The mystery of the vanishing Cromer crab

It’s not just the blue shark that is an endangered species, the crustaceous Cromer crab is in danger of fast disappearing too.

Nobody knows why supplies have halved over the last three years, with traders reporting their worst season for 30 years. Some wonder if the seas have been over fished, whether the blame lies with increase in the voracious velvet crabs which could have been taking all the food stocks.

Ian, like me, is a lover of North Norfolk and feasting on Cromer crabs is a treat I always look forward to. Cromer and crabs go together like Newmarket and its scrummy sausages, like Melton Mowbray and  pork pies, the two are inextricably linked, it’s a crucial part of the town’s identity and impossible to imagine not tucking into this seafood delight during my summer visit there.

I’m wondering if it is linked to the environment, the shallow waters becoming warmer, making it a haven for the fiercer velvet crab which attacks the brown edible Cromer ones when they are at their most vulnerable during the moulting season. It seems there is no shortage of these red edible crabs off the Yorkshire and Devon coasts, but I’m sure they don’t taste the same there ….


  1. Bryan, of course you did, silly me, I confused you with a previous comment.It’s because I’m reading tiny typeface on my tiny Sony Vaio without my specs instead on working on my usual desktop.

    I used to live in King’s Lynn so I know the area really well, even wrote a holiday guide about it, so I regard myself as a local rather than a tourist. I now wish I had bought a retreat there many moons ago when I had the chance.

    I hope the crab stocks manage to replenish themself so you can enjoy tucking into them again.

    P.S. Peter from Putney, I tend not to eat at the Hoste Arms because I agree it is overpriced, but I like sitting in their coffee lounge and “people watching”. Plus, the ladies loos there are amazing since their refurbishment earlier this year.

  2. Peter, I did say that the Lord Nelson was my favourite pub in that area so I’m not surprised at its top ranking, the BBQs are particularly excellent, and I adore the relics in the bar. I just love the Nelson story and am going to make it the theme of my next Toastmaster speech which will entitled: “Lord Nelson, my hero”. He was such an inspiring person and leader for many reasons.

    I bought the most beautiful book of North Norfolk this summer called Eleements of the North Norfolk Coast, it is absolutely stunning, by David North and Martin Hayward Smith, I highly recommend it for its fabulous photography and graphic write up of the area.

    Bryan, you have probably seen this book, I bought it from the book shop in Burnham Market. I love Stiffkey too, I’m sure you know all about its defrocked vicar who was killed by a lion after he joined a circus too, tried to save London’s prostitutes from a life of destituion. I heard about it when I was a reporter in Wisbech and the tiger skin from the circus animal, which was later killed, came up for auction in the town. He was an incredible person. I love walking in Norfolk. So nice to hear from you, glad you enjoyed the scallops.

  3. Alas, it is my fault. I live in Stiffkey and I ate them all.

  4. peter from putney


    O/T I know, but just to thank you for your restaurant tips in North Norfolk.
    We had a wonderful stay in Brancaster and on a scale of 1-10 we awarded marks as follows:

    The Nelson

    9/10 Great atmosphere, excellent food.

    The White Horse
    8/10 Very good food, but a little anonymous and “canteeny”

    The Hoste Arms
    7/10 Somewhat unfriendly welcome, good food, but expensive (i.e.West End prices)

  5. Mmmmmm i agree scallops are delicous! I don’t know too much about this variety of crab, i wonder if we have them here? Must do some investigating…….

  6. Icedink, You make me want to jump in the car and head straight off to North Norfolk and tuck into crab sarnies.Scallops are gorgeous too, my favourite to date have been eaten in the Highlands and caught in the local loch.

  7. Yes, absolutely scrummy. Best eaten seated at a table with a cloth, off white china and with brown bread and butter and a pot of tea. One of the all-time great meals. Don’t mind scallops – Stiffkey Blues, for instance – but can’t bear anything else in shells (lobster excepted). Let’s hear it for food blogging.


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