For many years, the Cornish Spider Crab has seemed to be a big hit overseas but not so much on home shores but all that is set to change as it will now be called the Cornish King Crab.
Spider crab, or Cornish King Crab as it will now be known, is a large, spiky crustacean that is common around Cornwall’s coast. They grow up to 80cm in claw span. The claws are full of delicious moist, white meat that is a prized delicacy in Spain and France but not as popular in the UK considering it is delicious.
Julian Harvey, Director, said:
“Here at W. Harvey & Sons, most of our spider crabs are exported with a handful of local restaurants appreciating this hidden delicacy. However, with spider crab being rebranded as Cornish King crab, we hope more people will be open to trying this delicious meat.”
The Cornish Fish Producers Organisation (CFPO) has suggested the name change after undertaking research with both chefs and consumers on spider crabs and megrim sole, which is also heavily exported.
Paul Trebilcock from the CFPO said:
“There is something about the names that has negative connotations. The two species are particularly under-loved in this country but really popular with some of our export markets.”
About 85% of spider crab is exported, mainly to Spain, with 98% of megrim sole following suit – despite around 1,000 tonnes being brought into Newlyn, Cornwall’s biggest fish market, each year. With export trade disrupted by the extra paperwork and border checks required after Brexit, the CFPO is looking for ways to increase popularity in the UK.
“Our investigation revealed that simply by changing the names, straight away more people were willing to try it and were more interested in finding out where it came from.”
Johnny Murt, a shell fisherman off Padstow, told the BBC:
“It can only be a good thing. It is a hard sell but if the rebranding can just get people to taste it, they will immediately realise just how good spider crab is.”
Chef Jack Stein agreed and said spider crab and megrim sole were both “good value and delicious.” He said:
“Spider crab is very sustainable with amazing quality meat and there is just so much of it in the summer. Megrim sole has a lovely taste similar to plaice. With a bit of a rebrand and a bit of a publicity drive we might be able to eat more of it in this country.”
Harvey & Sons first started offering handpicked white spider crab meat just over ten years ago and is the only company to offer freshly prepared meat as well as a whole ‘Cornish King Crab’. White spider crab meat is slightly sweet, moist and more subtle than normal white crab meat making it a great alternative.