Certifier : 
Lloyds Register (Acoura)
Certified status : 
Certified
Certified since : 
01 Jun 2010
Certificate expires : 
29 Jun 2020

About

This fishery operates within the Canadian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the coast of Nova Scotia. It was first MSC certified in 2010 and recertified in 2015. The licences for lobster fishing in this area are held by Clearwater Seafoods.

Lobsters are caught in traditional rectangular wire traps. Traps are set in strings, or trawls of 100 joined by a weighted ground line with a buoy to the surface marking each end. Although variable throughout the season, the fishery operates approximately 50 strings of gear and depths ranging from 100-300 m. Trips can last up to 15 days.

Lobsters in this area do not mature until about eight years of age or more, so managers set restrictions on the size and number of lobsters taken to ensure the stocks are maintained at sustainable levels. Lobsters that are below a minimum legal size, as well as egg-bearing females, must be returned to the water.

The traps also allow undersized lobsters and non-target species to escape through vents. And the impact of ghost fishing is mitigated by biodegradable panels that allow animals caught in lost traps to eventually escape unharmed.

Research has shown that the fishery's pressure on lobster stocks is low, with catches usually at only about 15 per cent of the available lobsters.

Additional measures, such as a closure to all lobster fishing on Browns Bank, have further protected the larval supply and future generations of lobsters. The fishery is committed to ongoing peer-reviewed, cooperative assessments of the status of the lobster stock, and vessels regularly carry biologists to collect scientific data.

Lobster (Homarus americanus) image © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book