Tag Archives: Seafood Watch

Maine lobstermen will not be scapegoated over right whale

New England fishermen are bracing themselves for another salvo of regulation and activist pressure after the tragic entanglement death of a right whale that washed ashore on Martha’s Vineyard. While the future of our fisheries is uncertain, 2023 showed how much resilience and determination there is in our maritime communities. My organization – the New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association – and our many partners are prepared to ward off any attempt to scapegoat Maine lobstermen for the declining population of the majestic right whale. Regulators and out-of-state agitators are together impugning one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world for right whale deaths. Their claims are baseless and contradicted by their own data. As agencies and NGOs ponder next steps, they might consider the fighting spirit this last year has showcased among fishermen. more, >>click to read<< by Dustin Delano 12:06

Here’s how activists use lobstermen as bait to endanger Maine industry, communities

Far left activists are exploiting the recent death of an endangered whale to imperil the future of Maine’s iconic lobster fishery. These organizations have poor command of the facts and no knowledge of our industry. Their agitating imperils our fishery and the working communities that depend on it. Organizations like the National Resources Defense Council, the Conservation Law Foundation and others are exploiting this event to pressure regulators to impose new rules. These organizations are restless and can claim some success. A self-styled watchdog called Seafood Watch convinced Whole Foods to stop stocking Maine lobster products late in 2022. 3 Videos, more, >>click to read<< By Dustin Delano 16:12

Massachusetts lobstermen drop lawsuit against California aquarium that told people to stop eating lobster

The Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association has ended its fight against a California aquarium that says people shouldn’t buy and eat lobster because of the risks the fishery poses on the endangered North Atlantic right whale. A federal judge in the Northern District of California on Monday dismissed a class action lawsuit that four Bay State lobstermen filed last March against the Monterey Bay Aquarium after the two sides agreed to end the months-long dispute with prejudice. Monterey Bay in September 2022 gave the American lobster a “red rating” on its Seafood Watch, recommending consumers to avoid the species caught by trap from the Gulf of Maine, Southern New England and Georges Bank stocks. more, >>click to read<< 19:32

The Case: Defamation suit marks shift in fight over lobstering – MLA says Seafood Watch assessment intentionally misstates facts

A University of Maine Law School professor says it’s unlikely a judge or jury will actually settle the science around lobstering’s impact on North Atlantic right whale mortality in a recently filed defamation lawsuit against Seafood Watch and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation. Instead, Dmitry Bam explained, the case—if it ever reaches trial—will probably turn on whether the aquarium’s seafood sustainability program was negligent or reckless about the evidence it actually used to claim that scientific data demonstrate that lobstering harms the endangered whale species. Last fall, Seafood Watch put American lobsters on its red list of foods to avoid because it “is caught or farmed in ways that have a high risk of causing harm to wildlife or the environment.” >click to read< 11:45

Monterey Bay Aquarium In Hot Water Over Alleged Defamatory Statements About Maine Lobster Industry

The aquarium’s Seafood Watch program assigns ratings to varieties of seafood based on environmental impact and sustainability. In September of 2022, Seafood Watch published a “red” rating for lobster caught in certain Canadian and U.S. fisheries. Seafood Watch’s current red, “avoid” rating instructs the public to “take a pass on these for now. They’re caught or farmed in ways that harm marine life or the environment.” The aquarium’s rating, allegedly based on “all scientific data,” claimed that lobster fishing practices in the stated region (specifically, pot, trap and gillnet fisheries) pose “significant risks of entanglement” to North Atlantic right whales and that the fisheries are putting the species “at risk of extinction” and therefore could not be considered “sustainable.” The Gulf of Maine is the center of the U.S. lobster industry.  >click to read< 09:12

California sustainability group told people to stop eating lobster, so Massachusetts lobstermen file suit

