PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Certified Sustainable Lobster Association (MCSLA) announced today that its Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification will be suspended due to a recent decision in the federal case Center for Biological Diversity v. Ross. The certificate suspension is occurring despite continued sustainable management of the Maine lobster fishery and remains the direct result of NOAA’s 2014 biological opinion on the impact that lobster fishing has on right whales. The MCSLA is anticipating NOAA’s 2020 draft biological opinion, which may be made public as soon as August 2020. Once the 2020 biological opinion is finalized and implemented, the MCSLA will work to quickly regain its MSC certification.
As a trusted partner in the fishing community, MCSLA members are deeply committed to sustainability and marine mammal protection initiatives. The association works diligently with all federal and state agencies to ensure the sustainability of the lobster fishery while simultaneously protecting all other marine mammal species. Maine lobstermen care a great deal about protecting all marine species and have made many changes to reduce mortalities, especially right whales. Ongoing protection measures include eliminating all surface float rope, minimizing line knots, and introducing breakable links that help a whale break free from a rope should it become entangled.
The official MSC suspension will become effective on August 1, 2020 and will allow processing for 30 days beyond that date. The association chose to have MSC suspend versus a self-suspension in an effort to notify all stakeholders and ease transition for customers.
“Although we don’t have any direct role in the outcome of this federal case and the ultimate impact to our industry, we are confident we will regain MSC certification through our ongoing efforts to uphold the highest standards of sustainability,” said Craig Rief, President of MCSLA. “We will actively participate with the upcoming biological opinion and provide any necessary resources to assist NOAA, MSC, and our stakeholders in our steadfast commitment to protect threatened and endangered marine life while providing the highest quality product to all consumers.”
About Maine Certified Sustainable Lobster Association
The Maine Certified Sustainable Lobster Association (MCSLA) is an open collaborative effort between private and public stakeholders of the Maine Lobster Fishery. Our goal is to ensure and promote the certified sustainability of the Maine Lobster Fishery while protecting all marine mammals. Working together to educate industry participants, our communities and customers worldwide about Maine Lobster sustainability certification programs and initiatives. http://www.mainecertified.org/home.html