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Tips on reporting invasive European Green Crabs

Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) unit recently received a report from a concerned member of the public who claimed to have collected nine invasive European green crabs from Hood Canal. Upon reviewing their photos, WDFW staff quickly determined these were in fact helmet crabs, a native species.
 
While WDFW appreciates their concern about invasive species, the reporting party was reminded to photograph and report suspected European green crabs using the form at wdfw.wa.gov/greencrab, leaving the crab in question where it was found.
 
Unfortunately, misidentified crab reports like this are common in Washington’s portion of the Salish Sea, where invasive European green crabs remain rare in most areas. WDFW has even received several reports of people illegally smashing and killing native crabs in Puget Sound after mistaking them for European green crabs.
 
Incidents like this are one reason why WDFW has not yet opened recreational harvest for European green crabs in Washington. Other reasons include restrictions on access to private tidelands and shellfish beds, and concerns about bycatch of protected fish and shellfish, especially if traps are exposed during low tide.
 
Read more in WDFW's new blog post at: http://wdfw.medium.com/cases-of-mistaken-crab-identity...
 
As a Prohibited Invasive Species, it is illegal to possess or transport live European green crab in Washington.

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