Swedish scientists readily admit they don’t have the science to prove that American lobsters have invaded North Atlantic waters and become established there, but say the threat to their small native lobster population is real and can only be fully neutralized by an import ban.

 

Their findings, released in advance of an Aug. 31 ruling by a European Union committee on whether U.S. lobsters are an invasive species, argue that American lobsters have mated with native species. The scientists support banning imports of the lobsters as a precaution.

“There is a major difference between assessing the likelihood that establishment will occur and assessing the risk,” the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management said in a report. “Documented establishment in Europe is exactly what we want to avoid. The biggest difference between the North American reviews and the Swedish is how the precautionary principle is handled. … Prevention is generally more desirable than reaction after the fact.”

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