May 22, 2018
A Tail of Tropic SeafoodSpiny Lobsters (Panulirus argus), also known by their common name Caribbean Spiny Lobsters reside in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. They are typically caught via free diving or by using traps and casitas (condominiums). Spiny Lobsters have a minimum harvest size of 3 3/8” carapace length or 6” tail length. They are nocturnal animals that feed on crabs, clams and other invertebrates. Lobster is big business in the Bahamas bringing in an estimated $80-90 million dollars a year. Over a decade ago Beaver Street Fisheries Inc.’s sister company Tropic Seafood Ltd., located in Nassau, partnered with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Bahamas Marine Exporters Association (BMEA) and the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) to help improve the fishing practices and environmental impacts of the lobster fishery. In 2009, the WWF and Nature Conservancy determined a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) was necessary in order to help the fishery obtain Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. The Fishery entered MSC full assessment on January 12, 2017 after completing numerous accomplishments during the FIP. Such accomplishments included the adoption of a harvest rule control, lobster trap fishery bycatch studies, a stock assessment, the establishment of data collection and a fishery management plan. There are seven steps in the assessment process and the Lobster fishery is currently completing step 4 - client and peer review. The MSC full assessment of the lobster fishery will take approximately eighteen months to complete, with a potential end date of summer 2018. If no objections arise during the assessment process, the lobster fishery will become a MSC certified fishery.
Additional information about related initiatives can be found on these websites: