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The King of the deep waters – The mighty Red King Crab!

08/05/2015

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The king crab is native to the Bering Sea, north of Pacific Ocean, around the Kamchatka Peninsula and neighbouring Alaskan waters. However, in 60’s this rare sea creature was brought to the Murmansk Fjord. The waters of Barents Sea, once known by Vikings and medieval Russians as the Sea of Murmans, but carrying their name after a 16th century Dutchman Mr William Barents who sought a northeast passage to Asia, proved perfect home for the species providing new and valuable catch for fishermen.

Glacial depths reaching 600 meters (1968 ft) are now home to one of the rarest and most delicious of all sea creatures. Although, newly born crabs (larvae) stay in the more shallow waters where there is plenty of food and protection for them to survive; usually after the age of two, the crabs move down to depths of 20–50 metres (66–164 ft). Adult crabs are found usually more than 200 meters down on the muddy areas in the intertidal zones. They migrate in the winter and early spring to shallower depths for mating, but most of their lives are spent in the deep waters where they feed. The waters of these subarctic seas are wild and unpredictable, making this crab an especially difficult, even dangerous catch. This creates demand for the Red King Crab by fisherman and seafood lovers around the world.

The red king crabs are experiencing a steady decline in numbers in their native far east coastal waters for unclear reasons. Fishing controls set by the United States in the 1980s and 2000s have failed to stem the decline. The species is protected by diplomatic accords between Norway and Russia also, and a bilateral fishing commission decides how to manage the stocks and imposes fishing quotas. In the Barents Sea, however, superb living conditions and a dazzling diversity of life have made way for the king crab population to flourish and currently the Barents Sea boats some of the finest crab meat one could imagine.

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