Don’t Eat Listing Pulls Lawsuit From Maine Lobster Industry

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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – A coalition representing the Maine lobster industry is suing an aquarium on the other side of the country for recommending that seafood customers avoid buying lobsters harvested mostly in their state.

Industry groups including the Maine Lobstermen’s Association are suing the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California for defamation, arguing in a lawsuit filed Monday that their prized catch should not be on the “Red List” published by Seafood Watch, a conservation program. Is.

Last year Seafood Watch put out lobster from the US and Canada in its list Seafood to avoid because of the threat posed to the rare whale by becoming entangled in the fishing gear used to harvest American lobster, the species that makes up the majority of the US lobster market.

The endangered North American right whale numbers only about 340 and has declined in recent years.

But the lobster industry is arguing to the US District Court in Maine that the aquarium’s recommendation relies on poor and unfairly portrays lobster fishing as a threat to whales. The lawsuit asks the court to compel the aquarium to remove the “defamatory statements” from its website and materials, court records state.

Bean Bean Lobster Inc. “This is an important lawsuit that will help undo the damage done by people who have no knowledge of the care lobsters take to protect the ecosystem and the ocean,” said John Petersdorff, chief executive officer of the Pacific Ocean. Is.” Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, in a deposition.

The Aquarium says its recommendations are correct, based on the best available evidence. It says that right whales are really vulnerable to entanglement in fishing gear.

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The lawsuit “ignores the extensive evidence that these fisheries pose a serious threat to the survival of endangered North Atlantic right whales, and they seek to undermine the First Amendment rights of a beloved institution that speaks about the importance of a healthy ocean.” educates the public,” said Kevin Connor, a spokesman for the aquarium.

Another group, the Marine Stewardship Council, last year suspended a fixture certification This rewarded Maine’s lobster industry over concerns about harm to whales. The of sustainability recommendations has caused some retailers to stop selling lobster.

The US lobster industry is based mostly in Maine. industry brought 98 million pound lobster Last year for docs. This was lower than the previous year, but historically a much higher number.