Limited Supply Drives U.S. Market for King and Snow Crab Amid Overall Seafood Downturn

by Ella

In a surprising turn of events, the U.S. seafood market is witnessing increased buyer interest in king crab and snow crab, defying the prevailing downward sales trend in the broader seafood category.

The red king crab fishery in Alaska’s Bristol Bay officially reopened on October 15th, unveiling a modest 2.2-million-pound quota after a two-year closure. This comes in stark contrast to the 2016 harvest, which allowed for 8.47 million pounds, and the 1980 quota of 130 million pounds.


Despite the limited availability, Alaska crab fishermen are reporting robust prices for their catch this season, fetching around USD 8.00 (EUR 7.37) from processors and up to USD 25.00 (EUR 23.05) when selling directly to consumers. However, the constrained quota poses a challenge, as the earnings may not sustain them for an extended period.


President of Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, Gabriel Prout, highlighted the financial strain on fishermen due to the consecutive closure of the Bering Sea snow crab fishery for the second year, a consequence of the marine heatwave devastating the population in 2019.


“The lack of snow crab for the second year in a row makes things very, very difficult. It really did put the fleet in financial dire straits,” Prout stated in an interview with Alaska Public Media. Many vessel owners are grappling with financial troubles as the closure persists, with Prout noting the challenges faced by those who invested in the resource when it was predicted to be highly profitable.


He added, “Now the banks are trying to figure out ways to collect on that revenue that’s just not there because the seasons are closed.”

Mark Stichert, a biologist at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, emphasized the precarious decision to reopen the red king crab fishery. While acknowledging that the decline in crab populations has halted, he remains cautious about declaring a full rebound in biomass, stating, “The decline has stopped. But whether or not we’re seeing a rebound in the biomass is hard to say.”



Wellfoodrecipes is a professional gourmet portal, the main columns include gourmet recipes, healthy diet, desserts, festival recipes, meat and seafood recipes, etc.

【Contact us: [email protected]

Copyright © 2023