The price of Norway-caught snow crab has fallen by half in recent months, according to data from the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Last week, IntraFish reported prices for Norwegian king crab were being suppressed due to a glut of Russian crab in East Asia.

The situation for snow crab is even more difficult, according to Josefine Voraa, shellfish lead at the council.

In the US market, frozen clusters -- the shoulder and bones of crab -- normally sell for $17 (€15.58) a pound. This summer, the price was $7 (€6.42) per pound of crab, though Voraa said prices now appear to be stable at the lower level.

Voraa blames the collapse in price on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the resulting logistics challenges for Asia.

In the United States, import restrictions on Russian king crab were implemented in the summer of 2022.

Before restrictions came into force in June, a significant amount of Russian king crab came into the American market.

Of the $1.2 billion (€1 billion) metric tons of seafood the US imported from Russia in 2021, frozen snow crab and frozen red king crab accounted for over $900 million (€796 million).

With Alaska's key Bristol Bay red king crab and Bering Sea snow crab fisheries closed this year, Norway can export crab to the US market in 2023. But it remains to be seen when existing stocks of frozen Russian crab run out.

With the sanctions against Russian crab in the West, it is expected that Russia will continue to focus on live exports to the Asian market in the future.

The United States is the most important market for frozen crab. But stocks of frozen Russian crab remain high there, and many importers will wait for the Canadian season to start, when prices are expect to dip even lower.

"It is the US that sets the global price," said Voraa.

Canada is a bigger supplier of snow crab than Russia, with a total quota of over 90,000 metric tons last year.

"Canada's quotas for 2023 have not yet arrived, but we expect a quota at the same level as last year," Voraa said. "So even if there are sanctions against Russian crab in the USA, which is the largest market, Canada can supply much of the crab that is in demand."

On the go? Get the App
Read our news and insight on-the-go, with customizable menus, favorites and breaking news alerts.