Maine lobster is losing its “sustainable” label due to its dangers to whales

Suspension

Master guide to seafood announce Wed, Maine’s famous lobster is no longer considered sustainable, given that Whales are on the verge of extinction They die after getting caught in fishing gear.

decision to cancel Marine Stewardship CouncilThe distinctive blue label is a slap to a business already feeling the economic straits amid falling lobster prices, rising fuel costs, and questions about its environmental practices. Conservationists have launched an aggressive campaign to do more to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whales, whose numbers continue to decline. Just An estimated 340 people Remains.

“We hope and are looking for an opportunity to work with fisheries and others to see how we can help them move forward,” said Erica Feller, regional director at the Marine Stewardship Council. “We hope that the fisheries can regain the certificate.”

Environmental reporter Dino Grandoni explains how climate change threatens right whale species. (Video: Dino Grandoni, Casey Silvestri/The Washington Post)

Retailers across the United States Sell ​​seafood rated by the Marine Stewardship Council, a nonprofit organization that uses independent auditors to determine if fisheries are well managed and that they are not harming other species or ocean habitats. This announcement comes just one month after another sustainability guide, Seafood Watch, announced be warned Buy lobsters caught in US or Canadian waters.

Combined, the removal of sustainability labels is putting ever more pressure on the average diner to avoid ordering a lobster roll.

These whales are on edge. Now comes climate change — and wind power.

“These are wild animals that we’re affected by,” said Jennifer Deanto Kimerelli, vice president of global ocean initiatives at Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, which manages seafood monitoring.

But the Lobstermen and their congressional representatives are outraged by the suggestion that eating New England’s famous oysters is bad for the environment.

“This is not a slap on the wrist,” Sen. Angus King (Maine), an independent caucus with the Democrats, said in an interview with Seafood Watch Review. “They are literally trying to put these people out of business.”

They say that the thousands of licensed Maine lobsters adhere to the conservation law and a lot of measures have been taken to reduce the risk of right whales being caught. Democratic and Republican state lawmakers say there is little evidence that lobster use leads to declines in endangered whale populations.

“These are neighbors in small communities, on islands and peninsulas, who did everything they could to harvest this resource in a responsible way that allowed the next generation and the next generation and the next to have the same job,” said Steve Train, a lobsterman based on Long Island, Maine.

While right whales face many stresses, including collisions with boats and a warming ocean, entanglements in fishing gear are major cause of deathAccording to the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Last year, the agency, which is responsible for protecting the species, updated its safeguards by forcing lobstermen to reduce the amount of rope in the water and restricting lobster fishing to part of the year.

But in July, the district court rule in favor From the Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental groups who have argued that the government’s new rope law has not met its legal obligations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to protect whales.

The Gulf of Maine lobster fishery has lost MSC certification once before, in 2020, after a similar lawsuit. The suspension will be lifted the following year.

US District Judge James Boasberg is expected to issue a ruling on the next steps soon. And the National Marine Fisheries Service wants to finalize a stronger base by 2024.

“We’re watching the whale go extinct in real time,” said Christine Munsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. She added that the new regulations “will be tough, but this is what has to happen in order to save the species.”

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