Snow crabs are a popular delicacy that is enjoyed in countries across the world. If you are wondering where your snow crab comes from, you should know that snow crab is caught in a variety of surprising locations.
Six unexpected locations where snow crabs come from include Norway, Greenland, Iceland, Russia, Alaska, and Japan. Fishermen and seafood connoisseurs globally prize snow crabs for their sweet and tender meat. It is not surprising, then, that many countries want to locally source snow crabs.
Whether you are serious about tracing your snow crab meat for sustainability purposes or just curious about where this delicacy naturally lives, read on to learn about six unexpected locations where snow crabs come from.
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One of the most surprising locations where snow crab comes from is Norway. While you might not expect it, snow crabs are found ocean off Norway, and a lot of the snow crab meat on the market comes from this region.
Commercial fishing in Norway is particularly centralized in the Barents Sea and has increased significantly in the past years as ocean temperatures in the region increased.
Exports of snow crabs have also increased in recent years, hinting at the industry becoming a more significant part of Norway’s economy.
Another astonishing country that has snow crab fisheries is Greenland. Greenland has only recently opened its snow crab fisheries, and commercial crab fisheries are an important and growing part of its economy.
Greenland exports most of its snow crab to markets across Asia, Europe, and North America, where it is widely recognized and enjoyed.
When you think about snow crab fisheries, Iceland might be the last place you would imagine!
However, people first discovered snow crab populations in the waters off the coast of Iceland in 2017. Since then, Iceland has established snow crab fisheries, and the country now has a small but growing commercial snow crab economy.
Snow crabs are popular in Russia, especially in the far east. The species is found widely throughout the icy Russian seas, although they are most prolifically fished in the Sea of Okhotsk.
Russia exports snow crabs to various countries, primarily the United States, China, Japan, Italy, Spain, and many others. In recent years, Russia has dramatically increased its snow crab export rates.
Many countries import snow crab meat from Alaska, where snow crab has historically been abundant along much of the coast of the Bering, Beaufort, and Chukchi seas.
However, millions of snow crabs have disappeared from the Alaskan seas in recent years. Scientists do not consider overfishing the reason but rather cite global warming and rising sea temperatures as potential reasons for population decline.
For this reason, Alaska is now importing some of its snow crabs from locations such as Russia and Canada to meet domestic demands for this seafood delicacy.
When you think of snow crab fishing, you might not think of Japan! However, snow crab is a delicacy in Japan. It is especially sought after in the county’s northern districts and is traditionally called ‘zuwaigani’ or ‘kegani.’
Snow crab fisheries in Japan are located on the coast of islands towards the north: Hokkaido, Ishikawa, and Niigata. This harvest supplies both international and domestic demands for the popular seafood.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Snow Crabs Really Live In The Snow?
Despite what their name may lead you to believe, snow crabs do not live in the snow! However, they inhabit some of the iciest waters on the planet, particularly those of the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans.
Why Is It Called A Snow Crab?
Despite their name, snow crabs don’t live in the snow. So, why are they called that?
Snow crabs are called after their pale white color, which resembles snow, particularly when they are viewed en masse. They are also named for their natural habitat, which is always in freezing (often subzero) water.
Where Do Snow Crabs Live?
Snow crabs tend to live towards the globe’s north in the icy Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. They are commonly found off the coast of cold countries like Alaska and Russia.
Snow crabs generally live in areas with rocky or sandy sea beds, as this sediment allows them to bury themselves to hide from predators. They are usually found in water depths of 30-200m, although they may also live in shallower waters.
Which Is Better, Snow Crab Or King Crab?
Both snow crabs and king crabs are considered delicacies; however, they have different flavor profiles and textures, and people prepare them in different ways.
Snow crabs have a sweeter, more delicate flavor than king crabs and a flakier texture. People generally eat snow crab in dishes like sushi or salads.
King crab has a richer, more buttery flavor than snow crab and a firmer texture. It is often prepared to be a main dish and is much more expensive than snow crab.
Therefore, while snow and king crabs are sought-after delicacies, king crab is considered the most delicious and expensive of all types of crabs. Therefore, king crab meat would generally be considered better than snow crab.
Snow crabs are considered a delicacy in many countries. While some countries import snow crabs, some surprising countries have local snow crab populations.
Some surprising locations where snow crabs come from include Iceland, Greenland, Russia, Japan, Alaska, Norway, and South Korea. Next time you buy snow crab, why not ask for the country of origin?