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Environment

Researchers want you to add green crabs to your menu to help combat this invasive species

green crabs
Oregon Department of State Lands
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Green crabs are an invasive species on the Oregon coast

Marine researchers on the Oregon coast want to enlist the help of chefs to combat an invasive species: the green crab.

Green crabs are native to Europe and showed up on the west coast in the late 80’s. In the past five years, they’ve started eating their way through local crab populations and harming marine habitat in Oregon and Washington.

Scientists at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve near Coos Bay have an idea for one way to counter the crabby invasion: Catch green crabs and eat them.

“Basically, any green crab you remove means a little less impact," said Shon Schooler, the lead scientist at the reserve. "And if we can get enough people doing it, we can reduce the impact of these crabs on our natural resources.”

But while green crabs are said to be tasty (this reporter did not have the chance to personally verify this), they do pose a challenge for cooks and hungry seafood eaters.

"We're kind of spoiled with our Dungeness crabs out here," said Schooler. "(Green crabs) are really too small to open up and eat them like you would a Dungeness crab. And so we need to think about other recipes."

Schooler and his colleagues have posted a list of recipes for green crab that have been used by restaurant chefs and amateur cooks in Europe and on the east coast of the United States, where green crabs have been around for generations.

The list of recipes includes ramen soup, pozole, fried rice and more.

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