Patty Menning, from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, says the name is misleading and the crabs can be range in colour from green, red and orange. (Photo from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

Invasive crab spotted near Sooke

Fisheries need more data to know if numbers are increasing

While residents report spotting an invasive crab in Sooke, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) says they’re aware, but do not have enough data to know if we have an invasion in our waters.

European Green Crabs, identifiable by five spines to the outside of each eye, are one of the 10 most unwanted species in the world according the DFO website.

Patty Menning, a member of the Aquatic Invasive Species program with DFO, says the crabs will compete with natives species for food and will dig for inter-tidal vegetation making them a nuisance on the shoreline.

READ MORE: Ocean ‘blob’ returns to B.C.’s North Coast

“It’s definitely something we don’t want in our waters,” said Menning.

The European Green Crab has been found on the West Coast of Vancouver Island and some Mainland areas on the Central Coast of B.C. since 2007, but was only found in Sooke six years ago.

Menning is one of 13 people working nationally on early detection programs for the European Green Crab. One of the most recent new spotting of the invasive crab was in Witty’s Lagoon in the Metchosin area, found by a Grade 9 student who was fishing with a friend.

READ MORE: Alberni Valley ocean advocate document shark necropsy

“Luckily he photographed it and sent it to [us], then we conducted a further assessment of where he saw them and found two more Green Crabs,” said Menning. “We did a full eradication effort last fall and found one more adult.”

Menning and the Invasive Species program will go back this spring to make sure no other crabs have made a home of the lagoon.

Jeremy Wilkes, a local fishing enthusiast, said he’s seen these crabs many times before in the Sooke area.

“Every time we’ve gone out for the past few months they get caught,” said Wilkes. “In a morning [we catch] between one and four, some days more, some days less.”

Signs along the Sooke boardwalk and the Fisheries website helped Wilke identify the critters that he “stomps them and kicks them back down to the ocean to feed the rest of the crabs” when he finds them.

According to Menning the best thing to do if you do stumble across these crabs is to photograph it, note the time and location of the crab and email that information to the DFO.

“We collect the crabs, we take DNA and RNA samples to try and figure out where the population came from,” said Menning. “Then we dispose of them so they cannot impact any other watercourse.”

Ladine Hoffarth was out crabbing with some friends three weeks ago and says it wasn’t long before they noticed the strange looking crab.

“I just thought it was neat and tiny, and I had never seen anything that looked like it,” said Hoffarth. “Nobody else had either.”

Hoffarth took a photo of the crab before throwing it back. Black Press sent Hoffarth’s photo to Manning who confirmed it was a European Green Crab.

Menning says the name can be misleading as the crabs aren’t always green, their actual colour can vary from dark mottled green to orange or red.

“We have a lot of crabs on our Pacific Coast that are actually green,” said Menning, adding mis-identification of the crabs happens often. “They have five points on either side of their eye which is a distinctive characteristic.”

For more information on the European Green Crab visit dfo-mpo.gc.ca or email your photos to AISPacific@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson announces new infrastructure spending on the Lower Mainland on Monday, flanked by Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows candidate Cheryl Ashlie and Maple Ridge-Mission candidate Chelsa Meadus. (Neil Corbett/Black Press)
Wilkinson says plan to rebuild B.C. will work for Vancouver Island

B.C. Liberal leader talks to the News Bulletin about homelessness, forestry, infrastructure

Plastic checkout bags could be banned in Nanaimo by next summer if a city bylaw receives provincial approval. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo moves closer to banning plastic and other single-use checkout bags

Nanaimo city council votes to forward checkout bag regulation bylaw to province for approval

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
WorkSafe BC investigating man’s death during Oak Bay tree removal

Man was working for contracted tree removal company when incident occurred

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich residents warned to watch livestock after bear kills llama

Officers with Conservation, Saanich police could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

North Cowichan's council is looking to change the name of Indian Road, located near Quamichan Lake. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
North Cowichan looks to rename Indian Road

Name considered inappropriate as Rowing Canada looks to relocate to area

Crew members with the Western Canadian Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) deploy a containment boom from one of their workboats during a fuel spill drill in Alberni Harbour on Oct. 15, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni marine clean team learns the spill drill

Spill response members simulates fuel spill for practice in Alberni Harbour

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

A woman was injured cycling, prompting road closures in Oak Bay on Oct. 16. (Twitter/Ray Bernoties)
‘Erratic’ cyclists potential cause of rider injured in Oak Bay

Female cyclist was reportedly injured at Hampshire Road and Bowker Creek Avenue

Fanny Bay residents conducted a neighbourhood meeting in the summer to discuss problem properties in the area. Photo supplied
Comox Valley Regional District initiates legal action against property owner

Officials decide to crack down in response to complaints related to FannyBay property

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Most Read