Local Catch Pairing: Petrale Sole and Dungeness Crab

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“A dungeness crab and a petrale sole crawl and swim into a bar….” 

Actually, BOTH dungeness crab and petrale sole will be in your share this week. Each bag includes a dungeness crab AND fillet of petrale or small whole petrale depending on whether or not you have a fillet preference or whole fish preference…either way it sounds like the base of aciopinno to me! 

As we move from “crab season” to “salmon season” there is a great story to tell about how they are related and how they depend on each other. This time of year adult female dungeness crab lay eggs that produce tiny crab larvae that float around freely for 125 days with the ocean currents. 

At the same time baby salmon (less than a year old) are transitioning from living in rivers to the open ocean. They feed along the coast until they are ready to enter the open ocean. While they are maturing these baby salmon sometimes fall prey to adult dungeness crabs. Ironically, juvenile salmon (1-2 years old) feed on the crab larvae before they make their extensive journey through the Pacific. 

The ocean events that drive this cycle are called upwelling, when strong Northwest winds bring cold nutrient rich water up from the bottom of the ocean, and relaxation events, when the upwelling stops, allowing nutrients to settle. Essentially it is an elevator full of food for ocean critters. Both juvenile salmon and juvenile dungeness crab rely heavily on upwelling dynamics to eat, and be eaten. For juvenile salmon, dungeness crab larvae represent one of the top four food sources. Crabs eating salmon, salmon eating crabs; Its a cruel ocean out there, but one that helps support both populations!

And for those that want to finish the joke I started at the beginning of this newsletter I’m taking suggestions – If Jiri and/or Greg find it funny I’ll throw a $5 credit your way :)

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