“Whole Foods decision to pull lobster divides enviros, pols”

Watch your fingers!

 “Environmental groups are once again at odds with politicians and fishermen in New England in the wake of a decision by high-end retail giant Whole Foods to stop selling Maine lobster.

Whole Foods recently said that it will stop selling lobster from the Gulf of Maine at hundreds of its stores around the country. The company cited decisions by a pair of sustainability organizations to take away their endorsements of the U.S. lobster fishing industry.

The organizations, Marine Stewardship Council and Seafood Watch, both cited concerns about risks to rare North Atlantic right whales from fishing gear. Entanglement in gear is one of the biggest threats to the whales.

The decision by Whole Foods was an “important action to protect the highly endangered” whale, said Virginia Carter, an associate with the Save America’s Wildlife Campaign at Environment America Research & Policy Center.

“With fewer than 340 North Atlantic right whales in existence, the species is swimming toward extinction unless things turn around,” Carter said.”

Comment: This is really stupid! I worked on a lobsterman part time when I was a teen. 35 feet long out of Kennebunkport, Maine, we pulled emptied and re-baited 40 “pots” twice a day. A “pot consists of a wooden or composite cage with netting funnels in it that allow a lobster to climb to its doom inside this device to get to the rotten fish used for bait. This cage is weighted and sits on the bottom. A rope connects the trap to the surface where a colored float identifies the ownership of the trap. Get the idea, trap sitting on the bottom connected to the surface by a single line with a foot tall wooden marker float on the surface. Does this seem like a whale killer to you? The lobster fishery is a significant part of Maine’s economy in the coastal zone. State law governs this fishery carefully to make sure it is sustainable. If captains are putting their pots too close together in some places, the state can make them space them out more

Whole Foods decision to pull lobster divides enviros, pols | AP News

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35 Responses to “Whole Foods decision to pull lobster divides enviros, pols”

  1. Fourth and Long says:

    I can’t figure it out . Do whales subsist in large part on lobsters? If so then I could understand it. But Lobster is not whale food as far as I know.

    • borko says:

      They say those lobster pots put whales at risk of entanglement.
      It is unclear how many confirmed cases of an actual entanglement there were.

      Here’s a quote from an article:

      “When they encounter a vertical line that’s in the water, there’s a buoy on the surface and then there’s a string of up to twenty traps on the seafloor … [The whales] generally can’t see the ropes and it’s very violent. The whale will thrash in the water and at the surface, trying to escape,”


      • Pat Lang says:

        There is NOT a “string” of 20 traps on the bottom. Each trap has its own separate line to the surface.

        • borko says:

          The Guarding got the facts wrong then.
          There’s mention of a ropeless system, though considering the cost it would probably be a nonstarter for any small and beginning lobstermen.

        • A. Pols says:

          Factually incorrect on trap strings….
          Some small scale people might put down the odd single trap, but the dominant paradigm is a “string” of traps with with a marker buoy at each end of the string. My school chum usually set his traps in strings of 8.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Wrong. Illegal.

          • Pat Lang says:

            maybe I am missing something about strigs of traps. Do you have a link?

          • TTG says:

            pl and A Pols,

            Maybe it’s a difference between Maine inshore licensing and law and federal offshore licensing and laws. I’ve never heard of more than one pot on a line until yesterday. I guess I’ve only seen the inshore Maine lobsterman and lobster boats. I have no idea what the offshore boats look like.

          • Pat Lang says:

            There are now bigger boats with no transom in the way over which a string of pots can be winched aboard re-baited and slid off the stern. IMO that is likely true of federal licensed areas farther offshore. IMO it is a terrible idea.

  2. Whitewall says:

    Sounds like Hole Foods managed to jump before being ordered to and may now be looking for sensible ground to land on. My grandfather did commercial fishing most summers years ago off the Cape Fear river and into the Atlantic ocean. I would go down to Southport, NC and help him when I could. There were no lobsters of course but this type of fishing used large wire baskets, or traps, with bait stuffed inside a wire tube. We had to make sure there were no protected species of fish inside the basket when we wenched one up to the deck. An illegal fish could prove expensive if an inspector was at the dock. Not only were there no lobsters but not a single whale would or could be tangled in the basket or rope tied to a floating marker. Only whales I ever saw in the near Atlantic were pilot whales.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      Can lobster pots double as Faraday cages in case of Cyber wars, and thus they are needed for security reasons? Normally a joke. But with some of the officials of an administration it’s wiser not to mention, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Or, unknown to everyday folks, our enemies have been determined to be highly dependent on a rare enzyme found only in lobster, and the cages must be used to capture these nourishing crustaceans in waters distant from our shores. Probably leverage in service of negotiations too sensitivity for our ears. Yes. That’s likely what this is about.

