30 pounds of invasive green crab confiscated from Seattle seafood market

30 pounds of invasive green crab confiscated from Seattle seafood market

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Police officers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) seized about 30 pounds of live green crabs being sold at a Seattle seafood market earlier this month.

According to WDFW, the European green crab is a globally harmful invasive species that poses a threat to Washington’s economic, environmental and cultural resources. To protect native crab species, such as the Dungeness crab, it is illegal to possess or transport green crabs in Washington.

WDFW officers went to investigate the seafood market after receiving a tip that live green crabs were being sold in early December. It was later determined that the market owner purchased the crab from a retailer in Massachusetts.

Authorities say the Seattle retailer was unaware the crab he bought was an illegal invasive species in Washington state. The seller was cooperative, and the crab was confiscated and destroyed.

CONNECTED: WDFW: Nearly 250,000 Invasive European Green Crabs Removed From Washington Waters

The investigation will now turn to the Massachusetts seafood distributor. Additionally, WDFW will contact Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game stewards regarding the consequences of trafficking a live invasive species and whether the seafood distributor sells to other markets in the Pacific Northwest.


Although often considered inedible due to their small size and lack of meat, green crabs are edible. According to WDFW, European green crabs are fished commercially in parts of their native range and are often used for crab stock and soup.

CONNECTED: The destruction of dungeness crabs is underway along the US West Coast


Potential impacts include destruction of eelgrass beds and estuarine marsh habitats, threats to the shellfish industry, the Dungeness crab fishery, salmon recovery, and other ecological impacts on food webs.

According to report numbers from October, the Department of Fish and Wildlife has removed nearly 250,000 invasive European green crabs from Washington waters so far in 2022.

CONNECTED: A better way to identify, stop invasive green crabs in Washington


According to WDFW, anyone who spots a green crab is asked not to kill it. Although it may sound counterintuitive, the public is urged to avoid killing the crab and instead report sightings to avoid cases of mistaken identity.

To learn more and report sightings of European green crabs, click here.

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