Invasive Mitten Crabs seized during commercial search near Lake Ontario

Nov 8, 2018

US Customs and Border Protection recently sized more than 100 invasive crabs, called the Chinese Mitten Crab. The discovery was made during a commercial inspection at a facility in Rochester, N.Y.

The crab, named for the little hairs on its claws, is native to East Asia and found in both fresh and salt water. Their shell is about 4 inches and it is called a mitten crab because it has little hairs on its claws. The crab is known to be very damaging.

“This crab can out compete our native crab, muscles, and crayfish for food and space. They have voracious appetites,” said Samara Boukadida, an agriculture specialist with border protection. “They can completely alter the food chain of where they’re established.”

Aaron Bowker is with border protection he says folks need to be careful, when they make purchases from overseas.

“Know what you’re buying, before you buy it,” Bowker said. “I always tell people or encourage people, if they’re every unsure, you should go on and check out CBP’s website.”

The crabs were turned over to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Like most invasive species, the DEC says, if you find one, don’t throw it back in the water.

If possible, preserve it and report it to the DEC within 48 hours. Email the DEC at or call 518-402-9425.