WWF urges seafood lovers to avoid eating Boston lobsters

Conservation group WWF Hong Kong has called on seafood lovers to avoid eating Boston lobsters, after updating its Seafood Guide today.

According to the updated seafood guide, some 70 common seafood species found in Hong Kong has been classified into three categories – Green, Yellow, and Red, with Green being seafood “Recommended” to eat, Yellow being “Think Twice” before you eat, and Red being “Avoid” eating.

For the first time, Boston lobster has been classified as “Avoid” eating, after previously being included on the “Recommended” list.

Wong Hei-wan, WWF Hong Kong’s conservation officer for oceans conservation, said Boston lobster is not an endangered species, but is included in the Red list due to its high bycatch rate.

Wong said the place where Boston lobsters were caught is also the natural habitat of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.

Over the past decade, the population of right whales has plummeted by more than a quarter, and millions of vertical buoy lines used in fishing have been the leading cause of death.

Many right whales were found to have died as a result of entanglements from the lines that extend from buoys at the surface to traps on the seafloor, and that nearly 85 percent of right whales have been scarred by entanglements, and many of those that survive are often weakened, making them less likely to reproduce, according to US’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

The WWF has instead recommended seafood lovers to turn their heads to South Australia lobsters, which is on the Green list.

The conservation group also found the information listed on packages of seafood sold in Hong Kong insufficient.

“Seafood vendors should shoulder the responsibility to provide comprehensive and transparent information on where and how the seafood was caught. While consumers should make environmentally responsible seafood choices according to the seafood guide,” Wong added.

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