A Prince Edward Island scientist thinks the green crab, a marauding pest that has hit the Maritimes hard, can also serve as edible food. And he’s been conducting experiments to make his point.

“It has good flavor,” said Camille Gallant, a consultant with the Prince Edward Island Food Technology Centre. “I’ve cooked, cracked and eaten the claws. They’re as good as, if not better than, rock crabs.”

Gallant sees his experiments ultimately having two benefits – to provide a new cash haul for fishermen who badly need it, and to diminish if not eradicate the green crab, which shows no signs of disappearing on its own.

How viable is the prospect of green crab becoming a cash crop? “I’m hopeful, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Gallant said.

Tasty or not, the green crab is a dangerous invader. Gallant and his colleagues have conducted harvesting investigations around Prince Edward Island and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. “They’re nasty predators,” he said. “They multiply like mad, and they’re obliterating clam, eel, mussel and other fisheries. And lobster fishermen better be wary, too. We’ve found lobster larvae in green crab stomachs, and we’ve found green crabs in lobster traps.”

He added, “We first saw the green crab in ’97, and now it’s all over the place.”

While conceding that research is “still in the developing stage,” Gallant said possible products from the green crab include minced crab, crab cakes and crab bisque. “Other possibilities are crab meat sausages, patties, stuffing and soup base.”

Harvesting and eating the green crab may well be the only way to combat it, Gallant believes. “If any of your readers have a clue about the green crab’s moulting process, let us know. It may be that we can treat it as a soft shell crab just like the blue crab. Then we’re talking some real value. The yield is there; that’s for sure.”

Camille Gallant can be reached by phone at (902) 368-5469 or at .