Gov. Paul LePage has added his voice to the clamor calling for an end to Sweden’s attempt to ban the import of U.S. lobster.

LePage sent a letter dated Wednesday to the European Commission’s director general of the environment, saying Sweden’s attempt to ban lobsters by declaring them a threat to its own native lobster population is not based on sound science.

“I write to strongly encourage the European Commission to deny the Swedish Government’s petition to list (American lobster) as an alien invasive species,” said the governor’s letter to Daniel Calleja Crespo. “The risk assessment study submitted to the commission provides inadequate scientific basis for the petition and, as such, it should be denied.”

LePage is referencing a study released Tuesday by U.S. and Canadian scientists that rebuts Sweden’s assertion that rogue American lobsters pose a threat to their European cousins through exposure to disease and cross breeding. Sweden wants to bring up the issue for a hearing before the EU’s environment committee on June 20. If approved, the EU would vote at the end of the year on the proposed ban, which could take effect the next year.

Noting in the letter that the Maine lobster fishery generates over $1 billion in revenue annually, LePage said he understands the EU’s desire to protect its own fishery. He recommended possible regulatory or enforcement actions that could mitigate any risk to the EU stock, without imposing a ban.

Several members of Maine’s congressional delegation have also voiced their concerns over the proposed ban, and asked the Secretary of State and the U.S. Trade representative to get involved.


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