In October, the European Union shot down Sweden’s initial proposal to ban American lobster imports into the EU’s 28 member nations. But the Scandinavian country is sticking to its guns and drafting a new proposal to attempt a national ban.

 

American Lobster (Homarus americanus). NOAA photo.Swedish officials recently repeated their concerns that American lobsters could interfere with European lobster populations.

“We are preparing a new proposal on national and regional measures on the American lobster that will be presented for the Swedish government this winter,” said Sofia Brockmark, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management.

No details on the proposal were made public as of late January.

According to EU spokeswoman Iris Petsa, the possibility of an import ban is now in the hands of Swedish officials, but the country would still need to notify the European Commission before applying restrictions on national trade.

Sweden has been pushing the ban proposal since March 2016, when it presented evidence that 32 American lobsters had been found in its waters since 2008 and that the lobsters were threatening native species.

The EU Scientific Forum on Invasive Alien Species, which is made up of experts appointed by each EU member state, confirmed the validity of Sweden’s scientific risk assessment in September, declaring there was enough evidence to warrant a full investigation.

After clearing that first hurdle, the proposal was rejected by an EU committee on Oct. 14 after American and Canadian scientists, politicians, and industry representatives raised concerns about a complete import ban — the lack of evidence that suggested such extreme measures be taken and economic and trade concerns. A spokeswoman said the committee will explore measures that would cause fewer trade restrictions at the time.

 

Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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