Crab, King Red
Red king crab imported from Russia is ranked as "Avoid" due to overfishing and illegal fishing. Look for U.S. king crab and Southern king crab from Argentina as "Good Alternatives."
Blue King Crab, Golden King Crab, Kani, King Crab, Red King Crab
Southern king crab is being increasingly sold in the U.S. in place of Russian-caught red king crab which is a Seafood Watch "Avoid". It may be marketed simply as "king crab" and so buyers should ask where it comes from. King crab is known as kani when prepared as sushi.
King crab is found in cold oceans worldwide. Crab populations can vary widely from year to year, depending on ocean and weather conditions.
Trap fisheries are usually low in bycatch and do not cause significant harm to seafloor habitats. Any crabs caught that are too small to be legally sold can also be safely returned to the ocean.The two primary king crab populations in Alaska are healthy and abundant due to responsible fisheries management. Others have been closed to allow time to recover from previous overfishing.
Southern king crab caught by trap in Argentine waters is a "Good Alternative." Landings of southern king crabs have been increasing in recent years, but there are concerns about the numbers of crabs caught in other fisheries as bycatch. The level of bycatch in this trap fishery is very low, as the traps have escape rings to allow younger crabs to self-release.
Approximately half of all king crab sold in the U.S. market is imported from Russia, where it is fished in the Russian Far East and the Barents Sea. Far East king crab populations are at critically low levels, a situation made worse by regular overfishing and illegal fishing. In the Barents Sea, king crab was introduced in the 1960s. The crab has spread quickly and has become an invasive species that is seriously impacting the ecosystem. We recommend consumers "Avoid" imported red king crab and choose king crab from the U.S. or Southern king crab from Argentina.