Join Our Team!

Are you thinking of becoming a green crab monitor? Read on.

What: Green Crabs first appeared on the West Coast of the United States in the 1990s in San Francisco Bay, most likely as a result of live trade in bait and seafood. Since this first introduction, crab populations have grown and are spreading north. Green crabs eat commercially valuable shellfish such as clams, mussels and oysters and can compete with native crabs, including the Dungeness. Green crabs are spreading fast and there is concern that they could reach Alaska soon. Since early detection is the key to controlling the spread of invasive species, volunteer monitors are trapping crabs along the coast of Alaska in search of newly arriving green crabs. Trapping for the crab is occurring at several sites in Alaska, including the Ketchikan and Sitka area in Southeast, where the species is most likely to appear first.

Who: Anyone living near the coast in Alaska or British Columbia who has access to a dock, pier, or the shoreline.

Where: Sites should be easy to access, not too muddy, and suitable for green crabs. Suitable habitats are sheltered, shallow intertidal to upper subtidal, nearshore areas in moderate to high salinities (20-35ppt).

When: Ideally, traps should be set monthly from April to September.

How:Volunteers will need six folding fukui style folding crab traps, one minnow trap and a variety of supplies to set the traps (see protocol). These traps should be set a minimum of 1 ft below mean low tide (or approximately 2 hours before the morning low tide) and checked 24 hours later following one complete tidal cycle. Monitors then identify their catch using the keys provided. If a green crab (or other suspected invasive species) is caught, volunteers will photograph and collect the crab for further analysis. Local monitoring coordinators may be able to supply some or all of this equipment.

Why: Volunteers participate in this program for many reasons – it’s fun, educational, and it helps protect local fisheries from an invasion of green crabs. Green crabs have had negative impacts on several fisheries including the New England shellfisheries.

Decided to volunteer? Get in touch with your local monitoring coordinator.

Monitoring Coordinators

Southeast Alaska: Linda Shaw linda.shaw@NOAA.gov
Prince William Sound: Joe Banta banta@pwsrcac.org
Kachemak Bay: Catie Bursch catie.bursch@alaska.gov