Earlier this week the US-based Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch released an updated seafood rating that placed North American lobster and Canadian snow crab in the ’avoid’ category.
This ranking is not based on sustainability concerns for those species, but rather the potential impact of gear entanglements on the North Atlantic Right Whale (NARW).
The NARW is not a species commonly found in waters around Newfoundland and Labrador. In fact, over the last several years, there have been only three NARW sightings around the province and no entanglements.
Snow crab from this province has been certified to the worlds most recognized seafood sustainability standard, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), for almost a decade. Our members have been working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada on marine environment sustainability initiatives like biodegradable twine and our ghost gear retrieval program has retrieved almost 40,000 lb of gear in last two years.
The value of lobster to harvesters in this province continues to grow. Over the last ten years, our lobster landings have increased from 2,168 tonnes valued at $17 million to 5,437 tonnes worth $94 million. FFAW will continue to monitor this situation and will work to have Newfoundland and Labrador products excluded from this ‘avoid’ category.