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 Red King Crab

The red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, is a species of king crab native to the Bering Sea. It grows to a leg span of 1.8 meter, and is heavily targeted by fisheries. It is the most coveted of the commercially-sold king crab species, and is the most expensive per unit weight. It is most commonly caught in the Bering Sea and Norton Sound, Alaska, and is particularly difficult to catch, but is nonetheless one of the most preferred crabs for consumption. The red king crabs are experiencing a steady decline in numbers in their native far east coastal waters for unclear reasons. Fishing controls set by the United States in the 1980s and 2000s have failed to stem the decline.

In the Barents Sea, however, it is an invasive species and its population is increasing tremendously. This is causing great concern to local environmentalists and local fishermen as the crab eats everything it comes across and is spreading very rapidly. Since its introduction it has spread westwards along the Norwegian coast and also northwards, having reached the island group of Svalbard. The species keeps on advancing southwards along the coast of Norway and some scientists think they are advancing at about 50 km a year, though that could be an underestimation.

Despite these concerns the species is protected by diplomatic accords between Norway and Russia, and a bilateral fishing commission decides how to manage the stocks and imposes fishing quotas. West of the North Cape on Norway"s northern tip, the Scandinavian country is allowed to manage its crab population itself. Only 259 Norwegian fishermen are allowed to catch it, and they see the king crab as a blessing, as it is an expensive delicacy.

Regardless of the time of year you visit - with the mystical midnight sun, a spectacular thunderstorm or the magical Northern Lights.

More info about King crab at Wikipedia.

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