Îles-de-la-Madeleine lobster fishery in Canada achieves MSC certification

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Source: Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

The Îles-de-la-Madeleine lobster (Homarus americanus) trap fishery was certified following an independent assessment conducted by SAI Global to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard for sustainable, well-managed fisheries. The fishery is located in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 22 surrounding the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off the east coast of Canada. Lobsters harvested by 325 registered vessels in the fishery by baited trap are now eligible to display the blue MSC ecolabel.

About the Îles-de-la-Madeleine lobster fishery

Homarus americanus is among the largest of all marine crustaceans, sometimes growing to lengths of 60cm and weighing over 18kg. Atlantic Canada and Northeast United States are the primary regions landing this species.

Landings for LFA 22 in 2012 were 2,668 metric tonnes and the provisional figure for 2013 is 2,717 metric tonnes. The catch of lobster in LFA 22 is restricted to the months of May and June, and the main commercial market for Magdalen Islands lobster is Quebec with the majority sold fresh.

The client is Association des Pêcheurs Propriétaires des Îles-de-la-Madeleine, or translated in English, Magdalen Islands Fishermen Owners Association. The seasonal Magdalen Islands lobster fishery is an important economic activity for the Islands’ population of approximately 13,000 people. For example, in 2010 the lobster fishery landings were worth $26 million CAD. Activities associated with the primary and secondary lobster processing sectors provide employment to approximately 10 percent of the Islands’ population.

What the clients say

“For the Magdalen Islands Fishermen Owners Association, the announcement of the eco-certification by MSC is a hope that this high distinction, which recognizes our respect for the environment and the sustainability of our fishing practices, will allow us to consolidate our main markets and normally to develop new ones, as well,” said Léonard Poirier, Director of the Magdalen Islands Fishermen Owners Association.

What MSC says

“The MSC congratulates the Îles-de-la-Madeleine lobster trap fishery and welcomes them into the marketplace for MSC-certified sustainable seafood,” said Kerry Coughlin, regional director for MSC Americas. “It is exciting to see the first inshore lobster fishery in Canada gain MSC certification. More than one-half of fishery landings in Canada are now certified to the MSC standard, helping to cement Canada’s role as a leader in the global sustainable seafood movement.”

About the assessment and certification

SAI Global, an independently accredited certifier, was the certifier for this assessment. During the assessment, the three principles of the MSC standard were evaluated in detail: the status of the fish stock, the impact of the fishery on the marine ecosystem and the management system overseeing the fishery. More information about the Îles-de-la-Madeleine lobster trap fishery and the complete Public Certification Report detailing the fishery’s passing scores against the MSC standard can be found in the Track-a-Fishery section of MSC's website.

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