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Under fire over right whales, lobster reps try to reframe the industry as climate-friendly

lobster industry carbon.JPG
Murray Carpenter
Maine Public
Sam Belknap of the Island Institute, and Ben Conniff and Luke Holden of Luke’s Lobster, discussing an assessment of the carbon footprint of the lobster industry.

Under fire recently for not doing enough to protect endangered right whales, lobster industry representatives are touting what they say are their climate-friendly attributes.

At a wharf in Portland, representatives from Luke's Lobster and the Island Institute released an assessment of the carbon footprint of a lobster. The analysis showed about 3 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per pound of lobster served at the restaurant chain. They say this is far less than beef, pork, or even chicken.

Sam Belknap of the Island Institute said the analysis tried to capture all of the carbon emissions of the fishery.

"So this is from the harvesting of the bait all the way to to the harvesting of the lobster to the landing of the lobster to the transportation of the lobster through Luke's supply chain," Belknap said. "So from bait to plate is a good way to put it."

Belknap said nearly two-thirds of the industry's greenhouse gas emissions come from diesel and gas used for fishing, and this should decrease as hybrid and electric boat technologies improve.

The Island Institute will be discussing the carbon assessment in a webinar on October 19.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.