The Artisan Travel Blog

Norwegian King Crab

Dawn Kitson

Monday, 15 September 2014

One of the more memorable evenings of my visit to Northern Norway was spent in the home of a local fisherman who specialised in King Crab.I will admit right from the start that I on the whole don't eat seafood, but still found this whole evening a wonderful local experience.

King Crabs are rather famous on the north coast of Norway, namely in Kirkenes and the North Cape of the country.

Despite their immense popularity as a local delicacy, we learnt that King Crabs are not native to this region and were in fact introduced artificially by Soviet Scientists in the 1960s to provide a new valuable catch for Russian fishermen. Their native home is the Barents Sea surrounding Alaska where the population is declining, despite strict fishing controls, yet here on the coast of Norway they are thriving.

They are said to be making their way southwards and are somewhat of a pest to fisherman who are not hunting crab, who see these monstrous creatures as a sort of pervasive alien that crawls along the sea floor on its numerous claws. I can't say that I disagreed as our fisherman friend pulled one up out of the crab pot as I had never actually seen a crustacean that big before, and for a non-seafood eater, the site was a tad terrifying to say the least.

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King crab can grow up to two metres wide from pincer to pincer and can weigh up to 15kg (33 pounds) so they really are pretty huge!

This particular crab was carried inside the house and placed on the table where our host told us all about their species and natural environment. These crabs thrive in the cold and do best in water that is between 4 to 10°C. Fishing them is strictly regulated by a joint Norwegian and Russian fishing commission with set quotas each year and the species are seen as the most coveted of the commercially sold crab species.

As our host was informing us of all of these crab fun facts, this particular creature was making a gentle clacking crawl sideways in a rather slow attempt to return to the sea. As you can no doubt guess though it wasn't meant to be...

A short while later we were served a hugely full dish of crabs' legs which are served simply with bread, mayonnaise and a nice old glass of white wine. I did try some, and whilst it wasn't for me, the wonderful taste brought great joy to the others at the table and it was lovely to see food served so freshly and simply. On a trip to Kirkenes it is simply something you must try!

Read 4627 times Last modified on Tuesday, 20 February 2018

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