officials are advising anglers to be on the
lookout for the Chinese mitten crab, an invasive
species that can wreak havoc on local crab
Chinese mitten crabs have been caught in New
Jersey waters, the most recent being those
captured by both commercial and recreational
fishermen in Raritan, Barnegat and Delaware
Bays. Mitten crabs are native to Asia but have
invaded portions of northern Europe and
Biologists would like to gather as much
information as possible on any mitten crabs that
have been caught this year or in recent years to
help determine their current distribution. The
public can help by providing information on any
mitten crabs that are encountered.
The crabs are easy to identify and the online
mitten crab poster lists identification
characteristics as well as some general
information on the species. If a mitten crab
happens to be caught, it is important to
document as much information as possible and
take a picture of the crab for identification
and proof of capture.
Mitten crabs are thought to have come to the
United States by way of illegally-dumped bilge
water from large, ocean-going container ships
that dock at U.S. ports.
On the east coast,
the Chesapeake Bay was one of the first major
waterways where the invasive crabs have been
spotted. In addition to competing for food with
native crab species, the mitten crab is also
known to disrupt ecosystems by burrowing into
mud flats and other natural drainage systems.
For more information on the crabs, how to
identify them the online poster and how to
report them, please visit
on the division’s website.