The American lobster, or Homarus americanus, is a species found on the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada. It lives a timid, solitary life, hiding in rocks to avoid predators by day and scouring the ocean floor for food at night. Although an American lobster can grow to be 1.1 metres in length, the average size of those caught for our dinner is only 25 centimetres.
This past March, the Swedish Ministry of the Environment and Energy petitioned the European Union to add the American lobster to a list of foreign species. The crustacean has been found in Swedish waters, and the ministry is worried that they may spread disease or result in biodiversity issues, including the co-mingling of species. The release of foreign species of live lobster into Swedish waters is illegal, and it’s unclear how the crustaceans got there; the ministry reported that American lobsters were found off the Swedish coast with elastics around their claws – elastics bearing the names of North American shipping companies.
If the motion before the EU is adopted, it would close the trade of live lobster between North America and the EU’s 28 member states.
Geoff Irvine, executive director at the Lobster Council of Canada, says Canada stands to lose at least 10 per cent of its $75-million live lobster export market; many Canadian lobsters make it to Europe via the United States, so the hit could be even bigger.
“It’s important to understand that the Canadian and American lobster sector is very much linked – we’re all working together,” said Irvine, who added that live Canadian lobsters have been shipped to Europe “as long as there have been airplanes.”
He expects the EU to decide on the ban over the summer.
Courtesy: The Globe And Mail