Those who have bought king crab are no stranger to how expensive it can be. Consumers tend to accept the price for what it is, then choose whether to buy. The king crab market can change a lot from year to year. We wanted to help you understand what has influenced Alaskan king crab price in the past and what continues to affect it now.
The standard price per pound for king crab ranges from $60 to $70. The comparison grid below will help illustrate the variation between providers. For more pricing and shipping information, check out our main King crab comparison resource.
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|Fulton Fish Market
2018 King Crab Price Influences
The king crab market price 2018 changed for several reasons. Trade with foreign partners is a main cause for these price fluctuations. Japan is a primary buyer of a large percentage of the king crab haul for the year. Russia has a sizable supply of king crab as well. However, their practices are not well regulated or sustainable. In the simplest terms, this means that Russia can sell their crab for a lower price while the U.S. must keep a higher price.
In 2018, this price gap was reduced when other buyers, like China, threatened to not buy Russian-caught king crab. Russia responded by making their prices similar to the U.S. As a result, the king crab price per pound 2018 changed.
In addition to foreign trade, the size of the harvest also impacted live king crab price. 2018 saw a steep decrease in king crab quotas. The quota fell to 4.3 million pounds which was 35% lower than 2017’s. The quota was lowered because of a documented decrease in crab population. Catching less crab lowers supply. Demand remained more constant, bringing the price of king crab up during that year. This changed the Alaskan king crab market price 2019 and going forward.
2020 Price Influences
The market price for king crab 2019 was strange, but 2020 brings key threats to the longevity of the king crab industry’s sustenance in Alaska. The two main factors are the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change. These are likely to cause changes in king crab market price today and for the long term.
A report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations explains the already traceable implications on Covid-19 on seafood trading. They indicate that the pandemic has reduced seafood trade, and that trend could continue. King crab price will also be down by at least 8%. Closed restaurants no longer need as much supply, leaving crab suppliers with more crab than there is demand. As the pandemic unfolds, expect more changes to live Alaskan king crab prices.
2020 saw clear evidence of the effects of climate change with an active hurricane season and rampant and destructive forest fires on much of the West coast. The king crab industry is heavily reliant on a good, healthy environment. King crab abundance can drop because of overfishing or environmental factors like warming waters. Similar to 2018’s decreased quota, 2020 and beyond are vulnerable to more severe crab abundance issues if climate change is not mitigated. Smaller quotas lead to high prices. Over time, the high prices could steer consumers away.
So, What Does this Mean for You?
There is much more to unpack about all that contribute to king crab price. The king crab industry is a cornerstone of Alaska’s economy. In essence, the industry’s close ties to the global market and environment make it highly variable and likely to face continuous changes in the years to come.
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