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10 thoughts on “A single green crab invader has been found, the first in Puget Sound

  1. Are they edible ? If so, why not place a year-round open season with no size or quantity limits on them. Otherwise if non-edible place a bounty on them.

      1. Thanks Laura, great read & great ideas. I invite ALL concerned readers and ‘crab enthusiasts’ to read Laura’s offering.

  2. are they edible? if so, let everyone know ( and make sure no game wardens will hassle anyone for taking every one they find . . . . . )

  3. Before we get carried away with hunting green crabs and eating them, let’s remember that one — just one — green crab has been found so far in Puget Sound. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has a plan to search for more. Officials would like people to be on the lookout for them. If you find a molt (discarded shell) of a green crab, take it for identification. If you find what you think is a live green crab, take its picture, note the location and contact authorities. I wouldn’t assume the risk of taking a live crab out of season.

  4. On the TV news they said not to touch them. Why? If nothing else, why wouldn’t a person smash it with a rock? Are they doing anything with them in Willapa Bay?

    1. Great questions…
      – don’t touch = just means take pictures and leave the crab. If it actually is a green crab, WDFW and the WSG Crab Team will respond with a period of intensive trapping at the site to capture the crab you found and get an idea of how many are there. … They also pinch!
      – smash it on a rock = If it were truly a green crab, but it’s better to let an expert make that call. So far, 100% of the photo reports we’ve received have been native species (thankfully).
      – Willapa = There are not currently control efforts in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, though there is some monitoring annually. Crab Team staff recently trapped heavily in a couple ares of Willapa and caught only 4 green crabs. There have been a few crabs there each year, but the numbers appear low. Conversely, on Vancouver Island, the crabs are very successfully reproducing and number are growing at different populations. Willapa and Grays may receive more attention in the future.

  5. Excellent questions about harvesting. Though edible, they aren’t any bigger than your fist, and when we’re spoiled with Dungeness, it’s not the most appealing crab meal. More importantly, there are very very few in the Salish Sea right now, and the goal is to keep the populations from ever getting large enough to harvest and to prevent the ecological/economical impacts that could come with that many omnivorous crabs.

    Some invasive or potentially invasive species are classified as “prohibited” and are illegal to possess. Part of the reason is to prevent the accidental (or intentional) spread of a species to new habitats. There are examples of species that have gotten out of control and for which harvest is now allowed. Crayfish is one. Harvest of invasive crayfish is now allowed, but harvesters must be able to tell the difference between native and invasive crayfish and must kill the invasive crayfish when they catch them (before leaving the water body where they were collected). Again, the goal of an early detection program like WSG’s Crab Team is to prevent getting to that point and to avoid the impacts that the species can have on our native shellfish, other species, and shoreline habitats.

    A few other points…
    – The only crabs that are legal to collect in the state of Washington (without a scientific collection permit) are Dungeness and red rock, and Dungeness and red rock can only be taken with the appropriate recreational harvest permits, during the specified season and within size and number limits.
    – European green crab are a prohibited species which sort of makes them doubly illegal to possess.
    – Volunteers in the Crab Team program
    received specific training on identification and have a special permit to take green crab should they trap or find them.
    – Molts (shed skins that can be found on the beach) can be safely and legally collected. Please do and and send a picture to crabteam@uw.edu
    – A picture is enough for experts to confirm something is a green crab. If confirmed, the precise location would be identified, then intensively trapped to catch that crab and others may be in the area.
    – Crab Team and WDFW appreciates and really wants to encourage reports of crabs that fit the description of a green crab. Because the chances of finding a green crab are very small, releasing a crab after a photograph will allow us to avoid possible harm to native species. To date, the reports we’ve received have all been of native species. Please keep them coming though! crabteam@uw.edu

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