Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Attention All Crabbers: Be on the look out for ... The European Green Crab

The European Green Crab has set
its sights on the waters of
the West Coast of British Columbia
as a place to set up a new home
DFO is issuing a call for those that fish the waters of the North Coast to be on the look out for the arrival of the European Green Crab, a rather un-helpful species that arrived in North American waters at San Fransisco in 1989 and has been on the slow march north ever since.

Arriving in packing material in California, it's estimated that the first sighting of the species in British Columbia was between 1998 and 1999.

The crab can be found on protected shores, cobble beaches, sandflats and tidal marshes on the B. C. coast, with isolated populations found on the Central Coast, next on the invasion list perhaps are the waters of the North Coast.

The concerns of DFO when it comes to the Crab are the threats they pose to the marine ecosystem of the West Coast, with the newish arrivals voracious predators that feed on a variety of intertidal animals, including oysters, mussels clams and juvenile Clams.

Apparently when it comes to a good feed, the Green Crabs are out-competing species that are native to the West Coast.  As well DFO notes that the species is know to disrupt eelgrass beds, the productive habitat for many juvenile fish species.
A report prepared in 2008 highlighted the areas of BC's
coastline that could be suitable for the European Green Crab invasion

More background on the impact of the Green Crab and what dangers it poses for the marine environment of the Pacific coast can be found here.

Further research on the risks of the European Green Crab can be found from this research document prepared by DFO back in 2008.

For more items related to fishing concerns on the North Coast, see our archive page here.

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