First, Zebra Mussels, Now? Connecticut Has Mitten Crabs
Connecticut's fresh waters and saltwater are constantly being invaded by foreign species. Mollusks and bivalves, amphibians, reptiles, shellfish, plant live, and fish themselves have hitched a ride in the cargo, attached, and aboard trans-oceanic vessels for centuries. When these invasive species take root, and kill off native plants and animals, we have huge problems. I've written about the Candlewood Lake Authority's efforts to keep the dreaded Zebra Mussel away from the state's largest fresh water lake, now Connecticut's Bureau of Natural Resources is asking for the public's help in keeping an eye out for Chinese Mitten Crabs along the Western portion of Long Island Sound here in Fairfield County.
The Chinese Mitten Crab, also known as the Shanghai Hairy Crab, is native to Eastern Asia waterways from Korea to China. According to the USDA, the Mitten Crab has only been found on the East Coast of the US since 2005. According to the USDA's interactive map, there was quite a few Mitten Crab sightings in New York's Hudson River over the past decade, and now, a few have been found along the Connecticut shoreline between Greenwich and Fairfield. Mitten Crabs can interfere with fish salvage operations, fish passage facilities, water treatment and power plants, and other facilities.
So, if you happen to see one, or more, of these distinctive-looking hairy clawed crabs, the State of Connecticut and the USDA would appreciate it if you would take a photo, and let them know the exact location where you saw it. Send them the photo and message through their Facebook account by clicking HERE. If you are a talented crabber, and can catch these little critters, don't let it get back into the water. If you can, bag and freeze it.
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