FIP for lobster fishery in Newfoundland & Labrador ready for next phase
The Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) for the Canadian lobster fishery in the Newfoundland & Labrador was initiated last year in March by Royal Greenland. The groundwork on the FIP has led to the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) in the province adopting the implementation and financial management in the process leading to eventual eco-certification, eg. MSC.
Royal Greenland introduced Canadian lobster as part of our high-quality, North Atlantic seafood range back in 2018, where a basic setup enabled us to offer raw frozen lobster. Since then, the ambitions and market demand for Canadian hard-shell lobster has grown and our facilities for lobster production now include three production units located in Conche, Southern Harbour and New Harbour in Newfoundland. With this set-up, Royal Greenland can offer raw, cooked and live lobster worldwide.
The growth and demand for the Canadian hard-shell lobster has sparked the desire to develop the fishery further. This led to the initiation of the FIP for the lobster fishery last year and the assembly of a workgroup with the task of creating a framework to act upon and improve the concerns identified in the pre-assessment of the fishery using the MSC standard.
About the MSC process
About the MSC process
The process for obtaining an MSC for a fishery in Atlantic Canada is based on a pre-assessment that identifies areas requiring attention in the fishery. MSCs certifications are generally managed and held by the industry trade association, the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) on behalf of processing companies. Where required, the fishery will undergo a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) based on the results from the pre-assessment to help the fishery advance towards eventual full MSC assessment and certification.
Entering the next phase
Based on the framework made in the initial phase, the FIP is now ready to move into the next phase. The further process will be spearheaded by the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) in Newfoundland, which serves as the client for MSC fisheries on behalf of its members.
“Cold-water prawns were the first MSC-certified fishery in Canada, in 2008. Snow crab followed in 2013. ASP is also co-chair of an important FIP for Northern Cod. We had a great sense of accomplishment in achieving MSC certification for prawns in 2008 and continue to work on ensuring all our fisheries are more sustainable,” says Derek Butler, Executive Director of ASP.
With primary markets located in Europe and the USA, the blue MSC label is a valuable addition to the seafood sourced in Newfoundland and Labrador, and in the future, this can include lobster.
“Due to a changing ecosystem and growing biomass in the Newfoundland area, lobster is a growing fishery that we want to expand and commercialize on a sustainable basis. With the support of our Fisheries Improvement Project and the existing strong resource management of the federal Fisheries Department, we are confident in the current and future sustainability of the resource. Royal Greenland deserves the credit for starting us on this path, and we are now ready to undertake the FIP, to achieve its objectives and address the gaps in the fishery identified by the MSC pre-assessment in January 2019,” Butler concludes.
The timespan for the FIP is estimated at 4 years with the expectancy to have obtained the defined objectives by March 2024. The objectives outlined by the workgroup are:
- Develop fishery-based metrics to be used in determining index-based stock status
- Benchmark effectiveness of metrics to confirm ongoing success of harvest strategy
- Update harvest strategy incorporating improved metrics, objectives and HCRs
- Standardize fishery monitoring metrics across all LFAs
- Determine bycatch interaction
- Determine bait species usage, provenance and impact on Primary & Secondary species
- Conduct a review of the potential effectiveness and practicality of alternative measures to minimize UoA related mortality of unwanted catch of the target, Primary, Secondary and ETP species.
- Ensure adequate information from UoA impacts on primary, secondary and ETP species is collected and incorporated into key ecosystem status assessments.