Following an independent assessment conducted by the conformity assessment body, SAI Global, lobster sourced from this fishery is now eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel.
The Gaspésie fishery is represented by client group, the Regroupement des pêcheurs professionnels du sud de la Gaspésie (RPPSG), and is managed by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Quebec Region.
The fishery incorporates 163 license holders accounting for all of the current commercial lobster harvesters in the area.
The fishery typically operates in the spring for up to 71 days, depending upon location, and uses baited traps to catch lobster. Conservation measures include implemented programs such as restrictions on the length of season, the number of licenses and the number and size of traps, in addition to minimum and maximum legal sizes, escape vents and biodegradable clips.
The lobster fishery occurs in Atlantic Canadian waters in FAO Fishing Area 21, Canadian Lobster Fishing Areas (LFAs) 19, 20 and 21 that are adjacent to the Gaspé Peninsula, Quebec.
In 2013, fishermen landed 1,370 metric tonnes of lobster, accounting for one third of the lobster landed in the province of Quebec. Gaspésie lobster is sold in different forms with the principal product of live lobster sold primarily in Quebec markets, in addition to other markets in Canada and the United States.
Conservation measures protect resource for future
O’Neil Cloutier, executive director of Regroupement des pêcheurs professionnels du sud de la Gaspésie, said: “MSC certification further demonstrates that the Gaspésie fishery is sustainable and well-managed. Through continued implementation of conservation measures and the modernisation of our fleet to incorporate electronic logbooks to provide real-time, reliable, management and scientific data, we are working hard to protect the resource in our area for the future of lobster and for the future well-being of the Gaspé region.”
MSC certification brings confidence to consumers
"We congratulate Gaspésie lobster license holders and RPPSG on the achievement of certification to the global, science-based MSC standard,” said Jay Lugar, programme director, Canada.
"Lobster is a highly desired, visible, seasonal local seafood in the province of Quebec and markets beyond. The addition of lobster from Gaspé to the range of MSC certified products available in Quebec will bring more confidence to Chain of Custody buyers and consumers that seafood from this region originates from a sustainable and well-managed fishery meeting the global MSC standard.”