Alaskan king crab fishing is carried out during the winter months in the waters off the coast of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. The commercial harvest is performed during a very short season, and the catch is shipped worldwide.
Large numbers of king crab are also caught in Russian and international waters.
In Alaska, three species of king crab are caught commercially: the red king crab (found in Bristol Bay, Norton Sound, and the Kodiak Archipelago), blue king crab (St. Matthew Island and the Pribilof Islands), and golden king crab (Aleutian Islands).
The red king crab is the most prized of the three for its meat.
A fourth variety of king crab, the scarlet king crab, is too small and rare to be commercially viable, even though its meat is considered sweet and tasty.
Specific size requirements must be met: only certain types of king crab are legal at different times of the year and only males can be kept.
The most popular crabbing months are October and January. The season for each crab can be very short — the season for red king crab is currently four days, having been reduced repeatedly in previous years.
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