WDFW: Nearly 250,000 invasive European green crabs removed from Washington waters

According to report numbers from October, the Department of Fish and Wildlife has removed nearly 250,000 invasive European green crabs from Washington waters so far in 2022. 

According to WDFW’s website, European green crabs are a globally damaging invasive species that pose a threat to Washington's economic, environmental, and cultural resources. Potential impacts include the destruction of eelgrass beds and estuarine marsh habitats, threats to the shellfish industry, the Dungeness crab fishery, salmon recovery, and other ecological impacts to food webs.

An alarming number of these crabs have been found in Lummi waters and its sea pond. 

Since Lummi Nation has seen a dwindling number of salmon in recent years, the concern is extremely high. In late 2021, Lummi Nation Tribal Chairman William Jones Jr. began to sound the alarm over the catch rates they were witnessing.

In December of 2021, the Lummi Indian Business Council declared a disaster due to the large numbers of crabs turning up in the Lummi sea pond. At the end of November 2021, over 70,000 invasive crabs were pulled from Lummi waters.

As a result, Inslee issued an emergency order on Jan. 19, 2022 to address the exponential increase in the crab population. 

WDFW European green crab (ECG) funding received from the legislature in this biennium is ongoing for the 2023–2025 biennium. 

However, WDFW said it is not seeking additional legislative funding, "and the assumption is status quo distribution of funds as issued for Fiscal Year 2023, but WDFW will assess options for adjusting dispersal based on availability of alternative funding sources and any changes to EGC emergency management priority and resource needs." 

A final update for the year is expected in December. 

WDFW says everyday Washingtonians can help by documenting and reporting invasive European green crab sightings on their website.