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Q: I was at a tourist restaurant in Venice, Italy, recently and noticed fresh lobster on the menu. I asked the waitress where the lobster came from and all she would say is “Europe.” What’s up with that?

A: Yes, Europe has its own species of lobster, though anyone who has been to Maine would probably laugh at its relatively puny size and less-than-phenomenal taste. Or maybe that was just the one I ate at this awful tourist restaurant. According to at least one Web site, European lobster is supposed to have a finer taste and texture than its American counterpart — though they really are a bit smaller.

The relatively small size of the Euro lobster may be in part due to the overuse of the fisheries, which has led to stringent management in parts of its waters.

The European lobster actually has a pretty wide range. It is found along the coast in the temperate region of the North-East Atlantic, extending from the warm waters of Morocco into the colder waters around the Arctic Circle in northern Norway. The species is also found in the Mediterranean Sea, but not in the Baltic. It is taken mainly off Turkey, the British Isles, France, Italy, Norway and Portugal.

So, the next time you’re looking for a more specific origin for your lobster dish, believe the waitress when she says Europe.

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