NFI Urges Spiny Lobster Size, Weight Restrictions
The National Fisheries Institute of McLean, Va., is urging the federal government to adopt mandatory minimum-size requirements for imported spiny lobsters harvested from the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic.
In a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service, NFI writes a minimum size requirement "allows a higher percentage of lobsters to reach sexual maturity before they are harvested, helping ensure the sustainability of the fishery."
Lobster importers are urging federal fisheries regulators to adopt mandatory size and weight restrictions like the voluntary specifications set by Darden Restaurants of Orlando, Fla., parent company of the national seafood chain Red Lobster.
"Responsible members of the seafood community see these types of rules as key to protecting the lobster resource," says Stetson Tinkham, NFI's director of international affairs. "Some importers have adopted their own strict requirements, but it's important that all importers are on board with this effort."
The Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils are working with NMFS to consider amendments to the spiny lobster's fishery management plan.