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USM alumna, researcher featured in Times Record article on green crab invasion

Green crab molting

A University of Southern Maine (USM) alumna was recently featured in a news article about the invasion of green crabs currently plaguing Maine’s fishing industry.

Marissa McMahan, a USM alumna and senior fisheries specialist at Manomet — an environmental research organization with offices in Brunswick — was interviewed by the Times Record about ways to mitigate the effects of the European green crab, an invasive species that feeds on clam beds and has been linked to the decline of Maine’s soft-shell clam industry.

Alumna Marissa McMahan with green crabMcMahan attributed the proliferation of the invasion to climate change.

“The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99 percent of the world’s oceans … and [the crabs] like warm water,” McMahan told reporter Kathleen O’Brien.

The solution: start eating.

“Even if we can’t reduce the negative impact, we can try to increase the positive impact,” McMahan said. “In other words, we’re taking an if-you-can’t-beat-’em,-eat-’em approach.”

The approach was highlighted by USM News last year as part of an ongoing partnership between Manomet and the USM Department of Biological Sciences.

At the time, McMahan and then-intern (and USM alumna) Erica Ferelli worked together to monitor crab populations and begin establishing a fishery for green crabs.

Many restaurants in southern Maine have already begun offering green crabs on their menus — and they’re willing to pay steep prices for the tiny crustaceans; In some cases, up to $25 per pound.

Read the full story in the Times Record Portland Press Herald and affiliated publications, and check out McMahan on “The USM Update” from April 2018 below.