Expanding a New England Green Crab Pilot Fishery

Full Title

Expanding a New England Green Crab Pilot Fishery by Providing a Soft-shell Assay and Identifying Seasonal Aggregations for Harvest

Background

Green crab predation causes up to $44 million in economic losses to commercial fisheries in the United States each year. Losses to shellfisheries in the northeast alone are estimated to average $22.6 million annually. Green crabs are formidable consumers that have been implicated in the declines of soft-shelled clams and Eastern oysters, and are known to compete with lobsters. Developing a viable green crab fishery would provide new economic opportunities while introducing a management tool for a harmful invasive species.

Objectives

  1. Develop a molting identification assay to aid in pre-molt stage identification
  2. Quantify the temporal and spatial distribution of green crabs in two estuaries using traditional trapping surveys
  3. Describe the movements and identify seasonal migrations of green crabs using acoustic telemetry
  4. Work with commercial and recreational fishermen, as well as local community supported fisheries, to expand the use of green crabs as bait and in culinary products

Project Investigators

  • Jason Goldstein, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • Nathan Furey, University of New Hampshire
  • Gabriela Bradt, University of New Hampshire
  • Steven Jury, St. Joseph's College of Maine
  • Everett Leach, Fisherman

Funding

$261,620 through the NOAA Fisheries Saltonstall-Kennedy Competitive Grants Program

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