Photographer: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Bloomberg
Photographer: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Bloomberg

Snow Crabs Are Back in Season

Snow crabs are one of the most expensive types of seafood in Japan and one of the most popular ones. Every year they make their way from fishing boats to tables in restaurants around the world. Photography by Buddhika Weerasinghe for Bloomberg.

Many tourists visit Japan's Hyogo and Fukui prefectures in the winter time just to taste snow crab, called "Matsuba-gani" in Hyogo and "Echizen-gani" in Fukui.

According to Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, crab exports by Japan surged 71 percent to 805 tons in the first nine months of 2015 from same period last year.

In value terms, crab exports from Japan rose 40% to 787 million yen ($6.4 million) in 2015.

Major export markets for Japan's snow crabs are China and Hong Kong.

The season for snow crabs is from November to March in Western prefectures on the coast of the Japan Sea, including Fukui and Hyogo.

On the east coast of Japan, snow crab season is longer: October to May.

Fishermen load boxes of freshly caught snow crabs onto carts for auction.

Boxes of freshly caught snow crabs are arranged as potential buyers attend an auction in Mikuni.

Freshly caught snow crabs sit sorted and tagged.

A box of freshly caught snow crabs is displayed for potential buyers during an auction.

A fisherman weighs a freshly caught snow crab.

A buyer transports a cart of freshly caught snow crabs past the Echizen Kani No Bou store and restaurant in Mikuni.