Product #: 55000M
Scientific Name: Cancer borealis
Country of Origin: United States
Jonah crabs are basically an Atlantic cousin of Dungeness crabs. They are caught as bycatch in lobster pots and were traditionally considered valueless and discarded. As the demand for a greater variety of seafood products has grown, some fishermen have begun to retain Jonah crabs for sale and sometimes target them directly. The meat is flaky and sweet like Dungeness or stone crab, but darker and denser.
Jonah crabs are found from Nova Scotia to northern Florida. Most harvest occurs in Canada, Maine and New Hampshire.
Jonah crab fisheries are relatively new and little is known about the stock. In the U.S., the fisheries are managed at the state level. Though regulations vary by state, in general they include minimum size limits, a prohibition on harvesting females, season and area closures, and gear restrictions limiting the size, configuration, and number of traps. Jonah crabs are harvested with lobster pots. Bycatch and interaction with the surrounding habitat is of minimal concern. The most substantial ecosystem impact is the entanglement of protected species, such as endangered right whales, in ropes connecting the pots to their buoys. Regulations to reduce or eliminate this interaction have been implemented in the U.S.
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