Sweden's Proposed Ban on N. American Lobsters Moves Forward as EU Accepts Swedish Approach to Risk
The EU's Scientific Forum on Invasive Alien Species confirmed the validity of Sweden’s scientific risk assessment that backs up its claim to ban North American live lobsters from its market. The decision sets in motion a broader review that could lead to the ban of imported live lobster to the EU market. The decision will now be reviewed and possibly considered for a vote by the Alien Species Committee. If approved, the motion would go to the full European Union Commission for a final vote sometime next spring. “This does not prejudge in any way the decision on whether the commission will propose the lobster for listing,” said Iris Petsa, a spokesperson for the EU. “This is a preliminary opinion on a purely scientific risk assessment and not a decision as to whether to ban the species.”
Sea Watch International announced the acquisition of Bar Harbor Foods in an undisclosed deal. Antarctica Advisors served as the independent advisory firm to finalize the transaction. "The acquisition of Bar Harbor will strengthen Sea Watch's position and growth in the U.S. retail segment,” said Bob Brennan, the CEO of Sea Watch International.
In other news, NMFS took most humpback whales off the endangered species list Tuesday, saying their numbers have recovered through international efforts to protect them. Nine of the fourteen distinct population populations of the whales have recovered to the point where they no longer need Endangered Species Act Protections NMFS said. These include whales that winter in Hawaii, the West Indies and Australia. "Today's news is a true ecological success story," said Eileen Sobeck, assistant administrator for NMFS.
Meanwhile, John Sackton writes of Oceana's latest "study" that claims 20 percent of the global seafood trade is mislabeled. The study was not a scientific sampling, but instead an analysis of Oceana’s sampling of high-risk species in various countries such as escolar, pangasius, and hake. They also had a high proportion of snapper and grouper samples, species where literally dozens of genetically distinct species are legally sold under one name. "The fact is that importers still have little control over how restaurants menu their items," Sackton says. The NFI added that Oceana would be far more effective lobbying for stronger enforcement of existing seafood mislabeling laws.
Finally, a US Bankruptcy Court agreed to bring South Korean shipper Hanjin under the umbrella of U.S. bankruptcy law, which temporarily prevents creditors in the U.S. from seizing assets. But the order doesn't guarantee that the ships' cargo will make it to shore. Since the carrier filed for bankruptcy in Seoul last week, ports, cargo handlers, truckers and railways have refused to touch Hanjin's containers, fearing they won't get paid. Nearly 80 Hanjin ships and at least half a million containers are still stranded at sea. There is hope that agreements can be met this week to get cargo moving. "All we can do is assure that the company is working around the clock to raise the financing to pay people and to start moving the cargo and to do what's necessary for our customers," said Hanjin's bankruptcy lawyer Ilana Volkov.
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