New Brunswick

Hundreds of invasive crabs found in Shediac Bay

The invasive green crab is moving up the coastline of New Brunswick to Shediac Bay.

The invasive green crab is moving up the coastline of New Brunswick to Shediac Bay.

The Shediac Bay Watershed Association found a handful last year. When they did their last count of the year Wednesday they found hundreds of the invasive crabs.

Jim Weldon surveys for green crabs in the waters from Cap Bimet to Cocagne three times a summer.

His team has found a more than 550 green crabs this year, a jump from the seven found last year.

In fact, they found more than 100 since their check last month.

Weldon says the numbers are alarming.

"I would just make a guess that the numbers are going to be really large next year. So we need a plan now, we need some sort of funding now that would help us plan ahead of time so we can keep the numbers at a level that would not degrade the environment totally."

Thomas Landry, a biologist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, says attempts to eradicate the invasive species with traps have been a challenge.

"We don't have a successful story of being able to get rid of the green crab once it's been entered into a bay," Landry said.

"If we could find a way to develop a fishery or reduce the numbers of these green crab through a fishery, then definitely that is an option we would like to consider. But at this point, right now we're aming at monitoring and making sure there is no human introduction."

In Kouchibouguac, the DFO is now studying the impacts the crabs have on other species.

Green crabs eat oysters, mussels and clams. They are also known to eat large quantities of the shellfish seeds used in the aquaculture industry.

Officials at DFO hope that information will help them figure out how to manage the green crab invasion.