Attack of Stalin's monster crabs

An explosion in numbers of a species of giant crab is causing concern amongst environmentalists.

An explosion in numbers of a species of giant crab is causing concern amongst environmentalists.

Millions of Kamchatka or Red King Crabs have already spread around 400 miles south from northern Norway.

The monster crustaceans, which were introduced to Europe by Stalin in the 1930s, have a claw span of more than three feet and can weigh in at 25 lb.

More than 10 million have reached the Lofoten Islands in northwest Scandinavia, all but eliminating populations of other species such as Northern clams in their wake.

Andreas Tveteraas, an analyst for the World Wildlife Fund in Oslo told the Telegraph that urgent intervention is needed to halt their march.

"This animal has no natural predators and it's an alien species in the Berents Sea," he said.

"Some scientists say it will stay in the north because of the temperature but others think it can go as far south as Gibraltar."

The crabs are caught for food by Norwegian fishermen, but only in small numbers because of seasonal licences and regulations limiting boat size.

Ecologists are not yet clear on the scale of the crabs' possible impact, though it is feared that the deep sea dwelling crustaceans eat the eggs of the caplin - a major source of food for cod.