Invasive European Green Crab (EGC)
What to do if you spot one:
If you sight the European Green Crab in any areas of BC, other than the west coast of Vancouver Island*, please:
Take a photo,
Leave it where you found it,
Email photos and detailed information about the location to AISPACIFIC@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.
More support is needed! If you are interested in joining the program, would like to donate or are looking for more information, please get in touch:
* The EGC has been recorded on the west coast of Vancouver Island since 2006. DFO has been monitoring it’s population and is supported by the community in conducting surveys. Photos taken by the public in regions outside of the EGC’s known locations are needed. Visit UBC's Aquatic & Invasive Species Strait of Georgia Data Centre to learn more.
As part of our mission to protect the Boundary Bay estuary and watershed, Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society is pleased to partner with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada to survey for invasive European Green Crab (Carcinus maenas).
The European Green Crab (EGC) is an effective predator killing lobsters and oysters, uprooting eelgrass beds and impacting native invertebrates and fish1. First discovered in Boundary Bay by DFO in October 2019, a network of dedicated citizen scientists have since been monitoring the spread of EGC. The danger it poses to our native crab, clam and oyster fisheries in British Columbia means we need all eyes on the shoreline.
All data we collect as part of this project is shared with Fisheries and Oceans Canada who keep an up to date Distribution Map.
This work would not be possible without the generous contributions from funders and the support of dedicated volunteers:
A Rocha, Boundary Bay Parks Association, Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society volunteers (special mention to David Shorter & Semiahmoo Secondary School teacher Kristy Harrison and student Steven Chen), Semiahmoo First Nation members and the Surrey SHaRP team.
Join us for volunteer training to map and survey intertidal habitats. ‘Adopt’ a small beach section of Boundary Bay to monitor once or twice annually.
Shorekeepers is stewardship of coastal marine habitats by people who live near them. It is a monitoring methodology designed specifically for community groups and for people who may not have a strong science background to be able to contribute to scientific data collection. Having local community groups and individuals take an active role in looking after their coastline fosters "local ownership" and interest.
Have you ever wondered how barnacles survive out of water for so long at low tide? What creature makes those holes in the sand? Shorekeepers learn an astonishing amount about intertidal life on the beaches near their communities. By actually having to learn to identify different species of marine invertebrates and algae, one begins to appreciate the beauty and complexity that exists. For example, seaweed may seem like a slippery mass growing over the rocks, but a closer look reveals a myriad of delicate seasonal plants, in colours ranging from pink through green, olive, and brown.
TBD (you can also check our Calendar of Events)
Shorekeepers Methods Training Workshop join the Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society for a one-day workshop learning about marine habitats and do citizen science marine surveys. A short classroom introduction at 9 am followed by carpooling to the beach for skills training. Further citizen science opportunities follow with 3 surveys throughout May and June.
"The complex and intricate food webs of an eelgrass meadow rival the world's richest farmlands and tropical forests." (Dr. Sandy Wyllie-Echeverria)
Eelgrass is a flowering marine plant found intertidally to about 50 feet deep. Two species of eelgrass are found in Boundary Bay – the native Zostera marina and the introduced Zostera japonica.
Eelgrass is vitally important for many reasons. The extensive root system helps to stabilize mudflat beaches and prevent erosion of shorelines. Over 80% of all commercial fish (including Pacific herring, salmon, Pacific cod and Lingcod), crab and shellfish depend on eelgrass habitat for at least part of their lifecycle and for 30 – 70% of their diet. Fish spawn, attached to the leaves, is an important food for migrating seabirds, grey whales, seals and other marine mammals. After they die, the decomposing blades of eelgrass turn into detritus which provides food for over 120 species of invertebrates. The invertebrates, in turn, provide food for fish, shorebirds, ducks and Brant geese. As well, eelgrass meadows provide shelter and nurseries for many invertebrate and fish species.
Eelgrass plays a critical role in moderating the effects of climate change. Recent reports by the United Nations Environmental Protection Department have noted that eelgrass and seagrass can store carbon with an efficiency of up to 90 times that of forests.
It is estimated that 15% of the world’s total seagrass areas have been lost. The trend towards habitat degradation continues as population increases in coastal regions. Eelgrass habitat is threatened by dredging and filing, structures such as docks and marinas and pollution.
Seagrasses cover 6,000,000 sq km worldwide but only 150,000 have been mapped. The B.C. Coastal Eelgrass Stewardship Project was implemented in 2002 to conserve and protect eelgrass habitat along the B.C. coast. Since then, over 1000 volunteers have mapped about 12,000 ha. along the B.C. coast. The B.C. Conservation Initiative is involved with mapping and monitoring eelgrass and entering the data into the Community Mapping Network.
The Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society has been working with the Seagrass Conservation Working Group and B.C. Coastal Eelgrass Stewardship Project in Boundary Bay since 2002. Work this year will involve a continuation of the Mapping and Monitoring Program. An eelgrass transplant mitigation project was conducted at White Rock Pier after dredging by the City of White Rock in 2003. Another pilot project was conducted by Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society at Blackie Spit in 2007.
Stay tuned for updates on how you can help protect this critical resource.
Cleanup work is an ongoing and critical aspect of preserving our local environment. In addition to participating in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup biannually, FOSBS organizes and supports regular cleanups at various locations and times of the year. For information about, or to register for upcoming cleanups, please visit our Calendar of Events
The Friends of Semiahmoo Bay (FoSBS) is currently working in the Savenye Environmentally Sensitive Area in Blackie Spit, Crescent Beach, Surrey to improve forage fish spawning habitat along the high intertidal shore by improving the riparian shoreline vegetation and beach habitat.
The Savenye Environmentally Sensitive Area is an important stopover site for migrating birds, and forage fish provide an important food source for them, as well as for other marine species like salmon and whales. The site is part of the Fraser River delta Important Bird Area, the top-rated of 597 designated sites in Canada.
Activities to date have included removing the invasive english cork elm, scotch broom, tansy and daphne from the shoreline and replacing them with shade-providing native trees and shrubs including willows, alder, oceanspray, elderberry, roses and currant and perennials such as dunegrass, canada golden rod and yarrow. Ouellette Bros. Excavating donated and delivered 24 tons of fish grade, small sized, spawning gravel to the site. The Surrey Parks SNAP team and community volunteers hauled and spread the gravel along the high intertidal zone.
Monitoring for forage fish activity has commenced. Monitoring and maintenance of the site will be ongoing in future years.
We'd like to acknowledge with appreciation our funders and project partners for the restoration project: Leeann Graham; Surrey Parks and SNAP; Environment Canada, Environmental Damages Fund; Nature Canada; Wildlife Habitat Canada; BC Nature, Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Ouellette Bros. Excavating; Art Knapp, Linnaea & Little Campbell River Nurseries and especially our community volunteers. Thank you!
We'd also like to thank the Ocean and Marine Fisheries Branch, BC Ministry of Environment for their support in surveying and removing the creosote logs on the site and at Crescent Beach.