The Marine Stewardship Council has announced that it is suspending its certification of the Maine lobster fishery over concerns about the fishery's impact on the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale.
Whitney Webber, campaign director at Oceana, released the following statement in response to the news:
“Oceana agrees with the Marine Stewardship Council’s decision to suspend certification for the Maine lobster fishery because of its failure to comply with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act to assess and limit impacts to North Atlantic right whales. With only about 400 of these critically endangered whales left, fisheries must change now to protect these whales. Entanglement in fishing gear, particularly vertical lines in lobster and crab fisheries, is one of the greatest threats to the survival of the North Atlantic right whales. MSC certification allows fishermen and seafood companies to have their practices assessed against an international standard and signals to seafood buyers that the product is better managed than other options. The decision to suspend this certification recognizes that the status quo is not working for these whales and adds an incentive for state and federal government, fisheries managers and fishermen to improve the fishery. Effective enforcement and deployment of proven tools like time-area management, gear modifications and a reduction in the number of vertical lines in the water will help reduce the risk to North Atlantic right whales and allow the lobster fishery to regain its certification.”
To learn more about Oceana’s campaign to save North Atlantic right whales, please visit usa.oceana.org/rightwhaletosave.