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Recipe for Disaster – Green Crabs in the Great Marsh

A few years ago, exploding populations of the invasive green crab began to pose a serious threat to the ecology of the New England coast. These small, tough critters wiped out acres of mussel colonies, reduced the soft-shell clam harvests by about thirty percent, mowed down eelgrass (a vital nursery for many kinds of finfish), while at the same time destabilizing the marsh banks with their burrows.  In an effort to mitigate the green crab’s catastrophic invasion, many environmental agencies have poured assets into removal efforts, paying fishermen to trap crabs for compost. Others have a different idea: Cuisine! “Let’s eat the roe from the female green crabs. It’s delicious!”

As the water temperatures in the Gulf of Maine continue to rise, green crab populations are increasing to a point where there are now “millions and millions of them in the marsh” as one Shellfish Constable put it.   

Recipe For Disaster is a short documentary film that tells the story of the Great Marsh and the little-known invasion that’s been underway for the past few years. Shooting from Essex, Ipswich, Gloucester, Plum Island and Rowley, Massachusetts, we see the beauty of the marsh from the air, the delicacy of the eelgrass moving with the tides and the menacing crabs devouring everything in their path. We meet the people who work diligently to keep pressure on the crab population by trapping them, while others are investigating culinary opportunities and the folks who re-plant the ever-important eelgrass throughout this magnificent estuary that has taken Mother Nature thousands of years to create.

Our goal is to raise $17,00 to produce Recipe For Disaster and submit it for online broadcast to The New York Times Op-Docs, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and other outlets who are looking for short documentary stories that inform both the public and policy makers alike. 

Running Time: 12-15 minutes

Format: Interviews and Verité style footage

Release Date:  Spring 2018

Associated Members

Nubar Alexanian, Independent Filmmaker