Fish and Seafood
- Queen Crab, Spider Crab
- Chionoecetes opilio
Distribution and Seasons
In Canada, snow crab is harvested and processed throughout the Atlantic provinces (Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island) and Quebec. Snow crabs are caught in traps, from sandy bottoms in depths of 1 to 470 metres. The Canadian fishing season runs from April to November.
This crustacean, whose body is almost perfectly circular, has five pair of long, flattened legs, the first of which sport strong claws. The shell is light brown on the back and creamy white on the belly. The male reaches a much greater girth than the female and generally only males reach legal catch size. Commercially caught crab measure from 9.5 to 15 cm in width and weigh from 350 g to 1.3 kg.
When cooked, the shell of the snow crab turns bright orange. The meat has a rich, sweet flavour and firm texture. Orangey-pink on the surface and white inside, snow crabmeat is composed of fine, tender filaments that are exquisitely mild and tasty.
|Sodium||514 mg (but varies from one processor to another)|
Snow crab is sold fully pre-cooked and frozen. Quick freezing and light glazing to prevent dehydration during storage enhance shelf life.
Cocktail Claws: cap on or cap off. Graded under 15; 16-20; 21-15; 26-30; 31-35; and over 35 claws per pound
Whole: pre-cooked and frozen.
Sections: a section consists of four legs and one claw; typically sold in 3-5 oz; 5-8 oz; and over 8 oz units.
Meat: leg meat; salad meat; combination packs (leg and shoulder meat).
Canned: available in 120 g cans.
Prepared: crab au gratin; also used in Coquilles Saint-Jacques.
Sweet and succulent snow crab can be served in a variety of ways:
- 'au naturel' when served whole or in sections with drawn butter for dipping.
- the claws make excellent hors d'oeuvres (allow at least three per guest).
- the meat can be served cold in salads, dips, stuffings, spreads or hot in bisques or soup, canapés, omelettes, soufflés, or in sauces used on pasta.
Canada has one of the world's most respected fish inspection and quality control systems. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) sets the policies, requirements and inspection standards for fish products, federally registered fish and seafood processing establishments, importers, fishing vessels, and equipment used for handling, transporting and storing fish. All establishments which process fish and seafood for export or inter-provincial trade must be federally registered and must develop and implement a Quality Management Program (QMP) plan, based on the principles of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) system. A processing establishment's QMP plan outlines the controls inplemented by the fish processor to ensure that all fish products are processed under sanitary conditions, and that the resulting products are safe and meet all regulatory requirements. Canada's fish inspection and control system contributes to Canada's worldwide reputation for safe, wholesome fish and seafood products. Buyers can be assured that seafood from Canada will continue to meet the increasingly rigorous safety and wholesomeness standards required by the world's major seafood markets.
NOTE: These processors are volume wholesalers and are not usually set up to deal directly with consumers.
- Area 19 Snow Crab
- New Brunswick Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
- Newfoundland Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
- Newfoundland Seafood Market Council
- Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
- Prince Edward Island Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Environment
- Québec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food