Is all “real” blue crab from Maryland?
No. Callinectes sapidus or blue crab is one of the commercial crab species around the world. The FDA allows the use of the name “Blue Crab” only to this species.
Callinectes sapidus is caught in the Chesapeake Bay all the way down to Florida, inside the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and all the way South to Venezuela and some parts of Northern Brazil.
Is the U.S. the largest producer of Blue Crab?
No. The largest producer of Callinectes sapidus is Venezuela by a wide margin. Lake Maracaibo has enough Blue Crab in it’s waters to be able to send millions of pounds of fresh crabmeat by plane into The United States every year.
What are the other Commercial species of Swimming Crab?
Portunus pelagicus ( Blue swimming crab from Asia)
Portunus haanii ( Red swimming crab from China and Vietnam )
Callinectes bellicosus ( Brown swimming crab or Cortez crab from Mexico)
Callinectes arcuatus ( West Coast blue crab from Mexico)
There are other species of swimming crab that are caught but these represent the most commercially sold.
Who is the largest producer of swimming crab meat?
Indonesia is the largest producer of blue swimming crab or Portunus pelagicus.
There are many other Countries that produce this species such as Thailand, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Philippines and Sri-Lanka to name some.
Which is the most common species of swimming crab available in the U.S.?
It really depends on the time of the year and seasonality of each Country but on a day to day basis Portunus pelagicus is the most readily available swimming crabmeat in the United States because it is produced all year.
How do I know which crabmeat I am buying or being served at a restaurant?
If you are buying crabmeat in a can or a cup at a Supermarket or wholesale distributor the species and the country of origin should be on the container.
If you are at a restaurant just ask or have them bring you the can or container so you can see for yourself. Any reputable restaurant should have no issue telling you or showing you what they are using to serve your food!
If I am in Maryland eating a crab cake, is it always Maryland Crab?
No, a few years ago there was a big issue made about this and the best solution was for the restaurants to label Maryland Crab Cakes if they were using Maryland crab meat or “Maryland Style” crab cakes if they were using anything else.
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