The Lobster fisheries in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Prince Edward Island are eco-certified under the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Below is a description of what it means to be eco-certified by MSC.
But more than the stamp of approval by MSC, the harvesters in this Lobster Fishing Area (27) have distinguished themselves in their efforts for conservation and sustainability:
- Minimum size increases: Before 1997, the Minimum Legal Size was 70 mm Carapace Length. Since then, LFA27 lobster harvesters voted for 3 size increases and now fish a minimum size of 82.5mm. Since 50% of lobsters in this area are mature at about 72mm in the North and 76mm in the South, lobster in this area have a good chance of reproducing at least once before they are caught. Not all areas can boast of such reproductive success.
- Lobster Quality and Handling Workshops: Fish harvesters have had many opportunities to attend lobster quality and handling workshops focused on how to land, release and hold lobster for optimum quality and sustainability.
- Science and monitoring: LFA27 lobster harvesters manage their own research programme which monitors the health and sustainability of the lobster stock and which seeks to innovate the industry to improve its sustainability and its quality product.
- Seasonality: The fishing season runs from Mid-May to Mid-July ensuring a high quality, hard shelled lobster. The protein sampling and molt staging monitors this quality.
- Protection of egg-bearing females: All egg-bearing females are returned to the water.
- Trap Limits: Each fish harvester fishes 275 traps and some ports voluntarily have reduced to 250.
- Escape mechanisms: that enable undersized lobsters to exit traps
- Trap design: rules govern the size, design and type of trap
- Biodegradable: some components of the trap will disintegrate so that, if lost at sea, will prevent “ghost” fishing
Social & Community Sustainability
The lobster fishery in Atlantic Canada falls under Canada’s Owner-Operator Policy: the owner of the fishing license must operate the boat. With 500 license holders in LFA27, we are vital to the economy of this area and that is most obvious, though not exclusive, to our rural areas.
What is eco-certification?
Environmental certification, or eco-certification, is a form of regulation where fisheries comply with processes set forth by independent certification programs whose eco-labels are applied to products certified under specific standards. As consumer awareness grows and retailers’ demands for sustainable products increases, eco-certification can maintain a fishery’s positive reputation, increase its value, and strengthen its ties to global markets.
What is Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certification?
The Marine Stewardship Council is an independent non-profit organization that sets a global standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. The Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) mission is to use eco-label and fishery certification programs to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by recognizing and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood and working with partners to transform the global seafood market to a sustainable one.
How does a fishery get MSC certified?
To achieve MSC certification, a client group of industry stakeholders hires an accredited certifier to perform an independent third-party assessment of a fishery. Using science based MSC standards, a team of subject matter experts review the fishery to ensure it maintains sustainable fish stocks, minimizes environmental impacts, and is managed effectively.
For more information please see: www.msc.org