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Europe's unwanted guest savored in China

By Li Woke ( China Daily ) Updated: 2012-10-16 13:54:39

Europe's unwanted guest savored in China

Chinese, not only adults but also children, regard hairy crabs as a top delicacy in Shanghai cuisine. However, compared with China's extravagant prices, the price for mitten crabs in Europe is less than 100 yuan ($15.75) a kilogram. Some businessmen are now considering the possibility of importing the species into China from countries where they are not wanted. Yang Xi / for China Daily

Europe's unwanted guest savored in China

Businessmen consider importing unwelcome, invasive clawed delicacy

Reports of Chinese mitten crabs invading rivers in Germany and Great Britain are prompting calls for them to be imported into China as a seasonal delicacy.

Last month, UK and German newspapers cited alarm being expressed by the growing numbers of the alien species because of their tendency to riddle fragile river banks with holes, causing them to collapse and threatening the habitats of other creatures. It is believed they arrived in Europe via the holds of ships that draw in water to act as ballast.

UK's Environment Agency said the number of the Chinese mitten crabs has been increasing: "There are no official statistics on the crabs but from Woolwich to Windsor, they number tens of thousands," it said in a statement.

Britain's Natural History Museum said: "In the right conditions, the mitten crab multiplies and spreads at an astonishing rate. The crab can even leave the water, cross dry land and enter a new river system. Its phenomenal ability to disperse is of concern to scientists in the UK because the crab could infiltrate many of the country's rivers."

It is not only the UK that is suffering the unwelcome invading species; the Rhine in Germany also has its fair share of the crustaceans.

"It's unbelievable Chinese crabs are emigrating to Europe and no one there likes it. I hope I can go and enjoy the tasty and pollution-free European mitten crabs," an Internet user named Tutu said.

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