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Norway maintains a high level of protection regarding American lobster imports

The Ministry of Climate and Environment has carried out amendments to the Regulation relating to alien organisms. The previous prohibition against imports of live American lobsters, with scope for granting of exemptions, has been replaced by the requirement for a permit. A permit can only be granted on very strict conditions.

- Norway will continue to have a high level of protection against alien invasive species such as the American lobster. In order to prevent the release of live American lobsters into the Norwegian environment, the companies that import these lobsters may be granted a permit subject to strict conditions. The facilities where American lobsters are kept must be made escape-proof and all American lobsters must be boiled before they are sold, says Ola Elvestuen, the Minister of Climate and Environment.

Since the year 2000, 34 verified specimens of American lobster (Homarus americanus) have been found in the southern coast of Norway. According to scientific risk assessments, the American lobster represents a severe ecological risk because of the danger of competition and cross-breeding with our natural domestic species of European lobster (Homarus gammarus). A prohibition against the import, release and placing on the market of live American lobsters was therefore included in the Regulations relating to alien organisms from 2016, but with scope for the granting of exemptions.  

The public hearing and the notification of the proposal showed that several of the consultation responses were critical to replacing the prohibition of the import by a requirement for a permit. They pointed out that a restriction should not extend beyond what is necessary to maintain a high protection level against alien invasive species.

- Norway maintains a high level of protection when importing American lobster. We have stronger regulations than the EU, which have not regulated American lobster in the EU regulations on Invasive Alien Species, says Ola Elvestuen, the Minister of Climate and Environment.

The majority of imports of American lobster to Norway are from Canada and the Canadian authorities also questioned the foundations for the proposed prohibition. The prohibitions in the Regulations against the placing on the market and release of live American lobsters will remain in place.

The Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment has also made an amendment to the exemption provision in the Regulation.

The Regulations entered into force the 23rd of November 2018. 

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