for a slideshow of our crab photos with descriptions!
ever choked at the price of crab on a menu when dining out? After
learning of the danger and great lengths
that a crab fisherman goes to, you'll happily shell out to crack into
one of those succulent legs!
Mumm, Executive Chef at Henry's Great Alaskan Restaurant in Anchorage, is also a
seasoned crab fisherman. Roger has been kind enough to share with us some behind-the-scenes details of crab
One of the first things
we learned was that crab fishing is not for the weary but rather for those
seeking adventure and a huge adrenalin rush! A crab fisherman must be absolutely
fearless. Falling into freezing waters, not far below the Arctic Circle, will
afford a fisherman a mere10 minutes of life! Considering it takes the boat 11 minutes to
turn around...well, you get the drift. Each outing, these men risk their very
lives. Likewise, they must possess great stamina. They work long stretches that can reach 28 or more hours. The average amount of sleep is four hours per day. Working both day and night, sleep depravation is a risk and must be
closely monitored. Fatalities in this industry are among the highest (per number
of workers) of all U.S. jobs. Heavy machinery and gear pose
potential threats. A crab fisherman is constantly at the mercy of the
rough -- and potentially deadly -- seas.
The particular crew that
Roger works with gathers from all over, including Arizona and even Bogotá,
Columbia. The vessel they work on is one of only four crab boats that are
"processing boats". Not only
do they catch the crab, but they processes it right there on the boat. From the cage they
cut, cook, freeze and package their crab so that upon returning to the
docks--it's ready to ship to market! No small endeavor.
temperatures are 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and can
quickly drop to 30 below. Ice is a constant battle and workers must
remove it often. They start their scraping at the bow and work their
way back. By the time they reach the stern, the bow has ice again!
All Alaskan crab
fishing trips are regulated by the
Alaska Department of Fish and Game. A
representative is aboard on every trip, verifying that regulations and
safety standards are maintained. Among other things, this person ensures
that no female crab are harvested--only adult males. They ensure that
trips are only made during open harvest periods and that there is no
"by-catch" , meaning that nothing else is kept other than crab.
To give you an idea as to
the amount of crab harvested, Roger quoted a King Crab run that brought in
267,000 pounds! At the current wholesale cost of $10.50/lb -- that's not too
shabby! An opilio (snow crab) run can average a million pounds (over four
2 of our crab fishing info...)
See a slide show of all of the crab photos
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