Blue Crabs in Great Bay

Blue Crab in Crab Trap

As ocean temperatures continue to rise, marine organisms are being forced to adapt. The blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, an iconic Chesapeake Bay species, is an example of a species that is moving north to the Gulf of Maine’s warming waters. Historically, blue crabs have been rare
north of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, but have been observed in New Hampshire and Maine more often recently. Over the last decade, the Gulf of Maine has warmed faster than 99% of the world’s ocean with 2022 being the second  warmest year on record (GMRI, 2022).

The northern migration of blue crabs may have negative impacts on other marine species (oysters, lobsters) in the Gulf of Maine as well as on ecosystem function. As we continue to learn about what affects the species will have in the Gulf of Maine, it is important for us to keep track of them. Currently, we are collecting data that will aid in understanding the species range and abundance.

Do you want to help us? If you have spotted a blue crab in New Hampshire, or in Maine you can help us better understand blue crab expansion by submitting your observations of these crabs. See the flyer below for information about how to submit information about your blue crab encounter.

Photo Credit: Heather Ballestero

Blue Crabs in Bucket