First NA snow crab fishery MSC certified
The Scotian Shelf snow crab trap fishery is the first snow crab fishery in North America to become MSC certified. Credit: NOAA
The Scotian Shelf snow crab trap fishery has been awarded Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification as a sustainable and well-managed fishery.
This is the first snow crab fishery in North America to become MSC certified.
The commercial season for snow crab largely occurs in two major areas of the Scotian Shelf, from April to September on the eastern portion of the shelf and November to March on the western portion. Approximately 203 commercial licenses are issued to individuals and vessels are under 65 feet in length. First Nations groups receive communal, commercial licenses. The product is processed into crab leg sections and crab meat products and supplied in frozen form to markets primarily in Japan and the US.
Peter Norsworthy, executive director of the Affiliation of Seafood Producers Association of Nova Scotia, said: “This certification of Scotian Shelf supply provides clients with up to 10,000 tonnes of MSC certified snow crab annually while demonstrating our unwavering commitment to sustainability.
“This certification assures the eco-conscious consumer they are buying a product that is harvested in a sustainable and responsible manner.”
The certifier, Global Trust, found that bycatch is very low, but did apply two improvement actions to the certification. One says limit and target reference points should be established to verify the stock is maintained at a level consistent with Bmsy, the biomass that can support maximum sustainable yield. The second relates to formal adoption of the harvest control rules consistent with reference points.
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