Certifier : 
Control Union (UK) Limited
Certified status : 
In Assessment
Certified since : 
03 Aug 2018


Fisheries are composed of one or more parts, each of which is entitled to receive an MSC certificate. These parts or “units” are defined by their target stock(s), fishing gear type(s) and if relevant vessel type(s), and the fishing fleets or groups of vessels.

When the term “Unit of Certification” is used for fishing units that are in assessment, it refers to the “Unit of Assessment” or “Unit of potential certification”. Expand a status below to view the parts that form this fishery. To check the detailed scope, download the latest certificate or open the Assessments page to get the latest report. Find out more by visiting our page on Fisheries

Units of Certification & Certificate Information

  • In Assessment
    MSC UoC Number Species Gear Type Ocean Area Certificate Code
    UoC-1516 Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) Miscellaneous Gear: Hooks and spears 31 (Atlantic, Western Central) MSC-F-31393 (F-CUP-057)
    UoC-1517 Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) Traps - Pots: Lobster traps 31 (Atlantic, Western Central) MSC-F-31393 (F-CUP-057)

View glossary of terms

Catch by Species

Species Reported Catch Year Metric Tonnes
Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) 2022 1,981.1

Information is provided by an independent Conformity Assessment Body as live weight (the weight of species at the time of catch, before processing) and where a fishing season covers multiple years, the end year is given as the reported catch year. Additional information is available in the latest report, see the assessments page.

About this Fishery

Free diving fishers harvest spiny lobsters from casitas (“little houses”) which look like small tables set on the ocean floor. Lobsters are attracted to the relative protection offered by the casita but are free to move in and out without becoming trapped.

Since 2009, WWF together with Bahamas Marine Exporters Association, The Bahamas Department of Marine Resources and The Nature Conservancy, have been driving improvements to the fishery. Through a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) addressing governance, fishing practices, and environmental impacts, their efforts have been aimed at helping the fishery meet the MSC standard.

Read more about the Bahamas lobster FIP at the WWF website > 

Spiny lobster is an important commercial species in The Bahamas. The $90 million Bahamian lobster industry employs about 9,000 fishers who cover a massive 45,000 square miles of ocean. More than 4 million pounds of spiny lobster tails are exported each year, primarily to the United States and Europe. 

"In The Bahamas, a growing share of the seafood sector recognizes the economic benefits of MSC certification. Keeping stocks healthy can open new markets, satisfy eco-minded consumers, and ensure that there will be lobsters to catch in the future."
- Mia Isaacs, president of Bahamas Marine Exporters Association (BMEA)

"The Fishery Improvement Project has made myriad accomplishments – adoption of a harvest control rule, lobster trap fishery bycatch studies, a stock assessment, and the establishment of a data collection and management system – all of which put Bahamian spiny lobster in good position for MSC assessment."
- Wendy Goyert, WWF senior program

Image © Mac Stone / WWF-US

Market Information

Primary markets are the United States (60%) and the European Union (30%).