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Snow crab fetches $21,500 at west Japan port in season’s first auction

A “Matsuba gani” male snow crab is seen in Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture, on Nov. 6, 2022. (Mainichi/Toshihiro Hamamoto)

TOYOOKA, Hyogo — The most expensive snow crab fetched 3,158,000 yen (about $21,500) in the season’s first auction at a west Japan port on Nov. 7, following the opening of the fishing season on Nov. 6.

The highest bid was for a “Matsuba gani” male snow crab, which was auctioned off at Shibayama Port in the Hyogo Prefecture town of Kami.

According to the prefectural Tajima fisheries office, a total of 39 vessels from five ports in the northern part of the prefecture set out and cast their nets simultaneously at 12 a.m. on Nov. 6.

Seven vessels returned later that day to Tsuiyama Port in Toyooka, where reddish-brown male Matsuba gani crabs and pale vermilion female “Seko gani” crabs were sorted according to size and condition. A large number of people surrounded the boxes full of crabs, and the auctioneer’s voice echoed outside the market, as about 25 middlemen bid on the crabs one after the other.

Snow crabs are auctioned off one after another in Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture, on Nov. 6, 2022. (Mainichi/Toshihiro Hamamoto)

The unit price per kilogram for the first auction on Nov. 6, excluding Shibayama Port, was 13,824 yen (about $94) for Matsuba gani crabs and 7,129 yen (roughly $48) for Seko gani crabs.

Those involved in tourism and food industries in the prefecture are raising hopes that the easing of COVID-19-related movement restrictions and boarder control measures, as well as the “National Travel Discount” program, will bring the bustle back to the area. Crab festivals will also be held at several fishing ports for the first time in three years, starting with the Hamasaka fishing port in the prefectural town of Shinonsen on Nov. 13.

(Japanese original by Toshihiro Hamamoto, Toyooka Local Bureau)

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