PORTLAND, Maine — A coalition representing the Maine lobster industry is suing an aquarium on the other side of the country for recommending that seafood customers avoid buying a variety of lobster mostly in their state.
Industry groups including the Maine Lobstermen’s Association are suing the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California for defamation, arguing in a lawsuit filed Monday that their prized catch should not be on a “red list” published by Seafood Watch, a conservation program. Is.
Last year, Seafood Watch put U.S. and Canadian lobster on its list of seafood to avoid the risk of rare whales becoming entangled in fishing gear used to harvest American lobster.
The endangered North American right whale numbers only about 340 and has declined in recent years.
But the lobster industry is arguing to the US District Court in Maine that the aquarium’s recommendation relies on poor science and unfairly portrays lobster fishing as a threat to whales. The lawsuit asks the court to compel the aquarium to remove “defamatory statements” from its website and content, court records state.
Bean Bean Lobster Inc. “This is an important lawsuit that will help undo the damage done by people who have little to no knowledge of the care lobsters take to protect the ecosystem and the ocean,” said John Petersdorff, chief executive officer of the Pacific Ocean. Is.” Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, in a deposition.
The Aquarium says its recommendations are correct, based on the best available evidence. It says that right whales are really vulnerable to entanglement in fishing gear.
The lawsuit “ignores the extensive evidence that these fisheries pose a serious threat to the survival of endangered North Atlantic right whales, and they seek to undermine the First Amendment rights of a beloved institution that speaks about the importance of a healthy ocean.” educates the public,'” said aquarium spokesman Kevin Connor.
Another group, the Marine Stewardship Council, last year suspended a sustainability certification awarded to Maine’s lobster industry over concerns about harm to whales. The loss of sustainability recommendations has caused some retailers to stop selling lobster.
The US lobster industry is based mostly in Maine. The industry brought nearly 98 million pounds of lobster to the docks last year. This was lower than the previous year, but historically a significantly higher number.