American authorities demand the EU to continue importing their lobsters

From Fish Information Services (FIS) | Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Maine politicians are calling for the European Union (EU) to deny a request from the Swedish government to have American lobster listed as invasive.

While American authorities believe the initiative represents Sweden’s attempt to convince the entire European Union of the harmful effects for the European species (Homarus gammarus), Swedish officials say an invasion of American lobsters could harm native European lobsters, AP reported.

Some US senators sent letters in recent days citing a paper by American and Canadians scientists that says there isn’t scientific evidence American lobsters could survive long enough in Europe to be considered invasive.

In addition, the Massachusetts governor sent a letter to the EU’s commission’s director, warning that a proposed ban on the importation of American lobsters into the EU would significantly and negatively impact US and Canadian fishermen, while also imposing an economic hardship on European consumers and seafood distributors in Europe and the US.

Furthermore, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries and its Canadian counterpart released the results of a multi-faceted review of the Swedish Ministry of Environment and Energy’s risk assessment, concluding the assessment does not meet the scientific standards necessary to even begin discussions of American lobsters as invasive species.

These findings also revealed that American lobsters have been exported around the world for decades, and interbreeding and disease transmission risk between them and European lobsters is exceedingly low.

According to official statistics, the trans-Atlantic lobster trade is valued at about USD 196 million a year and the EU accounts for about 20 per cent of all US lobster exports.