A Maine fisherman slammed Whole Foods' decision to stop selling Maine lobsters in its stores on Monday, calling on the grocery chain executives to do their "homework" before writing off the livelihoods of hundreds of lobstermen.
Whole Foods announced that it would stop carrying lobsters caught off the coast from the Gulf of Maine at hundreds of its stores around the country earlier this month in response to environmentalist concerns that the lobster gear allegedly threatens a rare species known as the right whale, only 340 of which exist today.
In an appearance on "Jesse Watters Primetime" Monday, Maine lobsterman Jason Lorde denounced the decision, arguing that no right whale has died due to Maine lobster gear and that the fishing community in the state has long complied with laws and regulations to protect right whales.
"I think Whole Foods maybe should have done a little more homework," Lorde said. "We have been in business for over 150 years, and we have done our due diligence. We were conservationists before conservationists was cool. I’m sorry they felt they had to jump on the bandwagon with all the rest of the West Coasters."
The Whole Foods decision comes after the Marine Stewardship Council and Seafood Watch recently pulled their lobster endorsements over concerns about risks to rare North Atlantic right whales from fishing gear. Entanglement in gear is one of the biggest threats to the whales, they said.
Lorde noted that there hasn't been a single instance involving a right whale in Maine, which has the largest lobster fishing industry in the country in the 150 years it's been active.
"Don't believe everything you read on social media," he said. "I think it's an avenue for misconstrued deception, and if anyone wants to get the real deal, hop aboard. We'll take you and show you what's really happening."
Maine politicians also denounced the decision in a blistering statement written by Gov. Janet Mills in conjunction with Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden.
"We are disappointed by Whole Foods’ decision and deeply frustrated that the Marine Stewardship Council’s suspension of the lobster industry’s certificate of sustainability continues to harm the livelihoods of hardworking men and women up and down Maine’s coast," the statement reads.
"In an appeal to retailers just weeks ago, we outlined the facts: there has never been a right whale death attributed to Maine lobster gear; Maine lobstermen have a 150-year history of sustainability; and Maine’s lobstering community has consistently demonstrated their commitment to protecting right whales," the governor and the four other leaders in the state wrote.
A Whole Foods representative told Fox News Digital that the chain will continue selling lobsters that were caught off the Gulf of Maine under the Marine Stewardship Council's previously active certification program or were rated either "green" or "yellow" by the MBA Seafood Watch program.
"We will pause purchasing lobster from the Gulf of Maine and resume when the MSC suspension is lifted or when the MBA Seafood Watch program rating is changed to green or yellow," the Whole Foods spokesperson said.
Environmentalists have meanwhile lauded the sustainability organizations and Whole Foods for the moves.
Fox News' Emma Colton contributed to this report.