      • Whitewall says:

        I don’t know about pots but I do remember wire traps coming up from the deep with a slight glow and vibration, especially when empty. And this was about 60 years ago.

        • TTG says:


          The glow was probably bioluminescent algae. It’s not that uncommon now and some of it is toxic to humans and marine life. The vibration, I have no idea.

  3. Fred says:

    Another virtue signal from Whole Paycheck. I wonder just what impact that is going to have since the market will be more than happy to distribute those lobsers elsewhere (of course how many lobsters sold by WF is not listed in the article) across the rest of the country. Can’t wait to see the LA do-gooders running the interlocking NGOs tell us the impact on Right whales from off-shore windmill farms. (I’m sure banning them off Martha’s Vinyard is ‘beneficial’).

    Let me give a special shout out to Johanna Neumann for keeping new nuclear power plants from being built near the Chesapeake Bay and forcing the shutdown of Diablo Canyon. I wonder what that has done to electrity rates? Of course since she lives in Massachusetts she doesn’t have to pay for her virtue impact. Standard lefty’s in action. It’s nice being in subsidized “industries” whose only product is virtue.

    • TTG says:


      It is a half-assed reaction. There are a lot more sightings of whales tangled in fishing lines off of New England, but I don’t know if it’s been narrowed down to lobster pot lines. There are a lot of lost lines from other commercial fishing. If Whole Foods and others are truly serious about tangled whales, they should be dropping all fish caught in this area caught with any method other than hand lining.

      This may be due to more people paying attention to tangled whale sightings. More likely it’s due to warming waters in the Gulf of Maine. The lobsters are moving forcing the lobstermen to follow them. Whale prey is moving forcing the whales to follow their prey. And the netting of fish in this area is certainly increasing. Not many fishermen fish for cod by hand lining from dories.

      • Pat Lang says:

        Whales don’t eat lobster. In my experience lobster fishing is close in shore and in the same territories all the time. The pots are designed to be inefficient. A lot escape and the state requires you to release the little ones and the big ones. The really big lobsters come from the Maritimes where they have looser regulation.

        • Pat Lang says:

          The right whale is endangered and will probably go extinct because New England whalers found them easy prey and hunted them to the edge of disappearance.

          • Pat Lang says:

            If the whales could put up monuments, they would build one to Confederate commerce raiders who wrecked the deep-water Yankee whaling fleet. As an example, CSS Shenandoah was in the Bering Sea catching and burning New England whalers when the master of a New England ship showed him a San Francisco newspaper that celebrated the end of the war. Commander Waddell CSN, released the man’s ship, dumped the battery overboard and sailed her home to England where he surrendered the ship to the British. From Shenandoa’s depredations and those of other raiders, the New England whaling industry never recovered. The best they could do was pick on the poor Right Whale. Good!!

        • TTG says:


          I know they don’t eat lobsters. Right whales are baleen whales eating zooplankton, krill and other small crustaceans sieved through their baleen. They’ve shifted their migratory patterns into more human populated waters following their prey. Lobsters have also shifted into deeper waters overlapping with the right whales feeding areas. Both these shifts are due to warming waters in the Gulf of Maine. I remember watching lobster boats servicing their traps very close to the rocks off Cape Elizabeth. It was close enough to talk to them. That was 15 to 20 years ago. I guess they’re much further out now. The problem is certainly not with the management of the lobster fisheries. As you said, Both the juveniles and the big breeders are thrown back as are any female carrying roe.

      • Fred says:


        Has the Chinese fishing fleet show up that way yet? I remember the Japanese factory ships and trawler fleets wreaked havoc on the Chesapeake Bay fisher back in the early ’80s. On a related whale note: an “endangered” “never before seen” species of whale in the Gulf of Mexico. We better stop offshore drilling for oil.

