The waters are a spooky place for my beloved dungeness crabs this morning. There appears to be a new creature in the hood, and he's nobody's friend. The European Green Crabs, identifiable by five spines to the outside of each eye, are one of the 10 most unwanted species in the world according the DFO website and they are showing up in the waters off Sooke. Just across the pond from my beautiful Indian Arm Heaven.
The European Green Crab doesn't always appear green though. They can range from dark mottled green, to orange to red as well.
With 5 spikes beside each eye, they are ravenous creatures, disturbing and digging up the otherwise peaceful intertidal areas of much nice, and tastier crabs. The compete for food leaving our local dungeness and red rock crab in distress.
Not enough data exists about this invasive species. It's everyone who is out there on the water, with nets on the bottom, to be aware of this species and contact Fisheries Canada if you happen to trap one. They are to be retained, females included and sent to the fisheries department for research. Apparently, they can find where they have migrated from, by investigating these cunning creatures in a lab.
Is this guy already here? So far, the original article written by the Vancouver Island Free Daily, shows that the European Green Crab has been found on the West Coast of Vancouver Island and some Mainland areas on the Central Coast of B.C. since 2007, but was only found in Sooke six years ago. The actual extent of how far this crab has migrated is yet to tell.
A person who has crabbed our local waters for over twenty years now, I've never seen one of these guys. I know I will be very sad when I do.
Read the original article today and retain these guys tomorrow. Let's protect our local crab species!
Photo credit: Photo from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada
HI, I'M KATE
A Captain's daughter, who became a Captain's wife. I remain always, a mermaid out of water looking to get straight back to the sea, whenever possible.