Nicaragua Lobster

Fishery Improvement Projects

Nicaragua Lobster

  • Species Name: Spiny lobster (Panulirus argus)
  • Location/Region: Nicaragua EEZ, Caribbean Sea
  • Gear Type: Traps
  • Volume: 4,278 MT (2013, all gear types)

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Nicaragua Lobster

FIP Stage: 5 (Improvements on the Water)
Last Updated: October 2, 2018

Nicaragua is the largest producer of Caribbean spiny lobster in Central America. The fishery generates approximately $40 million dollars annually from exports, mainly to the United States. Thousands of Nicaraguans earn a livelihood through the fishery, from vessel owners and fishermen to packing plant employees. 

A critical issue challenging this fishery is the likelihood of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing that weakens management of the resource and equitable access for local livelihoods. Concurrent issues are a lack of new or improved data on stock status, bycatch, and habitat impacts from lobster traps.

The active involvement of FIP Stakeholders, including the Nicaraguan Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture (INPESCA), helps drive improvements against the MSC standard. 

  • © Mac Stone | WWF-US

  • © Mac Stone | WWF-US

What We Are Doing

FIP efforts address governance, fishing practices, and environmental impacts of the fishery so it can meet the MSC standard. This work is steered by FIP Participants and FIP Stakeholders and includes:
  • Establishing a Multi-Sectoral FIP Technical Committee, which is responsible for monitoring the implementation of FIP activities and ensuring that the FIP continues to advance to meet the MSC standard. 

  • Working with Nicaraguan government to officially adopt the lobster management plan which includes measures to address IUU fishing and has been updated with input from fishing communities.

  • Conducting a preliminary bi-national stock assessment to determine the health of the lobster stock shared between Honduras and Nicaragua.

  • Updating and implementing the Nicaragua spiny lobster harvest control rules. 

  • Reviewing and documenting the bycatch, habitat, and ecosystem impacts of the fishery.


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.
  • Costco Wholesale


  • The Kroger Co.

  • Hyatt Corporation

  • Sysco Corporation

  • Red Lobster

  • Tequesta Bay Foods, Inc.

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


The Marine Stewardship Council uses 28 performance indicators to assess the sustainability of fisheries. The chart represents the percentage of indicators that would likely pass, pass with conditions for improvement, or fail upon the fishery’s full assessment.

Nicaragua Lobster FIP Status

Initial Assessment

Implementing Improvements

We use a step-wise process to evaluate the fishery’s performance and identify sustainability issues, and then to implement improvements and report results. Want to dive deeper into this FIP’s progress on each of the MSC performance indicators? Visit

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