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
WDFW also is increasing monitoring efforts for the crab.