Whole Foods has announced a temporary stop on purchasing lobster from Maine following the suspension of the Gulf of Maine fishery’s sustainability certification. The certification was suspended after a federal court ruling found fishing gear regulations designed to protect right whales weren’t meeting requirements.
Source: NEWS CENTER Maine/YouTube
The Marine Stewardship Council decided to suspend its sustainability certification for the Gulf of Maine fishery prompting Whole Foods to temporarily cut ties with the Maine supply. The announcement from the Marine Stewardship Council came shortly after the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) Seafood Watch program gave American lobsters from the Gulf of Maine a “Red” rating. This rating means that they recommend that consumers avoid them.
“As part of our commitment to responsible sourcing, we only sell wild-caught seafood from fisheries that are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or rated either ‘Green’ or ‘Yellow’ by the MBA Seafood Watch program,” a Whole Foods spokesperson wrote in a statement shared with Nexstar.
“These third-party verifications and ratings are critical to maintaining the integrity of our standards for all wild-caught seafood found in our seafood department.”
The MSC revoked its sustainability certification for the Gulf of Maine fishery. The fishery has produced more lobster than any other state for 30 years, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The MSC cited risks to the possible entanglement of marine mammals as its reason for suspending the certification. The Gulf of Maine fishery was audited recently, which promoted a federal court ruling that said it was not in compliance with new regulations and its previous sustainability regulations were no longer sufficient.
Although Whole Foods will still source lobster from locations outside of Maine, they have suspended their partnership with the Maine fishery.
Maine is home to a half-billion-dollar-a-year industry that many families rely on. Last year the fishermen caught a very large amount of lobsters. The ocean was bustling with the highly sought-after crustacean, and next year’s turnout is predicted to be similarly successful (for the fishermen, obviously not for the lobsters). However, lobster is so much more than expensive seafood, or a pricey industry, these are live, sentient beings.
Did you know that lobsters can live to be 100 years old if left alone and not killed prematurely for food? They can also feel pain and will pick at wounds or the stumps of torn-off limbs. But that’s not all. Lobsters are incredibly emotionally intelligent and can “recognize other individual lobsters, remember past acquaintances and have elaborate courtship rituals.” To pass them off as alive but emotionless is not just inhumane, it’s incorrect.
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