How time flies! Our 2022 European Green Crab (EGC) Monitoring Program in Howe Sound wrapped up at the end of September. We’re very pleased to announce that we have not found any European Green Crabs in Howe Sound. Our results are not conclusive as to whether there is / is not EGC in this area, but it’s a good sign that populations are likely not yet established.
Results from 2022
Our 12 volunteers set traps at 4 different sites, catching a wide variety of different marine creatures. Here’s what we caught (and released) over the course of 7 months:
- 36 crangon
- 29 sea gooseberries
- 309 moon jelly fish
- 34 juvenile dungeness crabs
- 60 native shore crabs
- 7 graceful crabs
- 1 hermit crab
- 27 shiner perch
- 1 saddleback gunnel
- 3 stickleback
- 132 sculpins
- 1 flat fish
Thank you to our volunteers
We couldn’t have done this without the help of our fantastic volunteers. They committed to crab sampling two days a month, from March to September, and were always excited to learn about our local marine environment. Some volunteers joined with very little experience (never having walked around in waders or held a crab before) and some with lots of experience (free diving or conducting marine research). But the diversity of backgrounds made for a great learning / teaching opportunity.
We asked our volunteers what their favourite part of Crab Team was, and this is what some of them had to say:
“The great team, lots of nice weather days, enjoyed the early mornings and looking at the creatures we caught!”
“Meeting other volunteers passionate about the marine environment”
“Spending time outside, feeling like I’m contributing to important research/monitoring, hanging out with friends”
“Meeting other volunteers and seeing our cool catch (fish, crabs)”
“I had such a great time volunteering with the crab team! I’d love to do it again”
If you think you’ve spotted a European Green Crab, please:
- Take a picture
- Note down your location (GPS coordinates)
- Send an email with info / photos to AISPACIFIC@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Despite submitting many grant requests and funding applications, we are finding it difficult to secure long-term funding for this program. If you would like to help protect Howe Sound from European Green Crab, and support our efforts with a donation (any amount is appreciated!), please head over to https://ssisc.ca/donate.
To-date, there have been no detections of European Green Crab in Howe Sound, but they have been found as close as Salt Spring Island, San Juan Island (in the US), Boundary Bay (just south of Vancouver), along the Sunshine Coast, and all over the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
We launched our monitoring program last year because early detection and rapid response (EDRR) are extremely important in fighting the threat of invasive species, and a European Green Crab infestation could significantly threaten the unique marine wildlife in Howe Sound and the Squamish River Estuary.
You can learn more about Crab Team here.
Have we ‘pinched’ your interest? Here’s some useful links:
- Learn more about Crab Team and our monitoring efforts
- European Green Crab species profile page from Fisheries and Oceans Canada
- European Green Crab species profile page from Sea to Sky Invasives Species Council
- Impacts of European green crab in British Columbia webinar via ISCBC
- The Squamish Community Foundation’s blog post about SSISC’s EGC program