Jersey and Normandy lobster snaps up MSC certificate

June 15, 2011 11:58

The Anglo-French Normandy and Jersey lobster fishery has been certified to the MSC standard for Sustainable and well-managed fisheries. The certification follows a 20-month independent assessment, reports with reference to MSC.

The cross-border, artisanal fishery includes around 130 small fishing boats catching lobsters using pots. Together, the fishers catch a total of 270 - 290 tonnes of lobsters each year. The lobster fishery has a long history of international management and the Granville Bay was the subject of the first ever international fishing treaty in 1839. The most recent agreement, The Bay of Granville Treaty, signed in 2000, provides detailed a framework for management by all those involved in the fishery including fishers, scientists and administrators. This agreement has led to many measures to ensure the sustainability of the fishery such as regulations on minimum landing size and fishing effort-controls including a limited number of vessel licenses and a maximum number of pots per vessel.
"...a highly significant achievement"

Don Thompson, Chairman of Jersey Fishermen's Association says: "Shellfish, particularly lobster and its management has, for decades, been well focused and a high priority issue for Jersey. Our fisheries agreement, regular meetings and excellent relations with our Normandy neighbours with whom we share the fishery, make the MSC certification a highly significant achievement and a wonderful testimony to the joint efforts invested in lobster management measures."

The fishery remains our most important one and the future of our fleet relies entirely on the guaranteed sustainability of the lobster stocks."

Daniel Lefèvre, President of the CRPM BN (Lower Normandy Fisheries regional committee) says: "The MSC certification of the lobster fishery is an international recognition of all the work that has been achieved by lobster fishermen in the Cotentin region during the last 30 years. Those efforts are too often ignored, especially by the consumers, which leads in some cases to the fishing activity in general to be pointed out for unsustainable practices. That successful certification is a reward for the sustainable management of this fishery, achieved in collaboration with our colleagues from Jersey. It will allow us to communicate on our sustainable practices for this specie and will also be an excellent example for the other fisheries managed by the Fisheries Regional Committee of Lower Normandy. Indeed, with the technical help of Normandie Fraîcheur Mer, this encourages us to work toward further MSC certification projects for other regional species.. "

Claire Pescod, MSC UK fisheries Outreach Manager adds: "I'm delighted to congratulate the Lower Normandy and Jersey lobster fishery on their certification. This is a great example of collaborative management of a shared resource. Achieving MSC certification for the fishery recognizes that management and ensures continued improvement for the future. The lobster from Granville Bay, already renowned for its high quality, can now also be proudly recognized for its sustainability."
About the European lobster

European lobsters are caught year-round but have a seasonal peak in the summer. Lobsters ((Homarus gammarus) feed at night - mostly on smaller invertebrates - when they are caught in pots baited with small amounts of low-value bycatch species from other fisheries. While they can grow to over a metre long, 25cm to 50cm is more common and smaller lobsters tend to be more tender. CJ Jackson, co-author of Leith's Fish Bible notes that lobsters are best eaten around 500g-1.4kg/1lb-3lb and that male lobsters have denser, meatier flesh.

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