On June 21, 2016, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker sent a letter to the European Commission’s Director General of Environment voicing concern over the Swedish Ministry of Environment and Energy’s recently submitted risk assessment which stands to result in a potential ban on the importation of American lobsters to the European Union.
In his correspondence, Governor Baker highlighted the detrimental economic impacts a ban would have both on North America and the Commonwealth’s commercial fishing industry.
Citing the trans-Atlantic lobster trade as being valued at closely $196 million a year and accounting for nearly one-fifth of all United States lobster exports, Governor Baker told the Director General:
“Both North America and Europe benefit from the market and this potential ban could create a significant disruption for New England lobstermen.”
Elaborating upon the harmful economic impacts of any such prohibition, Governor Baker informed European officials:
“The economic impacts of a ban on the importation of American lobsters will be significant for U.S. and Canadian fishermen, seafood distributors here and in Europe, and to European customers.”
Further, to rebuke the assertions contained in the Swedish Ministry of Environment and Energy’s evaluation, Governor Baker highlighted the recent work of Massachusetts’ leading lobster biologists. Utilizing findings from a multi-agency, comprehensive review of Sweden’s risk assessment, Governor Baker reiterated that:
“the invasive threat from American lobsters is minimal, and likely not consistent with the Swedish Ministry’s conclusion.”
Building upon a commitment to the Commonwealth’s vital commercial fishing industry, Governor Baker encouraged the European Commission to:
“consider the findings of the multi-agency report and to engage in a productive dialogue with our deferral partners to continue the responsible transatlantic trade of live American lobsters.”
source: Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs