Seafood. Lobsters and crabs

Lobster and snow crab of the Atlantic found themselves on the unenviable red list of the Seafood Watch program, an initiative of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This list is provided as a means for consumers to make informed choices about sustainable fishing. The North Coast fishing industry is in turmoil.

Recent assessments by the Monteray Bay Aquarium classify lobsters and snow crabs caught in Atlantic Canada as “avoidable” because the endangered species are at risk of being caught or entangled in fishing gear.

“This is a completely twisted case,” said Serge Langelier, director of fisheries at the Mamu Innu Kaikusseht Association (AMIK). Fishermen in Canada are struggling to meet marine mammal protection standards. Our peaches are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council in England. »

It is difficult to assess the direct impact of such a classification on the marketing of the two species, but Serge Langelier believes that “everything is connected.” “We fishermen take care of the harvest and sell to the factories who are supposed to do the marketing, but if the factories cannot sell because the customer is not buying, they will not give anything to the fishermen. It affects us tremendously,” he says.

Serge Langelier does not hide his disappointment. “We adhere to all the necessary standards, there are always new ones. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans notifies us on December 31 and we have to comply with the season starting in April, such as changing our rope identification when all our equipment is under snow and ice. When an organization in California says we’re doing it wrong… It hurts! »

At the Upper and Mid-North Coast Professional Anglers Association, Clovis Poiret keeps his cool. “This organization is American and they want to block our products from the American market! The United States is demanding that we meet standards it doesn’t meet itself! he exclaims, clearly irritated.

An experienced fisherman does not worry about whales, black ones no more than others. “I have been fishing on the North Shore since 1982. The whale sees you coming! With the help of a hydroacoustic system, he will detect a school of fish at a distance of 40 km. The boat goes with two big engines, she heard that a long time ago. Lobster, we don’t catch it in such deep waters… The whale will run aground before it gets tangled! “, he says bluntly. First of all, he regrets the double standards. “They demand that we meet standards that they don’t even meet in the United States!”

Serge Langelier agrees. “The industry is putting in a lot of effort, even if the right whale doesn’t even come to our areas during the fishing season.”

All the same, positioning in the red list does not pass. “It discredits the amount of effort the fishing industry is putting into protecting marine mammals. The whale had not entered the gulf for a long time, and DFO’s protective response had disastrous consequences for the fishery, but the industry understood the importance of compliance, if only to maintain an export market in the United States. To be so disdainful, we think it shameful! sums up Serge Letourneau.

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