Massachusetts lobstermen drop lawsuit against California aquarium that told people to stop eating lobster

The Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association has ended its battle in opposition to a California aquarium that claims folks shouldn’t purchase and eat lobster due to the dangers the fishery poses on the endangered North Atlantic proper whale.

A federal decide within the Northern District of California on Monday dismissed a category motion lawsuit that 4 Bay State lobstermen filed final March in opposition to the Monterey Bay Aquarium after the 2 sides agreed to finish the months-long dispute with prejudice.

Monterey Bay in September 2022 gave the American lobster a “red rating” on its Seafood Watch, recommending shoppers to keep away from the species caught by entice from the Gulf of Maine, Southern New England and Georges Bank shares.

The motion prompted the 4 lobstermen to file the go well with months later, looking for $75,000 in damages for disparagement of their aquaculture product and interference with their proprietary rights.

“After lengthy discussions among the named individuals in the suit, they agreed to dismiss the Class Action Suit as a win in the California court is highly unlikely and extremely costly,” the MLA mentioned in a press release to the Herald on Tuesday. “The laws in California would ultimately hold these individuals financially responsible for the defendant’s legal fees should they prevail.”

The aquarium had asserted that trapping lobsters had contributed to the depletion of the inhabitants of Northern Atlantic proper whales, an endangered species at excessive threat of extinction. There are fewer than 340 such whales immediately, and the aquarium says entanglement in fishing gear is the main reason behind harm and dying.

But Massachusetts lobstermen have argued they’re doing greater than sufficient to guard the whales by following stringent conservation measures together with a months-long fishing closure through the winter and early spring and the usage of what they think about “weak ropes.”

The aquarium took exception to the go well with, calling it “meritless” and one which sought “to curtail the First Amendment rights of a beloved institution that educates the public about the importance of a healthy ocean.”

Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch assessed U.S. and Canadian fisheries utilizing entice and gillnet gear alongside the East Coast after the feds in 2017 declared an “unusual mortality event” resulting from a major die-off of the North Atlantic proper whale from fishing gear entanglements and vessel strikes.

In a press release to the Herald, aquarium lead counsel Rebecca Kaufman celebrated the case’s dismissal.

“The dismissal is both a victory for the critically endangered right whale and for the free speech of those committed to protecting vulnerable species and preserving the ocean for future generations,” she mentioned.

The Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association mentioned it can proceed to observe a defamation go well with filed by its Maine counterparts in opposition to Monterey Bay, alleging the aquarium’s statements “have caused substantial economic harm to plaintiffs.”