Will Eating Them Beat Them? Establishing Culinary Markets for the European Green Crab


The European green crab (Carcinus maenas) is one of the most destructive invasive species in the world’s marine environment. Since its arrival, this crab has wreaked havoc on Maine’s fragile marine ecosystems and their reliant economies. Across the northeast Atlantic seaboard, this crab has perpetuated the long-term degradation of eelgrass habitats and significantly reduced bivalve, crab, and finfish populations. Furthermore, its dense population levels threaten Maine’s softshell clam fishery, marine ecosystems, and threaten the future of Maine’s most beloved crustacean, the American Lobster. Given the green crab\u27s remarkable reproductive persistence and high rates, regional mitigation efforts have shifted away from the unattainable goal of total eradication. Instead, the focus has transitioned to achieving functional eradication, involving the reduction of green crab populations below critical thresholds to minimize ecosystem impacts. While various regions and localities have explored diverse approaches to this method, none have fully harnessed the vast economic potential inherent in this abundant resource. In recent years, a burgeoning movement has gained momentum, aiming to extract green crabs from waters and integrate them into culinary markets. Several dedicated individuals have spearheaded this initiative. Establishing commercial markets for green crabs serves a dual purpose: not only does it alleviate the pressure of these ubiquitous predators on delicate marine ecosystems, but it also offers a strategic avenue to diversify Maine\u27s fisheries and economies amidst the uncertainties brought about by climate-induced unpredictability. Collaborative efforts between harvesters, researchers, chefs, and policymakers would transform the green crab into a sought-after resource whose harvest addresses ecological concerns and opens avenues for economic and environmental sustainability in Maine. Link to the capstone\u27s website: https://elysse.bates-catapult.net

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Bates College: SCARAB (Scholarly Communication and Research at Bates)

Last time updated on 16/02/2024

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