Louisiana Blue Crab Fishery Earns Marine Stewardship Council Certification
Mar 11, 2012
Achievement a Significant Positive Development for the Gulf Region
Three-thousand Louisiana blue crab commercial fishermen represented by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board have earned the right to tell buyers and consumers across the country that the Louisiana blue crab fishery is Marine Stewardship Council certified as a sustainable and well-managed fishery.
The independent, third-party certification body, Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) assessed the Louisiana blue crab fishery against the MSC standard in a rigorous, open and transparent process that was scientifically peer reviewed and involved site visits to the fishery and outreach to stakeholder groups. During assessment, SCS identified six improvement actions the fishery must perform during the five year period of certification that address harvest strategy, acquisition of additional data, bycatch and ecosystem impact and progress will be assessed during the annual surveillance audits required by the MSC program.
What the fishery says
Randy Pausina, LDWF Assistant Secretary says, “We are pleased to have worked so closely with members of the crab fishery and the LSPMB on this significant step forward for our industry. I would like to express my appreciation to the biologists who work at LDWF now and those who have in the past, because without the excellent management techniques that our department has implemented over the years, this certification would not be possible.”
Ewell Smith, Executive Director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board says: “MSC certification is a major, positive development for thousands of Louisiana commercial blue crab fishermen, our processors and marketers and the entire Gulf Region. MSC certification brings a new source of pride and confidence in Louisiana Seafood and it will help us assure buyers and consumers across the United States that Louisiana Seafood is sustainable.”
What the MSC says
Kerry Coughlin, MSC Americas regional director, says: “Louisiana fishermen, families and communities have been working hard to rebuild their livelihoods after the oil spill and we are very proud that MSC certification will help in that process. By voluntarily entering the Louisiana blue crab fishery into assessment when it did, the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board showed its commitment to sustainability and preserving the livelihoods of commercial blue crab fishing.”
The fishery is managed by the state of Louisiana through its Wildlife and Fisheries Commission by the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, Division of Marine Fisheries in active consultation with industry via the Louisiana Blue Crab Task Force.
Louisiana blue crab is sold in the local and national domestic market and exported.
About the Louisiana Blue Crab Fishery
While crab is landed from all state waters, more than half of the Louisiana blue crab is harvested primarily from two areas: Lake Pontchartrain basin and Terrebonne basin. The Lake Pontchartrain basin borders New Orleans to the north and east and includes the lake, marshes and sounds to the southeast and the Terrebonne Basin is located southwest of New Orleans.
Blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) are harvested year-round, primarily with baited traps tended strictly during daylight hours. Harvesters target hard shell blue crabs for both the live and processed meat markets and also peeler crabs for sale to soft crab shedders. Louisiana blue crab landings have averaged over 40 million pounds in recent years and comprised nearly 30 percent of total U.S. blue crab landings in 2009.
About the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board
In 1984, the State of Louisiana created the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board to support their vast historical commercial fisheries industry. Although seafood had grown from a subsistence economy to a world class operation, it was challenged by dramatic changes in the marketplace and in the environment.
The commodities board was mandated to strengthen and revitalize the Louisiana seafood industry, to identify threats and execute strategic plans to meet them head on and overcome them. The Board is composed of 15 members appointed by the Governor. And each represents a sector of the industry: harvesters, processors/wholesalers, restaurateurs/retailers, fisheries resource managers, public health officers, and marketing specialists.
The Board’s operating budget is derived from license sales to Louisiana commercial fishermen and seafood wholesalers/retailers, as well as state and federal grants.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.