Largest Canadian Lobster Fishery Faces Scrutiny Following Right Whale Entanglement in Nova Scotia Equipment

Largest Canadian Lobster Fishery Faces Scrutiny Following Right Whale Entanglement in Nova Scotia Equipment

Canada's largest lobster fishery, situated in southwestern Nova Scotia, is under increased scrutiny following the entanglement of a North Atlantic right whale in Canadian lobster gear earlier this year. To maintain its certification as sustainable, the fishery must now demonstrate that its activities will not impede the recovery of the critically endangered right whale species.
The Dual Impact: Fishing Industry Support and Right Whale Conservation through Gear Lending Reading Largest Canadian Lobster Fishery Faces Scrutiny Following Right Whale Entanglement in Nova Scotia Equipment 3 minutes Next N.L. Processors Dispose of Over Five Times More Snow Crab in 2023 Than Previous Year

Canada's largest lobster fishery, situated in southwestern Nova Scotia, is under increased scrutiny following the entanglement of a North Atlantic right whale in Canadian lobster gear earlier this year. To maintain its certification as sustainable, the fishery must now demonstrate that its activities will not impede the recovery of the critically endangered right whale species.

Kurtis Hayne, the program director for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in Canada, emphasizes the need for the fishery to collaborate with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to strengthen its strategy for mitigating impacts on right whales.

In January, a whale named Argo was found entangled in rope and traps from lobster fishing area 33 in southern Nova Scotia. Although the whale was freed and swam away, the incident led to two new conditions being imposed on the fishery as part of its Marine Stewardship Council eco-certification in October. These conditions require the industry to provide evidence that the whale protection measures in place are effective.

To meet these conditions, the Lobster Council of Canada, in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, has developed an action plan. This plan involves increasing overflights in lobster fishing area 33, enhancing data collection, and cooperating with U.S. authorities to monitor the recovery of the entangled whale.

Geoff Irvine, the executive director of the Lobster Council, stresses the importance of maintaining certification for the industry. He notes that consumers, especially in Europe, look for the Marine Stewardship Council's label as a sign of sustainably harvested seafood.

As lobster season opens in areas 33 and 34, with over 1,600 boats deploying traps from Halifax to Digby, reported entanglements in Nova Scotia lobster gear are rare. However, Canada enforces fishery closures on all trap fisheries when right whales are spotted.

MSC supports Canada's efforts to protect right whales, and Hayne highlights that MSC's certification drives sustainability improvements. Nevertheless, Irvine mentions potential challenges in implementing MSC's new sustainability standard for the Maritime lobster fishery, which calls for independent monitoring of catch in all fisheries to verify the exact contents being taken from the water.

Link to the video: https://bit.ly/47JHOl4 

Source: Paul Withers, (Dec 1, 2023). Canada's biggest lobster fishery on notice after right whale entanglement in Nova Scotia gear. CBC News. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/canada-s-biggest-lobster-fishery-on-notice-after-right-whale-entanglement-in-nova-scotia-gear-1.7047041