Southern Tanner Crab

Common Name Tanner Crab (Southern)
Market Name snow crab
Scientific name Chionoecetes bairdi

Sourcing Summary


2 lbs.

Most snow crab consumed in the US is imported, with 80% coming from Canada. Best-quality, high-price snow crab comes from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where some Canadian processors use cryogenic freezers that produce a superior product, but most of this crab goes to the Japanese market. Most snow crab sections will be packed with some broken legs in the box and should be checked for excess glaze and broken pieces—the industry standard for broken pieces is 10%. Snow crabs are usually sold as sections or “clusters” (4 walking legs and a claw arm), typically graded 3/5 oz., 5/8 oz. and 8 ups; with 5/8 oz. sections compromising the bulk of the production. The meat yield from snow crab is about 17% compared to approximately 25% in king and Dungeness. The dirty brown barnacle-covered shells of older snow crab shells may look unappetizing but can have higher meat content, making them a good bargain, according to some buyers.

Product Forms

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Legs & Claws

Fresh Seasonal Availability


Culinary Composition





Cooking Methods


Nutrition facts

Serving Size: 100g
Amount per serving
Calories 90g
Total Fat 1.18g
Cholesterol 55mg
Sodium 539mg
Carbohydrates 0g
Protein 18.5g
Omega-3 0.4g

Science & Management


Scientists with NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center annually survey the Bering Sea crab stocks to estimate their abundance. NOAA Fisheries and the State of Alaska use this information to determine the status of the stocks and to set the harvest limits for the following fishing season.

Scientists use model estimates of the number of mature males in the population (mature male biomass) at the time of mating as the measure for population status of snow crab. Mature male biomass has increased since its low in 2002, and is currently estimated to be at a sustainable level.

Harvest Methods

Conservation Criteria - Wild

Impact on Stock

Tanner crab are found in the North Pacific and have medium inherent vulnerability to fishing pressure. They are primarily fished in Alaska, in the eastern Bering Sea. Tanner crab were previously overfished but a 2011 stock assessment showed that the fishery had recovered. However, the fishery remained closed until the 2013-2014 fishing year. Seafood Watch reported in late 2015 that the stock was in good standing.

Habitat impacts (Wild)

The gear commonly used to catch Tanner crab tends to consist of large steel mesh traps or pots that soak on the seafloor for one to three days. Gear effects from pots tend to be minimal in the Tanner crab fisheries since they are usually set in soft, muddy habitats, according to Seafood Watch. Such sand and silt environments are less likely to be affected than harder habitats.


A Seafood Watch report from 2015 found that bycatch in the Tanner crab fishery is limited to female and undersized male snow and Tanner crabs. Other bycatch, including groundfish, was very low and did not include any threatened, endangered or overfished species.

Management effectiveness

Tanner crab are managed under a federal fisheries management plan overseen by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council that is jointly managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Measures include robust scientific monitoring, annual stock assessments, vessel monitoring systems, and strong stakeholder inclusion. Seafood Watch noted that the management has been able to successfully rebuild the fishery from its overfished status and called it highly effective.

Conservation Criteria - Farmed

Origin Method Ratings
All Other Origins All Other Fishing Methods  
Russia - Bering Sea Pot/Trap  
Russia - Northern Sea of Japan Pot/Trap  
Russia - Sea of Okhotsk Pot/Trap  
USA - Bering Sea Aleutian Islands Pot/Trap    
Name Country State / Province
Albion Farms & Fisheries Canada British Columbia
Aqua Star United States Washington
Coastal Villages Seafoods, LLC United States Alaska
Crab Broker, Inc. United States Nevada
Keyport LLC United States Washington
Ocean Beauty Seafoods LLC United States Washington
Pike Place Fish Market United States Washington
Santa Monica Seafood, Inc. United States California
Stikine Seafoods United States Alaska
The Fish Guys Inc. United States Minnesota
Tradex Foods Inc. Canada British Columbia
Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics United States Washington