- Whole Foods will no longer sell Maine lobster in its stores.
- Governor Janet Mills said she and other lawmakers were “deeply frustrated” with the decision.
- Whole Foods was concerned that the fishing gear could harm North Atlantic right whales.
Marketplace Whole Foods announced it would stop selling Gulf of Maine lobster, following the lead of other retailers boycotting the shellfish from the state following pressure from environmental groups.
Following the grocery chain’s decision to stop selling the state’s lobster, Maine’s Democratic Governor Janet Mills, along with other state lawmakers, expressed their frustration in a statement. common.
“We are disappointed with Whole Foods’ decision and deeply frustrated that the Marine Stewardship Council’s suspension of the lobster industry’s sustainability certificate continues to harm the livelihoods of hardworking men and women on the Pacific Coast. Maine,” the statement read.
The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, which represents the Gulf of Maine fishery, also called the decision “disappointing” in a statement to the Maine Public.
Whole Foods told The Associated Press that its decision was based on concerns about North Atlantic right whales, a species of whale found off the east coast of the United States. Right whales can reach up to 52 feet in length and live for up to 70 years.
Seafood Watch, an environmental watchdog run by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, raised concerns in September that the fishing gear used to catch Maine lobsters could pose a risk of entanglement. for whales.
The Marine Stewardship Council then suspended the Gulf of Maine lobster fishing certificate in November. The suspension will take effect on December 15, according to a press release.
North Atlantic right whales are an endangered species, with fewer than 350 remaining, according to NOAA. The main causes of unusual mortality in right whales are entanglements with fishing gear and collisions with vessels.
In a statement to Maine Public, a Whole Foods spokesperson said the chain would continue to sell Maine lobster caught before the Gulf of Maine fishing certificate suspension took effect.
HelloFresh and Blue Apron also halted the sale of Maine lobsters in September, citing similar concerns.
Representatives from Whole Foods, the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative and the Marine Stewardship Council did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.