The U.S. retail giant Whole Foods has decided to stop selling Maine lobsters across its stores. The store said that the decision came following a move by several sustainability organizations to halt endorsement of the U.S. lobster fishing industry.

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The organizations that started the whole conversation are Maine Stewardship Council and Seafood Watch. They both cited concerns over the risks to rare North Atlantic right whales from the fishing gear used to capture lobsters, which is the biggest threat to the whales.

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“With fewer than 340 North Atlantic right whales in existence, the species is swimming toward extinction unless things turn around,” said Virginia Carter, an associate at Save America’s Wildlife Campaign with Environment America Research and Policy Center.

In a statement last week, Whole Foods said that it is currently monitoring the situation. It said that it will be monitoring feedback from advocacy and environmental groups to make informed decisions.

In September, a fish sustainability guide “red-listed” lobsters as seafood to avoid. However, the decision by the retail giant has drawn some opposition from the fishing industry government officials. In Maine, home to the largest lobster fishing industry, policymakers have expressed displeasure with the developments.

“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,” said State Governor Janet Mills and its four-member congressional delegation said in a statement.

The statement argues that the decision by the environmental group was not based on facts.

“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,” the statement added.

It is not the first time government officials have been in opposition to such decisions. Even so, more businesses are waking up to the reality of ecosystem protection. Apart from Whole Foods, HelloFresh and other American seafood dealers have pledged to end selling lobsters.

Via The Guardian

Lead image via Pexels