MFU and First Nations collaborate in lobster seeding efforts

This week the communities of Listuguj, Eel River Bar, and Pabineau collaborated with Homarus Inc. to seed approximately 40,000 lobster larvae in the Upper Bay of Chaleur. The aim of this initiative is to build sustainable lobster stocks in the area.

The First Nation communities together form the Gespe’gewaq Mi’gmaq Resource Council (GMRC). Based in Listuguj, it is a non-profit environmental company focused on improving aquatic resources through research and education activities.

According to Victoria LaBillois, CEO of the GMRC, “Working together with stakeholders in the region is key to ensuring the sustainability of the stocks. This initiative demonstrates an ongoing commitment by the GMRC and its member communities in building sustainable resources.”

Homarus Inc., a non-profit R&D group located in Shediac, NB; and managed by the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, grew the larvae until stage IV through its hatchery project based in Shippagan, NB. It is believed that growing larvae to this stage increases their chances of survival in the wild.

Martin Mallet, director of Homarus Inc., says, “Since opening the hatchery in 2001, we have been able to seed around 2 million lobsters around the Maritimes. This represents a significant effort in maintaining lobster stocks in the region.”

In 2007 and 2008 the GMRC seeded 15,000 and 55,000 larvae respectively. Meanwhile, the community of Eel River Bar seeds lobsters on an annual basis.

It takes approximately seven to eight years before a lobster reaches market size. Recent survey counts indicate that the benefits of earlier stocking activities will be realized in the next couple of years.