The blue crab, fears and gourmet recipes

  Articoli (Articles)
  Valeria Fraquelli
  12 June 2024
  4 minutes, 40 seconds

Translated by Andrea Solazzo

Last year the blue crab became notorious for being a real scourge that feeds on molluscs, impoverishing biodiversity and damaging those who make money from fishing industry. All kinds of things have been said about the blue crab: first, it was hard to understand where it came from, and then, when it was established that it arrived by cargo ships and the disasters on the natural ecosystem were seen, it was demonised and pointed out as the root of all evil. Actually, we know very well that the blue crab itself is not guilty: with pollution and climate change, ideal conditions have been created to allow this crustacean to live even in our latitudes, damaging fishermen and all those who somehow make a living from the crustacean trade.

According to experts, the blue crab is “an enormous environmental and economic damage”: in fact, Fedagripesca-Confcooperative estimates that “it has created a hole of one hundred million euro”. The blue crab is jeopardizing the survival of one of the most important places for clam production in all Europe. Millions of euros of product devoured by these “foreign” crabs, said Paolo Tiozzo, co-president of the Alliance of Fisheries Cooperatives, referring to the Po Delta. "A shock that brings to its knees a sector that is already in serious difficulty because there are fewer fish, apart from blue crab: demand now exceeds supply, which cannot increase because we have gone too far. Even the FAO says so, reporting that 66% of the seas are fully exploited and 33% are overexploited”. Of course, there are a thousand fears about the blue crab: many think that it will put the fishing sector of small crustaceans and molluscs in serious difficulty, that natural ecosystems will be irreparably ruined with a dramatic loss of biodiversity, and that there will be the financial collapse of many families who live off the fishing industry.

Scientific studies have already amply demonstrated that the blue crab, having no natural predators at our latitudes, eats everything, but no one is able to stop it, and so it multiplies disproportionately, becoming harmful to the environment and the economy. The greatest fear is that if its proliferation will be not stopped as soon as possible, we will see a real desertification of our coastal waters, and this will lead to the disintegration of local economies. It is important to find a solution, but it is not easy and for now the only weapon against the uncontrolled increase of this crustacean is to eat it.

Since the blue crab has been eaten for years in the United States and other areas where it is native, and is also considered very good, so much so that chefs compete to put it on their menus, it was thought that the same thing could be done in Europe and Italy, in the areas most affected by the presence of this crustacean. Obviously, the problem of the blue crab is very complex and will certainly not be solved by eating it, but at least it could be a first way to keep the number of crustaceans under control and prevent it from growing uncontrollably. In this way, it could be avoided any type of damage, even though much has already been done, and new recipes and flavours are discovered. The taste is different from that of the Mediterranean crab and many tasty and innovative dishes can be created with it, introducing new cultures and new ways of understanding food. In many restaurants, blue crab has already entered the menu, and this means that, despite the fear and all the doubts about this crustacean, the desire to experiment and try new recipes is as great as the desire to do something good for the planet and protect it.

Even the most renowned chefs have started to use it in their preparations and the results are all very good, such as spaghetti with the sauce of these crustaceans, meatballs, various reinterpretations of the typical US pie and many other recipes.

In conclusion, it can be said that the blue crab is certainly a big problem because, as mentioned before, as it has no natural predators, it eats our clams, destroys the natural ecosystem and the economy, but it can still be stopped and transformed into a main asset. There are many possible solutions: it can be used as an ingredient in cooking recipes, as animal feed, or very strict limits can be imposed on ships' ballast water, as has been done in the United States, so as to control the uncontrolled proliferation of invasive species.

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Valeria Fraquelli

Mi chiamo Valeria Fraquelli e sono nata ad Asti il 19 luglio 1986. Ho conseguito la Laurea triennale in Studi Internazionali e la Laurea Magistrale in Scienze del governo e dell’amministrazione presso l’Università degli Studi di Torino. Ho anche conseguito il Preliminary English Test e un Master sull’imprenditoria giovanile; inoltre ho frequentato con successo vari corsi post laurea.

Mi piace molto ascoltare musica in particolare jazz anni '20, leggere e viaggiare per conoscere posti nuovi ed entrare in contatto con persone di culture diverse; proprio per questo ho visitato Vienna, Berlino, Lisbona, Londra, Malta, Copenhagen, Helsinki, New York e Parigi.

La mia passione più grande è la scrittura; infatti, ho scritto e scrivo tuttora per varie testate online tra cui Mondo Internazionale. Ho anche un mio blog personale che tratta di arte e cultura, viaggi e natura.

La frase che più mi rappresenta è “Volere è potere”.


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