American lobster (Homarus americanus)

American lobsters are native to the E coast of N America and Canada, but have been imported live into Europe for several decades resulting in their escape into the wild. The American lobster was first recorded in the UK in 1988. The most recent records from nearby are from Brixham and Salcombe in 2010. American lobsters could have a significant impact on the native European lobster lobster (Homarus gammarus) fisheries as  they are more aggressive, grow to a larger size, are more fecund, are more adaptive, being found in a broader range of habitat, and are highly mobile. In addition American lobsters have also been found to breed with European lobsters in the wild resulting in hybridisation. Thus American lobsters could out-compete European lobsters, and other economically and environmentally important species, such as the brown crab, Cancer pagurus, if they were to become established. Threats from American lobsters also include diseases, for example Gaffkaemia, a bacterial disease that is lethal to Homarus spp..

Risk of introduction to area: MEDIUM

Environmental risk: HIGH

Economic risk: MEDIUM

Image: NOAA FishWatch