Robert F. Bukaty/AP
PORTLAND, Maine — A union representing the Maine lobster industry is suing an aquarium on the other side of the country for recommending seafood customers avoid buying a variety of lobsters caught primarily in the state of Maine. Surname.
Industry groups including the Maine Lobster Association are suing the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California for defamation, arguing in a lawsuit filed Monday that their prized catch should not be located on the “red list” of Seafood Watch, a conservation program it operates.
Last year, Seafood Watch ordered lobsters from the US and Canada in its list seafood to avoid due to the threat posed to rare whales by entanglement in fishing gear used to harvest American lobsters, which make up the majority of the American lobster market.
The number of endangered North American right whales is only about 340, and they have been declining in recent years.
But the lobster industry is arguing with the U.S. District Court in Maine that the aquarium’s recommendation is based on false science and incorrectly describes lobster fishing as a threat to whales. . The lawsuit asks the court to force the aquarium to remove “defamation statements” from its website and documents, court filings state.
John Petersdorf, chief executive officer of Bean Maine Lobster Inc., said: “This is an important lawsuit that will help undo damage caused by ignorant people in the interest of lobster farmers to protect ecosystems and oceans”. plaintiffs in the lawsuit, in a statement.
The aquarium says its recommendations are accurate based on the best available evidence. It says right whales are really prone to getting entangled in fishing gear.
The lawsuit ignores “broad evidence that these fisheries pose a serious risk to the survival of the endangered North Atlantic right whale and that they seek to limit Amendment rights.” The first project by a beloved organization educating the public about the importance of a healthy ocean,” said Kevin Connor, aquarium spokesman.
Another group, the Marine Stewardship Council, last year Sustainability certification suspension it awarded Maine’s lobster industry for its concerns about harm to whales. The loss of sustainability recommendations has led some retailers to stop selling lobster.
The US lobster industry is largely based on Maine. The industry has brought 98 million pounds of lobster to the harbor last year. That’s less than the year before, but historically a pretty high number.