Gov. Janet Mills criticizes Whole Foods for decision to stop selling Maine lobster

  • Whole Foods will no longer sell Maine lobster in its stores.
  • Gov. Janet Mills said she and other lawmakers were “deeply frustrated” with the decision.
  • Whole Foods cited concerns that the fishing gear would harm North Atlantic right whales.

Whole Foods Market announced it will stop selling Gulf of Maine lobster, following the example of other retailers who boycotted the state’s crustacean as a result of pressure from environmental groups.

As a result of the supermarket chain’s decision to stop selling the state’s lobster, Maine Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, along with other state lawmakers, expressed their frustration in a joint statement.

“We are disappointed by 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 hard-working men and women throughout coastal Maine.” read in the statement.

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 for North Atlantic right whales, a species of whale found off the East Coast of the US. Right whales can reach up to 52 feet in length. and live up to 70 years.

Seafood Watch, an environmental watchdog run by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, cited concerns in September that fishing gear used to catch Maine lobsters could pose an entanglement risk to whales.

The Marine Stewardship Council then suspended the certification of the Gulf of Maine lobster fishery 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 left, according to NOAA. The leading causes of unusual death for right whales include entanglement with fishing gear and ship strikes.

In a statement to Maine Public, a Whole Foods spokesperson said the chain would continue to sell Maine lobster caught before the suspension of the Gulf of Maine fish certificate goes into effect.

HelloFresh and Blue Apron also halted the sale of Maine lobsters in September, citing similar concerns.

Representatives for Whole Foods, the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative and the Marine Stewardship Council did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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