Spiny lobster, Panulirus argus, capture. (Photo: MSC)
Caribbean spiny lobster fishery obtains MSC certification
Wednesday, August 08, 2018, 02:50 (GMT + 9)
The Bahamas spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) fishery is the world’s first Caribbean fishery to be awarded Marine Stewardship Council certification, after a detailed 19-month assessment.
The analysis was conducted by third-party assessment body Control Union Pesca Ltd and included review and input by a team of fishery science and policy experts to evaluate the fishery according to the three principles of the MSC Fisheries Standard: the health of the stock of spiny lobster; the impact of fishing on the marine environment; and the management of the fishery.
Lobster fishermen and other members of the client group worked closely with government and researchers in The Bahamas to improve the fishery to the level required by the MSC Standard.
“Congratulations to the Bahamas Marine Exporters Association (BMEA) on this notable achievement, and for their years of hard work alongside partners to improve the fishery. We’re thrilled to welcome this fishery to the program, and to provide consumers with a sustainable option for lobster tails, for this generation and those to come,” pointed out Brian Perkins, MSC’s Regional Director for the Americas.
For her part, Mia Isaacs, president of BMEA, highlighted it has been a collaborative effort and expressed their aim for the product to become synonymous with strength, collaboration and sustainability.
Since 2009, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), BMEA, The Bahamas Department of Marine Resources and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), have been driving improvements to the fishery.
Through a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) addressing governance, fishing practices, and environmental impacts, their efforts have been aimed at helping the fishery meet the MSC standard.
Several of WWF-US’s corporate partners —Costco Wholesale, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Corporation, The Kroger Co., SUPERVALU Inc., and Tequesta Bay Foods, Inc.—provided support for the FIP and engaged its Bahamian suppliers, government officials, and other stakeholders to advance improvements on the water.
“Managing the fishery for the long-term ensures that it will continue to provide jobs, income and nutrition. And it’s good news for the sharks, dolphins, turtles and other wildlife that also rely on lobster to thrive,” stressed said Wendy Goyert, Lead Specialist, Latin America Fisheries in Transition, WWF.
Spiny lobster is an important commercial species in The Bahamas and the USD 90 million Bahamian lobster industry employs about 9,000 fishers who cover a massive 45,000 square miles of ocean.
More than 6 million pounds of spiny lobster tails are sold commercially each year. Primarily for US and Europe buyers, exports are capped at 5 million pounds.