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Chef cooks meals with unexpected invasive species: 'There's nothing to really keep their populations in check'

The crabs have also been responsible for coastal erosion, excavating parts of marshlands.

The crabs have also been responsible for coastal erosion, excavating parts of marshlands.

Photo Credit: iStock

A Maine-based chef has taken the problem of an invasive species into his own hands while feeding hungry diners.

Jeremy Sewall, owner of the Row 34 brand of restaurants in the northeastern U.S., has been capturing green crabs to use in his menus.

With the help of his nephew, fisherman Sam Sewall, they are scooping up the invasive crustacean from the waters of Maine to be cooked up into soft-shelled fried crab sliders.

As CBS News detailed, it's likely the crabs arrived in North America in the 1800s on European merchant ships. Since then, their population has thrived, but that means the population of native fish, crustaceans, and mollusks have seen their numbers threatened. 

The crabs have also been responsible for coastal erosion, excavating parts of marshlands.

"Once they come into a new area that's suitable for them, they can absolutely explode," Mike Masi, another fisherman helping Sewall with his crab-catching endeavors, told CBS News. "We haven't been having those freezing cold winters anymore and so there's nothing to really keep their populations in check."

With ocean temperatures rising as a result of human-caused global heating, the ecosystem around New England is changing. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Northeast continental shelf has warmed faster than any other ocean region in the United States over the past few decades. 

If planet-warming pollution continues unabated — produced by gas-powered cars and coal-fired power plants, for example — it's likely this pattern will continue, leading to continuing ocean warming that can threaten local species and harm natural defenses.

"Climate related changes such as warming oceans, rising seas, droughts, and ocean acidification are affecting the distribution and abundance of marine species in the Northeast U.S. continental shelf ecosystem," the NOAA said.

While Jeremy Sewall is trying to combat the issue by serving the green crabs up on a silver platter, he needs support in his efforts to stop the blight of green crabs that are causing havoc in New England's waters.

That's why taking advantage of renewable energy and electric cars is so essential to curb the rate of pollution we produce in our daily lives. Eating less meat, avoiding fast fashion, and steering clear of single-use plastics are also ways to help reduce the release of toxic gases that lead to higher thermometer readings.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

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