PORTLAND (WGME) -- The Maine Lobstermen's Association has filed a federal lawsuit against the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation for allegedly making false statements about the dangers of lobster fishing to the North Atlantic right whales.
The lawsuit says that scientific data does not support the aquarium's claims and that those claims caused substantial economic harm to Maine's lobster industry.
According to the MLA, the Monterey Bay Aquarium knowingly misrepresented data to show that lobster fishing hurt right whales.
Last September, the aquarium's "Seafood Watch" program told consumers to avoid Maine lobster.
The MLA says no documented right whale deaths have been attributed to Maine lobster fishing gear.
“This is a significant lawsuit that will help eradicate the damage done by folks who have no clue about the care taken by lobstermen to protect the ecosystem and the ocean,” Bean Maine Lobster Inc. CEO John Petersdorf said. “Lobstermen are very responsible stewards of the ocean. We cannot sit back and let lies to the contrary prevail.”
“Lobstermen have been under constant assault for the past several years. Yet the science is clear – right whales are not dying in Maine lobster gear,” MLA Policy Director Patrice McCarron said. “In fact, the opposite is true; innovations by Maine lobstermen have been instrumental in minimizing harm to whales.”