Although the European Green Crab is native to the Baltic Sea and the north eastern part of the
Atlantic Ocean, it has also become a nuisance in other parts of the world.
There are coastal areas on the continents of South Africa, South America, Australia, and North
America where it has become an invasive species. The scientific name for this crab is Carcinus maenas. It is a
common littoral crab, which means that it prefers to live in the area of the sea that is closest to the
This crab is also known as the European Shore Crab. Its body only grows to be around 3.5 inches in diameter, so it
is fairly small. Due to its small stature, this shore crab will eat worms, mollusks, and small crustaceans.
How Often Is The Green Crab Eaten
Its size also enables it to be quite the stowaway. Dispersing itself via packing
materials, rafting, ship's hulls, and even in the bivalves transported for aquaculture have all been noted by
people studying these crabs.
The impact that these shore crabs are making on fisheries and some native organisms is of grave concern for
biologists. Females can produce more than 180,000 eggs, which can then grow up to be additional destructive shore
crabs. They have destroyed many soft-shell clam fisheries in Canada and the United States. The populations of a lot
of the bivalves that are needed for commercial purposes have also been greatly reduced by Green Crabs.
In an effort to get control over these intrusive shore crabs, various tactics have been used. In
past years, a bounty was set for these crabs. This was in a town in Massachusetts and was set in place for the
protection of the local shellfish. During the time that this bounty was set, 10 tons of Green Crabs were caught.
Some states constantly have traps set for collecting European Shore Crabs. The state of Washington is just one of
the places where these traps are set, due to the foreseen economic losses created by these little crabs. It is
supposed to be an annual loss of nearly 24 million dollars.
Other methods of control involve allowing natural predators to take charge. There is a barnacle that pierces the
exoskeleton of the Green Crab and causes the crab to become sterile. The Blue Crab and the Californian Rock Crab
actually hunt the Green Crab. The areas where any of these additional organisms exist tend to have a very low
population of Green Crabs. This natural predation has sparked some interest in bringing in more of these organisms
into areas where the invasive shore crabs are currently being a pest.
European Shore Crabs can survive in water temperatures that range
between 32 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. They can also live in areas that have a wide
range of salinity. This broad range of living space means that they can inhabit many
other places that their predators cannot survive in. They are able to live in protected
areas; marshes, estuaries, and habitats with sand, rock, or mud substrates. However,
they are unable to cross extremely deep water.
Seeing as how people love to eat crabs and these invasive creatures just happen to be crabs
themselves, then many individuals have come up with some fantastic recipes revolving around the preparation of
Green Crabs. There are recipes for soups, bouillabaisse, bisque, and even fried or grilled crab cakes. These shore
crabs are plentiful and catching them in traps can make the process of harvesting them easier. Making up a batch of
Green Crabs takes a bit of time, but the taste is well worth it. There are traps known as pots and are
used to catch both Green Crabs and eels. These are heavy-duty cages made from galvanized steel. The opening on the
trap for both eels and Green Crabs is on the side of the trap and then funnels in towards the other end of the
cage. As it gets towards the middle of the trap, the tunnel is just big enough for the crab or eel to work its way
along it and into the cage. Due to the way this tunnel is positioned, the creature cannot climb back out.
Specific traps are also made just for the European Green Crab. These shore crabs don't swim like many other crabs,
instead, they walk. The trap that is designed for them has a small molded entry at the top that extends into the
inside of the trap a short way. The Green Crab will then crawl through the hole, drop to the bottom to retrieve
whatever food it is after, and then it won't be able to walk back out of the extended entry way. Whether they are
caught by hand or in a trap, these little shore crabs are quite the delicacy.