Tag Archives: Whole Foods

In class action lawsuit, Massachusetts lobstermen fight efforts to ‘red list’ their catch

Four Massachusetts lobstermen have filed a class action suit against the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Marine Stewardship Council, groups that urged distributors and grocery stores to avoid purchasing lobster because of the fishery’s impact on North Atlantic right whales. “We’ve always been like the punching bag for, like, the whale people. So I’m glad we’re finally striking back,” said plaintiff Jarrett Drake, a lobsterman who fishes out of New Bedford, “because it gives us a chance to try to at least defend ourselves.” “When [Montery Bay Aquarium] chooses to tag a product as one to be avoided (“red-list”) on Seafood Watch, it acts with near certainty that the companies it collaborates with will immediately discontinue that product,” the plaintiffs say in their complaint. >click to read< 08:35

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< 

A whale of a tale – revisited

Yes, a whale. The carcass of a 30-foot-long juvenile humpback whale washed ashore on Farnham Point. According to Kellee Joost, secretary, Farnham Point Association, on Dec. 23, the storm surge moved the massive carcass from Inner Heron Island, where it had rested for a while, depositing it in the little creek running beside the community shore picnic spot. While the weighty whale (sorry, I couldn’t resist) became an attraction for the few Farnham point winter folk, it would soon begin to decompose with the attendant odors. However, the best news coming out from the Farnham Point whale adventure, especially for our seafaring friends who fish for lobster, was that there was no, I repeat, no lobster fishing line attached to the carcass. In case you have been hiding under a rock, our local lobster fishing community is under attack from a California conservation association which, without any proof, accuses them and their gear of killing northern right whales, an endangered species. >click to read< 09:11

How do you show a lobster some love? A Cape Breton researcher has plenty of ideas

Michelle Theriault, a marine biologist at Université Sainte-Anne, tells her students to heap loving care on lobsters destined to markets in Auckland and Athabasca – and everywhere in between. So, how do you dote on lobsters? I dropped in on one of Theriault’s Zoom classes for lobster exporters to get some answers to that question. And while she was narrow-casting her class from the University’s Marine Research Centre at Petit-de-Grat, Cape Breton, lobster fishers were headed to sea to dump their traps on the opening day of the winter season south of Halifax. >click to read< 16:22

Lobster more than a Maine event

The headline said that Whole Foods would no longer be selling Maine lobster in its stores. My first reaction was to wonder what the lowly, although expensive crustacean had done to warrant such action from Whole Foods usually described as an upscale grocery chain that is owned by Amazon and as such is a part of the Jeff Bezos’ empire. To add insult to injury the California based Monterey Bay Aquarium through its environment focused seafood watch went and “red listed” Maine lobsters. I guess that means shipments of Maine lobsters will be stopped at the California border. I wonder if that includes the border with Mexico where just about anything gets through? Obviously, the Maine lobstering industry is up in arms over all this. >click to read< By Thomas Kirkpatrick Sr 12:56

Maine Republicans want to end tax breaks over lobster bans

Legislation expected to be filed by the GOP minority for consideration in the next session would prevent Whole Foods, or other groups that ban lobster sales from getting tax breaks available to Maine businesses. Last week, Whole Foods announced plans to stop selling lobster caught in the Gulf of Maine at hundreds of its retail stores across the country. During the Tuesday briefing on the proposal, Republican lawmakers framed the issue as one of survival for the state’s storied lobster industry, which they say is struggling amid labor costs, foreign competition and costly federal regulations aimed at preventing whales from becoming entangled in fishing gear. >click to read< 14:54

‘We’re the easiest target’: Maine lobstermen snap over regulations row

When French President Emmanuel Macron was treated to butter-poached Maine lobster at President Joe Biden’s first state dinner, the gesture was hailed 500 miles to the north. It was seen as a gesture of solidarity with an industry that is reeling from the latest in a series of blows in recent years. Having survived the pandemic and a trade war with the Chinese during the Trump years, Maine’s 10,000 lobstermen hoped brighter times were ahead. But in mid-November, the Marine Stewardship Council, an independent sustainability policeman, stepped in, triggering a clash between lobstermen, environmentalists, and the upmarket Jeff Bezos-owned Whole Foods grocery chain. >click to read< 07:34

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

How could Maine lobster get off Monterey Bay Aquarium’s red list?

Jeff White, a lobsterman of 30 years out of York Harbor, said lobstermen from Maine are not hitting or having gear tangled in the endangered North Atlantic right whale’s path, which is the basis for all the increased regulations and legal battles in the first place. “Anyone using this body of water, interacting with the right whales, needs to sit at the table… you can’t just pick one, especially one that has no impact,” White said. “If you are interested in rebuilding the right whale population that is the wrong road to take.” But if the lobster industry wants to be taken off Monterey Bay Aquarium’s red list, and to be taken off suspension from the MSC, what exactly needs to be done? Video, >click to read< 09:34

