Snow Crab
Snow Crab
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Other Names

Chionoecetes opilio

Spain: cangrejo
France: crabe des neiges
Germany: kurzschwanz-krebs
Italiy: granchio
Japan: zuwaigani
Poland: krab
Russia: krab-strigun


Snow crab season begins in April or May, as soon as the ice has left the gulf of St. Lawrence. Crab fishermen head offshore more than 40 km west and southwest to drop their traps to depths of 45 to 275 meters.

The snow crab belongs to the family of spider crabs, so-called because their body (an almost perfect circle) is fitted with five pairs of very long flattened legs, the first of which end in powerful pincers.

The size of the male’s shell ranges from 9.5 to 15 cm in width, with an approximate weight of 350 g to 1.3 kg. The meat is orangey-red on the surface and white inside, and is made up of delicate strands with a delicious, sophisticated flavor.

Their colour changes as they age. Soon after they moult, snow crabs will be reddish on top and white on the bottom. As they get older, this red will fade to a duller olive shade and their underside will become yellowish.

Snow crabs can grow to a maximum carapace width of about 15 cm, with males growing more than twice as large as females (females are not harvested commercially for this reason). They have a maximum life span of 12-13 years.


View the recipes on the crab main page


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