This assessment is in parallel with a separate assessment of the fishery that led to MSC certification in 2013. The founding members of the client group are Cozy Harbor Seafood, Inc., Craig’s All Natural, LLC, East Coast Seafood, Inc., Garbo Lobster Co., Inc., Inland Seafood, Inc., Mazzetta Company, LLC, and Orion Seafood International, Inc.
The Gulf of Maine lobster fishery under assessment covers all commercial vessels licensed by the State of Maine or the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that fish within the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Lobster Conservation Management Area 1, which includes the Gulf of Maine stock in coastal Maine and Northwest Atlantic FAO area 21.
Fishing is seasonal and concentrated in the latter half of the year. The fishery is managed jointly by the NMFS, ASMFC, and the Maine Department of Marine Resources. Over four thousand commercial fishermen actively harvest Maine lobster.
In 2013, fishermen landed 126 million pounds of Maine lobster with a landed value of $364 million. The Maine lobster fishery accounts for more than two thirds of all lobster landings in the United States. The product is sold live, fresh and frozen in domestic and international markets.
Craig A. Rief, President of the Maine Certified Sustainable Lobster Association, said: “Our association represents members dedicated to the sustainability of Maine lobster. It is our goal to make it affordable for members to share the benefits of MSC certification. Maine lobster is known domestically and around the world as an iconic species that defines high quality seafood. MSC certification will enable us to certify to our customers that Maine lobster is harvested in a sustainable way to assure it will be available long into the future.”