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Nova Scotia and New Brunswick inshore lobster fishery achieves MSC certification

Nearly all lobster from Atlantic Canada now certified sustainable

The Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster trap fishery (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) has achieved certification to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Fisheries Standard. Following an independent assessment conducted by SAI Global, lobsters sourced from this fishery are now eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel which demonstrates they come from a well-managed, environmentally sustainable source.

This fishery joins an elite group of 259 MSC certified fisheries across the globe that are helping to ensure healthy marine ecosystems for the future.

“The MSC congratulates the harvesters, live shippers, processors and buyers/dealers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for coming together to achieve this milestone,” said Jay Lugar, MSC Program Director, Canada. “Certification of this fishery is exciting news for both global markets that will welcome this large volume of MSC certified lobster, and for Canada as a global top 10 fishing country. Approximately 67 per cent of all Canadian fisheries are now engaged with the MSC program, further reinforcing Canada’s position as a world leader in seafood sustainability.” 

In 2014 the landed value of all lobster fisheries in Canada was C$853 million, the highest of any fishery in the country. Of that, C$671 million, or 79 per cent, was generated by independent harvesters in the Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster trap fishery (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), which constitutes the economic backbone of many coastal communities across Atlantic Canada.

About the Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster trap fishery

The fishery is located within the Canadian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and includes 4,152 licensed harvesters operating exclusively in Lobster Fishing Areas (LFAs) 23, 25, 26A and 26B (Unit of Certification 1),  LFAs 27 to 33 (Unit of Certification 2), LFA 34 (Unit of Certification 3), and LFAs 35-38 (Unit of Certification 4). In 2014 landings for the fishery were 63,366 metric tonnes according to preliminary figures from Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), or approximately 75 per cent of the national total landings for lobster.

The main commercial market for the lobster is the United States, followed by Europe (primarily Belgium, France and the United Kingdom) and Asia (primarily China, Japan and South Korea). Lobster from Canada is sold in significant quantities both in live and processed (frozen lobster tails, whole frozen and lobster meat) formats to all these markets.

The client group for this fishery is the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Lobster Eco-Certification Society, which was formed by a collective of interested parties including harvesters, dealers/buyers, shippers, and processors, for the purpose of achieving certification for the fishery. The Society combines the majority of fishermen’s associations in the two provinces, most major processors and many other shippers, buyers and dealers that have supplied lobster from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to world markets for generations. 

“Attaining MSC certification is a tremendous accomplishment for the Canadian lobster industry,” said Eugene O’Leary, President of the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Lobster Eco-Certification Society.  “It is the result of industry cooperation across provincial borders and with competitors, which is in itself an achievement within an industry known for its fierce independence. It helps ensure the long term viability of the resource and favorably positions the largest lobster fishery in Canada in growing international markets. I am personally very proud of all the work that has been done and will continue to be done to maintain certification.”

About the assessment and certification

SAI Global, an independently accredited certifier, assessed this fishery against the MSC Fisheries Standard. The standard's three principles - the status of the fish stock, the impact of the fishery on the marine ecosystem and the fishery's management system -  were evaluated in detail.

For further details, including the complete Public Certification Report,
see the Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster fishery assessment downloads >

Further information

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