Scientists are asking the public to watch out for European green crabs in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and in Puget Sound. (Washington Sea Grant)

Invasive crab species discovered in Washington’s inland waters

The European green crab, which can eat clams, shellfish and young salmon, has been found in Westcott Bay, San Juan Island.

By Hal Bernton

McClatchy News Service

WESTCOTT BAY — The European green crab, an invasive species that can eat clams, shellfish and young salmon, has been found for the first time in Washington’s inland waters.

The crab was discovered in late August in Westcott Bay, San Juan Island, by volunteers with Washington Sea Grant’s Crab Team.

Three experts confirmed that the captured crustacean — a 3-inch adult male — was indeed a green crab.

European green crabs, which can stow away on ships, showed up in East Coast waters in the 1800s.

In the Pacific Northwest, the crab has been present for more than a decade in the coastal estuaries of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor as well as off Oregon and Vancouver Island.

With some 400 possible suitable sites in the state’s inland waters, Washington Sea Grant has sounded a “call to action” for citizens to keep their eyes open for the green crab when they are on the beach.

In Washington, the crab is a prohibited species, and possession is not permitted.

Anyone who thinks they’ve found one of these crabs is encouraged to take a photograph and report their observation via email to [email protected].

More information can be found online at the Washington Sea Grant crab team website,

More in News

Finishing Highway 101 bypass top of Sequim’s legislative agenda

City officials hope that 24th District state legislators can help… Continue reading

Tacoma woman injured in Highway 112 crash

A Tacoma woman was airlifted to a Seattle hospital… Continue reading

Lawsuit alleges public records violations by Jefferson County

Jefferson County faces a lawsuit over 2,353 alleged public… Continue reading

Port Angeles aims for climate plan in 2019

City officials will develop a climate action plan in… Continue reading

Port of Port Townsend details cash flow, capital projects

The Port of Port Townsend will see activity through… Continue reading

Team Sail Like A Girl wins Race to Alaska

Team Sail Like A Girl, an eight-woman Bainbridge Island… Continue reading

Most Read