Marine Scotland call for ‘retain and report’ of American lobsters found in Scottish waters

Scottish Government agency Marine Scotland has created a campaign to raise awareness of the threat to Scottish wildlife posed by American lobsters, asking the public and fishers to ‘retain and report’ them if caught.

Marine Scotland have provided information and visuals to help fishers and the public identify any American lobsters by features such as the orange-red undersides of their claws, different colouring and stockier appearance.
Marine Scotland have provided information and visuals to help fishers and the public identify any American lobsters by features such as the orange-red undersides of their claws, different colouring and stockier appearance.

Marine Scotland has requested that any American lobsters caught in Scottish waters be subject to ‘report and retain’ in order to protect the Scottish ecosystem. The species bearing some resemblance to European lobsters are said to have been increasingly found in British waters over recent years.

In a statement on their website, the body said: “These animals cannot cross the Atlantic naturally and therefore have appeared because people have released them, either deliberately or accidentally.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

“Marine Scotland is calling on people to report any American lobsters caught in our waters to have a true picture of where the animals are, in what quantities and if they are breeding.”

Through their awareness campaign, Marine Scotland hope to mitigate the potential harm brought by the presence of the non-native species, which could alienate European lobsters “by acting as a disease vector, competing for food and shelter and potentially interbreeding.”

American lobsters can be identified not only by their stockier appearance, but also by the orange undersides of their claws - unlike the cream undersides of their European counterparts.

Among the information they wish to gather on any findings of American lobsters is photographs clearly showing features of American lobsters as noted above and whether the animal was carrying eggs.

Marine Scotland asks that reports with as much detail as possible, provided in greater detail here, be sent to local Marine Compliance Fishery Offices or the UK Fisheries Monitoring Centre.