Governor Baker Raises Concerns over Potential Ban on American Lobsters

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker speaks to members of the media, Wednesday, May 4, 2016, in Boston. Baker reiterated that he will not vote for Donald Trump in November and told reporters that he now believes Trump will be his party's nominee after Trump won Tuesday's Indiana primary. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker has sent a letter to the European Commission’s Director General of Environment voicing concern over a potential ban on American lobsters.

The Swedish Ministry of Environment and Energy’s recently submitted risk assessment stands to result in a potential ban on the importation of American lobsters to the European Union.

In his correspondence, Baker highlighted the 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.”

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.”

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.”

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