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New Hampshire, MIT, and Maine Sea Grant programs

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Abstract/ Summary

The Rapid Response Plan for Management and Control of the Chinese Mitten Crab is intended to guide efforts to mitigate the further introduction and spread of the Chinese mitten crab in the northeastern United States and Canada. Due to the unique challenges of invasive species introductions to marine and coastal ecosystems, the mitten crab and other existing and potential marine invasive species are more difficult and often more costly to manage or control than freshwater aquatic or terrestrial invasive species. These challenges include ecosystem connectivity across vast geographic areas, ocean currents and tidal influence, and shipping- and ballast-related vectors for larvae. Warming ocean and coastal waters and species range expansions influenced by climate change will further compound these issues. Recent and historical efforts to control or eradicate invasive mitten crab populations in other countries and in other parts of the United States have not been effective. More than a century of efforts to control or eradicate other marine invasive species, such as the European green crab, has also proven unsuccessful. For these reasons, it is prudent to focus available funds and regional capacity for early detection and rapid response planning on prevention, as we must assume that eradication is not likely should Chinese mitten crabs enter Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine or Maritime Canada. The Sea Grant Programs in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine worked with local, state, regional and federal stakeholders to establish a foundation for prevention, early detection and rapid response efforts of the Chinese mitten crab.


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