Whole Foods to end lobster sales over environmental concerns, alleged threat to endangered whales

The Maine lobster industry finds itself in the withering wake of the woke.

As a result of unrelenting environmental activism, Whole Foods, with 503 stores nationwide, has announced it will stop selling Maine lobster, to the consternation of an entire industry as well as the entire delegation of U.S. politicians in the state.

The move by the retail giant was precipitated by the decisions of two “sustainability organizations” to remove their endorsements of the U.S. lobster fishing industry.

Both the Marine Stewardship Council and Seafood Watch have expressed their displeasure at the danger posed to a certain type of whale in the waters off the coast of Maine – the right whale.

These North Atlantic whales, listed as endangered since 1970, supposedly can become entangled in fishing gear. The organizations say, evidently without citing evidence, that this represents one of the biggest threats to the whales.

Virginia Carter, an associate with the Save America’s Wildlife Campaign at Environment America Research and Policy Center, said that the decision by Whole Foods was an “important action to protect the highly endangered” whale.

“With fewer than 340 North Atlantic right whales in existence, the species is swimming toward extinction unless things turn around,” she added, apparently ignorant to the fact that right whales are a type of whale, not a species. There are actually three species of right whales.

Politicians in any state, whether liberal or conservative, are careful to keep copacetic relations with primary industry. For Maine, a state with an overwhelmingly Democratic majority, that is the lobster industry. So, Democrats in Maine are not at all comfortable in this situation.

Maine Governor Janet Mills made a joint statement with the two senators and two U.S. representatives from the state. The five politicians voiced their chagrin over the grocery chain’s decision, coupled with their concern for the fishermen who have been committed to sustainability and whale safety.

“We are disappointed by Whole Foods’ decision and deeply frustrated that the Marine Stewardship Council’s suspension of the lobster industry’s certificate of sustainability continues to harm the livelihoods of hardworking men and women up and down Maine’s coast. In an appeal to retailers just weeks ago, we outlined the facts: there has never been a right whale death attributed to Maine lobster gear; Maine lobstermen have a 150-year history of sustainability; and Maine’s lobstering community has consistently demonstrated their commitment to protecting right whales. Despite this, the Marine Stewardship Council, with retailers following suit, wrongly and blindly decided to follow the recommendations of misguided environmental groups rather than science. We strongly urge the Marine Stewardship Council and retailers to reconsider their potentially devastating decisions.”

 

Notice in particular the statement that “there has never been a right whale death attributed to Maine lobster gear.” These are the kinds of facts that don’t seem to matter to extremist activists, who often have their very own set of “facts.”

It is rather amazing to hear a Democratic governor, two Democratic U.S. representatives, and two left-leaning senators say that “misguided environmental groups” recommend policy based on something other than “science.” That is language almost exclusively reserved for use against conservatives.

Maine fishermen may join whales on the endangered list, not only due to the new Whole Foods policy but also because of a judge’s decision, ruling that new lobster fishing restrictions must be enacted soon.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg of Maine, who had previously ruled that existing fishing restrictions issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service don’t go far enough to protect whales, this month (Nov 17) issued a deadline for the enactment of new restrictions. Agencies will have to establish these new restrictions by December 2024 – restrictions that go far enough, presumably, to satisfy the eminently wise Judge Boasberg.

For its part, Whole Foods said that it is “committed to working with suppliers, fisheries, and environmental advocacy groups as [the situation] develops.” Whatever that means.

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