The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), with the Metlakatla Indian Community (MIC) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) has announced to the public that invasive European green crabs (Carcinus maenas) have been verified within the state of Alaska for the first time. As of August 9, 2022, in the Annette Islands Reserve in southern Southeast, Alaska, the MIC Department of Fish and Wildlife has trapped 32 live European green crabs from Tamgas Harbor. Other surveys in the adjacent Smuggler’s Cove only resulted in finding dead invasive green crabs. European green crabs are classified as a banned invasive species in the state of Alaska.
The European green crab (Carcinus maenas) is considered one of the top 100 worst invasive species globally. This invasive species that arrived in the US on the east coast in the middle of the 1800s in European ship ballast water. Since arriving in the Cape Cod area the species has spread northward causing ecological and economic damage along the way. The green crabs were then found to have spread to San Francisco Bay in 1989 and now have spread north along the west coast as well. These crabs pose a threat to native shellfish, eelgrass, and critical estuary habitat.
You can help by reporting invasive species. Visit the ADF&G website for information about how to identify these invasive crabs. If you find a crab or crab shell you suspect to be a European green crab, rather than collecting it, take many photos of the crab next to a key, coin or credit card for scale. Banned invasive species may not be collected, possessed or transported without a valid permit.
To report your observations, visit https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=invasivespeciesreporter.main or call the Invasive Species Hotline: 1-877-INVASIV.
To submit photos and for more information about invasive species contact: Tammy Davis, ADF&G Invasive Species Program coordinator: [email protected]v or (907) 465-6183.