The Impact of the Snow Crab Price Increase in Quebec
Bad news for Quebecers who love seafood—this year, the price of snow crab has risen dramatically. There is a growing demand for the delicacy across the globe, and Quebecers are paying the price.
The rising costs are affecting many sectors, particularly restaurants. Some establishments are finding that they simply can no longer offer snow crab on their menu.
In this article, Vieux Loup de Mer explains everything you need to know about the rising price of snow crab and its consequences for Quebecers.
Skyrocketing snow crab prices
This year, snow crab will be less accessible to consumers than ever— its price has increased by 20 to 30%, depending on the region. This is due, at least in part, to inflation and the consequences of the crisis in Ukraine.
In Montreal, the price per pound of cooked crab rose from $26 last year to $38 this year, an increase of nearly 32%. In the Gaspé and the Rimouski regions, the increase is smaller but still significant—the price per pound of cooked crab has gone from $22 to nearly $30. Similarly, live crab has gone from $9 to $15.50.
The factors influencing the cost of snow crab in Quebec
The current increase in snow crab prices in Quebec is due to a number of factors. The crisis stems from a combination of problems ranging from local to international in scale.
First of all, the significant inflation that Quebec is currently experiencing logically entails an increase in the price of snow crab. Nor is crab the only fishery resource that has shot up in price—lobster and scallops are in the same boat.
Furthermore, the crisis in Ukraine and the resulting sanctions imposed on Russia affect the sale of Russian crab, which supplied a significant proportion of the American market. As a result, Americans are turning to Quebec crab, increasing demand and sending prices skyrocketing.
The cost of exporting crab is reflected in its price, particularly for Quebecers. Snow crab exports have doubled in 3 years, from $122 million in 2019 to $237 million in 2022, according to the Government of Quebec.
Finally, fewer snow crabs were caught this year than in 2021, putting even more pressure on the market.
Quebec crab consumption affected by the price hike
This puts Quebecers in a difficult position. They are victims of the increase in exports and their cost, which affects the price of all crab, even if it’s sourced locally.
Quebecers are stuck watching the price of crab rise without being able to do anything about it. Even though they live near the area where the crab is caught, the price is the same for everyone.
As a player in the region’s tourism sector, Vieux Loup de Mer and its chalets in the Bic will also be affected by the rising cost of snow crab in Quebec.
Both businesses and individuals affected
The increase in snow crab prices is affecting restaurants and individuals alike. Many restaurants may end up needing to take snow crab off the menu entirely. In addition to it becoming financially impractical for them, what’s the point of offering consumers a product that they can’t afford?
For households, the problem is even worse because they don’t benefit from the advantageous prices offered to restaurants. The sad truth is that despite the high inflation in Quebec, households aren’t seeing a corresponding increase in their purchasing power. The end result will be fewer Quebecers buying crab, which will now be considered almost a luxury product.
A disincentive for regional tourism?
The Gaspé Peninsula and the Bas Saint-Laurent are parts of Quebec that normally attract many tourists. Apart from all the places and activities to discover in the Rimouski region, the local cuisine is another driving factor for tourism.
With the price of seafood increasing at restaurants in Rimouski and the surrounding area, the number of tourists visiting the region may drop this year.
Reservations for chalets to rent in Rimouski may even be impacted by what could be called the “crab crisis”. And Quebecers will be the first to feel the pinch.