At delegation’s encouragement, European Commission rules against proposed lobster ban

(Boston, MA) – The European Commission announced that it will not move forward with a ban on American lobster to the European Union (EU), noting that they found no strong scientific evidence to support Sweden’s proposed ban. The Commission’s determination comes after months of advocacy on the part of Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA), Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and others in the delegation to make a decision based on science. As Moulton, Markey and others effectively argued, there is simply no evidence to support classifying the American lobster as an invasive species in order to ban their import.

"I am pleased to see that the EU has determined that an outright ban on American lobster is not an appropriate solution. From boat deck to table top, American lobster benefits fishermen and foodies alike,” said Senator Edward J. Markey. “I hope all parties involved will continue to work toward a solution that addresses Sweden’s concerns while still allowing Europeans to enjoy the deliciousness of American lobster.”   

“The European Commission’s decision is great news for Massachusetts,” said Congressman Seth Moulton. “As we’ve said for months, a ban on American lobster is not supported by science and would have been damaging to our entire economy. Our lobster industry provides a source of income and jobs for lobstermen and women, lobster dealers, vessel and trap manufacturers, restaurants, and other coastal businesses here in the Sixth District and throughout the Commonwealth.”

“The EU made the right call by rejecting the proposed ban on American lobster imports, which was not based in sound science,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “This decision is good news for the hardworking men and women in Massachusetts’ lobster industry.”

“The continued trade of live American lobsters with the European Union is great news for the hardworking Massachusetts lobstermen and their families and the region as a whole. Thanks to the advocacy of the Massachusetts’ Lobstermen’s Association, the New England Congressional Delegation, the State Department, the United States Trade Representative, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States made a strong case based on scientific evidence and economic reasoning against the proposed ban and ensured that this critical trade relationship will continue,” said Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston).

The Massachusetts congressional delegation has led the effort to overturn this unscientific proposal and advocated on behalf of the lobster industry. On September 28th, they led a delegation-wide letter to a representative of the European Commission. The letter expressed serious concern about the EU Scientific Forum’s decision to consider a ban, calling it “an excessive and unscientific response” that “would have a significant economic impact on Massachusetts and throughout New England.” The letter pointed to numerous studies by leading marine scientists that refuted Sweden’s claims and showed that the ban would be unmerited. Letter here.

“The Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association and its 1800 members extends our gratitude to Congressman Moulton and the other legislators and staff members for their continued efforts to help contest the potential banning of live American lobsters into the EU,” said Beth Casoni, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association. “The EU markets are extremely important to the local lobster industry through the holiday season and this ban would have had a significant negative economic impact on the fleet here in the Commonwealth. Job well done!”