Oversexed, overfed and over here: that, in a nutshell, is what the Swedes think of the American lobster from Maine, New England. It may be much sought after in restaurants but Sweden does not want the American crustacean to darken EU waters in case it spreads diseases and kills off its smaller cousin.

The Swedish environment ministry on Friday asked the EU to list the Maine lobster as an invasive species and ban the import of the live creatures.

While the more cynical may see the Swedish move as disguised protectionism, such concerns are not entirely misplaced. Wildlife experts say the American lobster, which may also be slightly larger and different in colour to the native European lobster, brings dangers to European lobsters.

“They pose several potential risks for native species, competing for space and resources, they can interbreed with local species and produce hybrid species, which we don’t know will be viable or not,” said Dr Paul Stebbing of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture science.


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