The Marine Stewardship Council has certified the lobster fisheries of the Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence as environmentally sustainable.
The certification is approved by an independent body that compares the sustainability of the lobster fisheries against the MSC standards. In this case, SAI Global says lobsters sourced from these areas in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick can now be given the MSC label of ecological sustainability.
Jay Lugar, MSC's program director, says the certification is exciting news for sales in the global markets, as Canada is one of the top ten fishing countries in the world.
There are 259 certified fisheries. Of all Canadian fisheries, 67 per cent are participating in the MSC program.
"What we hope is that it will help us sell products in markets that demand third-party certification," said Geoff Irvine, executive director of the Lobster Council of Canada. "A lot of those markets would be part of parts of Europe, some retail markets in North America, and it allows us to compete with a lot of our competitors. The Maine fishery is MSC certified."
Maine's lobster fishery was lobster certified in March 2013.
The Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence makes up $671 million of the overall Canadian lobster industry that's worth $853 million.
"It's one of the main reasons why we brought the lobster industry together to start the Lobster Council," Irvine says. "[It was] to find a form where we could work on projects like this. So, for us and the Lobster Council, it's a really important day because it shows the power of working together."
Canadian lobster is sold to the United States, Europe (mainly Belgium, France and the United Kingdom) and Asia (mainly China, Japan and South Korea).