The snow crab or queen crab (Chionoecetes opilio) is found in deep, cold waters of North America. In the North Atlantic, snow crabs are found from southern Labrador to the Gulf of Maine. On the West Coast, snow crabs are found in the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea.
Canada is the world’s largest producer of snow crab. Management of the snow crab fishery is based on annual total allowable catch, quotas, effort controls, minimum legal size, minimum mesh size of traps, seasons, areas, and soft-shelled (white crab) protocols. Stock assessments are conducted through the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat.
In the Bering Sea, snow crabs are taken by vessels ranging from small inshore vessels to state of the art deep sea crabbing vessels. Fishing gear consists primarily of pots similar to those used for king crab.