Thomas Richardsen Hansen holds up an invasive red king crab which he found beneath the ice in Berlevåg, Finnmark, Norway. King crab pincers are strong enough to bend titanium and could easily snip off a thumb. Photo: Stig Brondbo
The red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) is only native to the Bering Sea, the Japan Sea and the northern Pacific waters between them, but in 1961, a group of Soviet scientists brought 7 specimens–yes, just SEVEN–to the Barents Sea in an attempt to stimulate the Soviet fishery. Each mating season, a female may give birth to some 10,000 surviving offspring. By the early 2000s, the population had grown so much that it could sustain a commercially viable fishery, and today there are an estimated 20 million king crab in this small pocket of Northern European ocean, and there’s nothing to stop them from reaching Southern Europe.
Endemic to nearby waters (see in yellow above), red king crabs are all too fit for the waters of Northern Europe (red). Graphic via GRID