According to Laine Welch, writer of Fish Factor, a weekly column on Alaskan fisheries, when it comes to American supermarkets, only seven percent of the king crab available to us as individuals is genuine Alaskan crab, the other 93 percent is russian. “In 2005 and 2006 there was an “astonishing” increase of Russian crab, some from the Barents Sea and some from the Far East, said market expert John Sackton.”
Naturally then, because the market has been literally “overflowing” with king crab, the price has dropped. But would you rather eat cheap Russian King crab, or are you willing to pay a little extra for crab that’s been caught in Alaska, who’s crab fisheries are governed with the strictest of regulations all in the name of conserving the species’?
Believe it or not, we are not the ones who currently control the price on Alaskan King crab…Sackton said more than anything, the ‘wild card’ for king crab prices is still held by Japan. Japanese buyers will base their price offers and purchase on the year end yen/dollar currency exchange rate at this point, anyone’s guess.”
Then along comes Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch”: According to writer Laine Welch, “the ‘rock star’ status of Alaska crab also will continue to boost sales.”
People in Alaska don’t realize the tremendous extent to which the ‘Deadliest Catch’ television show has on the consumption and knowledge about the crab,” said Boston-based Sackton.
You run into people who in the past have never given Alaska crab a second thought, and all of sudden they start spouting off facts and figures, and talk about what the fishermen go through and so forth. It is amazing the way this has become such a phenomenon, and the way people think about the crab. It’s been a tremendous boost for the whole industry.”
Alaska crabbers last year harvested 15.5 million pounds of red king crab from the eastern Bering Sea waters called Bristol Bay. At a price average of $3.89/lb, the fishery was worth more than $60 million at the docks.”
I’ll keep an eye out for this season’s King crab and Opilio crab quotas that will be announced later this month, and you–“Deadliest Catch” fans–keep an eye out for that “real” Alaskan King crab at your local grocery stores!
Interested in reading the whole article including news about Opilio crab? make the jump here