Giant red king crabs from Russia which can grow up to 6ft appear in British waters

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The super-sized sea creatures have been showing up off the Yorkshire coast, where they’ve prompted feelings of both fear and joy among fishermen

There are fears the monsters might chomp up all of the scallops and brown crabs in UK waters (file image)
There are fears the monsters might chomp up all of the scallops and brown crabs in UK waters (file image)

Britain is being invaded by giant red king crabs from Russia, which can grow close to 6ft across and weigh up to 28lbs.

The super-sized sea creatures have been showing up off the Yorkshire coast, where they’ve prompted feelings of both fear and joy among fishermen.

The variety of crab has a hard upper shell and can measure a huge 11 inches across the body.

While the sweet-fleshed species’ popularity with chefs means they are a lucrative catch for fishermen, there are also fears the monsters might chomp up all of the scallops and brown crabs.

One fisherman told the SunOnline : “I’m really excited, but worried about our native seafood.”

Giant king crabs can measure a whopping 11 inches across the body (file image)
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Image:

Alamy Stock Photo)

Giant red king crabs are native to North America, though scientists introduced them to Russia in the 1960s and they thrived in the Arctic Ocean.

They soon exploded in numbers, with fishermen benefiting financially from their adundance.

The huge crabs then traveled to Norway, where they sparked another fishing boom.

Most recently, the crabs have been found in UK waters where, apart from the odd one fished up in recent years, they have never been seen in significant numbers.

Fish supplier Shaun Henderson, who sells to more than 80 restaurants, said one of his fishermen pulled up 40st of king crabs off Bridlington, East Yorks this week.

Giant red king crabs are native to North America (file image)
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Image:

Alamy Stock Photo)

It was the first time anyone in his family had caught a king crab, he said, despite them having fished in the area for two generations.

While he was excited about the new catch, he was also “wary”, he said, due to how invasive the species seemed.

The giant crabs appeared to be eating both the scallops and the brown crabs, which made Mr Henderson worry about seafood native to the UK.

He said king crabs had made fishermen a lot of money in Norway, but had simultaneously depleted the populations of other sea creatures.

While Will Murray, head chef at Fallow restaurant in St James’s Market, central London, has bought some of the crabs, he said he has “mixed feelings” about their appearance in the UK.

While he described the giant crabs as a “premium” ingredient that accounted for some of the best seafood in the world, he noted there were possibly negative implications of their appearance.

“We’re excited, but a bit terrified, as they are invaders and could kill our brown crabs,” he said.

He said the species could be the next gray squirrel, but at least they were easy to cook and enjoyable to eat.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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