Sustainability

Sustainability is based on a simple principle—meeting today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In terms of seafood, this means catching or farming seafood responsibly, with consideration for the long-term health of the environment and the livelihoods of the people that depend upon the environment.

North Atlantic Lobster (Homarus Americanus) is a sustainable fishery. The following third party certifiers have ranked and certified the Maine Lobster Fishery as sustainable.

Sustainable Program Label

Program Description

Certified Sustainable Programs 03.12.2015 Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) Seafood Watch
MBA recommends which seafood to buy or avoid, helping consumers and businesses become advocates for ocean-friendly seafood.
Maine Lobster Sustainability Rating: Good Alternative
Website: www.seafoodwatch.org
Certified Sustainable Programs 03.12.20152 The Safina Center (TSC)
The Safina Center, formerly Blue Ocean Institute, is a nonprofit organization that works to inspire and promote marine conservation through media, arts, science and education.
Maine Lobster Sustainability Rating: Yellow
Website: http://safinacenter.org/
Certified Sustainable Programs 03.12.2015 NOAA – FishWatch: American Lobster
FishWatch, provides easy-to-understand facts about the science and management behind U.S. seafood and tips on how to make educated seafood choices.
Maine Lobster Sustainability Rating: Sustainable
Website: www.fishwatch.gov
golfofmaine Gulf of Maine Research Institute
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) catalyzes solutions to the complex challenges of ocean stewardship and economic growth in the Gulf of Maine bioregion.
Maine Lobster Sustainability Rating: Sustainable
Website: www.gmri.org
msc Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certified
The Marine Stewardship Council is an independent non-profit organization that sets a standard for sustainable fishing.
Maine Lobster Sustainability Rating: Sustainable
Website: www.msc.org
dmr  Maine Department of Marine Resources
The fishery is managed for sustainably based on practices implemented more than 125 years ago by lobstermen and the State of Maine.
Maine Lobster Sustainability Rating: Sustainable
Website: www.maine.gov/dmr
 certified Certified One for One Lobster
East Coast Seafood’s program raises juvenile lobsters, with significantly higher survival rates, to put back into the ocean to ensure future sustainability for generations to come. Goal is one million lobsters by 2017.
Maine Lobster Sustainability Rating: Sustainable Initiative
Website: www.myseafood.com/plangreen/sustainability.php
 mcsla Maine Certified Sustainable Lobster Association (MCSLA)
Description: An open collaborative effort between private and public stakeholders of the Maine Lobster Fishery. We are the people of Maine with the goal to ensure and promote the certified sustainability of the Maine Lobster Fishery. Working together with unity and purpose to educate industry participants, our communities and customers worldwide about Maine Lobster sustainability certification programs and initiatives.
dmr2 Sustainable Practices by Maine Lobstermen Maine harvesters have been environmentally conscious and “eco-friendly” since long before it became fashionable. They harvest their lobsters the same careful way they have for over 125 years — by hand, one trap at a time — thus protecting the quality of their product and the marine environment. Some rules and regulations that help ensure the health of the lobster resource include:

Tail Notching: Female lobsters with visible eggs cannot be harvested. Before releasing her, the harvester notches her tail to identify her as a good breeder, thus protecting her for life from being harvested.

Minimum Size Limit: Minimum 3 1/4″ carapace measurements allow juvenile lobsters the chance to mature and reproduce before they can be harvested.

Maximum Size Limit: Maximum 5″ carapace measurements protect the large, healthy breeding stock.

Apprentice Program: New harvesters must apprentice with veterans to learn the regulated, sustainable practices.

Trap Limits: The total number of traps per harvester is limited by both the state and the individual lobster zones.

Harvest Method: Harvesting in Maine is by trap only — no dragging or diving is allowed. Traps include escape vents for under size lobsters as well as biodegradable escape hatches to free lobsters in lost traps.

Lobster Seed Fund: Supported by license fees, the Fund purchases females that extrude their eggs after being harvested. This unique buy-back program helps to ensure that the good breeding stock is returned to the ocean to reproduce.