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1.2kg snow crab in Japan auctions off for almost $90k, sets prefectural record

A 1.2kg snow crab auctioned off for 10 million yen (S$89,800) on Monday was the priciest ever sold in Hyogo prefecture in Japan.

The sale happened at Shinonsen town’s Hamasaka fishing port on its first auction day of the season. The buyer was Ryosuke Uemura, 47, who owns Ryouriya Uemura restaurant in Kobe.

Monday’s sale smashed Hyogo prefecture’s previous record of about 3.15 million yen in the town of Kami’s Shibayama harbour in 2022, according to the Hyogo Prefectural Government’s Tajima fisheries office, said Japanese news outlet The Mainichi.

“I wanted to get one on day one, no matter what. The crabs at the Hamasaka fishing port are high quality, and I want that to become better known. I would like to eat the snow crab with my restaurant’s patrons,” Mr Uemura was quoted as saying by The Mainichi.

Monday’s record-breaking crustacean was a matsuba-gani, meaning “pine needle crab”, supposedly reflecting the crab’s lengthy, slender limbs.

Matsuba-gani is a name given to male snow crabs captured off the Sanin area that extends along the south-west coast of the Japanese main island Honshu.

A matsuba-gani which fulfils specific conditions, such as being at least 1.2kg, is called Hamasaka-gani kiraboshi by the Japan Fisheries Cooperatives’ Hamasaka branch, said the Japanese media. Kiraboshi, when translated into English, means glittering stars.

In 2019, a snow crab was auctioned off in Tottori, Japan, for about five million yen, according to CNN. The male crab weighed about 1.2kg and was 14.6cm wide.

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