Island Institute Responds to Monterey Bay Aquarium

A Rebuke to "Red Listing" of Sustainable Maine Fishery

Posted 2022-09-09

Island Institute does not support the recent decision by Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch to “Red List” the U.S. lobster fishery. They are wrong about our fishery, and we encourage everyone to keep eating Maine lobster. This sustainable seafood supports Maine’s island and coastal communities and is critical to the social and economic future of our coast.  

Island Institute understands the importance of protecting the endangered right whale population and that it is unacceptable to be responsible for the death of even a single endangered species. Maine lobstermen and women have been leaders in innovation and sustainability for a healthy Gulf of Maine, including numerous steps to reduce the lobster fishery’s impact on right whales. As a result of these efforts, in the last 18 years, there has not been a single right whale entanglement due to Maine fishing gear, and there has never been a fatality. We believe that “Red Listing” the entire industry goes too far, and we support our elected representatives’ unified call for Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch to reconsider their decision. 

Island Institute is focusing our efforts on working with industry and community leaders to innovate and do what the fishery has a long history of doing: adapting to change, forging a way forward, and protecting our vital ocean resources. Climate change, and associated shifts in feeding patterns for right whales, is known to be a root cause for concern for the species. Maine’s lobster industry can show how heritage industries can move forward and lead in the face of climate change. Those efforts include stabilizing energy costs by going solar, investing in more energy efficient cooling equipment, and using hybrid / electric motors as they become available. Working together on climate solutions is essential to create a sustainable future for human and natural communities.  

Click here to see a response from Governor Mills, Senator King and others.