Canadian lobster fishery MSC certified

27 May 2015
Lobster harvested from The Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern

Lobster harvested from The Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster trap fishery. Credit: Lobster Council of Canada

With the certification of the Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster trap fishery (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard, nearly all of Atlantic Canada’s lobster is now certified sustainable.

“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% of all Canadian fisheries are now engaged with the MSC program, further reinforcing Canada’s position as a world leader in seafood sustainability.”

In 2014 the landed value of all lobster fisheries in Canada was C$853 million, the highest of any fishery in the country. Of that, C$671 million, or 79%, was generated by independent harvesters in the Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster trap fishery, which constitutes the economic backbone of many coastal communities across Atlantic Canada.

The fishery is located within the Canadian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) andincludes 4,152 licensed harvesters operating exclusively in Lobster Fishing Areas (LFAs) 23, 25, 26A and 26B (Unit of Certification 1), LFAs 27 to 33 (Unit of Certification 2), LFA 34 (Unit of Certification 3), and LFAs 35-38 (Unit of Certification 4). In 2014 landings for the fishery were 63,366 metric tonnes according to preliminary figures from Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), or approximately 75% of the national total landings for lobster.

The main commercial market for the lobster is the United States, followed by Europe (primarily Belgium, France and the United Kingdom) and Asia (primarily China, Japan and South Korea). Lobster from Canada is sold in significant quantities both in live and processed (frozen lobster tails, whole frozen and lobster meat) formats to all these markets.

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