FREEPORT, Maine — Despite cautious optimism earlier this year that midcoast mudflats would be spared, invasive European green crabs were apparently only waiting for warmer water to scurry back into the area and begin wreaking havoc on the shellfish industry.
“Since the beginning of last week, they’ve increased considerably,” said Sara Randall of the Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education, which is conducting six studies on the crustaceans in Freeport. “Compared to exactly this time last year there aren’t as many, but we think that within the next couple of weeks we’ll see a lot more.”
“They’re here,” said Brunswick’s Marine Resource Officer, Dan Devereaux. “Not to the extent that they were here last year — I still think the catches are about 80 percent down from last year — but they’ve doubled in the last couple of weeks.”
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