Bristol Bay red king crab is the largest of the Alaskan crabs. While the average size varies year to year, it is in the neighborhood of 6.5 lbs. The majority of red king crab is caught in the Bering Sea/Bristol Bay area. The fishing season is from October 15th until the catch quota is reached, usually by the end of November. Norton Sound Red King crab is a smaller species of red king with an average size of about 2.7 lbs. It is caught in the waters off of Nome and Unalakleet, Alaska. This is the only summertime red king crab fishery which opens between June 15th and July 1st and closes by the end of August.
St. Matthew blue king crab, once cooked, is often mistaken for red king crab, though smaller in size. They are easily identified by the disproportionately larger right claw. Prior to cooking they have a beautiful almost metallic blue/gold color. The average size is in the 4.5 - 5 pounds range. The blue king crab fishery had been closed for a period of ten years while the Alaska Department of Fish & Game monitored the stocks. It re-opened in 2009. The crabs are caught in the Northern Bering Sea around St. Matthew Island. The fishing season coincides with Bristol Bay red king crab fishery – Oct 15th through the end of November.
Brown king crab size varies from about 5 lbs. in the Aleutians to 6 - 7 lbs. in Southeast Alaska. Their legs are more “tubular” in cross section and much “spinier” than red king crab. Brown king crab is caught in two areas: the Aleutian Islands and Southeast Alaska. The season opens for fishing in Southeast on February 15th and on August 15th in the Aleutians. Depending upon fishing effort, the fishery can last from one to three months.
Average size of snow crab is about 1.5 lbs. Also known as “Opilio” crab or “Opis”, they are caught in the Bering Sea at the peak of their meat fill which, unfortunately for the fishermen, begins on January 15th when the weather is the most horrendous. If you are in doubt, just watch an episode of The Deadliest Catch. Depending upon the quota, the season may last from two to four months.
Tanner crab, also known as Bairdi, averages 2.5 - 3.5 lbs. This crab is a jumbo version of the snow crab. They are not often found in the US market, as the majority of the catch is exported.
Tanner crab is caught in two main areas: Kodiak Island waters and Southeast Alaska. Kodiak opens for fishing on January 15th and Southeast opens February 15th.
Size ranges from 1.5 to 3 lbs. Dungeness crab is caught in Southeast Alaska, Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula. From a “shipping live” standpoint – they are a nightmare – being the meanest, most ornery critter to try to stuff in a box. While a red king crab claw can crush a finger, they are fortunately slow, so you have time to get your hand out of the way, not so with the dungy. They are fast and powerful with a nasty attitude to boot. Some shippers chill the crabs in ice until their lips turn blue to slow them down, making them more manageable. Fishing areas range from Southeast Alaska to the Aleutian Island and occur mainly in spring through fall.
Yukon River Keta (Chum) salmon are caught at the mouth of? You guessed it – the Yukon River. A fish that has to swim a thousand (or more) miles upriver to its spawning grounds possess special qualities, namely oil to fuel its journey upstream. These fish are a little known tasty secret whose flavor is on par with that of King salmon, albeit at a much lower price. The Seattle Post Intelligencer did a nice write up on Yukon chum salmon, which can be found at http://www.seattlepi.com/lifestyle/food/article/Yukon-River-chum-Fairy-tale-ending-for-salmon-s-1282025.php
Chum salmon is often referred to by the rather unflattering name of “dog” salmon since native Alaskans also feed these salmon to their dog teams (the dogs love them by the way). The Yukon chum is an entirely different animal from a Prince William Sound or Southeast chum and there is talk of renaming the species to note the distinction. Average size is 6 to 9 lbs.
There are two runs: summer and fall, with the fall run typically having higher oil content. Fishing takes place in July and August.
Our salmon caviar is produced from the eggs of two species of fish; keta (chum) and coho (silver) salmon. Caviar is produced while fresh salmon is available so production usually begins in July and continues into the fall. The eggs are “rubbed” by hand to separate them from the skein, placed in a salt brine solution, dry cured, packaged and frozen. Our caviar is packed in 1 kilogram plastic containers with 12 per master carton.