25 August 2016
The current spread of non-native Asian shore crabs around Jersey’s coast may threaten populations of native crabs, including the local shore crab.
The Asian shore crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) is a species of crab from the Western Pacific Ocean and is now an invasive species in North America and Europe. While individual specimens have been reported in Jersey since 2009, thousands of the crabs are now believed to be living around the coast of Jersey.
The Department of the Environment has been monitoring this invasive species since it was first reported and currently has a student studying its spread and the impact it may have on the local native species.
The Asian shore crab is smaller than our native shore crab (Carcinus maenas) with a square-shaped shell and a distinctive tiger-stripe pattern on its legs. It is fast moving and can deliver a painful nip with its claws. The public are being asked to report any sightings via the Jersey Biodiversity Centre website (see notes).
Natural Environment Officer, Paul Chambers, said “The Asian shore crab is one of several recently arrived invasive species in the Channel Islands but we are surprised at the speed with which it has colonised Jersey’s seashore. It is not a threat to human health and we hope that the studies currently being undertaken by the Department and the Société Jersiaise will allow us to gauge any impact this species might have locally.“