European Green Crab Alert!
– by Shannon Hogan, 1 September 2022

We are proud to announce that we are working in partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to keep watch on our shorelines and ensure it stays free of the highly invasive European green crab. The DFO visited Cortes last week to help us set up monitoring sites in Mansons Lagoon and Coulter Bay for this project which will take place annually from the months of April to September.

Let’s lead with the good news: we didn’t find any European green crabs during our field days! Yay! Instead, we found many native critters that we identified and admired and then released them back into the ocean. Check out the photos to see what we found!

Over the course of three days, we visited three potential sites to see if they were appropriate monitoring sites for this project. We were looking for areas with freshwater flowing into a protected bay, eels grass beds and/or vegetation and sand that wasn’t too muddy to walk on during the low tide. We settled on Coulter Bay and Mansons Lagoon as being the perfect sites to start with! At low tide, we deployed traps underwater, left the traps for 24 hours and then observed what was caught. This took place over three days of fieldwork. Everyone who volunteered with us had a great day!

Now for the not-so-good news: this crab is considered one of the world’s worst invasive species (which says a lot!), and that is precisely why we’re watching out for it! They’ve had a significantly negative impact on coastal shoreline ecosystems, like stripping away eelgrass beds (a huge source of food and shelter for baby salmons!). Along with our monitoring, we really need your help too! Learn how to correctly identify this type of crab and keep your eyes open whenever you’re swimming in the shallows or walking along the beach.

What to do if you find one:
Report your findings: email Fisheries and Oceans Canada in the Pacific Region.
Make sure to include a photo, the observation date, and the location.

European Green Crab brochure: View this brochure from DFO, or download the pdf file.

Look, what we found in our local waters!

An eel-like fish known as a saddleback gunnel. Photo FOCI

Lots of staghorn sculpins and graceful rock crabs. Photo FOCI

A pipefish, which is a close relative to the seahorse!  Photo FOCI