Fishery Improvement Projects

Bahamas Lobster

  • Species Name: Panulirus argus
  • Location/Region: Bahamas EEZ, Atlantic Ocean
  • Gear Type: Traps and casitas (condominiums)
  • Volume: 2,806 MT (2016 tail weight)

© Mac Stone/ WWF-US
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Bahamas Lobster

MSC Certified: August 7, 2018
Last Updated: September 2019

After working for several years with WWF and key partners on a fishery improvement project (FIP), The Bahamas spiny lobster fishery was certified on August 7, 2018, for achieving the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard, the Caribbean’s first fishery to do so.

The fishery sells more than 6 million pounds of spiny lobster tails commercially each year, exporting most of its product to the United States and Europe for an estimated $80 million dollars. About 9,000 fishermen earn a living fishing for lobster across 45,000 square miles of ocean.

In the past, critical issues challenged this fishery: capacity to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; adopting a harvest strategy; reviewing management performance; collecting reliable catch data; and accurately estimating stock health.

Since 2010, the active involvement of FIP stakeholders, including The Bahamas Marine Exporters Association, The Nature Conservancy, and The Bahamas Department of Marine Resources, as well as support from FIP participants, drove improvements in the fishery that allowed it to obtain MSC certification.

Lobsterman Bruno Underwood brings two lobsters to the surface in Spanish Wells, Bahamas

© Mac Stone/ WWF-US


FIPs provide a step-by-step approach to bring fishery management practices up to the MSC standard. With support from FIP participants and FIP stakeholders, the FIP achieved several important goals that enabled it to earn certification, including:
  • Conducting peer-reviewed stock assessments and establishing a data collection and management system to monitor the health of the lobster stock;

  • Establishing the multi-sector Bahamas Spiny Lobster Working Group to advise the government on management of the lobster fishery;

  • Instituting a zero-tolerance policy for undersized lobster for The Bahamas Marine Exporters Association;

  • Assessing the fishery for risks of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and stepping up enforcement to deter such behavior; and

  • Developing a lobster harvest strategy, harvest control rule, and procedures to review the performance of the lobster fishery management.


We encourage action across the supply chain to support FIP progress. A FIP Participant is an industry member that is part of the seafood supply chain for the FIP product and is actively engaged in supporting the FIP.

How Can I Become a FIP Participant?

A FIP Participant is an industry member that is part of the seafood supply chain for the FIP product (e.g., retailers, food service providers, suppliers, manufacturers, etc.) and is actively engaged in supporting the FIP. WWF-US encourages support of FIP participants, and will acknowledge FIP Participants on our sustainable seafood website and in other communications regarding our FIP work.

To be considered by WWF-US as a FIP Participant the participating entity is expected to follow the WWF-US FIP Participant Policy.

For more information about what a FIP is and how you can play a role, please contact

A First for Caribbean Fisheries: Bahamas Spiny Lobster Earns MSC Certification

August 7, 2018

On August 7, 2018, The Bahamas’ spiny lobster fishery became the first Caribbean fishery to earn certification from the Marine Stewardship Council, the leading global standard for wild-caught seafood environmental performance.


Get Involved

Become a FIP Participant

By signing on to support a FIP you are joining forces with other leaders in the industry that seek to help conserve marine ecosystems, protect livelihoods, and increase the number of sustainable fisheries and the overall supply of sustainable seafood.


© Antonio Busiello | WWF-US