Look Out for the Invasive Non-Native American Lobster

Look Out for the Invasive Non-Native American Lobster

American lobsters are invasive non-native species, and a high risk/alert species for Scotland and the UK. A Retain and Report campaign was launched in 2020 to raise awareness about the risks they pose (see American Lobster poster Scotland and Scotland A4 lobster Leaflet for more information). It is very difficult to identify American lobsters by appearance alone, even more so when they may be hybrid animals i.e. European lobster crossed with American lobsters.

If you see any lobsters that you think may be American lobsters, please Retain and Report these animals. The reporting options are, in order of preference;

• high quality photographs;
• a flesh sample using a testing kit from MSS used by Fishery Officers;
• the entire animal to be sent to MSS for scientific analysis, via your local Fishery Office.

Having good quality samples for analysis is hugely valuable to help with the scientific understanding of whether this species is present, breeding or creating viable offspring in Scottish waters. If it is possible for the entire animal to be provided (live) to Fishery Officers, it would give MSS the most detailed information for analysis. There is also significant benefits to the creel sector in removing ecological threats to the fishery in this way.

If you come across any suspected American or hybrid lobsters, please contact your local Fishery Office.