The Jan. 22 front page of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram had the lead story with the headline “What do Mainers say about the ethics of eating lobster?” The subheadline stated there’s a debate over the fishery’s sustainability and concluded chefs, fish sellers and diners “all see a food with its claws deeply embedded in Maine’s economy and identity.”

The latter statement is a fact: The state of Maine proclaimed 2021 as the most valuable harvest, nearly $725 million. The argument heavily promoted by the state and others, including the newspaper, is that there is no evidence that Maine lobstering impacts the right whale. This is a specious argument, reminiscent of the era when Big Tobacco argued there was no direct evidence that cigarettes caused cancer.

There is no argument that fishing gear is entangling reportedly 85% of North Atlantic right whales. The point is that all fishermen should be required to mark their gear in order to determine who is responsible for those entanglements.

Pam Ferris-Olson

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