Though not always green, European green crabs have five prominent spikes or ridges on either side of the eye. Their Latin name, carcinus maenas, means “raving mad crabs.” (Patty Menning/Facebook)

‘Raving mad crabs’ spotted at Esquimalt Lagoon

DFO laying traps for invasive European green crabs

Invasive European green crabs are continuing their long march northward.

A researcher with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) confirmed two females of the species have been found at Esquimalt Lagoon.

“This is the first that it’s been found, to our knowledge… ever in Esquimalt Lagoon,” said Patty Menning, an aquatic invasive biologist with DFO.

“We looked at 28 potential sites last year that may be suitable for green crab. And this year we’re continuing that program, and we are looking at other sites within the Salish Sea,” she said.

RELATED: Invasive crab spotted near Sooke

Menning and members from a community group recently deployed around 90 traps at the Esquimalt Lagoon, a wildlife sanctuary home to migratory birds, to eradicate the species.

“We use two different types of traps to try to target both the adult and the juvenile stages of European crab,” she said.

The crabs have a higher tolerance to increased temperatures and decreased salinity than native ones. That means they can survive in places that native crabs such as red rock and Dungeness can’t occupy, Menning said. They have been spotted on the west coast of Vancouver Island, including along Sooke Basin.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Methane-snacking crabs adaptive to climate change, UVic researchers say

European green crabs compete with the native juvenile crabs for prey such as bivalves, worms and smaller crabs on the shore. “They’re actually competing with our native population. As well, they’re voracious eaters,” Menning said.

Their Latin name, carcinus maenas, means “raving mad crabs,” she said.

ALSO READ: Invasive species taking root in Greater Victoria

Reaching up to four inches in size, they were first found on the Oregon coast “back in the ‘60s,” Menning noted. Sometime around 1989, the green crabs were spotted in B.C. waters for the first time, she added.

Menning is running an early detection program for the second summer this year, focusing on the Salish Sea with the hopes of eradicating the population, with traps, before they become established.

swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CRD cost estimate study looks at regional housing, transportation affordability

Study paints clearer picture of true cost of living in Greater Victoria

COVID-19 has depressed mental health of Canadian youth

Lower mental health harms developmental skills, school performance and social relationships

Head of Vancouver Island Regional Library says new branch in North Saanich hands

Area poised to see strong population growth, says director of corporate communication

PHOTOS: Small crowd gathers to watch 231-tonne stacker-reclaimer load onto barge crane

The Dynamic Beast barge crane, known for work with Johnson Street Bridge, makes a return

National Drug Drop-Off month aims to reduce substance abuse by house-bound youth

Expert says there is misconception prescribed medication is safe to take

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Most Read