KING Crab vs "Snow' crab

I have been watching the crab fishing show off and on, and i have a question; the alaskan king cran is a very large crab, with legas that are about 1" in diameter. I’ve noticed that a lot of cutrate restaurants oftewn serve the much smaller snaw crab legs, in place of the real thing. Where do snaow crabs come from?
and, are we overfishing the king crabs? How rapidly do these crabs reproduce? are we likely to wipe them out (by fishing at this rate)?

Snow Crab

Red King Crab

Thanks…now I’m really jonesing for crab legs… :smack:

Strikes me as a strange perspective. Plenty of posh restaurants also offer snow crab, which is quite delightful in its own right. And also quite real. Whence the notion that snow crab is somehow a substitute for king crab?

Most of the people I’ve been around have not been great consumers of crab meat. They seemed to think that crab is an expensive luxury item. And many buffets like to note that they are serving king crab legs. So it may be that the people I’ve been around who make a big deal about eating king crab meat view king crab as being the ‘king’ of this delectible luxury.

Me? I prefer Dungeness crab.

Not just a strange perspective, but likely an outright incorrect statement. King crab is more prized than snow crab, and is more expensive generally (usually $1-$2 more per pound by me), but I’ve never heard of anyone serving snow in place of the real thing. I will concede that some may incorrectly identify snow as king, but more than likely due to ignorance rather than malice.

Crabbing in U.S. waters is highly regulated. The wiki article Alaskan king crab fishing gives an idea on how the falling population has led to ever stricter quotas. Of note, An Arky’s link on red king crab notes that overpopulation is a problem elsewhere (just means more crab for me!).

I’ll use my last paragraph to plug Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel. I find the show and what it takes to put both types of crab on my plate (the same crews and boats fish essentially the same waters for both) fascinating.

Snow Crab (“opilio” crab) is fished in the same waters, by the same fishermen. Snow crab season is in January, which makes the conditions much worse. “The Deadliest Catch” shows both the King crab and Opilio crab seasons, and the conditions during the Opilio crab season are horrific. Take all the danger and unpleasantness of King Crab fishing, and add in ice sheets, slippery decks, numb bodies from working wet in sub-zero temperatures, and you’ve got a really dangerous environment.

As for the difference between them, anyone who has had both should be able to tell right away. King crab meat is sweeter and tastier. Snow crab meat is good, but it’s not quite the same. The meat is stringier and doesn’t have as much flavor. Also, the King crab shells tend to be quite a bit spikier, and you have to be careful when cracking them. They also tend to be quite a bit larger in diameter, of course.

An Alaskan fisherman told me that no crab compares (IHHO) with Dungeness.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeness_crab

Personally, I prefer blue crab.

I’ll take Florida Stone Crab , thank you very much. Besides being delicious, I like the fact that I can eat part of one while the rest of him scurries about in the ocean, frolicking happily along (they typically harvest one or both claws, then release them back to the ocean to grow new ones). It’s a shame we can’t eat more things without killing them (I once tried it with a pig—hey, you don’t eat a good pig like that, all at once—with less than desirable results. :eek:

Regulations on king crab harvest are too little and too late. The average size of kings has dropped dramatically over the past 40 years due to overfishing. There used to be a mounted king at the Anchorage airport that was on a 4x8 sheet of plywood and stretched nearly from end to end. Clusters that you buy now are about two feet long.

I’m with Johnny L.A. on dungies. Kings are nice because you can get at the meat easily, but dungies are sweeter. I try not to think about what crabs eat.