New publication predicting the cost of an invasive crab to Puget Sound, Washington

Non-native species pose a risk to native environments, but predicting the value at-risk to these species before invasion occurs is difficult and rare in current literature. Megan Mach and Kai Chan presented a method for describing the economic risk of an invasive species that encompasses the great variation possible in an invading species interactions with its new environment. The European green crab, Carcinus maenas, has already invaded the northeastern Pacific from Baja, Mexico to the outer coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia and is predicted to invade Puget Sound, Washington. This region is well known for its commercial shellfish harvest, at risk to the future invasion of green crab.

We evaluated the current harvested shellfish biomass and revenue in Puget Sound and assessed these values using a model to describe potential value-at-risk should green crab invade, incorporating a range of calorie intake rates and invasion densities. These data provided more accurate value-at-risk estimates by incorporating invasion uncertainty and may be useful for motivating prevention and management of species invasions.


Mach ME and KMA Chan. 2014. Trading green backs for green crabs: Evaluating the commercial shellfish harvest at risk to European green crab invasion. [v3; ref status: indexed,] F1000Research 2-66. URL