Trowels, Not Traps: PETA Proposes New Jobs for People in the Lobster Industry

For Immediate Release:
December 7, 2021

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Portland, Maine

The U.S. Supreme Court just denied a request by the Maine Lobstering Union to lift a ban on lobster fishing in the Gulf of Maine between October and January—which was enacted to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales from becoming fatally entangled in fishing gear and ultimately going extinct—so this morning, PETA sent a letter to the union’s CEO, Mike Yohe, dangling a lifeline. Because people in the lobster industry complained that the ban threatens their livelihood, PETA is offering to help cover the cost of retraining them in nonviolent occupations, including photography and gardening.

“Lobsters and whales deserve to live just as much as humans deserve to earn a living, so PETA is here with a win-win solution,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Just as today, safaris are switching from guns to cameras, we’d like to help people in the lobster industry embrace new ways to make a living without taking lives.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Yohe follows.

December 7, 2021

Mike Yohe, CEO
Maine Lobstering Union—Local 207

Dear Mr. Yohe:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, including many thousands across Maine—with an offer to help cover the cost of retraining people in the Maine lobster industry who fear a loss of revenue now that the Supreme Court has upheld restrictions on lobster fishing between October and January in the LMA 1 Restricted Area to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale from going extinct. We’re offering to train them in nonviolent occupations such as photography or gardening.

As you know, just as humans want to earn a living, animals such as lobsters and whales simply want to live. A great deal of scientific research shows that lobsters are sentient beings who feel pain and try to avoid it, just as other animals do. In fact, a recent London School of Economics and Political Science report based on an analysis of 300 studies found evidence of sentience in decapods, leading to a proposed expansion of animal welfare laws in the U.K. Scientists with the European Union have classified lobsters as category 1 animals—which means that, without a doubt, they can feel pain. Joining them in this category are dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, and humans, among others.

The population of North Atlantic right whales has shrunk by an alarming 30% over the last decade, and estimates suggest that there are fewer than 350 of them left and that fewer than 100 are breeding females. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, if we want them to recover, we must reduce human-caused deaths to less than one per year, but the agency estimates that between 2012 and 2016, the average observed deaths and serious injuries caused by entanglements with fishing gear was at least five each year. Surely, it’s not worth the risk when help is available to ensure that people in the lobster industry can learn a new trade.

We hope no longer contributing to the deaths of sentient and endangered beings, coupled with the warming oceans threatening the lobster population and the prediction that the vegan market will grow by 451% within the next 10 years, will be enough incentive to persuade your members to accept our offer. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Newkirk


Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.