Conservation group flags lobster
By The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Maine — Some retailers are taking lobster off the menu after an assessment from an influential conservation group that the seafood poses too much of a risk to rare whales and should be avoided.
Seafood Watch, which rates the sustainability of different seafoods, said this week it has added the American and Canadian lobster fisheries to its “red list” of species to avoid. The organization, based at Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, said in a report that the fishing industry is a danger to North Atlantic right whales because “current management measures do not go far enough to mitigate entanglement risks and promote recovery of the species.”
Thousands of businesses use Seafood Watch’s recommendations to inform seafood buying decisions, and many have pledged to avoid any items that appear on the red list. A spokesperson for Blue Apron, the New York meal kit retailer, said after the release of the report that the company no longer offers lobster.
HelloFresh, the Germany-based meal kit company that is the largest such firm operating in the United States, also pledged shortly after the announcement to stop selling lobster.
“HelloFresh is committed to responsible sourcing and follows guidelines from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program,” said Saskia Leisewitz, a spokesperson for HelloFresh.
Seafood Watch assigns ratings of “best choice,” “good alternative” and “avoid” to more than 2,000 seafood items based on how sustainably they are managed. The organization’s recommendations have been influential in the past, such as when it red-listed the Louisiana shrimp fishery, prompting efforts to better protect sea turtles. The fishery was later removed from the red list.
The lobster fishing industry has come under scrutiny from Seafood Watch because of the threat of entanglement in fishing gear. Whales can suffer injuries and fatalities when they become entangled in the gear that connects to lobster traps on the ocean floor.