Fury awakening as Whole Foods pulls Maine lobster from its shelves as industry threatens right whales with fishing gear – hundreds of historic jobs could be lost
- Whole Foods will stop selling lobsters from the Gulf of Maine in an effort to save endangered whales
- The ruling comes after a Maine judge ruled that lobster fishing agencies will have to comply with new rules to protect whales by 2024.
- Whale advocates share their concerns about the risks of fishing gear, saying entanglement is a major threat to the mammals
- Some officials in Maine were disappointed by the decision, saying there has ‘never’ been a case of a whale death as a result of lobster gear in the state.
Environmental groups are once again siding with politicians and fishermen in New England in the wake of high-end retail giant Whole Foods’ decision to stop selling Maine lobster.
Whole Foods recently said it would stop selling lobster from Maine at hundreds of its stores nationwide.
The ‘Wok’ company cited decisions from a pair of sustainability organizations to walk away from its support of the American lobster fishing industry.
The organizations, the Marine Stewardship Council and Seafood Watch, both cited concerns about the risk to rare North Atlantic right whales from fishing gear. Getting entangled in gear is one of the biggest threats to whales.
Virginia Carter, Save America’s wildlife campaign associate at the Center for Environmental Research and Policy, said Whole Foods’ decision was an important action to protect the ‘critically endangered’ whale.
‘With fewer than 340 North Atlantic right whales known to exist, the species is swimming towards extinction unless things change,’ Carter said.
Job losses among fishermen in Maine could now mount — especially after a judge ruled that new lobster fishing restrictions would be in place through 2024.
Whole Foods will stop selling lobsters from the Gulf of Maine in an effort to save endangered whales
The ruling comes after a Maine judge ruled that lobster fishing agencies will have to comply with new rules to protect whales by 2024.
Whale advocates share their concerns about the risks of fishing gear, saying entanglement is a major threat to the mammals
Image: A woman purchasing food from the Hot Bar at Whole Foods
Whole Foods said in a statement last week that it is monitoring the situation and is “committed to working with suppliers, fisheries and environmental advocacy groups as it develops.”
The company’s decision to stop selling the lobsters drew immediate criticism in Maine, which is home to America’s largest lobster fishing industry.
The company’s decision to stop selling lobster drew immediate criticism in Maine.
State Governor Janet Mills, a Democrat, and its four-member congressional delegation said in a statement that the Marine Stewardship Council’s decision to suspend certification of the Bay of Maine lobster comes despite years of protection for whales in the region.
Officials said they were disappointed by the decision, especially since no whale deaths have been reported as a result of lobster gear.
‘In an appeal to retailers a few weeks ago, we outlined the facts: There has never been a right whale kill for Maine lobster gear; Maine Lobstermen has a 150-year history of sustainability; Mills and the delegation read the statement.
‘Despite this, the Marine Stewardship Council, along with retailers, wrongly and blindly decided to follow the recommendations of misguided environmental groups rather than science.’
Maine Governor Janet Mills, a Democrat, was disappointed by Whole Foods’ decision
Some officials said they were disappointed by the decision, especially since no whale deaths have been reported as a result of lobster gear. Pictured: A protest in Portland, Maine, on October 12 to support the lobster industry
Image: Workers processing cooked lobster claws in Maine
Earlier this month in Maine, a federal judge ruled that new lobster fishing restrictions designed to protect the rare whale be delayed until 2024 to give the government time to design them.
The ruling by US District Judge James Boasberg came on November 17 amid concerns about whale extinction and fishing gear.
He previously ruled that fishing restrictions issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service were not sufficient to protect whales. The agencies will have to come up with new rules by December 2024.
Meanwhile, Whole Foods wasn’t the first retailer to take lobster off the menu.
HelloFresh, the meal kit company, was one of several retailers that pledged to stop selling lobster in September, after California-based Seafood Watch placed American and Canadian lobster fisheries on its ‘red list’ of seafood to avoid. was kept.