Fishermen, Pols Seeing Red Over Whole Foods Lobster Ban

Nov 30, 2022

The Dangers of Lobsters Fishing to Right Whales

Maine politicians and fishermen are snapping back at a decision by Whole Foods, the supermarket chain. Whole Foods has decided to stop selling lobster in its stores. Why? To help save endangered whales.

Whole Foods said it would pull lobster from its 500-plus US stores. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Seafood Watch suggested they do so. The groups say that lobster fishing threatens North American right whales. They can get caught in fishing gear.

​​A person who works at Save America’s Wildlife Campaign explained that there are less than 340 of the whales left. Her name is Virginia Carter.

Carter called the Whole Foods decision an “important action” to protect the whales.

Lobster fishing has a major claw-hold on Maine. It's a big part of the state's identity and economy. Politicians and industry members are feeling more than a little pinched by the decision. Lobster fishermen had a big year in 2021. They caught $725 million worth of the shellfish. That was a record!

Maine Governor Janet Mills said she was “disappointed” by the Whole Foods action. MSC also suspended its certification of the lobster industry. Mills said that frustrated her.

“There has never been a right whale death attributed to Maine lobster gear,” Mills said. “Maine lobstermen have a 150-year history of sustainability; and Maine’s lobstering community has consistently demonstrated their commitment to protecting right whales.”

Whole Foods is not the first company to ban lobster sales. Hello Fresh did the same in September.

The infographic provides the reader with a visual representation of _______. (Common Core RI.5.7; RI.6.7)
a. how whales can avoid boat strikes and fishing gear
b. Maine’s annual lobster sales
c. the number of North Atlantic right whales still in existence
d. how whales can become entangled in lobster fishing gear
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