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European Green Crab Removal

Grays Harbor Conservation District has implemented a European Green Crab program in order to help mitigate the invasive European Green Crab within the community. Our program is actively trapping, removing, and documenting the abundance of the invasive European Green Crab within Grays Harbor. These continued efforts are being executed with the goal of mitigation and removal of the species.

What is a European Green Crab?

The European Green Crab is a small shore crab who is native to the northeast Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic Sea. This species is a very effective predator who is highly skilled at opening bivalve shells. They have become a globally damaging invasive species that poses a threat to native shellfish, eelgrass, and estuary habitat critical for salmon and many other species.

This species was first discovered on the West Coast in 1989 and then on the Washington Coast in 1998 in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. The species was likely transported to the region by ships in the ballast water.

European Green Crabs are found in shallow estuaries, mudflats, intertidal zones, and beaches.

The color of the crab can vary from a reddish to a dark green. The most distinctive identifying features are the five spines/teeth that can be found on each side of the shell.

What do you do if you find a European Green Crab?

European Green Crab are a prohibited species, it is illegal to possess a live green crab in the state of Washington. We are also asking that the public do not kill suspected green crab. This is in order to protect our native shore crabs that are commonly mistaken for green crab.

If you suspect that you have found a European Green Crab or the shell from one, please report it as soon as possible.

You can report sightings on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website by clicking on the following link: report here