Lets talk crabs...
Our crabs come to us all the way from Cornwall, Cornish brown crabs are considered to be among the finest crabs in the world and are found in fish markets as far away as Hong Kong (as seen on Rick Stein). Fortunately Mersea Island isn't that far from Cornwall so we have deliveries five days a week into the Fishery.
We prefer to only sell our crabs cooked, because crabs are quite nervous creatures and they don't travel well. To ensure that the crab you receive is good to eat, we cook them here at the Fishery the morning then our friendly couriers deliver them overnight to your door.
It has been a difficult summer with crabs, with catches being low, but now the water is starting to cool down we are seeing more crabs in the pots and can add them back up for sale.
A few facts about our Cornish Crabs...
Brown crab stocks are healthy in Cornish waters and the majority of brown crab landed are caught with crab pots, a selective and low impact fishing method.
A female crab can produce up to 3 million eggs each winter, they grow relatively fast and use the shallow rocky areas of the Cornish coast as a big protected nursery ground.
The main fishing method used for brown crab is potting – this is a selective fishing method, with very little impact on the seabed. Undersized and berried crabs can be returned safely to the sea unharmed. As a result pot caught Brown crab is one of the most sustainable choices of seafood you can make, even in winter months.
They can live for up to 100 years and grow to a maximum size of 27.5 cm shell width and weigh up to 4 kilos! Although the average size adult crab is between 10 and 15 years old.
Like all crustaceans Brown crabs have to moult, shedding their shells as they grow. Juveniles moult several times per year but as they get larger the rate of moulting slows to once or less per year. After moulting the crab inflates every section of the shell with seawater and a chemical reaction takes place hardening the shell up. The new shell takes a few weeks to harden fully and it takes longer for the crabs muscles to grow to fill the shell. During this time the shell is pale and the crabs are not landed by fishermen as they are full of water.
Thank you to the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide for the crab facts.