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of resource economics at the University of Rhode Island, conducted the first study of the crustacean. Commercial fishing got started in the early 1970s. In a survey conducted in 1974, it was found that between offshore Maryland and eastern Georges Bank, the standing crop was an estimated 59 million pounds. The red crab has been described as the “other big crab.”


The red crab is one of several related species of crustaceans that live in various deep stretches of the Atlantic. Red crabs flank the edge of the continental shelf from Nova Scotia south to the Gulf of Mexico. Blue crabs are called swimming crabs because they can use their paddle-like rear legs to propel themselves through the water. Red crabs have no choice but to walk along the sea floor. Most live at greater depths than do the king crabs. At the depths where red crabs live, there is little or no


light to navigate, and water temperatures hover around 38 degrees. The red crabs scuttle across the ocean floor at depths from 600 feet to a mile deep. Often the red crabs must rely on food that sinks down from the surface. The carcasses of dead whales sometimes provide a kind of nutrition bonanza that the crabs can sniff out from long distances away. You may have already eaten red crabs without realizing


it. Some big seafood restaurants have featured them as part of their crab Alfredo. Red crabs are very popular with many Asians. Some 3,000 pounds of red crabs are shipped to Asia weekly in specially equipped airplanes with special tanks. At the Seafood Market in Hampton, Virginia, some Asians


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July/August 2017


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