Shaheen Urges European Union to Reject Sweden’s Petition to Ban Importation of American Lobster

**Shaheen: An EU ban on American live lobster imports would cause cascading economic damage across the New England coastal economy**

September 08, 2016

(Washington, DC)— U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and lead Democrat on the European Affairs subcommittee, sent a letter to the Director of the European Commission Directorate-General for Environment, Daniel Calleja Crespo, today in response to the European Union’s (EU) decision to move forward with consideration of Sweden’s petition to ban European imports of the American Lobster by declaring it an invasive species. In her letter, Shaheen stressed that Sweden’s petition lacked scientific justification and would cause economic harm to New England’s coastal communities.

Senator Shaheen stated: “The science is clear that American lobsters are not an invasive species and pose no environmental threat to the European lobster.”

She continued, “In my state of New Hampshire, our lobstermen catch annually as much as $23 million worth of lobster and support critical jobs in our coastal communities.  An EU ban on American live lobster imports would cause cascading economic damage across the New England coastal economy. I urge you to reject Sweden’s economically harmful and scientifically baseless proposal.”

Last week, Senator Shaheen went lobstering in Portsmouth to discuss the impact of climate change on New Hampshire’s lobster industry.

The full text of the letter is below. A copy of the letter was also sent to Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, David O’Sullivan, Ambassador of the EU to the United States, and Björn Lyrvall, Ambassador of Sweden to the United States.

September 8, 2016 

Mr. Daniel Calleja Crespo

Director General-DG Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

European Commission

B-1049 Brussels Belgium

 

Dear Mr. Crespo,

As Ranking Member of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe, I write to express concern with the European Union’s (EU) decision to move forward with consideration of Sweden’s unfounded petition to prohibit the EU importation of the American lobster by listing it as an invasive alien species.

There is no scientific justification for Sweden’s allegations that the American lobster is invading European waters.  Isolated instances of several individual American lobsters found in EU waters over the past decade in no way constitutes the invasion of an alien species.  Moreover, American lobsters are unable to reproduce in waters as warm as those off the coast of Europe, and there is no evidence that interbreeding American and European lobsters are able to produce fertile offspring. 

The United States exports approximately $150 million in live lobsters to the EU each year.  In my state of New Hampshire, our lobstermen catch annually as much as $23 million worth of lobster and support critical jobs in our coastal communities.  An EU ban on American live lobster imports would cause cascading economic damage across the New England coastal economy. 

Around the world, invasive species do pose legitimate threats to indigenous wildlife and sustainable fisheries, and I strongly support policies to strengthen ecosystems and ensure responsible and sustainable fisheries management.   However, in this case, the science is clear that American lobsters are not an invasive species and pose no environmental threat to the European lobster.

I urge you to reject Sweden’s economically harmful and scientifically baseless proposal.  Thank you for your timely consideration of this important matter.

Sincerely,

Jeanne Shaheen

U.S. Senator