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 fishing gear could harm North Atlantic right whales.
Market Whole Foods has announced it will stop selling Gulf of Maine lobster, following the lead of other retailers boycotting the state’s lobster due to pressure from environmental groups.
Following the grocery chain’s decision to stop selling the state’s lobster, Democratic Maine Governor Janet Mills, along with other state lawmakers, expressed frustration in a joint statement.
“We are disappointed with Whole Foods’ decision and deeply frustrated that the Marine Stewardship Council’s suspension of the lobster industry’s sustainability certificate continues to damage the livelihoods of hardworking men and women up and down the coast. of Maine,” the statement read.
The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, which represents the Gulf of Maine fisheries, also called the decision “disappointing” in a statement to Maine Public.
Whole Foods told the Associated Press their decision was based on concerns about North Atlantic right whales, a species of whale found off the east coast of the United States. Right whales can reach up to 52 feet in length and live up to 70 years.
Seafood Watch, an environmental watchdog operated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, cited concerns in September that the fishing gear used to catch Maine lobsters could pose an entanglement risk to whales.
The Marine Stewardship Council then suspended the Gulf of Maine lobster fishing certificate in November. The suspension will take effect Dec. 15, according to a press release.
North Atlantic right whales are an endangered species, with fewer than 350 remaining, according to NOAA. The leading causes of unusual deaths for right whales include entanglements with fishing gear and collisions with vessels.
In a statement to Maine Public, a Whole Foods spokesperson said the chain would continue to sell its caught Maine lobster before the Gulf of Maine fishing certificate suspension takes effect.
HelloFresh and Blue Apron also stopped selling Maine lobsters in September, citing similar concerns.
Representatives from 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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