I called up one of my favorite seafood distributors in Hokkaido in an attempt to order a 2 kg steamed Taraba Gani, Japanese king crab, when the lady on the other end of the phone said " dead!" "Dead what?" I retorted. Apparently, most all king crabs died this season due to unusually warm summer waters of 2010, which raised hypoxia deaths; crabs, shells, and other exotic sea life have all succumbed to lack of oxygen. Warmer waters mean less oxygen, which make it almost impossible for crabs live, let alone lay eggs.
I used to think this was a problem only in North America like with the waters off Oregon's coast which have been experiencing low-oxygen conditions for the seventh consecutive year since 2004, but I was wrong. Japan's most prized winter delicacy has been severely effected. Crabs are now being harvested half way between dead and alive and are being boiled right there on the fishing boat before it reaches market. No more live steamed crabs this year! Luckily for me, I was able to get my money refunded back to me.
No more succulent juicy tender loving picks of this majestic and beautiful crab. What a pity! I guess I can focus on more sea urchin this time.