The fishery targets the following three species: yellow squat lobster (Cervimunida johni), red squat lobster (Pleuroncodes monodon) and nylon shrimp (Heterocarpus reedi). The assessment will evaluate the fishery against the MSC’s rigorous principles and criteria for sustainable fishing and, if successful, crustaceans from this fishery will be eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel recognising seafood from well-managed and sustainable sources.
Collectively known in Chile as the crustacean fishery, nylon shrimp, yellow squat lobster and red squat lobster are harvested along a large part of the Chilean coast between 26º and 38º S. There are eight units of certification for this fishery assessment which take into account the three species being assessed and the various regions along the coast of Chile where industrial and artisanal fishing takes place. The fishing season for nylon shrimp runs January through December with a closure between July-August, and the season for yellow and red squat lobster is April through December.
The clients for the assessment are the Asociación de Industriales y Armadores Pesqueros de la IV Región (AIP) and the Asociación de Exportadores de Frutas de Chile A.G. (ASOEX). ASOEX is responsible for managing funds from CORFO (The Chilean Economic Development Agency), the Chilean government agency that is contributing half the cost of the assessment for this fishery.
In 2011, the number of vessels operating overall in the demersal crustacean fishery was 27. Twenty of these vessels were industrial and the remainder were artisanal. The former has maximum catch limits per owner and the latter shares a global quota. Preliminary 2013 landing numbers for these species in all regions are 3,166 MT for nylon shrimp, 2,493 MT for yellow squat lobster and 4,754 MT for red squat lobster. The main commercial markets for the harvests are North America and Europe, where squat lobster are better known as langostino, langos or baby lobster while the shrimp may be marketed as cold waters shrimp, nylon shrimp, camarón nylon or Antarctic camarón.
Leandro Sturla, manager of the Asociación de Industriales y Armadores Pesqueros de la IV Región said: “Our vision as the crustacean industry is the permanence of the activity through time, balancing our human resources and the conservation of our fishing resources, as a way to maximize social and economic benefits. We believe that being openly involved in the MSC assessment process is a great opportunity to recognise our commitment to these fisheries, that we are doing things right, and with that we are also looking towards new more demanding markets to make our business more successful."
Jim Humphreys, fisheries director for MSC Americas, said: “MSC welcomes the Chilean squat lobsters and nylon shrimp fishery into the programme. We are pleased to see another fishery from Chile joining the programme and appreciate the Government of Chile’s support of fisheries that wish to demonstrate their sustainability by taking part in the MSC programme. We also applaud AIP for taking this step to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability. If successful, markets around the world will look forward to this source of MSC certified shrimp and squat lobster.”