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July 10, 1998
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, (360) 902-2256

Possession and transport of green crabs is banned

OLYMPIA -- It is now illegal to possess or transport European green crabs in the state, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced.

The emergency action, which declares the crab to be a deleterious exotic species, was taken yesterday to protect native Washington shellfish, including Dungeness crabs, oysters, clams and mussels.

Several European green crabs have been found in Willapa Bay. The exotic species poses a major threat to native shellfish species because of its speed, versatility and extraordinary ability to open shells.

The green crab is native to the Atlantic coasts of Europe and northern Africa. It has invaded both coasts of the United States, although it hadn't been found in Washington marine waters until last month.

The emergency regulation is one part of the state's campaign to prevent further spread of the non-native green crab.

WDFW also has taken steps to control the transfer of shellfish and equipment used in the shellfish industry from Willapa and Grays Harbor to other marine waters in Washington.

WDFW also is increasing monitoring efforts for the crab.