Hey Washington, Feeling Crabby?

Fighting against European green crab in the Pacific Northwest is sure to have you feeling claw-some!

Photo: Invasive European green crabs are extra crabby and can wreak havoc on environments and economies, Credit: Pat DeHaan/USFWS

Happy National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW)! Ok, we know that no one celebrates when they spot one of these creepy critters. But were are excited to join forces with you and our partners in the fight against invasive species!

The first baddie to be on the look out for is the European green crab (Carcinus maenas). This aggressive crab has already invaded the Atlantic Coast, damaging coastal ecosystems and collapsing the soft-shell clam industry in Maine. Recently discovered along our Pacific Coast, if European green crab take hold they could have huge economic and ecological impacts. The green crab could threaten Dungeness crab, oyster, and clam fisheries and aquaculture operations in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia — just take a look at this video!

In addition, the green crab is an intermediate host to a marine worm that can harm the health of local shorebirds. When European green crabs are found, many agencies respond with aggressive trapping and removal to reduce and hopefully eradicate these invaders. But how to tell these green invaders from the good guys? Our partners have got you covered with this excellent First Detector webinar from the University of Washington.

A photo of a green crab with its identifying features labeled
In a pinch, you can spot an invasive European green crab by looking at things like these “teeth” and other identifying markers. Photo credit: Jeff Adams

Once you know more about how to tell the difference between the good, the bad, and the ugly crabs out there, the next step is to report it. Our friends at Sea Grant, University of Washington, need you to be their “eyes on the beach” and information from the public is a valuable tool in the fight against these invasive crabs. If you are in Washington state, go here to share your sighting. As they say, “teamwork makes the dreamwork,” and we need YOU on our team in the fight against invasive species. Join a Crab Team to help us take down these green meanies and let everyone know about NISAW — together we can be invader abaters!




Conservation stories from one of the world’s most ecologically diverse regions.

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USFWS Columbia Pacific Northwest Region

USFWS Columbia Pacific Northwest Region

Conservation stories from one of the world’s most ecologically diverse regions.

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