A sustainable sourced Christmas lobster for less than a £5 note? Let the yuletide season festivities begin ahead of schedule this year in Britain!
Beginning October 29, while supplies last, shoppers at Lidl retail stores in the UK can buy 350-gram whole frozen lobsters for just £4.99.
“Boasting mouth-watering succulent meat, these pre-cooked lobsters go down as a treat served with just a little butter and lemon to draw out the full delicacy of the flavor,” advises Lidl’s November sales flier. With Christmas on the horizon, ’tis the season for consumers to “stock up the freezer early” – not only with bargain-priced lobster, but with Duck Breast Fillets at £4.99 for 400 grams, as well as quail, ostrich steaks and kangaro steaks.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified lobsters promoted by the Lidl discount chain are sourced from the Atlantic Canada province of New Brunswick, where the sea is a defining part of life. The lobster fishing season there is short – just two months long, to assure protection of the stock. Fishermen use small boats and baited traps to catch the prized crustacean, and any that are too small get returned to the sea. Almost all of the fishermen live in small towns around the coast of New Brunswick, where lobsters are at the heart of the local economy.
Like most shellfish (including the prawns and shrimps used for sushi), lobster freezes well and the Homarus americanus species supplied from New Brunswick waters are cooked and frozen locally before being shipped to the United Kingdom.
Alexandra Scholes, a fish and seafood buyer at Lidl, said: “We first introduced Marine Stewardship Council-certified products into our stores in 2006, and have continually expanded this range ever since. We are proud to be the first British supermarket to sell MSC-assured whole lobster.”
Toby Middleton, MSC’s Northeast Atlantic program director, commented: “Lidl has worked closely with the MSC over the past year to build up their range of certified fish and shellfish. That hard work is really paying off with 41 of their wild seafood products now MSC-labeled, a 24% increase on 2014. It’s a real commitment to demonstrably sustainable sourcing that is providing a benefit to their customers. This lobster is a perfect example, a great value, sustainable product from the cold, pristine waters of Canada – a perfect Christmas treat.”
In 2014 the landed value of all lobster fisheries in Canada was valued at C$853 million, the highest of any fishery in the country. Of that, C$671 million, or 79%, was generated by independent harvesters in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence lobster trap fishery (New Brunswick and Nova Scotia), the Bay of Fundy and Scotian Shelf, which constitutes the economic backbone of many coastal communities across Atlantic Canada. Following an independent assessment conducted by SAI Global, lobsters sourced from this fishery became eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel, which demonstrates they come from a well-managed, environmentally sustainable source.
The main commercial market for the lobster is the United States, followed by Europe (primarily Belgium, France and the United Kingdom) and Asia (mainly China, Japan and South Korea). Lobster from Canada is sold in significant quantities both in live and processed (frozen lobster tails, whole frozen and lobster meat) formats to all these markets.
About the Marine Stewardship Council
The MSC is an international non-profit organization set up to help transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis. It runs the only certification and ecolabeling program for wild-capture fisheries consistent with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization Guidelines for the Ecolabeling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries. These guidelines are based upon the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing and require that credible fishery certification and ecolabeling schemes.