Home DestinationsEurope Where is the best destination to fish and eat King Crabs?

Where is the best destination to fish and eat King Crabs?

by Chloe
man holding brown crab

If you are looking for a distinctive rich seafood flavor, king crab is the ultimate choice for you. In a number of destinations to fish and eat king crabs, you get lost, don’t worry, here a list for you, just keep reading.

Commonly, king crabs are found in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska, and south to British Columbia. The bulk of the harvest is caught in Bristol Bay. This species of crab are the largest of the commercially harvested crabs. Fishermen catch them using mesh-covered pots that are 7 to 8 square feet. In the meantime, you can enjoy fresh, sweet and tender king crabs meat in these well-known places.

Where can you experience the king crab fishing tour?

1. Alaska, The United States

Season: during October and January

Alaska provides an abundance of opportunities to go crab fishing, especially with four species of king crab: red, blue, golden and scarlet. American even celebrate National Crab Meat Day on March 9th every year. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the red king crab supplies the state with high profits in the shellfish industry. Tanner, snow and Dungeness crabs also dwell in local Alaskan waters. Popular places to go crab fishing in Alaska include Bristol Bay, Dutch Harbor and Norton Sound, and throughout the Bering Sea.

Fishing for king crabs needs a quite technique. Accordingly, fishermen use a box-shaped trap called a pot, which consists of a steel frame covered with a nylon mesh. Each pot weighs 600–800 lb (270–360 kg) and a ship may carry 150 to 300 pots. Fish, usually herring or codfish, are placed inside as bait, and then the pot is sunk to the seafloor where the king crabs reside.

Average prices for live crab are fluctuated between 35$ to 40$ per pound which is approximately from 1 to 1.25 legs/claws.

2. Finnmark, Norway

Season: from October to January, when the crab shells contain the most meat.

The king crab is a new arrival in Norway. It actually stems from the northern reaches of the Pacific Ocean, and it was previously known in Norway as the “Kamchatka Crab” after the peninsula on the east coast of Siberia. The crab thrived here, and as early as in 1977 the first king crab was caught in Norwegian waters, just west of the border. Since then, the crab population has expanded westwards, and crabs are now to be found off the coast of West Finnmark and Troms. However, the crab colonies are densest from the North Cape and eastwards.

The fishing village of Bugøynes in South Varanger has specialized in catching king crabs. The catch is regulated through an agreement with Russia, although a fair amount of king crab is included as a secondary catch in East Finnmark.

Fishing for king crabs is easy and fun. You sail out on a boat and then draw in the pots – possibly with the assistance of a diver. All of a sudden, the deck is covered with scrabbling king crabs, and you can have your photo taken with a giant in your hands. Even though they look nasty, they are not dangerous at all, as long as you follow the crew’s instructions. Most of the crabs are released again – we only take what we need to make a good meal. Then it is time to return to dry land, kill the crabs and boil them in seawater. We eat them then and there, with bread, mayonnaise and perhaps a glass of white wine – nothing else. This is the finest fare of all!

Average prices for live crab are NOK 222.14 (€24.50/$25.90) per kilogram, while frozen crab fetch on average NOK 250.93 (€27.60/$29.20) per kilogram.

3. Atlantic Canada

Season: Harvested from May to October, the busiest period in the season occurs in May and June.

Atlantic Canada is known for its fresher-than-fresh seafood, and for many, king crab is famous seafood.

Atlantic king crab (Northern Stone Crab) occurs in many regions of the North Atlantic. On the eastern coastline, it is distributed from Greenland to the British Isles and the Netherlands. In the western Atlantic, the Atlantic king crab is distributed from western Greenland to New Jersey. In Newfoundland and Labrador, densely populated areas are located on both the south and west coast. This species is a deep-water organism that prefers soft substrates and depths ranging from 100 to 800 m.

The harvesting gear used in these experiments was customized from a traditional snow crab pot. The pots were conical in shape, approximately 67 cm in height with a 65 cm top and a 120 cm bottom, and covered with 5 ½” mesh webbing. Several bait types known to attract king crab to harvesting pots include herring, mackerel, squid, and redfish.

4. Hokkaido, Japan

Season: April to May and November to February

When it comes to areas with delicious crab, Hokkaido comes on top as the number one place in Japan for the amount of crab catch. Many crab varieties can be found in the area, and different crabs can be enjoyed depending on the season. Other important areas are the ones facing the Sea of Japan, the San-in region (Tottori, Shimane, Hyogo prefectures, and the northern part of the Kyoto prefecture), and the Hokuriku region (Fukui, Ishikawa, Toyama, and Niigata prefectures), known especially for large quantities of the so called “brand crabs”, which are sold at a really high price.

Red king crabs are one of the three most famous crab varieties in Japan and can be caught only in Hokkaido. It is big and its meat has a firm but tender texture, while the taste is simple and light. With thick and long legs, red king crabs contain a large quantity of meat and it is recommended to bite into them after grilling or boiling them during shabu.

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