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Lles-de-la-Madeleine Lobster Fishery Enters MSC Assessment

CANADA - The les-de-la-Madeleine lobster (Homarus americanus) baited trap fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the east coast of Canada has entered into full assessment in the Marine Stewardship Councils (MSC) certification programme.

The assessment by Global Trust will evaluate the fishery against the MSC principles and criteria for sustainable fishing and, if successful, lobster from the fishery will be eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel.

The fishery is conducted in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 22 within the Northwest Atlantic Canadian Lobster Stock Complex. The client for the assessment is L'Association des pcheurs des les-de-la-Madeleine, or translated in English, Magdalen Islands Fishermen's Association. Landings for LFA 22 in 2011 were 2,648 metric tonnes and the provisional figure for 2012 is 2,668 metric tonnes.

Canada and the United States are the only countries landing Homarus americanus lobster and the catch of lobster in LFA 22 is landed during the months of May and June. The main market for Magdalen Islands lobster is Quebec and the majority is sold fresh.

The seasonal Magdalen Islands lobster fishery is an important economic activity for the islands population of approximately 13,000 people. From 2005 to 2009, the 325 Magdalen Islands lobster harvesters caught an average 7,550 kg of lobster each, with a market value of $91,000 CAD. Lobster is the principal species landed in this maritime area and it generates a total landing value of about $30 million CAD annually. Activities associated with the primary and secondary lobster processing sectors provide employment to approximately 10 per cent of the population.

Mario Deraspe, president of Magdalen Islands Fishermen's Association, says: MSC is the global standard for certification of sustainable wild-caught fisheries. Because sustainability is a core tenant of our business, it is our goal to successfully complete the MSC assessment process, confirm our sustainability, and then utilize this third-party certification as a focal point of our broader efforts to enhance the Magdalen Islands lobster brand in the global marketplace.

Kerry Coughlin, MSC Americas regional director, says: We welcome this lobster fishery into the MSC program. Its the 27th Canadian fishery either in assessment or certified in Canada, demonstrating Canadas significant commitment to sustainability and working together to conserve valuable ocean resources. This portion of the inshore lobster fishery is important and, if successful in the assessment, their MSC certification will be appreciated by buyers and consumers increasingly looking for sustainable seafood options.

Lucy Towers

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