From AP: Sweden isn’t giving up on a long-running battle with the U.S. and Canada over lobsters that have turned up in Swedish waters. Officials with Sweden told The Associated Press that their country is working on a new proposal about how to deal with American lobsters that have turned up. A controversy about whether American lobsters are invasive in Swedish waters has simmered for almost a year.
Sweden had wanted the European Union to consider a ban of imports of American lobsters. That call came after Sweden announced it had found 32 American lobsters in its waters.
Maine is the biggest lobster fishing state in the U.S., and the New England lobster industry dug in against Sweden’s proposed ban. America sends about $150 million in lobster to the European Union annually. Canada also sells the same species of lobster to Europe.
Some of the lobsters that were found in Europe were wearing the rubber bands that are put on their claws in captivity. That led to speculation that they were imported lobsters that either escaped into the wild or were released.
Beth Casoni, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, said her organization is working with others in the industry, as well as American and Canadian government agencies, to help prevent American lobsters from escaping in Europe.
The European Union is of the opinion that the issue now lies with Sweden, said Iris Petsa, a spokeswoman for the EU’s European Commission. She said the country would still need to notify the European Commission before applying restrictions on national trade.