Officials: invasive green crabs spreading along coast

SEATTLE (AP) — European green crabs were found in Washington’s inland waters in 2016, prompting extensive monitoring. Now state officials say this destructive invasive species is spreading in several coastal locations. They thrive in shallow water and soft sediment, which Washington’s estuaries provide. And over the past two years it seems the populations of green crab are exploding, especially on the coast. Green crabs are known as voracious “ecosystem engineers” that use their claws to crush up anything that might be edible, often dramatically changing underwater landscapes and destroying eelgrass beds and other critical habitat for native species.