Sweden digs in on proposal to ban lobsters from Europe 14-Aug-16 20

PORTLAND: Sweden is digging in on a proposal to ban imports of live lobsters into the European Union after a rebuke from American scientists, and the issue could go all the way to the World Trade Organization. Sweden asked the European Union to bar imports of live American lobsters into the bloc earlier this year after 32 American lobsters were found in Swedish waters.

The US government then told the European Commission that the proposal isn’t supported by science, and American and Canadian scientists issued reports calling the Swedish claim into question. Now, Sweden’s Agency for Marine and Water Management is issuing a response to criticism, and says the country is right to be cautious about the appearance of a foreign species in its waters. The response came out at the end of July and defends the prevention of the spread of American lobsters as “environmentally desirable and cost-effective.”

The Congressional delegation of Maine, the country’s largest lobster producing state, issued a statement that said it will appeal to the WTO if the European Union ultimately sides with the Swedes. Lobstermen in America and Canada, which together export $200 million worth of lobster to European markets each year, are hopeful that Sweden’s call for a ban eventually amounts to nothing. “I haven’t taken my Swedish engine out of my boat yet,” said Gerry Cushman, a Port Clyde lobsterman. “I’d like to see lobsters stay open throughout the world everywhere.” European Union’s Scientific Forum on Invasive Alien Species is expected to express an opinion about Sweden’s call for a ban on Aug. 31. 

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