Hunters in Maine have little to worry about when it comes to invasive species. In a state with an economically important commercial shellfish industry, marine invaders are the top concern among invasive species in the state.
Here are details about three invasive species in Maine: the green crab, Rapa whelk, and Chinese mitten crab.
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1. Green Crab
A native of European and northern African shores, the green crab is quick and talented at opening clam and mussel shells. These crabs are also blamed for wreaking havoc on local ecosystems such as salt marshes and eelgrass beds.
To help lower the population of these scavengers, the State of Maine changed some fishing rules in 2014. Commercial fishermen no longer need to get a special license to catch and sell green crabs, and they are no longer required to report green crab harvests to the state, according to the Huffington Post
2. Rapa Whelk
The Rapa Whelk aggressively gobbles up huge amounts of oysters and other shellfish. This large snail, which originated in the western Pacific Ocean, was first discovered on U.S. shores in 1998, state the Smithsonian Ocean Portal
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Maine hasn’t taken any action so far against the Rapa. However, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science now tries to make a dent by offering a $5 bounty for each Rapa turned in from the Chesapeake Bay.
3. Chinese Mitten Crab
The Chinese mitten crab first hit the United States in 2007 by showing up in crab pots in the Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, and New York State’s Hudson River, said Maine’s Department of Marine Resources
Green-brown in color, the crab has a total size (including legs) of up to 12 inches and features a dark furry growth on its pincers. The mitten crab is the only crab in North America that can live in both salt and fresh water. It can walk but cannot swim. The crab burrows into embankments and shorelines and tries to compete with native shellfish.
From 2011 to 2014, the State of Maine collaborated with other members of the Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel
to help develop an early warning and rapid response system against the potential invader to its coasts.
This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.
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