February 21, 2024


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Maine Republicans want to strip tax gains from enterprises that boycott lobster

Eric Pray unpacks a lobster on a Portland wharf in this 2020 file image. Robert F. Bukaty/Related Press, file

Republican state legislators on Tuesday afternoon claimed they have released a invoice that would strip tax rewards for firms – these types of as Total Meals Marketplace – that boycott Maine lobster about evaluations of its environmental sustainability.

The announcement follows the upscale supermarket chain’s decision last thirty day period to prevent selling Maine lobster following the fishery shed two eco-friendly certifications.

Sen. Trey Stewart, R-Aroostook, and Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor, held a information meeting at Hallowell Seafood & Develop to discuss what they explained were being “efforts by exterior environmental teams to demolish the state’s beleaguered lobster business.” 

Beneath the legislation, organizations that use 3rd-get together certifications to justify a ban, boycott or restriction of lawfully harvested Maine-based mostly items would be prohibited from participating in the state’s Organization Gear Tax Reimbursement and Business enterprise Gear Tax Exemption Packages. 

The invoice also would ban the point out from any contracts with these kinds of businesses.

The legislators singled out Whole Foods by title in a news release, but it was not immediately very clear to what extent the organization participates in the tax benefit courses. The Texas-dependent huge operates in excess of 500 U.S. suppliers, with only a person in Maine, on Portland’s Somerset Street.

A Maine Republican spokesman was unable to say what contracts or other organizations may well be impacted by the laws if passed.

“This is a war. It is not just about lobster fishing – it is a war on personnel, relatives values, conservation, science and prevalent perception,” Faulkingham, a lobsterman, claimed in a prepared statement. “It is likely to acquire all of us standing collectively blended with quite a few others during Maine to preserve the skill of lobster fishing people to generate a living, preserve the source, and create jobs for hundreds of Mainers.”

Very last month, Full Food items Marketplace announced that it will halt advertising Gulf of Maine lobster in its merchants nationwide following the fishery lost sustainability certifications from the Maritime Stewardship Council and Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood View system.

The Maritime Stewardship Council explained it is suspending the fishery’s certification of sustainability owing to failure to comply with regulations created to protect the endangered North Atlantic ideal whale. 

A July 2022 court docket ruling observed that new federal rules of the lobster field don’t do plenty of to lessen most likely fatal threats of the right whales receiving tangled in lobstering equipment. Less than the court docket final decision, the market is violating the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Security Act.

To meet up with the needs for the MSC Fisheries Common and for merchandise to bear the trademarked blue-and-white “eco-label” that signifies a fishery is perfectly managed, the fisheries have to comply with all related regulations. The suspension by the London-primarily based watchdog is effective Dec. 15.

In September, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch software extra the U.S. lobster fishery to a “red list” of seafood to prevent due to the fact, in accordance to the team, lobster is harvested in approaches that are probable to harm wildlife or the setting – in this circumstance, the North Atlantic correct whale. 

Complete Foodstuff has said it will end buying lobster from the Gulf of Maine until finally a person of the organizations reinstates its stamp of acceptance for the fishery. 

A Complete Foods spokesperson did not answer to a request for an job interview Tuesday evening.

Stewart reported in the assertion that legislators will request Maine Legal professional Normal Aaron Frey to look into the Marine Stewardship Council and Seafood Check out.

This team would make nearly 90% of their funding by providing their logo and we’d like to know what, if any, effects their choice had on their funding streams,” he reported. 

Stewart claimed they would persuade other New England states to choose motion as properly as look into the environmental groups’ actions.

“An attack on the Maine lobster business is an attack on all of Maine,” he mentioned.

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