Regulations relating to American lobster imports

The Ministry of Climate and Environment has sent out a consultation document with proposals for amendments to the Regulation relating to alien organisms. The proposed amendments entail that the current prohibition against imports of live American lobsters should be replaced by the general requirement in the Regulations for a permit.

A permit of this kind may be granted subject to strict conditions. The prohibitions in the Regulations against the placing on the market and release of live American lobsters, will remain in place.

The American lobster (Homarus americanus) is an alien invasive species in Norway. The most important potential harmful effects of the American lobster are competition with or the displacement of the native European lobster and other native species and hybridisation (cross-breeding) with the European lobster.

Experiences have shown that American lobster can be imported to Norway with very little risk if strict measures are put in place to prevent the release of live American lobsters into the Norwegian environment. Other measures include that the facilities of the importing company have to be escape-proof and all live American lobsters must be boiled to ensure that the lobsters are dead before they are dispatched from the premises of the company.

The Ministry also proposes an amendment to the exemption provision, which largely entails that only one of the two preconditions for exemption must be fulfilled in order for an exemption to be granted, rather than both, as is the case at present. The Ministry is of the view that the threshold for determining that the condition has been met should remain high. The condition should only be considered to have been fulfilled if the risk of adverse impacts on biological or landscape diversity is very low or absent.

The deadline for submitting comments is 12 February 2018.

Information concerning the consultation (Norwegian), including the Consultation Paper (English and Norwegian).