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FIP on Newfoundland lobster fishery now in phase 4

In March 2019, Royal Greenland initiated a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) on the Canadian lobster fishery in Newfoundland & Labrador. Management and implementation has since been handed over to The Association of Seafood Producers (ASP), which is driving the process towards possible MSC certification.

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. Based on an MSC pre-assessment, a working group was set up to look at the framework for addressing the necessary improvements in the fishery.

About the MSC process

About the MSC process

The process to achieve MSC certification for individual fisheries in Atlantic Canada is divided into 6 phases.

  • Phase 0: FIP identification. The target fishery is identified and a supply chain analysis is conducted.
  • Phase 1: FIP Development. Assess the environmental performance of the fishery and recruit participants.
  • Phase 2: Launch of the FIP. Participants and work plan are finalised and published. The budget is approved (does not need to be public).
  • Phase 3: Implementation of the FIP. The work plan is implemented and progress is tracked.
  • Phase 4: Improvements in fishing practices or fisheries management. Documented demonstrated improvements in policies, management or fishing practices.
  • Phase 5: Improvements on the water. Documented demonstrated improvements on the water.
Learn more about the MSC Fishery Standard here

The project is now in phase 4

At the beginning of 2023, the project entered phase 4. Based on the framework that has been created for the work, it is now ASP, as the representative of the producers, who handles the collaboration with MSC.

The fact that the project is in phase 4 means that work is being done on the implementation of concrete measures and documentation of the effects of these, so that the fishery is prepared for the final certification.

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” Butler concludes.

The timespan for the FIP is estimated at 5 years with the expectancy to have obtained the defined objectives by March 2025. 

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