Product #: 55021
Scientific Name: Callinectes sapidus
Country of Origin: US Maryland
Monterey Bay Rating: Green
The Atlantic blue crab is a member of the Portunidae swimming crab family. Its Latin name, Callinectes sapidus, translates to "savory, beautiful swimmer". Blue crabs are named for the bright blue coloring on their legs and the blue tinges to their mostly brown shells. While the legs of males are solely blue, the legs of females have orange tips. Blue crab meat is white, tender and flaky with a rich, sweet and buttery flavor. The claw meat is a bit nutty and has a natural brown tint.
The Atlantic blue crab is native to the western Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to Argentina. The major U.S. producers of blue crab are Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.
Overall, the health of the U.S. blue crab population is fairly good and improving. The Chesapeake Bay is one of the major production areas and has experienced a drastic resurgence of the crab population in the last few years. Some other U.S. populations are at low levels of abundance, but not just due to fishing. Blue crab are highly dependent upon coastal ecosystems, thus loss of habitat and poor water quality hinder their population growth a great deal. Fortunately, crabs are naturally resilient to fishing pressure because they reproduce at a young age and have huge numbers of offspring. Management regulations are in place to control harvest, protect breeding stocks and monitor landings, but there could be better regulations for bycatch reduction, especially for the depleted diamondback terrapin (a brackish water turtle that gets caught in pots and drowns). Most crabs are caught with pots or traps, which have little impact on the environment.
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