Standing on a dock in his hometown of Gloucester, Mass., lobsterman Arthur Sawyer looked out at the peaceful, calm waters off of Cape Ann. Sawyer, president of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, and three other Bay State lobster fishers filed a class action lawsuit earlier this month against Monterey Bay Aquarium and the international Marine Stewardship Council, groups that consider lobstering a major risk to North Atlantic right whales and, hence, people shouldn’t buy lobsters anymore. “They have gone overboard targeting Massachusetts when we’ve been doing everything,” Sawyer told the Herald. “We have 100 percent closure right now. There is no place safer for right whales right now on the east coast than in Massachusetts waters.” >click to read< 11:12

Landlocked Congressman Targets Maine’s Lobstermen Over Whales

When a senior congressman from a land-locked state in the American West drops a bill pertaining to the Atlantic right whale out of the blue, it just seems fishy. But that is exactly what happened when Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-NM) introduced a bill for the sole purpose of undoing the six-year pause on enforcement of NOAA rules that Maine’s congressional delegation had wrestled out of budget negotiations late last year. Why? A long-time progressive, Grijalva until recently chaired the House Committee on Natural Resources, where he welcomed the testimony of Monterey Bay Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard. Home to Seafood Watch, the group that “red-listed” Maine lobster last year, Packard’s Monterey Bay Aquarium has made fast enemies in the Pine Tree State. >click to read< 08:07

Mother Jones Joins the Anti-Maine Lobster Bandwagon

Mother Jones magazine, a cornerstone of the progressive establishment, ran a lengthy piece today entitled: “To Save Whales, Should We Stop Eating Lobster?” The 2,300-word article can be seen as a reconsideration of the radical environment push to “red list” and otherwise boycott the iconic Maine fishery, and it included some surprise praise for the industry from a federal regulator. But the Monterey Bay Aquarium, sponsors of the left-wing group Seafood Watch, which red-listed the Maine lobster as non-sustainable last summer, is pressuring NOAA to come down harder on the lobster fishery. >click to read< 07:52

Republicans Want to Defend Maine Sovereignty Over Lobstering Waters, Punish Lobster Boycotters

Republican leaders in the Maine House and Senate are taking aim at those who target the state’s iconic lobster industry by introducing legislation to repeal tax exemptions on equipment for companies that “red-list,” or otherwise boycott the products of Maine industry, they said in a joint press conference at the state capitol Tuesday. Together with this bill, another legislative initiative calls on the state to restore Maine’s sovereignty out to the 12-mile mark offshore. Currently waters beyond three miles are considered federal domain. >click to read< 08:46

Republicans take aim at Whole Foods’ tax incentives after chain pulls Maine lobster off shelves – >click to read< 

Walton: Maine lobsters — a coast to coast dispute

Some years back I wrote about my distaste for seafood. If it swims in our oceans or lakes, I don’t eat it. To my surprise, many readers acknowledged they feel the same. So perhaps they are as shocked as I am that I rise to the defense of the Maine lobster industry, which finds itself on a prominent and respected environmental “watch” list, threatening thousands of jobs up and down the Maine coast. Why should a guy who prefers a good burger care? >click to read< 08:19

Lobster industry leaders vow to continue fight to protect Maine’s iconic fishery

Maine lobster industry officials told business leaders Thursday that they will continue to fight what they see as unfair and unnecessary federal rules meant to protect endangered right whales. “We are well over a $2 billion industry to the state primarily operating in communities without other job prospects,” Patrice McCarron, head of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association said. “It cannot be overstated.” Lobsterman Curt Brown, who is also a marine biologist, said the industry has been taking steps to protect the whales since the 1990s, including replacing floating ropes, using weak links so ropes break more easily and removing 30,000 miles of rope from the Gulf of Maine. >click to read< 07:34

How Did Gulf of Maine Lobster Get Canceled?

