In the Lobster Fishery, Tradition Meets Innovation
Canadian lobster harvesters still land their catches the traditional way: sinking baited traps to the ocean floor, leaving them a few days, then hauling them out. But with advanced techniques for ensuring the health of lobster populations, today’s fishery is more sustainable and environmentally-sound than ever.
Lobsters grow by shedding their shell, or "moulting", typically in the summer. While the new shell is still soft, the lobster expands it by absorbing sea water which will be replaced by new lobster meat. The meat’s texture and taste improve as the shell hardens in the cold Atlantic waters.
It can take up to two months for a new shell to fully harden and for lobster meat to be at its best. In Canada, about 10,000 licensed harvesters take part in 45 lobster fisheries (43 inshore with small-boat harvesters, one offshore and one closed to lobster fishing as a conservation measure (area 40)). This offshore fishery received eco-certification as a sustainable and well-managed fishery from the Marine Stewardship Council in June 2010. These fishing methods are complemented by new advancements in holding and processing lobster. Just hours after lobsters are landed, they are moved to holding tanks for live sale, or to packing plants for quick-freezing, sealing in freshness and flavour. This ensures a year-round, global supply of top-quality Canadian lobster.
- Canada’s lobster industry is worth $2 billion in annual export sales.
- Canadian lobster is exported to more than 50 countries, from Australia to Vietnam.
- 97% of Canadian lobster landings enjoy eco-certification by the Marine Stewardship Council.
More facts in a snapshot
Consult We Grow a Lot More Than You May Think to learn facts on the agriculture and agri-food sector in Canada.
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