For the first time in two years, US fishermen are harvesting Bristol Bay red king crab, one of the most valuable and sought-after crab species in the United States.

But a relatively low catch quota combined with uncertainty over the future of the fishery and reduced consumer spending, has seafood buyers behaving cautiously.

Shevis Shima, Santa Monica Seafood's senior vice president of procurement, told IntraFish the company has purchased small amounts of king crab from the recent openers, but the low total allowable catch (TAC) "won’t encourage volume placements with some of our larger foodservice or retail operators."