Whole Foods to stop selling Gulf of Maine lobster

The Marine Stewardship Council suspended the certification of sustainability for the fishery last week, citing a failure to comply with laws meant to protect the North Atlantic right whale. The fishery was also added to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “red list” in September due to the same fishing practices which the seafood watch program deems harmful. Whole Foods says it will stop buying Gulf of Maine lobster until the suspension is lifted or the fishery is taken off the red list. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association feels the MSC decertification is the “direct result of the federal government’s overreach and its misuse of science in overestimating risk from the Maine lobster fishery,”  >click to read< 08:25

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

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

Whole Foods’ seafood plant closing, impacting 60 employees

The mayor of Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S.A., is “disappointed” that Whole Foods Market is suddenly closing its seafood processing facility in the city.The Austin, Texas-based retailer notified the city via a letter to Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken that its North Atlantic Region will be permanently closing its Pigeon Cove Seafood facility in Gloucester, effective 15 August. “I am disappointed at the decision made by Whole Foods Market to close its Pigeon Cove Seafood Facility. >click to read<19:56

Alaskan halibut, caught by a century-old Seattle boat, provides a glimpse of Amazon’s strategy with Whole Foods

From the deck of his 106-year-old halibut schooner, undergoing a seasonal overhaul at Fisherman’s Terminal in Seattle, skipper Wade Bassi has better insight than most into what’s happening at Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market, at least as pertains to the product he knows best. While he doesn’t buy halibut much — he’s got a freezer full of it — Bassi, 43 years a fisherman, keeps an eye on how it’s handled and presented in the grocery stores and fish markets. >click to read<09:53

AquaBounty’s Stotish responds to Sobeys decision against selling GE salmon

Since the first genetically engineered salmon was sold in Canada this summer, retailers and environmental groups have stepped up their opposition to the product. After four years of review, the Canadian government declared GE salmon safe for consumption and allowed it to be sold in 2016. However, resistance has been growing,,, Retailers have responded, with Sobeys, which operates 15,000 stores across Canada, recently becoming the latest grocery chain in North America to declare that it will not be selling AquaBounty’s AquAdvantage salmon, after Loblaws and Metro declared they would not sell GE salmon earlier this year. click here to read the story 10:40

Whole Foods drops Honolulu fish auction until it proves fair boat labor

Whole Foods has suspended buying fish from the Hawaii fish auction amid concerns over the labor practices of some fishing vessels. It’s an issue Always Investigating first reported on back in 2013 and is now getting national attention. Fishermen describe horrid working conditions, rock bottom pay, and even allegations of international crew captivity aboard some of the boats that dock at Honolulu Harbor. Industry watchers say the Whole Foods move could be just the first of many, and the fish auction is already working on a system to weed out vessels with unfair labor practices. Telling Always Investigating they have “zero tolerance for human rights abuses,” Whole Foods said Tuesday: “We have suspended purchases of the small amount of fish we source from the Hawaiian seafood auction until we can ensure the working conditions on these boats align with our core values.” Read the story here 12:20

Read Foreign fishermen confined to boats catch Hawaiian seafood Click here

Whole Foods denies that it sells shrimp peeled by slave labor in Thailand.

“After thorough investigation, we’re confident Thai Union shrimp at our stores did not come from [an] illicit processing facility,” the retailer tweeted Tuesday morning. Whole Foods has a built its business on attracting customers who are willing to pay for high-quality food, such as organic meat and dairy products. But the store was also one of the retailers named in an extensive investigation by the Associated Press, which found workers in Thailand who were kept as slaves to clean shrimp that’s sold at many major U.S. retailers. Read the article here 08:49

Slave-labor shrimp report spurs calls for boycott of U.S. supermarkets, restaurants

“All of us may find ourselves eating a slave-made product without knowing it, but once we know it, we all have a moral obligation, I believe, to make a personal decision to boycott it,” said New Jersey Republican Congressman Chris Smith, a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee. Said Mark Lagon, president of the group Freedom House: “This isn’t a matter of low pay or crummy working conditions. This isn’t a matter of saving lots of money to choose the product that is made by cutting corners. This is the flagrant abuse of fellow human beings. … Americans won’t stand for that.” Read the article here 11:18

Global Supermarkets Selling Shrimp Peeled by Slaves

Every morning at 2 a.m., they heard a kick on the door and a threat: Get up or get beaten. For the next 16 hours, No. 31 and his wife stood in the factory that owned them with their aching hands in ice water. They ripped the guts, heads, tails and shells off shrimp bound for overseas markets, including grocery stores and all-you-can-eat buffets across the United States. After being sold to the Gig Peeling Factory, they were at the mercy of their Thai bosses, trapped with nearly 100 other Burmese migrants. Children worked alongside them, including a girl so tiny she had to stand on a stool to reach the peeling table. Read the article here 08:01

Was that salmon born in Chile or Scotland? Buyer says she was pressured to mislabel fish

That salmon you paid top dollar for at Whole Foods because you thought it had spent its youth frolicking in a Scottish fish farm might just be some fraud flown in from Chile. The former head buyer for one of the nation’s biggest providers of Scottish smoked salmon claims in a federal lawsuit that her bosses pressured her to dupe major retailers into thinking they were buying prized Scottish salmon when they were instead getting a cheap Chilean catch. Read more here  11:21