An opinion by a European authority about whether to classify American lobster as an invasive species – the first step in what could be a long process to ban lobster imports in the European Union – has been delayed.

A spokesman said members are still gathering information for the EU’s Scientific Forum on Invasive Alien Species about whether American lobsters are a threat to native lobster populations. Swedish scientists submitted a report on July 31 saying they don’t have the science to prove that American lobsters have invaded and become established in North Atlantic waters but the threat is real and can be fully neutralized only by an import ban.

An opinion from the committee had been expected by Aug. 31, but is now expected by the end of next week, according to Enrico Brivio, a spokesman for the EU Commission.

In March, Sweden announced that it was seeking a ban on American lobster because of the species’ potential to harm European lobster with diseases, bacteria and parasites.

Most Maine lobster is exported to the EU through Boston. According to federal data, Maine and Massachusetts exported $136 million worth of lobster to the EU last year.