Red Rock crabs in ocean water.

Don’t let your crabs die!

Crabs deteriorate rapidly. Which means once a crab dies, it immediately starts to decompose. You can get extremely sick from eating a crab that has started to decompose. Read this article to find out why it’s a bad idea to eat dead crabs.

NEVER eat a crab that has died. Unless, of course, you killed it in the cooking process.

Pop Quiz:

Question: When is a good time to eat dead, raw crabs?

Answer: Never ever!

An important step in the catching crab process and one not to be over-looked is keeping the crabs alive.

The best way to keep your crabs alive while you are waiting to get your daily quota of crabs is to keep them in the ocean. If we are crabbing from a pier we bring a box trap to use as a holding box for the other crabs we caught using our star trap.

But we are usually crabbing from a boat.

After we sort our crabs, we immediately take them home for cooking. We have a cooler or ice chest that we fill with ocean water. We put enough to water to soak the crabs but not enough to cover them completely. Crabs will stay alive in the fresh, cool, salt water for an hour or more. The water must be kept cool though. On a hot day, replace the water from time to time with fresh sea water and put some ice in with the crabs.

If you are planning on catching your crab, then immediately taking them home for cooking (likewise from buying live crabs) then you can use an ice chest or bucket.

To keep crabs alive for a longer period of time some preparation need to be made. Use a crate as a temporary home for the crabs. Soak cheese cloth, burlap or an old sheet in water and cover the crate. Put ice on top of the cloth and replace the ice as it melts. Crabs will stay alive for a couple of days if kept cool. This is the method crab fishermen use when they are bringing in a huge catch.

Keep Crabs Alive
A guide to help you keep your crab alive long enough to make it to your kitchen.
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