Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis is native in China and is most likely imported through ballast water in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. In large densities, E. sinensis could severely affect macrophyte communities. Economic impact particularly known from the fisheries sector are eaten/damaged catchments, destroyed/damaged fishing gear and longer handling time. The species could also damage dikes/infrastructure through burrowing. Large numbers could block in- or outlets of (cooling)water. The Chinese mitten crab is a delicacy in the Asian kitchen. In Western Europe care should be taken with specimens caught in polluted waters, as the crab meat can contain PCB’s and dioxins. It is known as a vector of long fluke Paragonimus westermani, a trematod parasite particularly found (in its final stage) in carnivorous mammals. However, since the primary host for these parasites (slugs of the Thiaridae or Pleuroceridae family) does not occur in Western Europe, this is not an imminent problem.
Waart, S. de