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

Greater Victoria non-profit advocates for the use of psilocybin for terminal patients

North Saanich psychotherapist pushes for alternative treatment

Victoria woman to sell masks on wheels after garage stand shut down

Mama’s Masks stand accompanied Moss Street Market

Sooke Bluffs staircase closed due to rot

District to consider replacement for ‘high risk’ staircase in fall

Gathering marks 10 years since nearly 500 asylum-seekers landed off Victoria shore

The 492 people fleeing violence, war crimes and genocide in Sri Lanka were detained for months

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read