WDFW: Invasive green crabs found in Hood Canal, 'furthest south' they have been detected

Invasive European green crabs first detected on the Washington coast have now been found as far inland as Hood Canal, officials say.

The invasive species were first found in Puget Sound in 2016, prompting the Washington Sea Grant and State Fish & Wildlife to extensively monitor the population. Most recently, the Lummi Nation declared a disaster in November, when green crabs swarmed the Lummi Sea Pond. The tribe removed 70,000 crabs over the course of several months.

Now, WDFW confirms the crabs have been detected as far south as Hood Canal.

Sea Grant volunteers captured a male crab in Nick’s Lagoon, located near Seabeck in Kitsap County.

"Based on its size, this small crab arrived at this site just last year, which really demonstrates the value of the early detection network in action," said Sea Grant marine ecologist Emily Grason, Ph.D. "This group of steadfast volunteers has never missed a month in the mud, and they are literally our eyes in areas managers don’t always have the capacity to monitor regularly."

The European green crab is a ‘Prohibited Level 1 Invasive Species’ and poses a threat to native shellfish, eelgrass and estuary habitats, WDFW says.

WDFW says they will conduct a rapid-response trapping to try and eradicate the green crabs, as well as track their spread and scope. Area residents are asked to not tamper with traps, which are set up in shallow areas and marked with bright orange buoys.

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People who find a European green crab or its shell are urged to take a picture and report it as soon as possible, but should not kill or keep it. They may not be possessed, trafficked or introduced to a body of water.