King Crab


Paralithodes camtschaticus

ALSO KNOWN AS Alaska King crab, Red King crab

Alaska king crab meat is celebrated for its distinctive rich flavour. Like most crustaceans, it has a sweet taste and delicate texture. Before being eaten, it’s common for the legs and claws to be steamed and then frozen in brine. King crab is low in saturated fat and is a great source of protein, vitamin B12, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and selenium.

King crab ranges in colour from brownish- to bluish-red, and are covered in sharp spines. They have three pairs of walking legs and one pair of claws. Their claws are different sizes: one is a large, heavy-duty claw that is used for crushing prey, and the other is smaller and used for a more delicate handling of food items. The crab’s sex can easily be determined by the shape of the abdominal flap: males have a triangular flap whereas females have a rounded flap. Only male crabs can legally be caught and sold.

Like all crustaceans, king crabs can only grow by molting, because their hard shells (exoskeletons) prevent a gradual increase in size. The frequency of molting differs for the young and old and for males and females. Molting will decrease as crabs age, and females will molt more frequently because of reproduction. As a result, males grow larger than females because they spend much less energy on reproduction. Typical sizes range from a shell width of 1/10 inch for the youngest crab, to more than 8 inches for large males.

King crabs are found in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska, and south to British Columbia. The bulk of the harvest is caught in Bristol Bay. This species of crab are the largest of the commercially harvested crabs. Fishermen catch them using mesh-covered pots that are 7 to 8 square feet.

King Crab Sizing

6/9 lbs14/17 lbs
9/12 lbs16/20 lbs
12/14 lbs20/24 lbs

*Soldier-packed in 20 lbs cartons