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Officials urged to resist Sweden’s plan to ban lobster imports

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The lobster fishing and export industries in Maine, USA, are moving swiftly to pressure the European Union not to approve a proposal from Sweden to list the American lobster as an invasive species.

This listing would effectively ban 28 EU member nations from importing live American lobster,from the United States and Canada, and could cost U.S. lobster fishermen and exporters $150 million a year, including about $10.6 million in Maine.

Scientists say 32 American lobsters have been found in Swedish waters in the past eight years, causing a risk of disease for native European lobsters.

Maine’s congressional delegation have sent letters to Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Trade Representative Michael From an, and NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, asking them to protest the proposed change in EU trade rules which have worked for decades.

“We urge you to engage in immediate efforts to ensure the continuation of safe and responsible import of live Maine lobsters, consistent with the EU’s World Trade Organization obligations,” wrote Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin. “Since only a small number of Maine lobsters have been found in foreign waters, we believe regulators should take a more finely tuned approach before calling this an ‘invasion.’ ”