Maine Lobstermen Sue California Environmentalists For Defamation

( – California environmentalists are being sued by a coalition of Maine fishermen for their defamatory statements suggesting that the lobster fishing industry in Maine is damaging the environment. Their suit argues that due to the false and defamatory statements made by Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation (MBAF), the lobster fishing industry in Maine led by the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) has suffered severe economic impact which has harmed the economy of Maine itself.

In 2022, Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch program downgraded Maine lobster from “good alternative” to “avoid” claiming they had scientific data which suggested the lobster industry was somehow bad for a rare species of whale. In reality, the industry’s practices actively protect the right whale by using special ropes that are designed to be ripped apart should a whale get caught in them. They also collect old ropes and other debris, improving the aquatic environment by repairing the damage done in the past.

Kevin Lipson is a lawyer for the plaintiffs who spoke to Fox News Digital. He said that MLA’s ‘analysis’ was opaque and they were unwilling to share specific data that explained their allegations. Instead, they stonewalled while downgrading Maine lobster’s rating. As a consequence, Whole Foods refused to stock Maine lobster, causing real harm to the industry and Maine family businesses.

Lipson called the move “an attack on Maine lobstering” and “an attack on a traditional way of life.” He also explained how the industry was so essential to Maine’s economy that the move has had a chilling effect on home buying, car purchases, employment, and tourism. He expressed frustration that the lawsuit was a last resort as MBAF refused to explain itself after receiving two requests for evidence backing their claims.

Continuing, he explained that the lobstermen have actually improved the environment. From using break-away ropes, limiting where they fish, limiting their trapping, and collecting over 30,000 miles of old ropes. There also hasn’t been an incident of a trapped right whale in over 150 years, the main concern of environmentalists. Additionally, the last time any whale was killed was over two decades ago.

MBAF called the lawsuit “meritless” and cited “extensive evidence” while simultaneously playing the victim suggesting their First Amendment rights were at risk.

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