A harvest of “genuine” Alaska king crab. Photo taken during the Crabbroker’s yearly trip to Dutch Harbor, Alaska during King crab season. (All photos courtesy of the Crabbroker)
Where do you buy your seafood and more importantly do you really know where it comes from? I’ve tried my local grocery stores, the internet, and a wholesale dealer and was told it was genuine Alaskan crab. In one case I even purchased a box of crab with “Alaska King Crab” written on it. But was it really “Alaskan”? According to a very recent article from The National Fisherman’s Magazine–a highly respected publication in the fishing industry–Russian king crab has flooded the market,”…what’s worse for the Alaska industry is that much of the crab is caught illegally, labeled as Alaska king crab and marketed cheap.” When I buy crab, I’d like reassurance and peace of mind to know that I’m buying the best and that I’m doing something supportive for Bering sea fishermen…After all, with all the free entertainment and education I’ve received watching “Deadliest Catch” for the last three years, the last thing I want, is to buy King Crab from Russia! So again, How can one be sure?
Enter the Crabbroker.
Tour of food industry individuals preparing to fish for King crab
At first glance, one would notice on their website, that the Crabbroker deals in seafood. In terms of business, they’ve been a major supplier of seafood–specializing in crab–to “restaurants, resorts, and upscale retailers”for 18 years. But there’s quite a bit more to these seafood lovers…
Simply put, the Crabbroker has a cause or is on a mission if you will, to raise people’s awareness of the importance of Alaskan Fisheries. There’s a reason why most Alaskan king crab is exported…everyone in the world wants the best! The Crabbroker knows that very well and has plans to make genuine Alaska crab available to all of us!
“Deadliest Catch” fishermen are in Dutch Harbor also when the Crabbroker takes his year trip.
Recently they created the logo, “Bad Boys of the Bering Sea” as a title for the men they’ve chosen to front their cause. You may have heard of them…Captains Johnathan & Andy Hillstrand of the F/V Time Bandit, captain Phil Harris of the F/V Cornelia Marie, captain Larry Hendricks of the Sea Star, Captain Keith Colburn of the F/V Wizard, and a few others. Yes, the Crabbroker has officially become the proud sponsors of some of the “Deadliest Catch” stars–travelling across the country representing all of Alaska fishermen and the hard work they do to bring the Bering sea’s bounty to our very own plates. While on their mission, they love meeting fans, they love telling their stories, and they aim to raise funds for chosen charities. For example, they recently raised over 40 thousand dollars for the Florida Center, and later this month money earned from t-shirt sales in Dover, Delware will go to a local charity. Soon you’ll be able to learn much more about the “Bad Boys of the Bering Sea” on their very own website.
The F/V Arctic Sea serves as the fishing vessel of choice for the Crabbroker and his entourage when they head to high seas in search of crab
The Crabbroker folks are unique though, they simply don’t just talk about the importance of the Alaskan fisheries, they actually do something about it. First of all, at least once a year the Crabbroker sponsors a trip–inviting 40 to 50 individuals who represent different aspects of the food industry–to Dutch Harbor, Alaska. While there, they are exposed to all aspects of crab–They go out to sea and fish, they visit local crab processors, and they attend several crab feasts. Not only are people brought directly to the source, the Crabbroker educates many by allowing them to take part in the catching, harvesting, and processing. Honestly, it’s an opportunity that not many would ever have otherwise.
Alaska king crab isn’t the only crustacean around, the Crabbroker also handles the “elusive” bairdi crab, not to mention others.
Secondly, the Crabbroker has made arrangements to bring the source (crab) directly to people…The Crabbroker will be getting fresh crab from Dutch Harbor this fall and winter and that is the last place it will be touched til it gets to you! There is no middle man here. What they can offer that should be considered very important to us crab lovers, is complete traceability. Wouldn’t it be great to order a box of fresh king crab that is labeled “F/V Time bandit crab”? The Crabbroker offers that. Wouldn’t it be reassuring to know that the lot number on a box of King crab tells not only where it came from, but from the exact fishing vessel and date it was caught? That also is offered by the Crabbroker. Their retail store opens soon and the premiere seafood that’s been offered to wholesalers for years will now be available for all of us!
These are very recent photos of Golden King Crab. Currently there are two fishing vessels in the Aleutian Islands area fishing for it–The F/V Erla-N and the F/V Early Dawn…The Crabbroker has dibs on some of that.
Margaret Bauman of the Alaska Journal covered the Crabbroker’s Dutch Harbor trip last year– 2006, and published this article. Read on for more details on why the Crabbroker’s crab stands up to the test. (Article is posted with written permission of M. Bauman)
King crab broker’s tour takes his customers to the source
A Las Vegas seafood broker who is wild about Alaska’s famed red king crab figures taking gourmet chefs to the source is the best way to convince them that this is the best there is. Rob George, president of The Crab Broker, is offering yet another exclusive chef’s tour, beginning Oct. 27, to Dutch Harbor, 800 miles west of Anchorage on Alaska’s Aleutian Chain.
Since the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery opens Oct. 15, tour participants will get to see the crab harvest in action, including the real-life experience of pulling up crab pots on an active vessel, George said.
The whole thing is to educate these people on all steps involved – from the actual harvest to delivery of the crab to the buyer’s doorstep, he said. Chefs and retailers will travel with experts who have developed the highest quality system for handling, processing and packaging of the crab, George said. They will also get a tour of Dutch Harbor and a king crab feast at the tour’s culmination, he said.
The object, he said, is for participating chefs and retailers to get a good understanding of the source and learn every step of how fresh Alaska king crab is delivered to restaurants and retailers nationwide.George said he expects 20 to 30 chefs and retailers to participate in what will be his third trip. Last October, he took a small group to Dutch Harbor for three days, and in July, another group accompanied him to experience the Norton Sound red king crab harvest in Nome. After each trip, business jumps 10 to 20 percent, George said.
While lower-priced Russian king crab have flooded domestic markets, George said his customers, and their customers in turn, are willing to pay more for Alaska king crab because it is a better product.
George said his customers prefer Alaska red king crab for the reason that the quality of the crab is more consistent than that available from other sources.
“Meat fill is very important,” he said. “Alaska red king crab always has good meat fill. And flavor and texture profile are the No. 1 criteria.”
The key to Alaska’s excellent flavor and texture profile is the way it is processed after harvest, he said. The key is a proper chill down before it sees any brine – salt with water – so that a lot of salt is not absorbed into the crab, he said.
Other than the excellent quality of Alaska-caught and -processed red king crab, the cable television series “The Deadliest Catch” has done more to sell crab than anything else, he said.
“People watch it. They get more in tune with what’s really going on with king crab. It brings awareness,” he said.
George got into the seafood brokering business about 15 years ago when he was purchasing a lot of Dungeness crab for customers in the San Francisco Bay area.
When he called an Alaska processor to order Dungeness crab, he was told none was available, but the processor offered to send him some large red king crab instead.
George said he accepted the offer, sent the red king crab out to his customers and they loved it. From there, business just grew and grew, said George, who also brokers Alaska snow crab, halibut and king, coho and sockeye salmon.
His firm also brokers seafood from the Pacific Northwest, the North Atlantic, Texas, Florida and Australia, but it is a fascination with Alaska’s king crab that has prompted his decision to share the experience of the deadliest catch.
“And every year,” George predicted, “these trips are going to get bigger and better. ‘The Deadliest Catch’ doesn’t tell the whole story.”