Part of a newspaper advert for a restaurant in Bankok, advertising that mitten crab is on the menu.
The mitten crab is a popular food delicacy in southeast Asia. The crabs are served in restaurants or can be purchased in street markets, traditionally bound in grass stems.
They are caught and eaten during their migration period and are cooked by steaming.
Could human consumption be used to control invasive mitten crab populations?
The London Port Health Authority sponsored a number of research projects to assess whether the crabs from the River Thames could be exploited commercially and whether they are fit for human consumption.
A feasibility study conducted by Museum scientists addressed a number of additional practical issues including:
Clark PF, Campbell P, Smith B, Rainbow PS, Pearce D and Miguez RP (2008) The commercial exploitation of Thames mitten crabs: a feasibility study. A report for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by the Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, England. DEFRA reference FGE 274. pp. 1-81 + appendices 1-6.
This report is available to download:
Executive summary PDF (50.5 KB)
Full report PDF (1.1 MB)
Appendices 1-6 PDF (5.1 MB)
Join Paul Clark as he surveys the mitten crab population in the River Thames catchment in the UK.
Following the collection of mitten crabs out in the field, they are dissected and analysed for heavy metals, dioxins and a range of chemicals. Watch this short video of Paul Clark dissecting one of the mitten crabs collected from the River Thames.