Chaceon quinquedens


With its sweet flavor and Dungeness-like texture, Atlantic deep sea red crab is a great, local ocean-friendly species. It is available in a variety of forms and can be prepared in any number of ways (crab cakes, salads, crab claw rolls, etc).


Also known as:

Red crab



Product forms:

Fresh, frozen, or canned. Whole crab, clusters and picked meat

Shopping tips:

Live crabs should be active and responsive. Fresh crabs and meat should look clean and moist, with legs and claws intact and a bright orange-red shell. There should be no unpleasant odor. Frozen crabs and meat should be free of discoloration and freezer burn.


Atlantic deep sea red crab can be substituted for any other crab or lobster.


Try substituting red crab in these recipes:

Wild-caught Dungeness crab cakes

Wild-caught Dungeness crab bisque
Red crab fishery: Atlantic deep sea red crab is caught using crab pots or traps. More.

Conservation notes:

Atlantic deep sea red crab is considered an ocean-friendly seafood choice because the fishery employs tactics to maintain the resource and the fishing gear used does not cause substantial habitat destruction. More.
Last updated: June 2010


Deep-Sea Red Crab Fishery


The fishery for Atlantic deep sea red crab occurs along the continental shelf in the NW Atlantic Ocean. The fishery is relatively small, with only 4-5 vessels participating. Although deep sea red crab was fished sporadically through the 1970s and 1980s, the fishery wasn’t fully developed until the mid-1990s. A management plan was implemented in 2001 and since then catches have been fairly steady at between 1,500 and 2,000 metric tons (3.5 and 4.4 million lbs).


There are a series of regulations in place in the deep sea red crab fishery, which are designed to help sustain the resource. These regulations include quotas, a minimum size rule, prohibiting the harvesting of females, and limiting the participants in the fishery as well as the number of pots they can fish.



Conservation Notes


While scientists are still discovering new information on deep sea red crabs, because of the small size of the fishery, indications are that the resource is not substantially impacted by fishing. Management measures in place in the fishery appear to be sustaining the resource at a level similar to those seen before the fishery was established.

The traps or pots used to catch deep sea red crab are among the most environmentally benign fishing gears and do not have negative impacts on ocean floor habitats. Many types of commercial fishing gear can cause substantial habitat destruction, or may catch large numbers of unwanted fishes and other animals. Because they are designed to sit in one location, habitat destruction is not a problem with crab pots or traps. Crab pots and traps are also generally designed to target a particular species, which means that unwanted and accidental capture of other marine animals is rare. Additionally, since the pots or traps do not injure the captured animals, unwanted species or undersized crabs can often be easily returned to the water.