No one confessed to knowing that, just a few weeks before, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, an agenda setting program for sustainability-minded seafood buyers and chefs, had shocked the industry by placing Gulf of Maine lobster on its “red list” of species to avoid. Not Dodie Neo, an Ohioan retiree who’d been in line for 45 minutes when I approached her. Knowing about the red listing, however, wouldn’t have stopped her from ordering. “The aquarium has a right to put lobster on whatever list it wants,” she told me. “And I have a right to eat it.” Way down the road, at Highroller Lobster Co., in Portland’s Old Port, the crowd skewed younger and hipper, but wait times were just as long and customers just as surprised to hear about lobster getting canceled. After some discussion, most in line seemed to agree with Rick Conlin, visiting from western Massachusetts, that it didn’t much matter. “I vote for the lobstermen,” he said. >click to read< 10:23

LETTER: Boycott of lobster won’t save whales

This is a response to the stories “Retailers pull lobster from menus after ‘red list’ warning”, and “Congressman wants to halt aquarium money after lobster spat”. In all my life I never heard of such a ridiculous way to save the whales — Seafood Watch adding lobster to its “red list” of seafood to avoid. These people are nuts. How are we going to save whales by asking restaurants to take lobsters off their menu? >click to read< By Sam Parisi 10:10

Letter: Right whale entanglements – the undocumented and unknown statistics

Although there hasn’t been a documented right whale in Maine lobstermen’s gear in recent years, most entanglements are undocumented and the gear’s origin is usually unknown. (For brevity, “whales” is in reference to right whales.) Canadian snow crab gear is a major threat, and the risk of vessel strikes is high, but that doesn’t absolve the lobster fishery. We typically don’t know how, when or where whales die, but we do know that the lobster fishery likely plays a critical role. Politicians and lobstermen repeatedly claim that “no right whale has gotten entangled in a Maine lobstermen’s gear for 18 years and there are no recorded cases of the gear leading to the death of a right whale.” This is very misleading. The whole letter is misleading. >click to read< 12:43

Red Listing Monterey Bay Aquarium Act – Maine politicians call for defunding of Monterey Bay Aquarium

Lawmakers from Maine have introduced a bill that would defund the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Seafood Watch following the organizations red listing of the American lobster. Congressman Jared Golden and Senator Angus King announced on Wednesday that they were introducing the Red Listing Monterey Bay Aquarium Act in the House and Senate. The bill would prohibit federal taxpayer funds from going to the aquarium, Seafood Watch and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. According to a release from Golden’s office, the aquarium has received nearly $200 million in taxpayer money since 2001. >click to read< 15:45

Maine Elected Officials Rebuke “Seafood Watch” But Stay Silent on Endangered Species Act’s Threat to Lobstermen

Maine lobster was recently placed on the unsustainable “red list” by the environmental group Seafood Watch, a non-profit associated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Gov. Janet Mills, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden all came out in defense of the Maine lobster industry, defending its sustainability bona fides. It was a nice photo op, but the truth is King, Collins, and Pingree had plenty of warnings that the environmental left was using the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to damage Maine’s economy and sovereignty. They chose to do nothing. >click to read< 09:14

Save Right Whales from Radical Environmentalists Who Exploit Them

Americans agree with protecting the endangered Northern Atlantic right whale. But true conservation efforts don’t necessitate displacing lobstermen and recreational anglers in the process. With fewer than 350 whales left, ambulance-chasing opportunists masquerading as conservationists conveniently swoop in on the whale’s behalf only to leave economic —and environmental—destruction in their paths. This endangered whale requires protection from radical environmentalists who exploit them. Preservationists purporting to care about its well-being, however, distort the threats posed to the whales. >click to read< 08:06

It’s now or never for Maine’s lobster industry

Driving through and around Belfast on Sunday, I was struck by the half-dozen or so desolated chicken farms. In my youth, Waldo County’s poultry business had gone belly-up. But it seemed more poignant now. Maybe it was because I’ve been stewing over the threat Maine lobster’s industry today faces from an unholy alliance of the federal government and out-of-state special interest groups. Killing Maine’s iconic lobster-fishery is both immoral and unnecessary. Unlike Waldo County’s chicken industry, which in the late 1970s and early 1980s succumbed to competition from Arkansas and Delaware, it is not market forces that Maine lobstermen fear so much as boycotts and excessive regulation based on unproven science. >click to read< By Sam Patten 12:26

