Whole Foods Angers Maine Gov. Janet Mills

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Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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Whole Foods angered elected officials by announcing its plans to cease buying Maine lobsters after climate change groups downgraded the North Atlantic fishing area’s sustainability rating.

Democratic Maine Gov. Janet Mills and its Congressional delegation sent a note to Whole Foods expressing their “disappointment” in the grocery store giant’s decision to stop buying Maine lobsters, according to the official letter Nov. 22. Whole Foods made the decision after the organizations (Marine Stewardship Council and Seafood Watch) it uses to determine its sustainability ratings downgraded Maine lobster to “the worst rating,” reported The New York Times.

“We are disappointed by Whole Foods’ decision and deeply frustrated that the Marine Stewardship Council’s suspension of the lobster industry’s certificate of sustainability continues to harm the livelihoods of hardworking men and women up and down Maine’s coast,” the Maine officials stated.

The statement cited the “150-year history of sustainability” as proof that Maine fishermen have “consistently demonstrated their commitment to protecting right whales” and denounced the accusations that right whale deaths can be attributed to Maine fishery. (RELATED: D.C. Cardinal Cancels Rally For Life After 25 Years)

“Despite this, the Marine Stewardship Council, with retailers following suit, wrongly and blindly decided to follow the recommendations of misguided environmental groups rather than science,” the letter continued. “We strongly urge the Marine Stewardship Council and retailers to reconsider their potentially devastating decisions.”

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) suspended its sustainability certificate for Maine lobster on Nov. 16, claiming to have concerns that fishermen’s nets and other gear were entangling North Atlantic right whales, endangering the population. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) cited that boats and fishing gear account for the leading causes of North Atlantic right whale deaths, reported The New York Times. According to the most recent audit of the Maine lobster fishery certification, MSC found no evidence that the North Atlantic lobster fishery was responsible for “entanglements or interactions with right whales.”