PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Members of Maine’s Congressional Delegation, scientists and people in the state’s lobster industry are coming together to show they are united in their opposition to Sweden’s proposal to ban the imports of lobsters into the European Union.
They gathered Friday morning at Ready Seafood, a lobster distributor down along the Portland waterfront.
This issue cuts across political lines. Sen. Angus King (I) and Reps. Chellie Pingree (D) and Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R) put their differences aside and joined forces to speak out against the ban.
“It's one thing to say, 'the science is weak, but let's not take a chance and the consequences aren't very large,' but in this case, the science is weak and the consequences are huge," Sen. King said. "Over $100 million worth of lobsters from Maine."
Sweden wants the American lobster labeled an invasive species after more than 30 of them were found in European waters. Officials there fear an invasion of American lobster would threaten the European lobster.
Everyone at Friday's gathering said the science just doesn’t support that.
University of Maine marine science professor Bob Steneck has been studying the crustaceans for 30 years. He said there’s no evidence that American lobsters can even reproduce outside of the cold ocean temperatures here.
“Adult lobsters can live in European waters indefinitely, they’re capacity to reproduce and to grow as a population is significantly limited, actually as a far as we know, doesn’t occur at all”, Steneck said.
All members of the delegation — including Sen. Susan Collins, who couldn’t make it Friday — will join with people in the industry to launch a massive lobbying effort aimed, not just towards officials in the European Union and Sweden, but also appealing to restaurants that use Maine lobster and their customers who enjoy it.
Copyright 2016 WCSH