        • TTG says:


          I don’t know if the Chinese fishing fleet has made it that far up the east coast. I big problem here is foreign privater equity changing the nature of the fishing industry. The smaller fishermen are driven out and the conglomerates buy up all the licenses and using bigger boats and bigger nets in the hunt for bigger profits. It’s just another down side to globalization.

  4. A. Pols says:

    Typical virtue signaling BS. There’s little documentary evidence that Lobstermen’s accounts for significant whale deaths, but there’s lots of evidence that shipping collisions do. I’ve been following this manufactured moral panic in the PPH since it first reared its ugly head. One of my High School chums has had a successful career as a lobsterman and both of his now middle aged sons are in the business as well. I worked for him as a sternman for part of the summer of 1967 while I was in college. It was hard dirty work. He had a wooden boat 34 feet long powered by an old Chrysler flathead 6 that was converted for marine use. This was in Harpswell Maine. Now he has several steel hulled boats powered by giant Lugger marine diesels and has all the gadgets on board. He’s 77 now and semi retired. There were no wire traps in the 60s. They were all built with oak lathes nailed together and one spent lots of time repairing them. He built his own traps, as did many others. Good memories

  5. Bill Roche says:

    Had a pal Joe. Portugese immigrant who used to run a boat w/his brother for lobsters off Westchester waters of LI Sound. You drop your pots down and pull them up. The Eugenio bros. pulled theirs up by hand. They don’t go down that deep. These are “bay” waters, not the open sound. How may whales can be swimming around Mamaroneck Harbor these days getting all caught up in lobster lines? Yeah, I’m an environmentalist kind of guy; but humans gotta eat! This story is fishy (sorry).

  6. jim ticehurst.. says:

    About 300,000 Tangled Dead..Whales, Dolphins, Turtles ,Seals in Global Nets,,

    Japanese Still Got License to Kill..

    Drift Nets catch every thing But sian plastic and Garbage..

    The Lobster about Looks Happy..Viva Freedom..I Saw him on a
    Wanted Poster Recently..He Threw His Sombreo away on the Border..

    Looks Like Thanksgiving Dinner For Biden/Billdon..Kerrydon..
    And The Other Butter Ballers..Was Whale Steaks on Gold Platters…
    With Gravy..Gravy Gravy…On Almond Chicken.PORKER..Chow MAIN..
    for the DIAMOND Coarse..
    Lucky Lobsters,,Save The Whales…K St)

    • Fred says:


      The Norwegians had whale stakes, along with reindeer, on the menu way back in 1980 something. At least in Bergen. Of course back then Shamu was busy educating and entertaining people on both US coasts, until the virtuous left destroyed that enterprise.

  7. different clue says:

    Even before I got to the comment part, I was thinking ” this is really stupid”. And for me to tell something is really stupid, it really must really be really stupid, really.

    What fishing gear is involved in trapping lobster in pots? Are the Marine Stewardship Council and Seafood Watch even real environmental organizations? Or are they false-flag pretend-environmental organizations secretly tasked with discrediting environmentalism? If the other environmental organizations don’t step in and give Maine lobster their immediate Environmental Seal of Approval ( whether Whole Foods cares or not), then the other environmental organizations may find themselves blamed for smelling as bad as these two will rightfully smell by wetting themselves in public this way.

    • TTG says:

      different clue,

      “What fishing gear is involved in trapping lobster in pots?”

      I thought Colonel Lang explained that rather well. The pot sits on the seabed, a line leads from the pot to the surface and is attached to a float. I haven’t heard of any cases of whales trailing lines attached to lobster pots and lobster floats. The floats tell you what lobsterman the pots belong to.

    • Pat Lang says:

      You don’t believe me when I told you as a participant that no gear is allowed in Mainw except lobster pots? No nets. No trawling. Well, you can go to hell. https://lobsteranywhere.com/seafood-savvy/maine-lobster-laws/

      • different clue says:

        I apologize for not having read all the way to the end of the post.

        Still, where did I say I don’t believe you that lobster gear is the only gear permitted in Maine? And since the post doesn’t even mention anything one way or another about fishing other than lobster being permitted or not permitted in Maine waters, how would this even be an issue for me to have even claimed I didn’t believe you? ( Which I don’t understand myself to ever have claimed or even mentioned.)

