Japan sees crab prices surge as poached Russian imports sink

Prices of crab, a sought-after delicacy in the year-end and New Year’s period, are surging because of a sharp fall in imports, especially from Russia and Alaska. Imports provide most of the crab distributed in Japan, and wholesale prices are some 30 to 50 percent higher than a year ago. Imports of red king crab, a popular variety, came to about 4,270 tons from January to November, less than half the annual record set in 2012. “This year’s red king crab imports could be on par with the level in 2015, which was the lowest in recent years,” said an official of a major fisheries company. Imports of snow crab, another popular species, have also been falling recently, industry officials said. Crab from Russia has been dwindling due to tighter regulations on poaching and illegal exports that began about two years ago. Before that, more than 50 percent of Russian crab distributed in Japan was poached, the fisheries company official said. Ports in Hokkaido that used to be busy handling crab from Russia are now quiet. Read the story here 16:50