Crabs And Crab Processing

Crabs play an important part in the U.S. fishing industry. Ex-vessel landings and values usually rank low in quantity (Fig. 1) and high in value (Fig. 2). The quantity and value of the major crab fishes in the United States in 1996 are shown in Table 1 (1). Variations in processing methods for crabs are related to the species and the seasonal characteristics that affect yield, ease of meat removal, and color. Speed in handling the product from time of harvesting to freezing or canning is a most important process requirement (2,3). Quality control procedures generally emphasize sanitation, food regulatory requirements, and compliance with end-product specifications of the processor (4).

Figure 1. Landings of U.S. crab species.

Table 1. Landings and Values of U.S. Crab Species in 1996
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