By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,705)
The invasion of green crabs from Europe is now so serious that the future of Maine’s shelll-fish are in jeopardy in the not too distant future. They are a threat because they “denude” the bottom eel grass which is the habitat and food source for lobsters and other Maine shell-fish. They eat the plants by the roots thus preventing them from growing back. The invasion has gotten so serious from the mid-coast area up to Frenchmen’s Bay, in the last two years that entrepreneurs have been looking for ways to get rid them from the Maine coastal waters. But that isn’t going to happen. They come in attached to the ballast of ships from overseas.
Eat them if you can’t beat them appears to be one solution from Canadian businessman Ron Howse, CEO, Tidalwater Seafood Company, of New Brunswick, Canada. At a press conference this afternoon in Brunswick, Howse said that he expects to start shipping samples of the green crab to places like Korea and elsewhere overseas where thiere is demand exceeds the supply. “E-Mart is bigger than Wal-Mart,” said the rough-hewn Howse. These countries will test them for nutritional value. Not only is the meat sweet, but the crushed shells are used in the production of cosmetics.
In the meantime, Howse is looking for processing plants in Maine in three different locations. He’s in the process of submitting proposals to Brunswick, Ellsworth and Lubec, Maine. He wants to set up processing plants up the coast because that’s where jobs are needed the most. Such plants would employ 150 people. Asked if he would look for a processing plant in Portland, he said: “If they ask me to!” He’s looking for people to invest in the business, harvesters among others partners as well as markets.
Fran Smith, Brunswick Town Clerk, said: “We recognize that this is a major issue that Brunswick is aggressively looking for a solution to, if there is one. We have a very active commercial shellfish harvester program and the green crabs have certainly hurt the other industry.” Dan Devereaux, of the Marine Resource Office, Brunswick said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the green crab business.