Maine Governor Janet Mills criticized Whole Foods after the grocery chain decided to stop selling the state's lobsters at its stores

Hands Holding Lobster
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  • Whole Foods will no longer sell Maine lobster in its stores.

  • Gov. Janet Mills said she and other lawmakers were "deeply frustrated" with the decision.

  • Whole Foods cited concerns that fishing gear would harm North Atlantic right whales.

Whole Foods market announced that it will stop selling Gulf of Maine lobster, following the lead of other retailers pausing the sale of the state's crustacean as a result of environmental groups' pressure.

As a result of the grocery chain's decision to stop selling the state's lobster, Democratic Maine Governor Janet Mills, along with other state lawmakers, expressed frustration in a joint statement.

"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 statement read.

The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, which represents the Gulf of Maine fishery, also called the decision "disappointing" in a statement to Maine Public.

In a statement to Insider, Whole Foods cited Seafood Watch and the Marine Stewardship Council's, two environmental groups that have raised concerns that Maine lobster fishing posed a risk to North Atlantic right whales. This whale species is found off the eastern coast of the US. Right whales can reach up to 52 feet in length and live up to 70 years.

Seafood Watch, an environmental watchdog run by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, cited concerns in September that the fishing gear used to catch Maine lobsters could pose an entanglement risk to the whales.

Marine Stewardship Council then suspended the Gulf of Maine lobster fishery's certificate in November. The suspension will go into effect on December 15, according to a press release.

North Atlantic right whales are an endangered species, with fewer than 350 remaining, according to NOAA. The main causes of unusual death for right whales include entanglements with fishing gear and collisions with ships.

In a statement to Insider, a Whole Foods spokesperson said that the chain would continue to sell Maine lobster caught before the Gulf of Maine fishery certificate suspension goes into effect.

HelloFresh and Blue Apron also stopped the sale of Maine lobsters in September, citing similar concerns.

Representatives for the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative and the Marine Stewardship Council did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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