Open Season on Fukui’s Flavour of Winter “Echizen-gani”

Open Season on Fukui’s Flavour of Winter “Echizen-gani”

Fishing for Zuwai-gani and Seiko-gani

From 0:00 a.m. of November 6, fishing season opened for Fukui’s flavour of winter “Echizen-gani” (snow crabs). On the fishing harbour of Fukui Prefecture’s Echizen Town of that morning, freshly caught Zuwai-gani (male snow crabs) and Seiko-gani (female snow crabs) are hauled from the sea, one after another.

In anticipation for the time the harbour opens the snow crab fishing season, over the period of 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. of November 5, forty-nine deep sea fishing boats, affiliated with the Echizen Town Fishery Cooperative Assocation, set out for the sea. From approximately 9:10 a.m. of the next day, the boats began returning to port.

As part of the Act on Protection of the Names of Specific Agricultural, Forestry, and Fishery Products and Foodstuffs, the Geographical Indication (GI) protection system has the Echizen-gani registered this year, for the second year. As fishermen quickly graded each crab, they attached a yellow tag that included the GI insignia.

Tadahiro Kurazaki (aged 60), the shipmaster of the Tenryumaru, which returned to port at around 9:30 a.m., said, “Compared to the first day of the fishing season last year, which didn’t have good weather, we were able to haul in a big catch this year.”

From 4:00 p.m., the Fishery Association hosts the first wholesale market for snow crabs for the year. Last year, the Zuwai-gani that have been certified with “Kiwami”, Fukui Prefecture’s highest grade, were priced at ¥350,000 during that year’s first wholesale market. During 2017, the association had the crabs priced at ¥460,000, the highest it has been in the prefecture.