Where I live on the coast of Maine, there are two rules: Never touch someone else’s lobster trap, and always support the neighborhood lobsterman.
In an overfished world—some 90 percent of bluefin tuna have been wiped out; ditto for many other seafood species—the Marine Stewardship Council has certified Maine lobster as among only 10 percent of fisheries worldwide that are sustainable.
Generations of “lobsta” families form the backbone of villages dotting the rugged coast, where they haul traps in the cold Atlantic waters.
Maine’s marine conservation ethic has also inspired today’s younger generation to keep the lobstering tradition alive, helping to stem the tide of rural to urban migration that has threatened the survival of many small communities in New England.
One example: Nick Saunders, who last year graduated from college with a business degree and decided to become a lobsterman and launch a “sea to table” delivery service.
If, like me, you enjoy going out for a good meal with family and friends while being gentle on the planet, then go right ahead, order the Maine lobster.
This piece, written by Costas Christ, first appeared in the April 2014 issue of Traveler magazine. Follow Costas’s travels on Twitter @CostasChrist.