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Aug 29, 2012 05:34 PM

Is it possible to keep crabs alive on an airplane?

I just moved to Arizona and met many people who have never had Dungeness crab, so I thought I'd bring some back from SF during crab season. Any advice on how to pack and keep them alive for the 6-hr trip? TIA.

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  1. the cargo hold generally doesn't freeze, just gets really cold at that altitude. it'd be like chucking them in the fridge for 6 hours. they'll get sluggish and dormant, but that's about it - remember their natural habitat is icy cold water. still I'd ask the vendor for advice, I'm sure they've answered it before. I took fresh (but already dead) Dungeness to PHX once (granted it was a direct OAK - PHX flight) and it was fine the next day.

    1. Packed in checked baggage with seaweed in a hard- wall cooler with a few small ice packs will be OK.

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        1. +1 Veggo's advice.

          And if no seaweed, use wet strips of newspaper. Do NOT submerge them in water. The crabs need just enough moisture to keep their gills wet so they can get oxygen from the air. If they are submerged, they will quickly use up all the oxygen in the water and then they will suffocate. Enjoy your crabs. Your friends are lucky.

          1. Where in Arizona? I find it hard to believe that you can't find live dungeness crab in a larger Asian market.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ferret

              Yeah, but the experience is not comparable. There is a difference between live (caught in the past day or two) versus live (caught weeks ago and stuck in a tank). The meat on the former is firmer, sweeter and much tastier, in large part because I think the crab in a tank literally starts to lose muscle mass due to the inactivity.

              Just like there is a difference between the crabs you get when you go on one of those fishing charters versus what you buy at a Ranch 99 in the bay area.