Small wonder the Brits may decide to exit the European Union. The EU suffers from an unassisted financial suicide impulse, reflected recently in Sweden’s call to ban imports of North American (Maine) lobsters to the union’s 28 member states, which comprise Western Europe (excepting Iceland, Switzerland and Norway), Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.
The Swedes have found 32 examples of Homarus americanus off their west coast, an invasion they assert puts their stocks at risk.
They should be so lucky!
Homarus americanus is regarded as eminently more delectable than its wizened Euro-cousin; indeed, some Swedish restaurants display their North American lobsters in tanks in full view of patrons. When was the last time you heard anyone trying to order a Swedish lobster in an American restaurant? More likely, anyone serving one would be brought up on labeling charges.
For that matter, when was the last time you heard of a Swede ordering a Swedish lobster? Swedes are said to consume nine pounds of U.S. lobster for every pound of their own, a ratio that suggests they did not get the memo on community-supported fisheries.
More to the point, Europe imports 13,000 metric tons of American lobsters annually. Classifying them as an invasive species, which seems a bit of a leap, given the data – 32 lobsters over the course of eight years – would cost the U.S. lobster industry about $150 million per year, according to the Portland (Maine) Press Herald. It would also impose an unjustified economic burden on seafood distributors throughout Europe.
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) will have none of it. “The idea that somehow lobsters are going to jump out of their tanks and crawl into the sea and survive just doesn’t make sense,” she said in a statement. “Some reports have suggested that it’s actually consumers who have bought lobsters and thrown them in the ocean.”
Hoping they’ll take root, no doubt.