5+ Factors That Make Crab Legs So Expensive

Factors like dangerous crab fishing, high fuel costs, controlled fishing seasons, warmer waters impacting crab populations, and slow crab growth contribute to the expensive price of crab legs.

crab legs

Many of the best restaurants in the world will have a seafood selection on the menu, and even though it’s always been pricey, you may have noticed that crab legs cost a lot more. What factors could make crab legs so expensive?

Factors that make crab legs expensive are the dangers of catching them, high fuel prices, and controlled fishing seasons. Warmer water due to climate change affects crab populations. The most significant factor is the generally slow growth of crab species that take a minimum of 5 years to mature. 

Suppose you’ve seen the popular television series showing how the king crabs are fished in treacherous waters. In that case, you’ll know that catching them is extremely dangerous. The dangerous fishing expedition is undoubtedly a huge factor in the price, but let’s look at other reasons. 

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Factors That Make Crab Legs So Expensive

If you enjoy eating crab legs, you know that they can be expensive. They are a delicacy that comes with a hefty price tag. You’re probably wondering why it is so expensive. Crab legs are expensive because they are challenging to catch, harvest, and make.

Crab Legs Are In High Demand

Since they are also in high demand, their prices have significantly increased. Since crab legs are often imported from far waters, it will also add to their price since they must remain at a constant temperature for the entire journey. 

After transportation, the crab legs need to be transported in a cold truck which is more costly. The process of cleaning and making the crab legs will lead to the final price.

Setting And Lifting Traps Are Time-Consuming

A lot more goes into catching crabs than we know. It is highly time-consuming that the traps lay at the bottom of oceans, canals, or bodies of salt water. The crab traps have bait inside of them, which will attract sea creatures. These traps are designed to let crabs inside the cage but not out.

When stuck inside the cage, they stay there until the traps are lifted onto a boat. The traps are left unattended for thirty-six hours to catch as many crabs as possible. The traps can be as big as 150 square feet, depending on what type of crabs they want.

Catching crabs comes with rules crabs must be a specific size depending on what the restaurants want. 

Crab Catching Seasons Are Controlled

When it comes to crabs overfishing is a big concern. Because of their popularity, many more crabbers are looking to catch crabs. The amount of money they make depends on how many crabs they have caught.

Since many crabbers need many crabs to earn money, this can cause overfishing. When they overfish, it will lead to insufficient adult crabs left to re-grow the crab population leading to no crabs the following season.

The fishing industry has set regulations to catch crabs during specific times to ensure the crabs can populate in time. Crabbers have a limited time to catch crabs, and if they can’t catch a lot of crabs, the crab supply will be pretty low.

And if there is a low supply of crabs, the prices will increase significantly.

Warm Temperatures Affect The Crab Population

A big thing that significantly impacts crab populations is the warmer temperatures. Because climate change is impacting the weather, It is also warming the ocean. While warm ocean water may be excellent for humans, it dramatically affects sea life. 

Warm water causes difficulty in functioning in some creatures. A big problem with warm water is the reduced amount of oxygen it holds. Crabs depend on oxygen to live; warm water has less gas, meaning less oxygen.

And if there isn’t enough oxygen, the crab population will die, impacting the price of crab legs since there are fewer crabs to catch. Crab is getting more expensive due to the warm waters, which affects the population.

Crabs Take Long To Grow

Crabs take a long time to mature, which is a problem too. Since they molt like birds, they are unique in maturing. When they outgrow their shell, they shed it and have a new one. 

Only adult crabs can be caught in the crabbing industry since crabs need to grow up and breed to ensure the population doesn’t run out. It can take a Red king crab between four to five years to fully grow. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is There A Shortage Of Crab Legs?

Experts say because of climate change, there has been a drop in the crab numbers being caught. Since the waters are warming up, it is forcing the crabs who love cold water into tiny pockets, leaving them more prone to disease, predation, and hunger. 

The crabs all move into small pockets of cold water or die due to the water not producing enough oxygen or from hunger. It is difficult for crabbers to catch them. And sometimes, if they catch them, they may be dead or sick, so they can’t sell them.

When crabbers overfish, it causes a crab shortage. Since they are not allowing crabs to breed and ensure a big enough crab population for the next season of crab fishing.

Why Is Crab Meat So Expensive Right Now?

The price of crab meat depends on the season, the type of crab you want, and where you are getting crab from. Since the cost of labor, supplies, and shipping has increased, it also affects the price of the crab. 

  • It Is In High Demand: Since it is in such high demand, it causes the prices to go up. Crabs’ popularity comes from the fact that it doesn’t taste like your typical fish people who don’t like fish may like crab instead. 

Crab tends to attract people who aren’t seafood lovers and seafood lovers since it doesn’t have the typical seafood taste. But crabs are more expensive when in high demand, meaning not as many people can afford them.

Companies have to then bid on crab meat to be able to get it meaning only those with a lot of money can enjoy it.

  • The Cost Of Fuel: Fuel is so expensive, making it more difficult for crabbers. When fuel prices are high, they must pay more to get places, whether car or boat fuel, crabbers face an expensive cost. 

Since they face high costs, they must sell crab meat at a higher price. They also pay extra for refrigerated units to ensure the crab meat arrives fresh.

Are Crab Legs More Expensive Than Lobster?

Lobster meat is more expensive than crab meat, but king crab legs can sometimes be more expensive than a whole lobster. Since king crab legs are more wanted and typically have more meat than an entire lobster.

Farming lobster is much more complex than catching crabs. So lobster may be more expensive than some types of crabs.

Final Thoughts

The next time you dig into a plate of expensive crab legs, remember what it took to get them to that point. Five years at the bottom of the cold ocean and the bravery of determined crabbers! 

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