The Red King Crab – at the House of Shells.
KING CRAB ALERT! The Alaskan King Crab is back at the House of Shells for the next 6 weeks or so. But although they are Alaskan in species ( Paralithodes camtschaticus), the crabs today are actually coming from the Barents Sea, which is north of the Norway-Russian border. Didn’t know those two countries touched? Neither did I. But now you do. The region is called ‘Finmark,’ and it’s north of actual Finland, but is part of Norway.
Some history: the Russians introduced King Crab into this body of water in the 1960s (Murmansk Fiord, if you want to get really precise, just to the east of Finmark in Russia), and it first appeared in Norway in 1977 and has been moving west around the northern coast ever since. The Russian and Norwegian governments currently share management of the fishery.
In that ecosystem, it is an invasive (ie non-native) species, eating pretty everything else up there. A portion of the Norwegian Barents Sea king crab fishery (west of 26○ E) is “managed” as an elimination fishery (i.e., no management – kill ‘em all). World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Norway agrees with this approach, as the crab shouldn’t be there in the first place. So morally, it’s a good crab to eat.
Red King Crab are considered the finest of the King crabs that we see (the other being the “Golden,” aka “Brown” crab). Truly the best crab you will eat, and we only see them twice a year.
The crabs right now are running at $79/lb, and we aim to bring them in between 6 and 10 lbs each. Pretty steep. That’s why we encourage the eater to reserve one with us, rather than depend on fate to ensure we have one waiting once the clients are wrangled, the sitter is arranged, etc. Call Julius or Bronwen at 416-363-8105 ext 22 and tell us when you want to come down and how many guests you’ll be bringing, and we’ll make sure we tag a crab for you then next shipment we receive. That way you know it’s here when you arrive. Easier for us; more certain for you. Everyone wins. Except, of course, the crab.