Maine lobstermen say ‘red listing’ a threat to their livelihoods without cause

“I truly believe the lobstermen have done everything we’ve been asked by National Marine Fisheries and the DMR,” said Gerry Cushman, who has been lobstering in Port Clyde for 38 years. “We’re not the bad guys here,” he said. “You ask us to do it, we do it. So why are you putting us on the red list? “ The Seafood Watch listing is recommending consumers not buy American lobster from either the U.S. or Canada. Maine is the primary producer of that lobster for the U.S. Cushman said he believes Seafood Watch has taken the action against Maine fishermen to pressure them to stop fighting proposed regulations in court. Steve Train, a lobsterman from Long Island in Casco Bay, echoed those points, saying Maine fishermen have followed all the whale protection rules, even though they have also been challenging them in court. Video, >click to read< 19:37

Lobstermen Don’t Deserve Monterey Bay Rating

This past February Monterey Bay hinted it might consider red listing Northeast lobster, not because the fishery isn’t healthy but because of the danger of entanglement in lobster trap lines for the highly endangered North Atlantic right whales. The announcement, which became official on Sept. 6, has spurred an intense campaign to reverse this classification. Some of the data suggest this recommendation might be an overreaction. Another thing missing from this story is how much our fishermen are doing to avoid entanglements: removing “ghost gear,” doing 10 m.p.h. in the bay, and, most significantly, holding back until May, which keeps their gear out of the water when the whales are here. >click to read< 08:36

FFAW, N.L. government team up in push back against lobster, snow crab being labeled foods to avoid

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program which runs what it calls a science-based seafood recommendation list to inform consumers, chefs, and business professionals, placed all Canadian lobster and snow crab on an “avoid” list because of what the group calls a potential impact for North Atlantic right whales to become entangled in fishing gear. But Jason Spingle, secretary treasurer of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW), says the snow crab and lobster recommendation is “totally unfounded.” Spingle said of the hundreds of harvesters he has heard from, none have actually seen a right whale while fishing. What’s more, Spingle said, he only knows of two sightings in Newfoundland waters, neither during lobster fishing season and zero reports of entanglements. >click to read< 07:37

Why Was Lobster Red Listed? Defending Lobster Fishing

In the early 1970’s I was the youngest licensed lobsterman in the state of Connecticut (10 years old). I put my traps out off of Stamford harbor, pulling them in my 10′ Boston Whaler with a 8hp Envinrude. Sales of the lobster kept me in gas. Baiting the traps and dealing with the catch (mostly ghost crabs) put me off of crustaceans. I also love whales, although they do scare me ever since one bumped the boat I was sailing in the Gulf of Maine in the summer of ’81. So I had to read this The New York Times article: To Save Whales, Don’t Eat Lobster, Watchdog Group Says. And it’s….terrible. Graph, photos, >click to read< Written by Perry Boyle 08:55

Provincial Government Condemns Addition of Snow Crab and Lobster to Seafood Watch ‘Avoid’ List

The Provincial Government has said a decision by the organization Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch that adds snow crab and lobster harvested in Newfoundland and Labrador to the group’s “avoid’ list is unwarranted and irresponsible. The US-based organization recently released an updated seafood rating that placed North American lobster and Canadian snow crab in the ’avoid’ category. Some retailers and consumers in North America and worldwide use these rankings to help make seafood buying decisions. The listing is based on the potential impact for North Atlantic Right Whales to become entangled in fishing gear. >click to read< 10:01

East Coast lobster harvest sustainable, according to non-profit’s criteria — but a Seafood Watch report advises consumers to avoid it

