The first invasive European green crab has been found inside the mouth of Admiralty Inlet, the unwanted species’ furthest advance into Puget Sound so far.
The small male was captured at Lagoon Point on the west side Whidbey Island, Washington Sea Grant reported yesterday.
Volunteer monitors have been keeping an eye on that location for the past two seasons but this is the first one they’ve spotted.
It follows on the discovery of a female in Sequim Bay last month, and a colony on Dungeness Spit in midspring. However, another in Padilla Bay showed signs of having been preyed on.
The Lagoon crab is believed to be part of this year’s cohort. Sea Grant’s crab team is talking about doing more surveys in the area before the season’s work wraps up till next April.
The worry is that if green crabs establish a sustaining population, they could damage eelgrass pastures — so important for our salmonids and other fish — and clam beds.
A WSG map shows dozens upon dozens of locations in Puget Sound and Hood Canal south of Lagoon Point with a high or moderate suitability for the species. About 16 are monitored.
To learn how to spot green crabs and differentiate them from juvenile Dungies and red rocks, as well as find out more about the efforts of WSG’s Crab Team, go here.