
The landed value of lobster fisheries in Canada was CAD 853 million (USD 683.6 million; EUR 630.7 million) in 2014. Of that lot, 79 percent (CAD 671 million; USD 537.8 million; EUR 496.3 million) was generated by independent harvesters in the Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster trap fishery.
The client group for the fishery, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Lobster Eco-Certification Society, was formed by a collective of interested parties including harvesters, dealers/buyers, shippers, and processors, for the purpose of achieving certification for the fishery, according to MSC.
“Attaining MSC certification is a tremendous accomplishment for the Canadian lobster industry,” said Eugene O’Leary, President of the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Lobster Eco-Certification Society. “It is the result of industry cooperation across provincial borders and with competitors, which is in itself an achievement within an industry known for its fierce independence. It helps ensure the long term viability of the resource and favorably positions the largest lobster fishery in Canada in growing international markets. I am personally very proud of all the work that has been done and will continue to be done to maintain certification.”
The Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster trap fishery is home surf to 4,152 licensed harvesters, and lies within the Canadian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The main markets for the lobster caught by these harvesters include the United States, Europe (primarily Belgium, France and the United Kingdom) and Asia (primarily China, Japan and South Korea).