The European green crab (Carcinus maenas) is considered one of the world’s worst invasive species. It has been present on the Washington coast since the late 1990’s, where its effects appear to have been minimal to date. However, due to a range expansion into Sooke Inlet, BC in 2012, the green crab now poses a threat to inland ecosystems in Puget Sound, where its effects are uncertain. You’ll find more information on the history of green crab invasions worldwide and the effects they can have on our Invasive Green Crabs page.
WSG, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and other partners are teaming up to establish a volunteer-based early detection and monitoring program. By finding the crabs at the earliest possible stage of invasion, agencies like WDFW have the best chance of controlling the crab and protecting important natural resources.
We launched the volunteer program at 7 sites across Puget Sound in 2015 and are looking to expand in 2016. You can join the effort, either as a volunteer monitor, or just by keeping your eyes on the beach! Find out how here (link to help).
While we are looking for green crabs, we are learning a lot about the critters that live in the habitats the green crabs could invade. To keep up with the latest news of monitoring and green crab research, check out our news.