Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society (FOSBS) officials have issued an urgent appeal for volunteers to assist with the organization’s European green crab project.
The search is on for anyone who enjoys getting outside and can commit to helping trap the invasive critters once or twice a month from May till September.
“This crab will decimate the crucial eelgrass beds, salt marsh and all the marine invertebrates if we do not catch them before their population takes over,” the appeal, issued Sunday (April 10), states.
The crabs have decimated Clayoquot Sound and are now all along the B.C. coast, the appeal continues.
Peace Arch News first featured the project in October 2020.
At that time, biologist/ecologist Lori Schlechtleitner said the crustacean was one of the world’s top-10 unwanted species; one that “will eat anything that fits in its mouth.”
The crab, which can range in colour from dark mottled green to orange, is native to European and North African coastlines, and was first found in Canadian waters in 1951. They have done substantial damage on Canada’s East Coast, and it’s believed they arrived in B.C. between 1998 and 1999.
They were first found in Boundary Bay, including Blackie Spit, in October 2019. Officials are concerned if they get a leghold on the eelgrass beds, the ecosystem might not recover.
The upcoming volunteer effort is to continue the focus on Boundary Bay – at Boundary Bay Regional Park in Tsawwassen, Blackie Spit, Elgin Heritage Park and Mud Bay – which is highest-ranked Important Bird Area in Canada.
Those interested in getting involved must take mandatory online training, at https://bcinvasives.xactlms.com/courses, as well as send a series of answers regarding the project to DFO.
The course, which is free, takes about an hour, and is a requirement of DFO for anyone participating in the European green crab project. The training must be completed by May 15 in order to volunteer this season.
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