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caption: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife technician April Fleming holds a European green crab captured in Lummi Bay in September.
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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife technician April Fleming holds a European green crab captured in Lummi Bay in September.
Credit: Amy Linhart / Washington Sea Grant

Can whiskey be a solution to the NW's green crab problem?

Green crabs have slowly been invading Northwest waters and are moving further and further into Puget Sound, leading many to search for solutions that will knock down their numbers. Now, a far away distillery may have one solution to get them out of the water — whiskey.

"People are going to hear crab whiskey, and I'd venture to say three-quarters of them are going to go, 'No, absolutely not,'" said Will Robinsons, product developer at Tamworth Distilling in New Hampshire. "But if you can get them to taste it, they totally change their tune for the most part."

RELATED: Think 85,000 invasive crabs is a lot? Wait 'til you see Vancouver Island

New Hampshire has been dealing with the European green crabs for much longer than the Northwest. Now Tamworth Distilling is using the invasive crabs to make a crab-flavored whiskey called "Crab Trapper." It takes about a pound of green crabs to make each bottle.

While Robinson admits that the whiskey won't get rid of all the invasive crabs, the distillery hopes the effort will at least bring more awareness, and possible solutions, to the problem. Read more about green crab whiskey here.

Solutions are what the Pacific Northwest needs. Green crabs are among the most successful invasive species in North America. They damage native shellfish populations and salmon habitat. That has local tribes and fisheries worried.

More more than 60,000 have been captured in Washington waters so far in 2022, which is far more than this same time last year. Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared an emergency over the invasion back in January and authorized the use of $8 million to kill the crabs.

RELATED: Lummi Nation combats massive outbreak of invasive European crabs

Like other crabs, the green variety are edible, however, capturing them to dish them up probably isn't the most likely solution. Diners prefer the red rock and Dungeness crabs far more. Also, the green crabs are not nearly as large as their Northwest counterparts, which means a lot more would have to be captured. You'd think that would be easy given their exploding numbers, but there are many other factors at work, too.

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