Status of the European Green Crab in Oregon Estuaries, Fall 2003 Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/defaults/9880vv72d

Prepared for the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Alaska Department of Fish of Game.

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  • The invasion of Pacific Northwest estuaries by the European green crab, Carcinus maenas, caused much initial alarm. Following the strong El Niño of 1997-98, young green crabs appeared in estuaries along the coasts of Oregon, Washington, and as far north as Port Eliza on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Unusually strong northward-moving coastal currents (up to 50 km/day from September 1997 to April 1998) must have transported green crab larvae from more established source populations in California to the Northwest. Coastal transport events have been much weaker in recent years. Crabs from the 1997/98 colonizing year class were still in the population during the early summer of 2003. Males from that year class ranged from 86-98 mm in carapace width. By the fall we did not trap any crabs over 80 mm, suggesting that these older crabs were dying. Estimates for green crab longevity range from 4 years in Europe to 6 years in Maine. We thus predict that most of the colonizing year class will die of senescence over the 2003/2004 winter. The loss of the 97/98-year class of green crabs, however, does not mean that green crabs are becoming extinct in Northwest estuaries. Recruitment in 2003 in Yaquina, Netarts, Tillamook and Willapa Bay have has been much stronger than in previous years. Circumstantial evidence indicates that these estuaries harbor a small self-sustaining population that is not dependent on a larval source from California. Even though green crab abundance in the Northwest is low when compared to Europe, eastern North America, Tasmania and California, it is imperative to continue monitoring efforts for two reasons: 1) to elucidate the process of range expansion of a model non-indigenous marine species with planktonic larvae and 2) to serve as an early warning system for the next strong recruitment event of green crabs.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2015-05-01T14:40:00Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 2license_rdf: 1370 bytes, checksum: cd1af5ab51bcc7a5280cf305303530e9 (MD5)PSMFCReportFall2003.pdf: 810623 bytes, checksum: 4e5583b60e2dd3918a3b9ab65982fb9d (MD5)
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