HomeEntertainment‘Deadliest Catch’: Why the ‘Bairdi’ Type of Crab is ‘Elusive’ to the Crews

‘Deadliest Catch’: Why the ‘Bairdi’ Type of Crab is ‘Elusive’ to the Crews

by Amy Myers
(Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

Deadliest Catch becomes a game of hard-to-catch with these sea creatures. According to the show, bairdi (pronounced bare-i-die) crabs, or tanner crabs, are one of the hardest species to catch in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska. Crews hunt for these elusive crustaceans as they tend to bring in bigger bucks back onshore. Whenever they do manage to find a batch, there’s always a celebration that follows.

Still, some Deadliest Catch fans wonder why exactly the bairdi crab is such a prized find, especially compared to the very similar species, opilio crab (more commonly known as snow crab). The two types of crustaceans look almost identical, yet the bairdi are always worth much more. Fans took to the show’s Reddit forum to discuss the possibilities for the price difference and why the catch is so “elusive” to crews.

“Just the scarcity in numbers,” one Deadliest Catch watcher hypothesized. “Bairdi are more scarce than Opilio.”

The Reddit user is partially correct. Bairdi crabs are harder to find, so the market tends to offer fewer of them. As Fortune Fish & Gourmet explained, tanner crabs can be found at depths of 36 to 340 meters off the coast of Alaska, so finding those bairdi sweet spots can be a challenge.

Bairdi crabs also have a lower quota than snow crabs, meaning fishermen can’t catch as many tanner crabs as they can snow crabs. However, the scarcity and quota of the sea creature aren’t the only reasons why the stars of Deadliest Catch have deemed the tanner crabs elusive.

Watch Deadliest Catch Crew Strike Gold with Bairdi Find

Not only are tanner crabs harder to find than snow crabs, but they’re also larger in size and yield more meat, too. While snow crabs tend to be between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds, tanner crabs can reach three to five pounds. Meanwhile, an opilio crab equates to about 17 percent of marketable meat, while the bairdi tend to supply 20 percent. Not to mention, crustacean connoisseurs consider bairdis the best tasting crabs.

With all of its remarkable and marketable qualities, it’s no wonder the Deadliest Catch crew are so adamant about finding tanner crabs.

On a previous episode of Deadliest Catch, Captain Monte Colburn and The Wizard crew just happened to hit the jackpot while on the icy waters off the coast of Alaska.

Once the crew realized what was in their traps, no one could hide their excitement.

“That was better than the king crab trip dollar-wise,” Colburn called from the upper deck. “Because of the rates, you’ll be happy. I’m telling ya.”

“Nice to see paradise still exists,” deck boss Gary Soper said. “I was beginning to wonder.”

Watch the crew haul in traps of tanner crabs here.