Understanding the effects of electromagnetic field emissions from Marine Renewable Energy Devices (MREDs) on the commercially important edible crab, Cancer pagurus (L.)

Mar Pollut Bull. 2018 Jun;131(Pt A):580-588. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.04.062. Epub 2018 May 3.


The effects of simulated electromagnetic fields (EMF), emitted from sub-sea power cables, on the commercially important decapod, edible crab (Cancer pagurus), were assessed. Stress related parameters were measured (l-Lactate, d-Glucose, Haemocyanin and respiration rate) along with behavioural and response parameters (antennular flicking, activity level, attraction/avoidance, shelter preference and time spent resting/roaming) during 24-h periods. Exposure to EMF had no effect on Haemocyanin concentrations, respiration rate, activity level or antennular flicking rate. EMF exposure significantly disrupted haemolymph l-Lactate and d-Glucose natural circadian rhythms. Crabs showed a clear attraction to EMF exposed shelter (69%) compared to control shelter (9%) and significantly reduced their time spent roaming by 21%. Consequently, EMF emitted from Marine Renewable Energy Devices (MREDs) will likely affect edible crabs both behaviourally and physiologically, suggesting that the impact of EMF on crustaceans must be considered when planning MREDs.

Keywords: Cancer pagurus; Edible crab; Electromagnetic field; Environmental stressor; Marine renewable energy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brachyura / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Hemocyanins / metabolism
  • Hemolymph / metabolism
  • Lactates / metabolism
  • Renewable Energy / adverse effects*


  • Lactates
  • Hemocyanins
  • Glucose