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Study: Invasive Green Crabs Could Make Viable Food Products

Denise Skonberg
UMaine via AP
Food scientist Joseph Galetti holds a fully cooked green crab with a thermocouple stuck in its eye in Orono in 2010.

ORONO, Maine — Scientists affiliated with the University of Maine say they may have found a solution to the state’s trouble with invasive green crabs, and it involves turning the clawed critters into pastries.

Green crabs threaten Maine’s marine economy because they’re ravenous predators of softshell clams, which are one of the state’s signature seafood items. State officials say the crabs have increased population as water temperatures off Maine have risen.

Fishermen and state fishery managers have long struggled to find ways to make the crabs worth catching to help control population. Now, three food scientists say they’ve happened upon a food product that could be viable: green crab empanadas.

The scientists published findings that about two-thirds of taste testers would "probably" or "definitely" buy the product if it was locally available.