The shield length of an adult king crab can be as much as 23 cm, and the weight up to 8–9 kg. The crab is a cold water species which thrives in temperatures between 1 and 4ºC, and it is found at depth from about 5 to 400 m. It has a red colour, three pair of legs and a pair of claws which are extended. The males are larger than the females, and the sex can be determined by examining the underside of the hind part of the body. The male crab has a triangular, symmetric abdominal flap, while the female crab's abdominal flap is wide, asymmetric and covers most of the underside. The king crab has to shed its shell to become larger, and it moults regularly. The frequency and time for moulting depends on age and sex. The king crab can live up to age 20. When the king crabs are going to mate, they migrate from deep to shallower areas. They mate in the spring, and after mating, spawning and hatching have been completed, they migrate back to deeper areas. The crabs become sexually mature when the shield length is about 11 cm, and they travel with the spawn on the outside of the body the entire year before the eggs are hatched in the spring. When the eggs hatch, the larvae have a pelagic stage which lasts about 45 days before they settle on the bottom in shallow water. The spawn stay there until they have reached a shield length of approximately 50 mm. It takes two to three years, and eventually as the crabs grow, they seek deeper water. The king crab is an introduced species in the Barents Sea. It was put out by Russian researchers in the 1960s in order to establish a fishing resource. The crab was put out in the Kola Fjord at Murmansk and has gradually spread to all of the southern Barents Sea. Its natural range is the Bering Sea and the North Pacific.
Fishing for king crab takes place the entire year. King crab are fi shed with traps, in the fjords and in coastal areas along East Finnmark. Fishing for king cab is done with the aid of small coastal vessels, which have a short distance to travel from catch area to landing facility.
King crab in the Norwegian Exclusive Economic Zone (NEEZ) are managed by Norwegian authorities. The management has two goals: to maintain a long-term fishery within a limited area in East Finnmark which is quota-regulated and to limit the dispersal of king crab outside this area. Fishing in the area west of the North Cape is unrestricted in order to limit the dispersal of the species. The reason is a desire to avoid dispersal to spawning areas for codfish. In addition, research has shown that organisms in the bottom fauna are affected in areas where the crab has been present for long periods. The king cab stock is currently at a low level.
Food safety/quality control
The Norwegian seafood industry is subject to stringent requirements in order to ensure food safety. The control system consists of several bodies which jointly examine and monitor compliance with the requirements in all stages of the production chain. The bodies which supervise food are the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Norwegian National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries and the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. Regardless of which form king crab are sold in, the colour in raw condition must be evenly brown on the upper side and white or cream-coloured on the underside. The crab must be alive and in good condition while caught and produced or packed. In addition,, it must have abundant flesh and not have wounds and/or discolouration or scrapes on any parts of the shell, whether it involves the back shield, legs or claws. The crab must not have defects in the form of lacking entire legs and claws or parts of these. Nutritional content Red king crab is especially rich in: Protein, which builds and maintains all the cells in the body. Vitamin B12, which is important for the body's production of new cells, including red blood cells. Vitamin B12 can also contribute to preventing anaemia. Selenium, an important element in the enzymes that combat harmful chemical processes in the body.
The flesh we eat in a king crab is found in the legs and claws in the “shoulder part” and in the tail. Crab flesh has a sweet taste and tastes so good that it is only necessary to boil the claws and then serve the crab as it is. Crab can also be used in many different ways and is perfect for frying and grilling in spices and other flavour additives.