Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce stands with the Maine lobster industry

October 28, 2022

On September 6, 2022, Seafood Watch issued a report that included a recommendation to “…avoid American lobster caught by trap from Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine stocks due to risks to the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale.” [1] This California-based nonprofit based at the Monterey Bay Aquarium makes recommendations to consumers, chefs, and business professionals to inform their seafood purchasing decisions. [2]

The Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce (PBRCC) strongly opposes this recommendation.

In a September 8, 2022, letter to Seafood Watch, the entire Maine congressional delegation and Governor Mills noted that their advisory is not evidence-based, lacks due process, and will have substantial consequences. The letter asked them to remove their advisory, noting:

“In a courtroom, we require evidence before convicting someone of a crime; but you are seeking to sentence Maine’s lobstermen with conjecture, assumptions, and guesswork instead of hard facts.”

“That’s not science, that’s irresponsible conjecture, a baseless smear, and an egregious violation of the scientific principles you claim to stand for. This is among the most irresponsible actions we have ever seen in our years of public service, and we are deeply disappointed that you have allowed this action to – perhaps irreparably – tarnish the name of your previously-respected institution.” [3]

This recommendation negatively impacts one of Maine’s primary economic drivers. According to the Maine Lobstermen’s Association,

“…the Maine lobster fishery generates more than $1.5 billion annually in sales and supply chain revenue to the region’s economy. Maine’s lobster fleet is made up of a diverse collection of small businesses supporting tens of thousands of jobs in rural communities along the coast. The fishery directly supports more than 10,000 jobs as Captains and sternmen who work aboard the vessels to hail in Maine’s signature catch. Maine’s wholesale lobster distribution supply chain contributes an additional $967 million and another 5,500 jobs.” [4]

As a fierce champion for our members and businesses on the Midcoast, PBRCC stands with all businesses who rely upon Maine lobsters for their livelihoods. Seafood Watch’s recommendation could have a significant detrimental effect on our members, families, neighbors, friends, and visitors.

PBRCC is proud of the work our hardworking members do in the lobster industry and encourage you to support our members, some of whom are listed below:

Brooks Trap Mill, 211 Beechwood Street, Thomaston

Graffam Bros. Seafood Market, 211 Union Street, Rockport

Island Institute/Archipelago, 386 Main Street, Rockland

Jeff’s Marine, Inc., 2 Brooklyn Heights Road, Thomaston

Johanson Boatworks, 11 Farwell Drive, Rockland

Knight Marine Service, 525 Main Street, Rockland

Ocean Pursuits Full-Service Boatyard, 75 Front Street, Rockland

Rockland (Lobster) Festival Corporation, 1 Park Drive, Rockland

Rockport Steel, 17 Rockville Street, Rockport

Steel-Pro Incorporated, 771 Main Street, Rockland

Please note that the list above reflects only a small sampling of businesses that are registered as PBRCC members and are impacted by the Seafood Watch recommendation and does not reflect the numerous other enterprises (both members and non-members of PBRCC) who are negatively impacted by Seafood Watch’s recommendation.

This statement was approved by the PBRCC Board of Directors on October 21, 2022. For more information about the PBRCC, please visit www.penbaychamber.com or contact Eric Belley, PBRCC’s President & CEO, at eric@camdenrockland.com.

 

About the Chamber

The Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce serves as a primary business advocate for the Camden-Rockland Region, which encompasses 27 municipalities within and surrounding Knox County. As the third largest Chamber organization in Maine, it represents the coming together of businesses, nonprofits, governments, and citizens in support of a vibrant and growing region with unparalleled quality of life and place. To learn more, visit www.CamdenRockland.com (tourism website) and www.PenBayChamber.com (membership website).

 

[1] ‘American Lobster Report ID 524,” Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, September 6, 2022, page 6, https://www.seafoodwatch.org/recommendation/lobster/american-lobster-19701.

[2] Seafood Watch Wikipedia page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seafood_Watch.

[2] https://www.king.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/me_delegation_letter_to_monterey_bay_aquarium_re_red-listing_090822.pdf

[4] Maine Lobstermen’s Association website, https://www.mainelobstermen.org/policy-advocacy-and-education.

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