Patten: It’s Time for Mainers to Boycott Whole Foods

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Jeffrey, a manager at the Portland branch of Whole Foods, won’t tell me whether or not his store sells Maine lobster. He referred me to media relations, which is in all likelihood housed somewhere outside of Maine, probably in a dark corner of Whole Foods, Amazon, and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos’ dark soul.

Being ninjas of nuance, the global public relations team at Whole Foods told me that they will sell their remaining supplies of Maine lobster but suspend any further procurement for now. Why? According to Nathan Cimbala, it is because the London-based Marine Stewardship Council recently robbed our lobster fishery of its “yellow” rating.

Double-talk aside, Maine’s only Whole Foods outlet no longer sells Maine lobster, notwithstanding the aging stragglers in its tank who are, no doubt, being pushed around by virtue-signaling Canadian lobsters as I write.

It’s not just the foreign MSC watchdog that has it out for our most iconic seafood. The California-based group Seafood Watch, which is headed by a donor to 2nd District Congressman Jared Golden, “red-listed” our lobster fishery this past summer. (Ed note: Golden claims he passed the $666 contribution onto a legal support group for the Maine lobster industry when his opponent called him out on the troubling revelation earlier this fall).

Allegedly, the ban has something to do with “sustainability.” That charge traces back to the endangered right whale, when though there hasn’t been an entanglement of a whale in Maine lobster fishing gear since 2004 – and even then the whale was released without harm. There is much to be said about cooked data behind these assumptions, but let’s save that for another day. This piece is about the only Whole Foods currently operating in Maine.

In a free market, businesses have every right to sell or not sell goods and services so long as they comply with applicable laws. Business decisions usually are based on the supply and demand forces in the market, but in the age of the woke, climate activist, large corporations have been known to bend to the will of powerful special interests – even if it is crosswise with the market itself. 

Back in the roaring 1980s, the Texas tycoon who sent his private jet to Maine to pick up lobsters for a Houston or Dallas dinner party was the epitome of ostentatious wealth. Now the billionaires are annoyed when lobster traps get caught in the props of their super-yachts cruising our coast in the summer. They are hostages to their shrill children who shriek in their ears about the climate.

Others, also citing climate change, say Maine lobsters are migrating to Canada anyway, so why all the fuss?

Maine State House Minority Leader Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor), himself a lobsterman, is quick to point out the devastating effect these bans pose for the 5,000 families in our state who depend on a lobster fisherman/woman and the many thousands more who are employed elsewhere on the supply chain. The driving force behind a recent state constitutional amendment securing a right to produce food, Faulkingham is not taking these latest bans sitting down.

“The time for angry letters is over,” he posted on Facebook this morning, after meeting with U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) in Washington. Of course he’s right. If both of Maine’s senators are not working overtime to bring the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to see the light of day on this issue, then that too is a separate question that will require action.

But what can we do? The answer is glaringly simple: boycott Whole Foods. People who shop in their Portland location hate Maine. They have every legal right to hate Maine. But we have every right to ask them why they do, and given their hostile disposition, what are they doing here anyway?

There will continue to be those who shrug the whole thing off and gravitate towards Whole Foods salad bar for lunch. Patrons of “whole paycheck” stores often live in a different universe than the rest of us anyway. But for those of us who do care for the lobster-fishery families, heritage and enterprise in Maine, there is only one moral course. That is to send an unequivocal message to the business in Portland that is simultaneously taking Mainers money while spitting on our values.

The Left, with whom the proponents of the lobster bans identify, no longer owns protest. Our future is in our own hands.

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