Isolated lobster fishery nets MSC certification


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
July 19, 2011

The Marine Stewardship Council on Tuesday announced that the Tristan da Cunha rock lobster fishery was awarded certification as sustainable and well managed.

The London-based program also announced that Two Oceans Aquarium’s Shoreline Café in Cape Town, South Africa, has received the MSC’s chain-of-custody certification, the first foodservice operation in Africa to do so.

The rock lobster (Jasus tristani) fishery is based in Tristan da Cunha, considered the world’s “most remote inhabited archipelago,” situated in the South Atlantic about 1,750 miles from Africa and 2,000 miles from South America. There are just 264 residents on the islands, and they rely on the fishery as their main source of income.

The certification client, Cape Town-based Ovenstone Agencies Ltd., has exclusive rights to the fishery. Fishing is conducted by the Ovenstone-owned freezer factory longline vessel the MV Edinburgh and her four dories, which fish the inshore grounds. Fishing at Tristan is conducted by Ovenstone-employeed islanders, using nine company-owned dories. The annual catch totals around 440 metric tons and is sold mainly to the United States and Japan, destined for high-end markets.

The fishery entered assessment in January 2010, with funding from the Sustainable Fisheries Fund, part of the Resources Legacy Fund. The fishery is managed by the Tristan da Cunha Fisheries Department

Two Oceans Aquarium on Tuesday marked the occasion with a celebration as its Shoreline Café.

“Today shows that the MSC program is of relevance to businesses at very different parts of the seafood supply chain, yet united in their wish to put sustainability at the heart of their operations. The Tristan lobster harvest, landed here in Cape Town, supports a tiny and remote South Atlantic community, while the Shoreline Café serves thousands of customers each year at one of South Africa’s busiest tourist destinations, the Two Oceans Aquarium,” said Martin Purves, MSC Southern Africa program manager. “At the MSC, we are extremely proud that our program has been able to meet the aspirations of these very different organizations to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and to helping transform the seafood market.”

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