Green crabs illegally sold at a Seattle market confiscated

Dec 30, 2022, 10:26 AM | Updated: 12:54 pm
green crabs...
European green crabs can damage habitat for local sea life. (Photo courtesy of Sea Grant Washington)
(Photo courtesy of Sea Grant Washington)

A species of green crab being illegally sold at a seafood market in Seattle’s Beacon Hill Neighborhood was confiscated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in December.

In early December WDFW, police received a tip that the market was selling live “green crabs.” Invasive species sold for food or fishing bait are known to be among the causes of their spread in other states and regions.

In Washington, European green crabs are not currently found within central or south Puget Sound and are illegal to be introduced anywhere in the state.

Agencies, tribes work to stop growth of invasive crab

According to a department post, it was found that the market had bought approximately 30 pounds of live green crabs from a distributor in Massachusetts with the intent of selling them for use in crab stock and soup.

Marketed only as “green crabs”, the seller did not appear to know that they were European green crabs (EGC) regulated by Washington state as a prohibited invasive species.

The seller was reportedly very cooperative and the crabs were confiscated and destroyed.

Under the state’s ongoing emergency order, the reduction of green crab populations to levels that are not harmful to environmental, economic, or cultural resources is the goal. The WDFW views the commercial or recreational markets for European green crabs as detrimental to goals.

Further investigation into the Massachusetts seafood distributor is continuing.

Editors note: This article has been updated to reflect that the crabs were not found at Pike Place Market, but at a different Seattle seafood market

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Green crabs illegally sold at a Seattle market confiscated