Look to Massachusetts for the most sustainable lobster around. And look for the green claw band, or ask your fishmonger to get the green band Massachusetts lobster.
Why? Because Massachusetts lobstermen are taking the trouble to reduce harm to whales. Massachusetts lobermen are ahead of lobstermen in some other, perhaps more well-known lobster locations.
What's the problem? Whales getting tangled up in ropes used to catch lobster.
The wheels of government have been slow to respond to whales getting tangled up in the ropes tied to lobster traps. Typical ropes float up in the water and make a spider web that can and does entangle and kill whales. This is a serious problem, especially for the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale, numbering around 350 individual whales left alive. Death of even a single whale is a risk to the survival of the species.
To help with this problem, the federal government proposed a regulation that all ropes used to connect lobster traps must be made of sinking rope. That way there's no spider web. But, thanks to pressure from Maine senators, this regulation is being delayed after being watered down earlier to exempt large areas in Maine.
The rationale from Maine lobstermen is that things are different in Maine, and sinking ropes won't work. But Maine has been dragging their feet on alternatives to sinking rope too. Well, let's see whether customers prefer whale-safer lobster. No doubt Maine would find a solution quickly if the vaunted Maine lobster brand was being eclipsed by Mass lobster.
It's ironic (perhaps tragic) that this whole effort is playing out while the Maine lobster fishery is trying to get certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. They don't seem to realize that sustainability means not pushing right whales closer to extinction. A Maine lobster website talks about sustainability without so much as mentioning whales. Let's see whether we can help them see that their slogan "here today, here tomorrow" needs to apply to right whales too.
This Mass lobster project is a cooperative effort by the Ocean Conservancy, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and Massachusetts Lobstermen.