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seafood encyclopedia

Snow Crab


  • Scientific Name: Chionoecetes opilio
  • US Market Name(s): Snow Crab
  • Canada Market Name(s): Snow Crab

Culinary Profile

Snow Crab has a rich - sweet flavour and firm texture. When cooked - the shell of the Snow Crab turns bright orange.


Similar to other Crab species - Snow Crab have four pairs of legs, a set of claws and they periodically “molt” their shell to grow. Molting is a process whereby the Crab produces a new shell underneath their old one. Snow Crab can be easily distinguished from other species by their perfectly round shell. Most Snow Crab weigh between 0.5 – 3 pounds.


Snow Crab are a crustacean species found in coldwater along sandy bottoms - ranging from depths of 3 – 1,500 feet. Snow Crab have a wide distribution and exist in both the western Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Snow Crab is the most important species of Crab harvested in Atlantic Canada.

Fishing Season

Sustainability Status

North American Snow Crab fisheries are well managed - but populations are still recovering from overfishing.

Fishy Fact: Snow Crab is sometimes referred to as “Queen Crab”. This is because they are similar to Alaskan King Crab – in that they have very long legs.


Available as Value Added, Commodity, Custom Packing.