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seafood encyclopedia

Alaskan Red King Crab

Overview

  • Scientific Name: Paralithodes camtschaticus
  • US Market Name(s): King Crab
  • Canada Market Name(s): Red King Crab, Alaska King Crab, King Crab, Crab

Culinary Profile

King Crab has a rich and sweet flavour. The body meat has a flakey texture - while the leg meat is somewhat stringy. Red King Crab are considered the tastiest of the three Alaskan species. When cooked - the shell of Red King Crab turns bright fire-red.

Description

There are around 40 species of King Crab distributed around the world. Of these - three species are caught commercially in Alaska - including the Golden King Crab, Blue King Crab and Red King Crab. Unlike other Crab species, King Crab have only 3 pairs of legs and each claw is specialized - they have a small “feeder” claw for handling food - and a larger “killer” claw for crushing prey. Red King Crab have a reddish coloured shell and are the largest of the three Alaskan species - growing to be 4 - 9 pounds.

Habitat

Red King Crab are found throughout the North Pacific Ocean - ranging from the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands to the Gulf of Alaska and west to Russia. They are mainly harvested in Bristol Bay.

Fishing Season

Sustainability Status

Some King Crab populations are low - while others are considered healthy. Alaskan fisheries are well-managed and depleted populations are expected to recover over time. King Crab from Russia are ranked on the “avoid” list by various reputable environmental organizations.

Fishy Fact: Alaska King Crab fishing is considered to be one of the most dangerous jobs in North America. Every year, hundreds of fishermen endure extreme weather conditions and harsh work environments with hopes of catching this desirable seafood.

Products

Available as Value Added, Commodity, Custom Packing.