Snow crab certified to MSC standard
The southern Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab trap fishery has been MSC certified. Credit: NOAA
The southern Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab trap fishery, entered into assessment by the Affiliation of Seafood Producers Association of Nova Scotia (ASPANS), has been awarded MSC certification.
This is the second Atlantic Canadian snow crab fishery to have earned MSC certification, following closely the Scotian Shelf snow crab fishery.
The commercial fishery for the snow crab in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence occurs in two seasons with the majority taking place from April – July in Area 12, landing 9,700 tonnes in 2011, and a second season from July – September in Area 19, landing 1,700 tons in 2011.
Approximately 449 commercial licenses are issued to individuals with a mixture of mid-shore and inshore vessels in Area 12 fishing out of New Brunswick, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, and inshore vessels less than 45 feet in Area 19 in Nova Scotia. First Nations groups receive communal, commercial licenses in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab fishery and their commercial landings can be part of the supply chain eventually sold as MSC certified.
Landings are 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 ASPANS, said: “This certification of the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence supply, coupled with the recent certification of the Scotian Shelf supply, provides Nova Scotia crab producers’ clients with up to 12,000 tonnes of MSC certified snow crab products annually. Achieving certification of our entire snow crab supply demonstrates our continued commitment to sustainability.”
The certifier, Global Trust, now part of SAI Global Assurances Ltd, applied two improvement actions to the certification to bring all scores up to best practice. One states that documentary evidence is required that the fishery has clear and transparent outcomes aligned with MSC principles of sustainability and management. The second calls for the fishery to provide information about the system of monitoring and evaluation of the management plan against objectives. Over the five year life of the MSC certificate, progress against these conditions will be tracked and available for public review in annual surveillance audits.
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