Canadian lobster invasion worrying Shoreham fishermen

The  Canadian Homarus americanus lobster which is prompting concern among fishermen in Shoreham SUS-150624-091353001

The Canadian Homarus americanus lobster which is prompting concern among fishermen in Shoreham SUS-150624-091353001

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A WORRYING rise of ‘mysterious alien invaders’ off the coast of Shoreham is concerning the town’s fishermen.

Over the past week fisherman have been catching hundreds of non-native lobsters from Canada and crabs from America which, they say, are endangering the indigenous population.

In the past few days alone local anglers estimate to have netted hundreds of the Canadian lobsters, which can carry diseases that prove lethal to their European cousins.

One fisherman from Shoreham, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s extremely worrying. It’s not just been happening here, but further along the coast near Brighton.

“The Canadian lobster is a totally different animal to the European one. But it’s extremely serious because Canadian lobsters can carry diseases that are absolutely lethal to our lobsters.”

It is illegal to leave non-native lobsters and crabs in English waters.

The sudden rise in the two species has prompted swift action from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

A spokesman for the MMO – which has a base in Shoreham – said: “Under no circumstances should any non-native species be released back into the sea as release could impact native species and constitute an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.”

The MMO is now urging anyone who catches non-native lobsters or crabs to keep the animals and report it to the Shoreham MMO office on 01273 424849, or take them to a local fish merchant who can alert us to them.

The MMO is investigat-ing to see if any criminal action has taken place.