  8. Fourth and Long says:

    A crazy thought. Are they being kept alive for Longevity studies? It’s an obsession with some of the Zillionaire crowd. Telomerase might be something they’re after, if my recollections of readings on epigenetics are reliable.
    Telomeres are ending sections of chromosomes and there is an idea that it is due to their falling into disrepair over the course of time that aging takes place, though that is an extreme oversimplification. Lobsters are exceedingly long lived – 45 yrs and become more, not less, fertile with age. That sounds like something our new age Dr Frankensteins might hanker to. Was Ponce de Leon in search of Homarus Americanus?

    Scroll to section: Longevity.
    Lobsters live up to an estimated 45 to 50 years in the wild, although determining age is difficult:[38] it is typically estimated from size and other variables. Newer techniques may lead to more accurate age estimates.[39][40][41]

    Research suggests that lobsters may not slow down, weaken or lose fertility with age, and that older lobsters may be more fertile than younger lobsters. This longevity may be due to telomerase, an enzyme that repairs long repetitive sections of DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes, referred to as telomeres. Telomerase is expressed by most vertebrates during embryonic stages, but is generally absent from adult stages of life.[42] However, unlike most vertebrates, lobsters express telomerase as adults through most tissue, which has been suggested to be related to their longevity. Telomerase is especially present in ‘Green Spotted’ lobsters – whose markings are thought to be produced by the enzyme interacting with their shell pigmentation.[43][44][45] Lobster longevity is limited by their size. Moulting requires metabolic energy and the larger the lobster, the more energy is needed; 10 to 15% of lobsters die of exhaustion during moulting, while in older lobsters, moulting ceases and the exoskeleton degrades or collapses entirely leading to death.[46][47]

    Lobsters, like many other decapod crustaceans, grow throughout life and are able to add new muscle cells at each moult.[48] Lobster longevity allows them to reach impressive sizes. According to Guinness World Records, the largest lobster ever caught was in Nova Scotia, Canada, weighing 20.15 kilograms (44.4 lb)

    • Fourth and Long says:

      Please do not let this reference to an amusing intermezzo by Kafka lure you into thoughts concerning anything other than exactly what it’s about. Lobster cages and Right Whales are not mentioned. Very unlikely that a pagan Sea God would have anything to do with the topic of clearing cages and lines out from the areas where Lobsters are caught.
      Poseidon sat at his desk, doing figures. The administration of all the waters gave him endless work. He could have had assistants, as many as he wanted — and he did have very many — but since he took his job very seriously, he would in the end go over all the figures and calculations himself, and thus his assistants were of little help to him. It cannot be said that he enjoyed his work; he did it only because it had been assigned to him; in fact, he had already filed many petitions for — as he put it — more cheerful work, but every time the offer of something different was made to him it would turn out that nothing suited him quite as well as his present position. And anyhow it was quite difficult to find something different for him. After all, it was impossible to assign him to a particular sea; aside from the fact that even then the work with figures would not become less but only pettier, the great Poseidon could in any case occupy only an executive position. And when a job away from the water was offered to him he would get sick at the very prospect, his divine breathing would become troubled and his brazen chest began to tremble. Besides, his complaints were not really taken seriously; when one of the mighty is vexatious the appearance of an effort must be made to placate him, even when the case is most hopeless. In actuality a shift of posts was unthinkable for Poseidon — he had been appointed God of the Sea in the beginning, and that he had to remain.

      What irritated him most — and it was this that was chiefly responsible for his dissatisfaction with his job — was to hear of the conceptions formed about him: how he was always riding about through the tides with his trident. When all the while he sat here in the depths of the world-ocean, doing figures uninterruptedly, with now and then a trip to Jupiter as the only break in the monotony — a trip, moreover, from which he usually returned in a rage. Thus he had hardly seen the sea — had seen it but fleetingly in the course of hurried ascents to Olympus, and he had never actually traveled around it. He was in the habit of saying that what he was waiting for was the fall of the world; then, probably, a quiet moment would be granted in which, just before the end and having checked the last row of figures, he would be able to make a quick little tour.

      Poseidon became bored with the sea. He let fall his trident. Silently he sat on the rocky coast and a gull, dazed by his presence, described wavering circles around his head.

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