The World’s Most Sustainable King Crab
Named for their golden-colored shells, Golden King crab are often hailed by Keyport boat captains as their favorite King crab. Once known as Brown King crab, Golden Kings are harvested from the deep waters surrounding the remote Aleutian Islands of Alaska. The unique combination of pressure from the great ocean depth combined with clean, pure feed results in a sweeter taste profile and lighter texture than that of its better-known cousin, Red King crab. Our wholesale Golden King crab is also noted for its unmatched sustainability. Outstanding fishery management has ensured a consistent and sustainable supply, earning Golden King crab its reputation as the world’s most sustainable King crab. Live chat, call or email us to ask a question or get a quote.
What’s In A Name?
Golden King Crab vs Brown King Crab
Over the years, Golden King crab has also been referred to as Brown King crab. In 2017, however, an act of Congress officially changed the name to Golden King crab. Old habits die hard though, and it is still common to hear our boat crews and even retailers refer to Goldens as Brown King crab. The FDA made the name change official in 2018 but allowed for both “Golden King crab” and “Brown King crab” to be used until January 2020. Today, however, the only allowable name is Golden King crab.
Remote & Pristine Habitat
Our Golden King crab comes from the steep slopes of the Aleutian Trench, a deep sea trench that runs along the coastline of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. The Aleutian island arc marks a boundary between two tectonic plates and has been home to some of the largest earthquakes of the 20th century. This island chain of 40 active volcanoes also forms a porous boundary between the North Pacific and the Bering Sea. The powerful currents of the Alaska Stream carry fresh water from the greater Pacific Ocean through the passes of the Aleutian Islands and into the Bering Sea. This regular infusion of swift-moving, nutrient-packed water means that our Golden King crab enjoy some of the purest feed in the Bering Sea.
Harvested At Great Depths
Unlike Red King crab, who prefer the flat and sandy floor of the ocean, Golden King crab live far below sea level on the rocky, underwater slopes of the Aleutian Trench. They are harvested at depths that can reach over 300 fathoms (1800 feet) below sea level – deeper than any other commercial fishery in Alaska. Called “mountain goats of the ocean” by some of our crew, Goldens move up and down the steep walls of their habitat making them particularly tricky to find and catch.
Longline: Only Five Crab Boats In The World
When harvesting Red King and Snow crab, single pots are dropped to the ocean floor and marked with a buoy. In contrast, Golden King crab are harvested by setting traditional crab pots on longlines that have 10 or more pots set at 500-foot intervals on each string. This system ensures that the pots can be found again in the deep and turbulent waters of the Aleutian habitat. Given that each pot can weigh close to 1,000 lbs when full, massive hydraulic systems are needed to retrieve the longline strings. This hybrid method is unique to Golden King crab and only five boats in the world are equipped with the necessary equipment and gear to harvest Golden King crab in this way.
What’s Up With The Pink Pots?
The pink pots make for some great photos but the real reason we use them has to do with the electromagnetic spectrum. Red light, with its long wavelengths, is the first to be absorbed by water. The deeper you go, the less the color red is visible. In fact, it is the first color to disappear and become completely black at great depths. Golden King crab pots are set at depths that can reach to greater than 200 feet below sea level and, as a result, the pink pots are virtually invisible to the crab. This, in turn, results in a higher catch per pot, fewer pots deployed overall and greater protection of the habitat. Aside from color, the design of the pots supports the sustainability and conservation goals of the fishery. Specially sized mesh ensures that juveniles and the females can easily escape, and an opening fitted with biodegradable twine makes the pot safe in the unlikely event that it is lost at sea.
Keyport is proud to be part of the collaboration between fleet, processors, scientists and state agencies that is keeping the population of Golden King crab at a healthy and thriving level. As part of a new stock assessment program launched in 2015, scientists accompany the boats out on the first trip of the season, documenting and assessing the stocks and collecting demographic data. This data-rich approach allows for real time review of the health of the fishery that is reflected in the quotas that are set each year and provides protection from overfishing for years to come.
In 2005, the Bering Sea Aleutian Island Crab Rationalization program was implemented, replacing a competitive, short and often dangerous season with a limited access privilege management program. Under the new program, a reduced fleet of five boats harvest their individual quotas over nine months. The program allocates 10% of the total allowable catch each year to western Alaska villages through the Western Alaska Community Development Quota Program (CDC). The CDQ works to support economic development, provide opportunity, alleviate poverty and achieve sustainable and diversified local economies in western Alaska.
From The Aleutian Islands To You
Once harvested, Golden King crab is kept in holding tanks aboard the crab vessel until it can be delivered to shore live. Once landed, the crab is cooked, cleaned, sectioned and frozen. The freezing process creates a protective glaze that ensures Keyport King crab retains its wild-caught flavor during shipping. To guarantee the best taste experience and food safety, keep frozen until ready to thaw and use. Do not thaw and refreeze.
Golden King Crab Leg Sizing Explained
King crab legs are sized according to the number of crab legs in a ten-pound package. Legs labeled ‘12/14’, for example, are large and it only takes 12 to 14 legs to make up a 10 lb box. Golden King crab leg sizes include (from largest to smallest): 12/14, 14/17, 16/20, 20/24, 20+
Purchasing Wholesale Golden King Crab
King crab have six legs and two claws. Each wholesale box of King crab includes this natural proportion of legs to claws. So, if you have 12 legs in a box, you can expect to find 4 claws as well. Keyport typically requires a minimum order of 600-1000 lbs for shipped orders. Our crab experts are happy to help with King crab pricing, special cuts and retail packaging. Live chat, call or email.