Maryland Blue Crab Invades Spanish Waters - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland Blue Crab Invades Spanish Waters

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CAMBRIDGE, Md. - Maryland's blue crab is now an invasive species, or at least, in one part of Europe. It's beloved on the Eastern shore but has proven to be quite the pest on the other side of the Atlantic.

The crabs, native to the Chesapeake Bay area have somehow crossed thousands of miles, showing up along the Mediterranean coast of Spain.

It may be a good laugh here but scientists at the University of Alicante in Spain call it "an invasive voracious alien species." The blue crab, Maryland's prized Summer delicacy, is known for destroying nets and wreaking havoc in its new foreign ecosystem.

Matt Whitbeck, a biologist with Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, says the crabs likely hitched a ride with unsuspecting cargo ships. Now five years after being spotted, the scientists say they aren't quite sure how to stop the crabs from spreading.

"Some folks are saying it could help the economy, specifically the Spanish economy. It tastes great and maybe we should send them some Old Bay to go along with it," Whitbeck said.

Eric Schott, an associate research professor with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Institute of Marine & Environmental Technology, says blue crabs also live in the eastern Mediterranean. Schott says there's a possibility the crabs somehow migrated west toward Spain.

 

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