Is lobster sustainable?
At the MSC, we believe that there is no such thing as a sustainable species, only sustainable stocks (‘stock’ is another word for group or population of fish). There are multiple stocks of lobster, many of which are MSC certified and can be found in stores and restaurants with the blue fish label throughout America.
Long story short: if your lobster has the MSC blue fish label on it, it’s sustainable!
That means enough lobster are being left to continue reproducing, it was caught in a way that minimizes environmental impact, and there is responsible oversight so any changes to the stock or the environment are monitored and can be responded to as needed. Lobster with the MSC blue fish label is certified sustainable and can be traced back to a well-managed fishery.
What is lobster?
From rolls at coastal shacks to risotto at white-tablecloth restaurants, lobster is a versatile seafood that’s a favorite of many seafood eaters in North America. There are many different species of lobster and they can be found around the world, from Australia to Chile to France, several of which can be found in the MSC program.
The ones most commonly found in North America are American lobster (Homarus americanus), Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus), and red rock lobster (Panulirus interrupts).
American lobster (Homarus americanus)
This might be a misnomer. While it’s called American lobster, this species is found as far south as North Carolina in the US all the way to Labrador in northern Canada. In fact, in Canada, 97% of lobster fisheries are MSC certified. Known for its firm, sweet meat, American lobster holds up well to a variety of cooking styles, and no one can agree on whether the claw or tail meat is better!
Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus)
With no large front claws and spines covering their bodies, Caribbean spiny lobster looks quite different from its American cousin. They live in the southeastern US from North Carolina to Florida and are also found in the Gulf of Mexico and throughout the Caribbean. These lobsters are cherished for their tail meat, which are occasionally sold as warmwater tails.
Red rock lobster (Panulirus interruptus)
Sometimes called California spiny lobster, this species is found in the eastern Pacific Ocean in California and Mexico. Similar to its Caribbean cousin, red rock lobster doesn’t have claws. Instead, it can be easily recognized by its enlarged antennae. This species is also fished primarily for its tail meat.
Did you know? In 2004, the Baja California red rock lobster fishery, on the Pacific coast of northwest Mexico, became one of the first developing world fisheries to achieve MSC certification. The fishery is managed by 13 community-based cooperatives. It includes around 1,300 lobster fishers, and directly benefits an estimated 30,000 people.
Is lobster healthy?
Lobster is a healthy source of protein and other vitamins and minerals that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
Lobster is often served boiled or steamed in the shell. The soft sweet delicious meat is scooped out from inside the shell using lobster picks. It is often accompanied by melted butter and lemon juice to flavor the meat. Shellfish contains lots of essential amino acids supporting a nutritious healthy diet.
Where can I find sustainable lobster?
MSC certified lobster is available in many grocery and online stores! Check fresh fish counter and frozen and chilled foods section.
There are 12 different lobster fisheries from around the world that are certified as sustainable. There are currently 164 MSC labelled lobster products available, sold worldwide.
Easy lobster recipes
A Canadian Lobster Story
“From our hands to yours” - To get a lobster dinner on the table, it takes a lot of people, passion and hard work. Here we visit MSC certified fisher and processing partners on Prince Edward Island, Canada with MSC ambassador Chef Charlotte Langley to learn more about sustainable, traceable, and wild Canadian lobster.
Find a new favorite dish in our collection of sustainable seafood recipes from expert chefs.
For cooks of all levels, check out these tips and tricks for the best sustainable seafood dishes.