The European Union has moved one step closer to a possible ban on live North American lobsters after its scientific advisory forum released a recommendation in favour of including the animal on its invasive species list.

In a decision released Tuesday morning, the EU scientific forum said it has submitted a “positive opinion” on the validity of an earlier proposal from Sweden to ban lobsters from Canada and the United States. A final decision by the EU is expected in April of 2017.

In December, 2015, Sweden proposed a ban on live North American lobsters in the EU. In its proposal, Sweden argued that North American lobsters have been found in European waters in the past, and that they could threaten local species.

But researchers in North America, including scientists at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, have dismissed these claims. In a response, the federal department described the Swedish argument as “one-sided,” adding that it “makes many unsubstantiated assumptions without providing studies to support them.”

The department also pointed out that American lobsters have been found in Europe for decades, with no signs of establishment.

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