Asian paddle crabs may be toxic
THE golden rule with Asian paddle crabs – apart from reporting any finds to the Department of Fisheries – is not to eat the declared pest.
The department’s marine biosecurity officer Marion Massam said people should not eat the pest crab, because the species can carry a disease that could be toxic to people.
“In general, fishers should first look at any small crabs with a shell width up to 120mm that look different to blue swimmers and then check for the spines between the eyes,” Ms Massam said.
She said not only could the aggressive non-native crab spread devastating disease to prawns, crabs and lobsters, it could carry a disease called paralytic shellfish poisoning that causes poisoning in humans.
A department info sheet said more than 100 deaths and several thousand illnesses from PSP had been reported around the world.
Around 20 species of dinoflagellate organisms had been implicated in producing the toxin saxitoxin that accumulates in shellfish, causing potent neuromuscular blocking in humans.
In mild cases of PSP there may be tingling or numbness around lips (spreading to face and neck), headache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
In more extreme cases there could be muscular paralysis and respiratory difficulty, potentially resulting in death.
Department of Fisheries marine bio-security officer Marion Massam with the Asian paddle crab caught near Matilda Bay.