Spider Crab is not often available to eat outside France usually you will see the Brown or Chancre Crab on the menu in a fresh crab sandwich or a fruits de mer. Spider Crab meat is a more sweet delicate meat than that of the Chancre Crab and often proffered by crab eating food connoisseurs.
Fresh uncooked Spider Crab
The Spider crab eaten in the Channel Islands is the European spider crab. This crab likes to live in areas where the seabed is soft. They are often found buried in the sand. Male adult spider crabs are also found where the seabed is rocky or partially rocky and sandy. The Spider Crab has a life cycle of 5-8 years and has a larval stage and a juvenile stage before it is able to reproduce as an adult. There is a minimum shell size of 120mm set by the European union to protect the species from over fishing and allow the Spider crab to reproduce before being eaten.
Sea Food platter in St Malo
Adults spider crabs will eat almost anything however it is known that marine algae including seaweeds and molluscs such and Cockles and winkles form the mainstays of their diet. European spider crabs can be found in the north-east of the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean Sea.
Cooked Spider Crab
It is a little known fact that the European spider crabs migrate and they can travel up to 100 miles during an 8 months period. Over 5000 tons of spider crab are caught annually 70% off the coast of France with only 3% of the catch of spider crabs being caught in the Channel Islands. There is a season when you can catch and eat spider crab in France and the Channel Islands and you must not catch spider crab during the moulting season when they have soft shells.
Brown Spider crab meat on brown bread
Spider crab is a delicacy which very few but the locals enjoy if you get a chance to try whilst in the Channel Islands take the opportunity as it is delicious. In Jersey we like to eat it over a long lazy lunch picking slowly through the shell and claws with a nice glass of white wine or Champagne some mayonnaise.
White Spider Crab meat on Brown bread
Despite the efforts of the commercial fishermen the spider crab remains a delicacy few have tried outside France in the Channel Islands. In the Channel Islands we have some of the purest waters and best preserved stocks spider crabs. If you are in Jersey for the season and get the chance, you just have to try our delicious and slightly exclusive Spider Crabs.