Environmentalists in Jersey say the number of dead spider crabs found on the north east of the island is "deeply disturbing".

Since August hundreds of them have been found dead by divers in St Catherine's.

A local diver has told ITV News he is finding more and more trapped in nets under the water.

It is really upsetting to see all those crabs in the bags. It would appear from the amount of silt there is on some of the bags, they've been there for quite some time. The big question is: Do crabs actually have feelings? Well there's been a certain amount of scientific research on that and it has been proven that they do have feelings so it is very inhumane.

Kevin McIlwee, Jersey Marine Conservation
Spider crabs trapped in a net underwater. Credit: Kevin McIlwee

Initially there was confusion as to whether the crabs were dead or had simply shed their shells, which is something that spider crabs do as they grow, however environmentalists say they have noticed an increase in underwater nets trapping the crabs.

It is thought that fishermen are trapping the spider crabs under water until they can be sold and are sometimes used as bait for whelks.

Crab that dies on the way for export or in storage, used as bait is actually a really good use of the product rather than throwing it in the bin so there's no regulation against it but we are 100% opposed to actually fishing for or keeping live crab for bait.

Don Thompson, Jersey Fishermen's Association
  • Anna Geary spoke to Kevin McIlwee and Don Thompson to find out more...