While demand remains high among diners for delicious, quality king crab, Norway has reduced fishing quotas on male king crab by 20 percent for 2019. While it might not seem like much on paper, that equates to 350 metric tons of king crab being removed from menus around the world. Practically anywhere that exports king crab from Norway will experience a deficit for the 2019 season.
Of course, Norway isn’t alone in this decision. Crab quota cuts are on the rise in the United States and the Russian Federation as well. With the United States being the world’s largest importer of king crab, accounting for approximately 68,800 tons, demand for king crab is showing no signs of slowing. Unfortunately, with supplies dwindling from most of the major exporters, it has left many restaurants and retailers scrambling to find new suppliers to meet their king crab demands.
The big question on the minds of many is “why?” Why has Norway made the decision to cut quotas and why are so many other countries following suit? Ultimately it comes down to conservation. The increasing demand for king crab is decimating local supplies and if the high withdrawal of the king crab from local populations continues, the consequences could be devastating.
No one wants to diminish the local supply to the point it can no longer sustain itself and conservation efforts, such as these, help to ensure the supply line continues for many decades or even centuries to come. Not only does this protect the supply line, but it also helps to ensure that people are only getting the quality and size they expect from their crab purchases.
Norway isn’t the only country to take drastic measures to help protect its supply of king crab to consumers. Because it represents such a large section of the Norwegian economy, though, it goes to show how important these conservation efforts are to continue the cash cow for Norway. Other countries that are taking advantage of the somewhat limited supply of Norwegian king crab on the market include Russia which is equally known for offering king crab that meets extremely high standards for quality and the size of their king crab legs.
Ironically, it was Russia, a major supplies of king crab worldwide who suggested the curbed quotas for Norway in an effort to avoid banning king crab fishing altogether in certain coastal zones.