A recent report by a California-based seafood assessment group has the East Coast lobster industry seeing red. While Seafood Watch has put lobster on its “red list” and recommend consumers avoid it, lobster fisheries in most areas of Atlantic Canada have been certified sustainable by another group that has significant credentials in the business of seafood accreditation. In existence for about 25 years, the Marine Stewardship Council is a global non-profit organization that works to end overfishing around the world. Catherine Pigeon-Dubeau, fisheries and commercial manager for MSC in Eastern Canada, said the last review of the East Coast lobster fishery was in July of this year, and the Blue Label certification remains in place. >click to read< 14:10

I’m for the local guys

Just to let you know, in case you might have forgotten, that I am a Hoosier. I was born and raised in Indiana. I am from away. I tell you this stuff to let you know that while I am from away, my bride convinced me to adopt this state and switch my allegiance to reflect the views of my friends and neighbors. So, I think it is a damn shame that a scientific organization, from away, from California, no less, declared war on my local friends, the lobster fishermen. Somehow, without evidence, a respected marine scientific institution encouraged the nation to eliminate lobsters from stores and menus. Despite their statistical evidence to the contrary, they decreed that lobster fishing gear is the main reason the population of the mighty right whale is in peril. >click to read< 07:36

Maine’s lobster industry and its supporters are fighting back after Seafood Watch placed lobster on a list

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch on Sept. 5 added the U.S. lobster fishery to a “red list” of seafood to avoid because it’s harvested in ways that are likely to harm wildlife or the environment. American lobster was included because of the risk that endangered North Atlantic right whales can become entangled in vertical lobstering lines. Fourteen types of seafood were added to the list. Members and supporters of the Maine lobster industry, which landed 108 million pounds of lobster in 2021 at a value of $735 million, immediately denounced the listing as unfair. No right whale deaths can be attributed to Maine gear, the industry backers said, and there have been no documented entanglements in Maine gear since 2004. >click to read< 19:17

Maine lobstermen, politicians rally in protest of fishing restrictions and Seafood Watch’s recommended boycott

At a rally in Portland’s Old Port on Friday, they protested a federal judge’s ruling issue Thursday allowing the National Marine Fisheries Service, a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to impose limits on where and how lobstermen fish in order to protect endangered North Atlantic Right Whales. The rally was also protesting Seafood Watch, a California-based sustainable seafood advocacy group affiliated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, now recommending food distributors and restaurants boycott Maine lobster in the name of saving the whales. Video, >click to read< 09:55

Lawmakers issue strong rebuke after con group adds lobster to ‘red list’

Seafood Watch, a conservation organization based at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, this week put North Atlantic lobster on its “red list” of seafood to avoid, as a hope to protect endangered species like the North Atlantic right whale. Since the announcement, lawmakers from both states, Maine and Massachusetts, have issued a strong rebuke against the conservation organization, coming to the defense of an industry they say is unfairly being targeted. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine., held a press conference with Maine’s Governor Janet Mills and joined a statement cosigned by Maine’s entire congressional delegation, calling the “red list” designation “reckless” and “irresponsible.” “Massachusetts Lobstermen know this issue, care about this issue, and have remained committed to doing their part despite regulations that entail major sacrifices by the industry,” Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. Video, >click to read< 09:50

New England and Canada: Seafood watch list weighs ‘red-listing’ lobster. Lobstermen push back

An influential arbiter of the sustainability of seafood is considering whether to drop lobster caught off Maine and Canada from its roster of approved products. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch announced this week that it is reviewing whether to add eastern Atlantic lobster harvests and other trap-pot and gillnet fisheries to its Red List,” due to the risk they pose for the survival of the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Last year another seafood rating program, the Marine Stewardship Council, suspended and later reinstated its certification of part of Maine’s lobster fishery. Massachusetts lobstermen are pushing back on the description of their industry as unsustainable. >click to read< 10:39