DID YOU KNOW…Archaeologists tell us humans have been eating crustaceans (lobsters, crabs, shrimp) from prehistoric times to present. They know this from excavating “middens,” deposits of shells and bones left by early civilizations…there are approximately 4,500 different species of crabs living on Earth. They are distributed throughout the world. This means? It is probably impossible to tell for sure who (much less where!) ate the first crabs. Food historians tell us crabs were known to ancient Greeks and Romans. How do they know? Art and literature. Historians also tell us crabs were not well liked by these ancient Mediterranean people as food.
DID YOU KNOW…That not only are there crabs in the ocean, crabs on land (yes, that’s right), but there’s also a crab nebula in outer space? The Crab Nebula is the remnant of a supernova explosion that was seen on Earth in 1054 AD. It is 6000 light years from Earth. At the center of the bright nebula is a rapidly spinning neutron star, or pulsar that emits pulses of radiation 30 times a second.
DID YOU KNOW…Red King crab was introduced deliberately to the Barents Sea in the 1960s by Russian scientists (apparently the nuclear arms race wasn’t enough to keep them busy?) The Red King crab fishery in the Barents Sea started as an experimental fishery in 1994 with a quota of eleven thousand crabs in both the Norwegian and Russian zones. This quota increased during the 1990s to 100 thousand in 2001. In 2002, the Norwegian king crab fishery became a commercial fishery with vessel-quotas, while the Russians introduced a licensed commercial fishery in 2004.
DID YOU KNOW… Most people are aware of the zodiac sign of Cancer, named for the constellation which resembles the shape of a crab. The association of Cancer with water dates back to the shadowy dawn of astrology. The image of the crab is Babylonian in origin. In Egypt, this sign was represented by two turtles, and sometimes as an obscure water creature, known as Allul. The later placement of the crab within the zodiac is related to a minor chapter in Greek mythology, within the Twelve Labors of Herakles. The first labor of Herakles’ (Hercules to the Romans), had been to kill the Lion of Nemea, (See Leo). Next in line was the fearsome, many-headed Hydra, a great sea monster, living in the marshes of Lerna. Hera, the goddess who sent Herekles to these tasks, often encouraged his failure. During his battle with Hydra, Hera commanded a nearby crab to attack Herekles and draw his attention away. Without question, the little creature took a claw-hold of a conspicuous toe. This act cost the crab its life, for Hercules abruptly crushed him. Impressed by its loyalty and courage, Hera placed the crab’s image in the night sky.
DID YOU KNOW…From 1956 to 1967, the still new king crab fishery had gone from 9 million pounds total quota to 150 million pounds. The Japanese had been canning and processing crab for years, but doing in the U.S. was all very new. Retail price of King crab in 1967–according to TIME magazine–was $2.00 per pound!
DID YOU KNOW…The Bering sea snow crab fishery actually opens on the same day as the King crab fishery, which is October 15th, however, King crab is typically fished in October and November and Snow crab–opilio–is usually fished in January through March. The Snow crab fishery officially closes on May 15th.