Seafood watch group lists New England lobster as seafood to avoid due to environmental concerns
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program Consumers are advised to avoid lobster and some other marine life. Fishing gear used to catch lobster and other seafood is known to entangle endangered North Atlantic right whales, according to a report released by the group on Tuesday.
The North Atlantic right whale population has declined by 30 percent in the past decade, with fewer than 340 surviving now.
Precisely because of the danger the gear poses to North Atlantic right whales, the widely respected world leader in seafood rankings is asking consumers and businesses to avoid lobster, all East Coast snow crab, several species of flounder and Atlantic cod.
The Seafood Watch program has flagged 14 fisheries red — a designation that does not prohibit eating or selling fish, but could lead restaurants and grocery stores to remove them from menus or label them unsustainable — including those located in New England Several areas in the area where lobster is consumed in large quantities.
Fred Penny, who has fished lobster off the Massachusetts coast for more than 50 years, said the report would have “adverse effects” on New England.
“If restaurants put up signs saying no lobster, people won’t come in and eat lobster. That’s my concern,” Penney told CBS News senior country and environment correspondent Ben Tracy.
If an industry finds a way to change the way it fishes, it can be removed from the list, said Jennifer Dianto Kemery, vice president of global ocean initiatives at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. But for now, it’s important to educate consumers about the impact New England lobster rolls may have on the larger ecosystem.
“Nobody wants to know that their appetite for seafood is causing a species to go extinct. So what Seafood Watch is doing now is putting up a flag on the ground and saying, ‘There’s an important issue for our attention,'” Kemery said .
In recent seasons, the New England lobster industry has been affected by climate change.
according to a 2021 report, The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99 percent of Earth’s oceans.Warming water causes some fish, including lobsters Migrate north.
The lack of lobster in the area caused lobster man Steve Train to start farming kelp as lobster fishing became increasingly unpredictable.
“Right now, we’re heavily dependent on one resource. So if there’s a turnaround in the fishery, something else is going to be needed,” Train said.