Photo Credit: David Loftus
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) announced Pontchartrain Blue Crab as a 2022 MSC US Ocean Champion Award winner for their ten year commitment to MSC certification, and continued dedication to ocean health above and beyond the requirements of the MSC sustainability standards. The fishery was first certified in 2012 and celebrated its ten year certification anniversary in 2022.
Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) is found in coastal waters in the western Atlantic from Nova Scotia to northern Argentina. This fishery operates in Louisiana state waters in the Gulf of Mexico, though more than half of the Louisiana blue crab is harvested in two areas — Lake Pontchartrain basin and Terrebonne basin.
The Pontchartrain blue crab fishery was the first MSC certified fishery in the Gulf of Mexico and first swimming crab fishery in the MSC program. The fishery has demonstrated commitment to improvements over the years by engaging with Louisiana Fish and Wildlife to meet milestones.
Gary Bauer, Owner at Pontchartrain Blue Crab Inc., said “I am quite honored to receive the 2022 US Ocean Champion award from the Marine Stewardship Council in recognition of my multi-year commitment to sustainability of the Louisiana Blue Crab Fishery. This award recognizes the combined efforts between my business, Pontchartrain Blue Crab, Inc., the members of the Louisiana Blue Crab Task Force, Louisiana’s hardworking commercial blue crab fishermen and the biologists and managers up at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Pontchartrain Blue Crab is thriving today due to customers like Walmart, Wholefoods and Wegmans who increasingly demand sustainable products, specifically MSC certified seafood.”
The US Ocean Champion Award is an annual award given by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to certified fisheries and supply chain companies who demonstrate leadership on seafood sustainability and ocean health. With approximately 35% of global fish stocks are overfished (UN FAO SOFIA, 2022), it’s increasingly important to recognize the role of third party certification in contributing to a healthy ocean and the companies that are prioritizing sustainability.
“Congratulations to Gary and the Pontchartrain Blue Crab Fishery on reaching this milestone.” said Nicole Condon, US Program Director, Marine Stewardship Council. “Gary’s ten year participation in the MSC program and continued leadership on Gulf of Mexico fisheries sustainability is worthy of recognition. We’re grateful for his vision and continued prioritization of sustainability with ocean health in mind.”
Pontchartrain Blue Crab joins American Tuna, Oregon Trawl Commission, and Walmart as 2022 awardees. Ocean Champion awardees are selected based on their ability to spark positive change within the seafood industry, and for going above and beyond the MSC Sustainable Fishing or Chain of Custody standards. Past honorees include Bar Harbor Foods, EcoFish, Lang Pharma Nutrition, Inc., Whole Foods Market, and Wild Alaska Pollock, among others. The custom glass award featuring a wave is handmade in a glassblowing studio in downtown Seattle, WA.