Low supply sends spanner crab prices skyrocketing

By Hong Chau   May 18, 2023 | 07:56 pm PT
Low supply sends spanner crab prices skyrocketing
A two-kilogram spanner crab being sold at a seafood store on Phan Van Tri Street in HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Duong
Spanner crab prices have shot up by 20-25% from last year to VND4 million (US$170), and stores demand pre-orders due to very low supply.

Seafood merchants in HCMC are selling two-kilogram crabs at VND1.7-1.8 million per kilogram on average, more expensive than scalloped spiny lobsters and on a par with ornate spiny lobsters, both considered premium seafood items.

In the case of smaller crabs weighing around 500 grams, the price is VND800,000-1.1 million per kilogram.

Hue of District 5 said she ordered one weighing two kilograms at nearly VND4 million, and had to wait for two months to get delivery.

She said it used to be cheaper and easier to buy in previous years.

"It is delicious. So I order it every year despite the rising prices."

A seafood store on Nguyen Van Linh Street, District 7, said it has only managed to get three to five crabs of two kilograms each in recent catching seasons.

Another store on Phan Van Tri Street in Binh Thanh District also lamented about lack of supply. Lam, its manager, said in the last two years crabs weighing three kilograms have almost become non-existent, and it has been hard to get even two-kilogram specimens.

"In every 10kg we get there are only one or two crabs weighing two kilograms, and sometimes none."

At Binh Dien Market in District 8, merchants said fewer crabs are arriving compared to previous years, and most are small, weighing 250-500 grams. Bigger crabs usually cost double.

Lam said overfishing had made spanner crabs scarce, and this was exacerbated by fishermen not releasing small crabs of 150-300 grams back into the sea and instead selling them cheap.

In Vietnam, the crabs are usually caught off Phu Quy Island in Binh Thuan Province and Ly Son Island in Quang Ngai.

Big ones are usually caught during the April-July season.

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