A Massachusetts lobsterman sizes up his catch.

Happening today:

10:30 a.m. | Boston Mayor Wu joins Sen. Markey, Congressman Lynch and the Boston Housing Authority to promote $1.75 million in federal funding to modernize heating systems, improve air quality and insulation, and renovate apartments. | Ausonia Homes, 185 Fulton St., Community Room, North End

11 a.m. | Mass Cultural Council announces more than $6.6 million in recovery grants to "cultural organizations, artists, creatives, culture bearers, and gig workers" in the northeast part of the state. | North Shore Music Theatre, 54 Dunham Rd., Beverly

4:45 p.m. | Mayor Wu welcomes championship basketball teams from TechBoston Academy and Jeremiah Burke High School. | Eagle Room, Mayor's Office, Fifth Floor, City Hall, Boston

6 p.m. | Senate President Spilka gives a legislative update in Holliston and talks about local priorities with Holliston Select Board members | 703 Washington St., Holliston

Much like a lobster roll, revenge is a dish best served cold.

Ocean conservationists, however, would like to see the summertime staple come off menus altogether, a move that’s prompted lobstermen in Maine and Massachusetts to serve up a dish of their own.

Commercial lobstermen in both states have filed separate lawsuits claiming defamation and seeking damages of more than $75,000 after the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California “red-rated” the Atlantic lobster last September.

The red rating on the “Seafood Watch,” urges consumers to avoid American lobster caught by trap from the Gulf of Maine, Southern New England and Georges Bank stocks. The aquarium blames fishing practices for harming endangered North Atlantic right whales, who now number less than 340, according to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

But Arthur Sawyer, a second generation lobsterman and president of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, said conservationists are “vilifying” the very people who have long partnered with scientists to improve the health of the fishery.

Sawyer, a plaintiff in the Massachusetts suit, said conservationists have “absolutely no proof” lobstering had contributed to recent right whale deaths. Sawyer said Massachusetts lobstermen are being “unfairly vilified” when they “have been on the forefront of conservation for decades” and worked alongside scientists to improve regulations. 

Boats are out of the water until at least May 15 after the whale migration is complete. Local fishermen also pioneered so-called “weak ropes” for traps that are less likely to entangle whales who might hit them, he said. 

Ropes Seafood Watch used in its anti-lobster campaign pictured ropes used in snow crab fishing, Sawyer said.

“This is about public perception. We’ve made sacrifices and we deserve better treatment,” he said.

But a spokesperson for the Monterey Bay Aquarium dismissed the “meritless lawsuits” in a statement to MASSterList that accused lobsterment of seeking to “curtail the First Amendment rights of a beloved institution that educates the public about the importance of a healthy ocean.”

Lobster prices, meanwhile, have plummeted to $4 last year, down from $7 in 2021 — adding up to fewer profits for local lobstermen. The red-listing prompted supermarket chain Whole Foods and meal-kit companies Hello Fresh and Blue Apron to claw lobsters off their menus.

Massachusetts lobstermen earned $81.5 million in 2022, $43.5 million less than the year before, according to the state.

The state Division of Marine Fisheries director has called the red-listing “counterproductive to ongoing efforts by his agency and the industry to further reduce entanglement risk.”

Send tips to Erin Tiernan Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising and general inquiries, contact Dylan RossiterPublisher@MASSterList.comClick here to post a job on the MASSterList Job Board. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

MBTA watch 🚇

Days since the last derailment, fire, falling debris, or critical incident: 4

Days with localized speed restrictions:10

Days without “normal” weekday subway service: 272

On Jan. 5, Gov. Healey pledged to hire a new MBTA Transportation Safety Chief within 60 days. It has now been 73 days without the position being filled.

Next in line at the T: Healey interviewing for transit system GM

A public records request revealed Gov. Maura Healey attended a Feb. 16 meeting about the search for a permanent general manager of the MBTA. On Feb. 27, she interviewed a candidate for the position, the Globe’s Samantha J. Gross writes. The new gov has promised to hire a new GM in “weeks not months.” 

The Boston Globe | State House News

Boston goes green: St. Patrick’s Day revelry

The parade Boston, which is part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations that date back to 1737 in the city, started the typical 3.5 mile loop through South Boston at 1 p.m. on Sunday. No white nationalists showed up and Boston police had a visible presence, making four arrests.

The Boston Herald | The Boston Globe

Slow going: Speed restrictions still a thing on MBTA

One-quarter of the entire MBTA subway system will still be subject to more-sluggish-than-usual travel once the agency lifts end-to-end speed restrictions on the Green Line.

More than a week after the T ordered trains to move slower because of failures to confirm past inspections and repairs, MBTA Interim General Manager Jeff Gonneville said.

State House News

Gardner Museum shut doors over possible climate protest on heist anniversary

Officials at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum shut the museum today, the 33rd anniversary of the infamous painting robbery after learning climate activists planned to use the occasion and the museum to promote their cause – and the fear something could happen to damage the remaining artwork.

Universal Hub | WBZ

Reparations in Boston and beyond

Communities across the nation are considering reparations for injustices done to Black people throughout their histories. Many local and state governments are developing initiatives for reparations to balance the scales. In Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu marked the start of Black History Month by announcing the members of a new task force to study reparations.


Borders don’t stope vapes come into Bay State

Massachusetts banned the sale of flavored and menthol cigarettes and vaping products more than three years ago, but smugglers still get those products into the state through the underground market, writes Christian M. Wade of the Eagle-Tribune. More than 143,000 of the devices were seized by state police in the previous fiscal year, he reported.

The Eagle Tribune

Go small and go home: Sheffield could clear way for tiny house boom

Voters in Sheffield will consider bylaw changes this spring meant to make it easier for homeowners to put tiny homes on their properties as an accessory use. The Berkshire Eagle’s Heather Bellow reports the changes, including dropping the requirement for installing new septic systems for the units, are aimed at addressing a shortage of rental properties in the area.

The Berkshire Eagle

Athol Libertarian wants to take on Warren in ‘24 

Athol resident Louis Marino says he plans to challenge U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the 2024 election cycle, running as a Libertarian after a long career as a Republican. Max Bowen of the Recorder reports Marino has made unsuccessful runs for statewide office in the past.

The Greenfield Recorder

Outside firm will review Cambridge police shooting, response  

Cambridge City Manager Yi-An Huang has hired an outside firm to review the city’s police department and how it handled the January incident that led to the fatal police shooting of a local college student. The Police Executive Research Forum review comes on top of an ongoing inquiry by the district attorney and comes as officials prepare to meet for the first time with protesters who have called for the city to do more in response to the tragedy.

GBH | Cambridge Day

State coffers take a hit as GE slashes Culp’s compensation 

GE said Friday it has slashed the take-home pay of CEO Larry Culp by nearly $15 million compared to last year as the company continues to reorganize. Maybe the silver lining for Culp, whose base pay is about $2 million, is the $600,000 or so he may be saving on Fair Share Amendment taxes he won’t be paying on big bonuses or stock grants.  

Boston Business Journal

Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.

Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList