Connor O’Neil ’15 received a $1,000 award from Colby as the winner of a competition calling for ways to mitigate the impact of green crabs, a destructive invasive species. As an environmental policy major, O’Neil wrote his capstone thesis, “Green Crab Mitigation Proposal,“ on the same species of green crab that he caught as a child in his hometown of Freeport, Maine. O’Neil recognizes the threat green crabs pose to local clammers and fisherman. In his thesis, he concludes that municipal leasing of clam flats, which would encourage clam farming by providing for private plots, could help combat the problem, and he suggests that nets should be placed over shellfish seed to protect them from predators like the green crab. O’Neil also suggests developing a green crab fishery and a greater market for green crabs.
Brian Beal, a University of Maine marine ecology professor studying green crab mitigation, agreed that O’Neil’s assessment was a reasonable means of dealing with the green crab problem. “The only way to get our way out of the green crab problem is to eat our way out of it,” he said.