How We Source Our Seafood
Maine Lobster Now is proud to serve both sustainably sourced and responsibly sourced seafood products to our customers. Our promise to you is that we will work with partners who follow local, federal, and international regulations on sustainable fishing.
Sustainable seafood is more important than ever because climate change continues to impact seafood populations both locally in Maine and across the world, and the demand for seafood has grown even as the global supply of wild-capture fisheries has remained the same for over 20 years. As NOAA states, "The ocean has given what it can."
Given this reality, we stand firmly with NOAA in the belief that, "The future of sustainable seafood must include both farm-raised and wild-capture seafood."
What is sustainably sourced seafood?
Maine Lobster Now adheres to NOAA FishWatch guidance on all sustainably sourced seafood products we offer. Overharvesting fish and shellfish without limit would irreparably deplete seafood populations and collapse the industry. Sustainable management of wild-caught species determines the yearly catch limits we can harvest that will allow their numbers to replenish for the next year.
The United States is a recognized global leader in sustainable seafood for both wild-caught and farm-raised seafood, and FishWatch maintains a comprehensive database of which seafood products are sustainably sourced.
By law, sustainably sourced seafood in the U.S. must be caught in accordance with fishery management plans that:
- Consider social and economic outcomes for fishing communities.
- Prevent overfishing.
- Rebuild depleted stocks.
- Minimize by catch and interactions with protected species.
- Identify and conserve essential fish habitats.
What are the two types of sustainable seafood and how do we ensure we’re meeting global standards to protect lobsters, fish, and other species of seafood we deliver?
Wild-caught seafood is exactly what it sounds like: fish and shellfish caught in their natural habitats. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act ensures marine wild-capture fisheries in the U.S. are operated using science-based management plans developed by regional fishery councils – such as the Maine Department of Marine Resources – and enforced under national sustainability standards.
Farmed seafood (also referred to as marine aquaculture) is “the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of water environments” according to NOAA. Marine aquaculture in the United States primarily farms oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, and salmon.
Marine aquaculture takes place in the ocean in large enclosures, ocean regions suspended in a water column, and sea floors, as well as fresh water areas like ponds and rivers, and at times in man-made water tanks.
The U.S. imports more than 90% of its seafood from overseas, resulting in a $13 billion seafood trade deficit. Marine aquaculture presents the best opportunity to reduce this trade deficit while adding tens of thousands of jobs to local waterfront communities.
What is responsibly sourced seafood?
While "sustainably sourced seafood" is overseen by FishWatch and NOAA, we define "responsibly sourced seafood" differently.
Responsibly sourced seafood comes to us exclusively from partner countries with established fishery management practices that ensure harvesting is conducted with minimal adverse effect to the ecosystem from which they come.
You might be saying to yourself, "Well, isn't that basically what sustainable seafood is?" Yes, but we define these fisheries separately because FishWatch and the NOAA do not monitor non-domestic fisheries. However, countries with fishery management laws in place independently pursue illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing, in their own waters. By sourcing from these countries, we can reasonably conclude the product was caught legally and responsibly.
Managing today's consumption and tomorrow's needs
Sustainable seafood regulations and responsibly sourced seafood fisheries allow fish populations to be responsibly managed to meet seafood demands while allowing species to reproduce and be available for future generations of seafood lovers and fishing communities.
We're doing our part to ensure the long-term accessibility to lobster, crab, fish, and all our seafood products for generations to come.
For more information on sustainable seafood, its impact on the fishing industry, and the future of wild-caught and farm-raised seafood, head over to NOAA’s website to learn more.