For Immediate Release – March 2, 2016
Halifax, NS – A small shrimp fishery started by fishermen in Canso, Nova Scotia has received “Best Choice” ranking by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, which informs Canada’s two leading sustainable seafood programs, SeaChoice and Ocean Wise. The fishery began almost two decades ago to help increase fishermen’s incomes on a year round basis. This new ranking paints a bright future for them and their sustainable catch.
The Seafood Watch report on Chedabucto Bay trap-caught shrimp notes that the shrimp stock is currently healthy, and that due to the specific design of the traps used, incidental catch of other species in this fishery is negligible. Furthermore, the report notes that the fishery has a strong management system based on a precautionary approach, and the traps have minimal impact on the surrounding environment.
The shrimp is caught using modified lobster traps, and fishermen only have to travel about a mile from shore. The fishery is generally a fall and winter fishery – running from September to March, when the shrimp are of highest quality.
“We have been actively promoting Chedabucto Bay trap-caught shrimp for almost a decade now as a sustainable, low impact, local fishery,” says Colleen Turlo, Sustainable Seafood Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre. “It is really fantastic to see this fishery gain the recognition it deserves from Seafood Watch.”
In addition to being a sustainable alternative to shrimp caught with damaging bottom trawls, or farmed in tropical ponds, the Chedabucto Bay shrimp fishery also highlights the innovation of these Nova Scotian fishermen to try something new.
“We have been working hard on making this fishery as sustainable as possible,” says Alen Newell, a Canso-based shrimp fisherman who uses the trap method. “Gaining national and international recognition about our fishery helps to make all the work worthwhile.”
“Currently, the shrimp is mainly sold to US markets. However, there is still work that needs to be done to differentiate it in the marketplace, and make it more widely available to Canadians” says Turlo. “There is a huge opportunity to increase the value of this fishery to Nova Scotia, and this report is a great step toward making that happen.”
Seafood Watch is an internationally recognized program run out of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The program helps consumers and businesses choose seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that protect sea life and habitats, now and for future generations. The recommendations indicate which seafood items are “Best Choices” or “Good Alternatives,” and which ones you should “Avoid” They are based on guiding principles, science-based criteria and a robust scoring methodology.
The full report can be viewed here.
All Seafood Watch shrimp recommendations can be found here.
For further information, please contact:
Sustainable Seafood Coordinator