A joint venture between Massachusetts-based Atlantic Red Crab Company and Virginia-based L.D. Armory Co., Inc., and Graham & Rollins, Inc. is spawning an expansion of Virginia’s seafood industry by bringing Atlantic Deep Sea Red Crabs to the Commonwealth via the Port of Hampton Virginia.
Gov. Bob McDonnell said, "From Hong Kong to Paris to right here at home, Virginia
has long been known for having some of the highest quality seafood products in the world. The harvesting of deep sea red crabs off the coast will enhance our already sterling reputation and provide more outstanding seafood choices for our citizens. Just as important, the new partnership between Atlantic Red Crab, L.D. Armory, and Graham & Rollins will provide more economic opportunities now and in the future.”
Atlantic Red Crab Company is based in New Bedford, Massachusetts and operates a fleet of four vessels that land between four and five million pounds of Atlantic deep sea red crab on an annual basis. According to the companies, the Hannah Boden will be delivering approximately 10,000 pounds of Atlantic deep sea red crabs on a weekly basis starting in July when the vessel relocates to Hampton, Virginia.
Prior to starting the business venture, the Virginia companies and Atlantic Red Crab worked with Virginia Tech's Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Virginia Sea Grant on various scientific and economic issues related to quality of the crabs and feasibility of operations.
Atlantic deep sea red crabs, certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, are harvested off the coast between the Canadian border and North Carolina at a depth of 2,000 feet where the water temperature remains constant at approximately 38 degrees Fahrenheit. The crabs, which are harvested year-round and managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service under a quota system, are known for their sweet tasting white meat and bright orange shell. Average size range between 5 and 7 inches across the back of the shell and they weigh between and 1 and 2 pounds at harvest maturity. The crabs will be delivered dockside live and will be available to consumers at Graham & Rollins Seafood Market in Hampton.