Seafood buyers, politicians and lobstermen are blasting the Monterey Bay Aquarium's sustainable seafood ranking arm for moving American-caught lobster to its "avoid" list, calling into question the methodology of the group and even urging the Maine industry to take action for defamation.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch moved American lobster to its avoid list last week in a blanket rating applying to all fisheries that are "known to entangle the endangered North Atlantic right whale," including pots or set gillnets.