of Large Crabs:
by Mike Pul
(cooked) Edible Crab,
pagurus, was seen at Jackson's
Fishmongers, Newton Abbot, 4.5 kg live
weight! It was likely it was scooped up
by a bottom trawl (out of Brixham) over sand or stones while out for a
walk as it wouldn't fit into the average static crab pot.
Crab, 275 mm width, 160 mm length
large Edible Crabs,
pagurus, were landed at Littlehampton,
Sussex, from 25 milles offshore in the English Channel. The largest
one weighed 4.4 kg (9 lb 4 oz) with a carapace width estimated
at about a foot (300 mm).
huge Edible Crab,
pagurus, was discovered and brought
ashore by Paul Worsley
diving in Lyme Bay,
Dorset. It was estimated to be 300 mm wide across the carapace and a crab
of this size would be the largest on record. (The
largest recorded specimen known was 285 mm wide.) Its huge size can be
verified by the photograph in the Western
Morning News but unfortunately the crab was eaten before a tape measure
could put on the shell and photographed to verify the crab as the largest
huge Edible Crab,
pagurus, was captured and brought
to the surface from a plastic barrel on the seafloor at Balaclava
Bay off Portland, Dorset. The male crab was not measured but estimated
to be about 30 cm wide across the carapace. It was found a home in Weymouth
Sea Life Centre. Both its massive claws were intact and bigger than
and Report by Paul Martin
the help of companion diver Mary Harris
pagurus, landed at Shoreham,
and caught in the Selsey area of West Sussex, weighed 3.9 kg and measured
270 mm across its carapace. This is the largest
crab on record from Sussex and as big as they get anywhere.
Life of Sussex
In response to your message
on the large brown crab, a colleague here at Cefas has measured a crab
with a carapace width of 292mm, and a weight of 14 lb, at a processors
in Selsey back in 2003. Unfortunately, as always seems to be the case,
no picture was taken of this to provide proof of size and thereby become
a new official record. Though it does show that the current 'recorded'
size record for this species (of 285mm in the Museum National d'Histoire
Naturelle, Paris) most certainly could of been broken several times by
I am currently involved in
an extensive brown crab tagging program in the English Channel and have
so far tagged and released over 7000 crabs from onboard commercial vessels.
To date our largest recorded specimen that we have tagged is only 246 mm
(Male). Unfortunately as the large males command the highest prices at
the processors fishermen would probably hold back any really large males
from us (as we only pay £1 for every commercial sized crab we tagged
and released back over the side). However I am constantly on the look out
for exceptionally large specimens and keep my camera and calipers close
at hand at all times. We are currently aiming to tag a further 7000-8000
crabs so still may come across a large specimen which I can guarantee will
be properly documented and preserved! Incidentally I am sure there will
be crab processors around the coast who would not be surprised to hear
of crabs of up to 30 cm in width but again no doubt they will have no records
of the largest specimens that they have ever processed.
Centre for Environment, Fisheries
and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)
Tel: +44 (0)1502 562244
Direct: +44 (0)1502 527736
Fax: +44 (0)1502 513865
Ovigerous "in berry"
It is often claimed that
300 mm is the maximum carapace width in the European Edible Crab Cancer
pagurus. However it is clear that most books copy each others, without
giving original information. The biggest
Cancer pagurus that I was
able to measure is a male from the collection of the Museum National d'Histoire
Naturelle, Paris. This specimen which was probably collected over 150 years
ago had a carapace length of 165 mm and a carapace width of 285 mm.
Is anybody aware of records
of bigger specimens?
Information wanted: Please
send any records of this crab, with location, date, who discovered it,
how it was identified, prevalence, common name and any other details to
Project EMail Glaucus@hotmail.com.
All messages will receive