From the Dock: Marine Stewardship Council Certification update

First published in the MLA Newsletter, July, 2012.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which has designated the sustainability of over one hundred fisheries around the globe through its certification process, is considered by many to be the standard bearer against which other certifiers are judged. In today’s global marketplace, many retailers and restaurant chains not only prefer but now expect that their seafood products be certified sustainable.

Because of its rigorous and exhaustive methods, MSC certification can take years from initial assessment to final certification. In fact, the Atlantic Red Crab assessment process took over eight years and Oregon Dungeness crab took seven years. Four years ago, a group of industry stakeholders (The Fund for the Advancement of Sustainable Maine Lobster) began investigating the possibility of obtaining MSC certification for Maine’s lobster fishery. They believed the MSC label would be advantageous because of the increasing number of seafood buyers who demand it. They also believed MSC’s traceability requirements could help to differentiate Maine Lobster from its competitors.

The Fund continues the MSC process and is making significant progress, but the process is by no means complete. Advocates of MSC certification plan to keep industry informed in all phases of the process, and will conduct outreach with fishermen and other stakeholders before moving forward. A complete update will be given at the August Lobster Advisory Council Meeting and a full article describing the MSC certification process and what it could mean to Maine’s lobster fishermen will appear in the August issue of the MLA newsletter. Please stay tuned for what should be an interesting update and possibly very good news for the Maine Lobster industry in the near future.

For questions, please contact John Hathaway at wjhathaway@gmail.com or Togue Brawn at togue.brawn@gmail.com.

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