The kings of the ocean floor: red king crab

Introduced to the Barents Sea by Russian scientists, the red king crab is now an important part of the fishing culture in northern Norway.

Living at depths of between 5 and 400 meters, depending on the season, the red king crab is a truly fascinating creature. Feeding on snails, benthic and even fish, crabs can weigh up to 8 kg and measure up to 23 centimetres wide across their shield.


An eager wanderer

Native to the Pacific Ocean, the red king crab was introduced to the Murmansk fjord near the Norwegian-Russian border in the 1960s by Russian scientists, who hoped the crab would help grow the local economy.

King crabs, however, are eager wanderers, and it didn’t take long before they had migrated east and south along the coast to Finnmark county. At the time, this created quite a stir as locals feared this alien species would disrupt the ocean’s ecosystem. Luckily, though, it all worked out ok.

A local delicacy

Today, the red king crab is considered a delicacy and is a vital part of the local fishing culture. Fresh from the cold and black Barents Sea, it is immediately flown down to Europe's fine-dining restaurants, where it sold for prices only comparable with the most exclusive steaks.

But nothing can compete with the experience of tasting red king crab just minutes after it has been freshly pulled up from the seabed.

Fishing for your supper

While on a Hurtigruten voyage along the Norwegian coast, you can opt to join one of our seasonal rafting safaris, where you can join local fishermen out on the Barents Sea, pull the crabs up yourself and then have them prepared for your lunch.