It’s the third year Fidalgo Bay has been monitored for green crabs, but the first time evidence of one has been found.
The shell of an invasive European green crab was found last week along the Fidalgo Bay shoreline.
This is the third year Fidalgo Bay has been monitored for green crabs, but the first time evidence of one has been found.
Washington Sea Grant and the state Department of Natural Resources began monitoring for the species in April. This year, they are surveying several beach sites in Skagit County and northwest Washington.
The invasive species was first found in Washington’s inland marine waters in August 2016. That year, a handful of the crabs were found in Padilla Bay.
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This year, a live green crab and a green-crab shell have been found at new locations — Fidalgo Bay and Lagoon Point on Whidbey Island.
“The fact that we are seeing green crab at new sites is certainly concerning,” Crab Team Program Coordinator Emily Grason wrote on the Washington Sea Grant Crab Team website.
She said continued monitoring will be key to understanding the extent of the species’ reach, as well as planning how to fight it.
Grason said the shell found could have washed into Fidalgo Bay from elsewhere, but it’s too soon to say.
Cassidy Johnson, a Puget Sound Conservation Corps volunteer with Natural Resources, found the shell during a monitoring effort the state runs separate from the Crab Team, Grason said.
Green crabs continue to be found at Westcott Bay — the first inland area where they were discovered — as well as at Dungeness Spit, where they were discovered in large numbers last summer.
For more information about monitoring efforts, or how to identify green crabs, visit wsg.washington.edu/crabteam.