Lax Kw'alaams asks Community to watch for Green Crabs in the North Coast

Divya Gill
06/05/2020

The public is asked to be on the lookout for invasive green crabs on the North Coast. 

Senior Fisheries Biologist Katherine Butts says these invasive species are small aggressive marine shore crab found in the rocky intertidal and estuarine areas.

"They are a very, very effective forager. They are very adaptive to opening bivalve shells, they feed on a lot of different organisms, including clams cockles, mussels marine warms juvenile clams juvenile Dungeness crabs."


The first time the larva were seen was back in November last year when studies were performed near Rachel Island.

No adults have been found to date, however, Butts says warmer waters could now be providing the right conditions for the larvas to develop. 

If the community does come across these crabs key characteristics to look out for include
-Carapace is oval 
-Have 5 prominent marginal teeth
-3 rostral bumps
-Claws are not rounded
-Last pair of walking legs are slightly flattened
-They can be green, brown, reddish in colour. 

Right now, the community is asked to be mindful when fishing. Butts did say  "If we end up seeing adult green crabs in the area, it can be very dangerous. A lot of the foods this species will eat are key food sources for the community. 

Butts is urging the public if you come across these crabs to please do not kill it.

"Place them in a bucket filled with seawater, bring them back to shore and contact personnel at La Kw'alaams to come and identify them and confirm if they are green crab or not."

Once proper identification is made, the animal will be sent for DNA testing. The D-F-O can then determine which part of the world the larva originated from, and help authorities put preventive measures in place.

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