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Fishing News and Tide Chart
March 14, 2019

What’s with Green Crab in Local Waters?
Submitted by Dr. Ken Neill

FI 14mar19Green crabs are an invasive (non-native) species. So is the dandelion and the horse and there are many more. Green crabs are considered a detrimental invasive species and are believed to have harmed the soft clam population to our north. Tautog anglers like them as bait and they can be found in tackle stores along the east coast. They have been used by Virginia's anglers for a long time. The first documented populations along the east coast date back to 1817. Depending on the source, their range is listed from Main down to the Carolinas but they seem to thrive in the more northern area. They have not thrived in the Chesapeake Bay assumed to be due to the blue crab. So, is it legal to bring green crabs down from say New Jersey into Virginia to be used for tautog bait? There is a federal regulation concerning the transportation of invasive species. The injurious wildlife provisions of the Lacey Act control the live transportation of certain (many) species like the zebra mussel, snakehead, and numerous others but the green crab is not listed. Not being able to find anything that said you could not bring green crabs here to use for bait, I asked those smarter than me. Namely, the personnel at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. There is a regulation which determines what creatures may be brought into the Commonwealth with the intention of placing them in the water.

This Chapter establishes the list of approved states, waters, and species as required under §28.2-825 of the Code of Virginia for the lawful importation of fish, shellfish or Crustacea into the Commonwealth, with the intent of placing such animals into the waters of the Commonwealth. This Chapter is promulgated pursuant to the provisions of §§28.2-201 and 28.2-825 of the Code of Virginia. This chapter amends and re-adopts, as amended, previous Chapter 4 VAC 20-754-10 et seq. that was adopted on September 24, 2002 and made effective September 26, 2002. The effective date of this Chapter, as amended, is November 27, 2002."

It goes on listing some shellfish and under what conditions. It does not list the green crab as an approved species so it is not legal to be brought into Virginia from other states with intention of placing them in water.

I've been asked this a few times over the years. Now I know the answer.


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