Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
April 4, 2024 ·  3 min read

Retailers Pull Lobster from Menus After “Red List” Warning

Seafood is a delicacy and it is a protein staple in many places around the world. Lobster in particular is pricey and is often consumed on special occasions. However, in an effort to regulate sea life and protect the environment, lobster has been added to the “red list”. 

Protectors of the Ecosystem. 

Seafood Watch is an organization that decides the sustainability of seafood. The “red list” contains seafood that has been discouraged from being sold commercially due to the environmental impact. Shark, Bluefin Tuna, Atlantic Halibut, Chilean Sea Bass, and others have been on the growing list and now they’ve added lobster as well. Several steps have been taken to move toward strict laws on Lobster fishing.

“A federal circuit court has reinstated a ban on lobster fishing gear in a nearly 1,000-square-mile area off New England to try to protect endangered whales.” [3] Commercial food retailers such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh have implemented the recommendations of the Seafood Watch and have removed lobster from their menus. These companies deliver ready-made meals with the goal of providing families with fast and convenient meals that are healthy as well as sustainable.

Lobster Fishing and the Decline of Whales. 

The majority of the planet is covered by water so it would make sense that sea life is crucial to keeping a well-balanced ecosystem. However, due to the decline of sea life, the food chain has been impacted severely and things aren’t going as well as they could be. Irresponsible fishing and farming practices are a major source of declining sea life. Seafood Watch has issued a report that they are adding the American lobster and the Canadian lobster because right whales become entangled.

The whales flail their bodies around in an attempt to become free and often, this results in further entanglement. Right whales are sustaining, sometimes fatal, injuries. In the 1890s whales were hunted in mass amounts causing many species to be dubbed endangered, if not altogether extinct. It is estimated that there are fewer than 350 right whales remaining in the world and the numbers continue to dwindle due to both the method by which lobsters are trapped and other factors such as whales colliding into large ships. 

Read: Sea cucumbers are so valuable that people are risking their lives diving for them

Environmental Impact. 

Right whales are considered Baleen whales, meaning they eat plankton, using teeth that appear to be more like bristles than teeth. Whales play an important role in maintaining the ecosystem by fertilizing ocean phytoplankton. These are microscopic plants that feed on carbon dioxide and create oxygen. 

Lobster Fishing Industry Fights Back.  

Portland, Maine is one of the biggest distributors of lobster in the country. It is well known and popular amongst foodies for providing the country with large, tasty, and fresh lobster. The Lobster fishing industry has fought back against the allegations made by Seafood Watch and the Monterey team located in California. Patrice McCarron, who is the executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association states that they haven’t had an encounter with right whales in almost 20 years. 

Everything that exists in the world plays a role in maintaining our ecosystem. Every creature plays a part from lobster and other sea life to birds, livestock, and wild animals. Sometimes the use of resources can have adverse effects when done without using some restraint or in moderation. However, some of the used resources are necessary for sustaining life.

While important resources also need to be preserved. It seems to be a vicious cycle but finding a healthy balance is the key to avoiding an endless circle of despair. When society achieves the ability to find reliable food sources, maintain job security, and protect the environment, balance will be achieved and our ecosystem(and economy) will likely thrive.

Keep Reading: What Are Crab Sticks Actually Made from?


  1. North Atlantic Right Whale.” NOAA. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  2. Retailers pull lobster from menus after ‘red list’ warning.NBC News. The Associated Press. September 8, 2022.
  3. Court reinstates ban on lobster gear to protect right whales.AP News. Patrick Whittle. July 13, 2022.
  4. Weak protection for vanishing whale violates law, judge says.” AP News. Patrick Whittle. July 9, 2022.