Top Five US and Canadian Lobster Companies Await Marine Stewardship Council Sustainable Certification for Gulf of Maine Lobster

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The Maine Certified Sustainable Lobster Association (MCSLA), representing its members operating in the Gulf of Maine, is seeking sustainability certification from the Marine Stewardship Council. If granted, the certification would confirm that all MCSLA member harvested lobster is caught using sustainable practices.

MSC certification guarantees to our customers that our Maine lobster is harvested sustainably to assure its continued success long into the future.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) may soon extend its sustainable certification label to the Gulf of Maine lobster fishery as represented by the Maine Certified Sustainable Lobster Association (MCSLA). Achievement of this ecolabel formally attests to the Gulf of Maine lobster fishery’s sustainable business practices, and affirms to their customers that they are supporting a sustainable seafood industry. MSC’s emblematic blue label certifying sustainable commercial fisheries is internationally renowned.

“Maine lobster is known domestically and around the world as an iconic species that defines high quality seafood,” said Craig A. Rief, President of the MCSLA. “MSC certification guarantees to our customers that our Maine lobster is harvested sustainably to assure its continued success long into the future.”

The MCSLA is a Maine-based nonprofit dedicated to helping its members navigate the many and varied certification processes of environmental sustainability initiatives, as well as educating their customer bases on the benefits of these initiatives. It was founded by 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. In addition, Maine Coast Lobster, Eastern Traders/Barry Group and Cape Bald Packers are current members. Thirty-three additional companies are currently seeking membership.

The MSC certification process began in September 2014, and it is expected to be completed by this October. Once certified, any company within MSC’s Chain of Certification may affix the MSC ecolabel to their products at any time, including retroactively from up to six months prior to certification.

MCSLA membership is affordable, easy to join, and available to any member of the Maine lobster industry who meets the basic eligibility requirements. The Association gives its entire membership equal voting rights on Association actions, as well as full access to its business and financial affairs.

About the fishery

The Marine Stewardship Council is specifically assessing commercially licensed lobster vessels that operate within the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Lobster Conservation Area 1, which translates to coastal Maine and Northwest Atlantic FAO area 21. The seasonal fishery, which mostly operates in the latter half of the year, is jointly managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service, the ASMFC, and the Maine Department of Marine Resources. It employs over 400 commercial fishermen, who, in 2014 alone, landed 120 million pounds of lobster worth $456.9 million. The highly sought-after product is sold live, fresh, and frozen both domestically and internationally. More than two-thirds of all American lobsters are landed in the Maine fishery.

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