Crabbing is a great activity with kids (or without), and more than this, you can get an amazing free meal as a reward at the end of the day.
The poor old lobster and crab are two creatures which are still boiled alive. A study in 2013 found that (contrary to earlier beliefs), crabs and lobster do experience pain. Don’t just dump your crab alive in boiling water…. there’s a humane way to kill them where you’ll minimise pain and discomfort for them. The eat GUILT FREE!
There are two ways to humanely kill crab; by electrical stunning or by chilling and slipping a knife through their two main nerve centres. We’re not recommending you attach jump leads to the car battery and give them 12 volts of a Focus’s finest (although it’s a thought) but using the chilling and spiking method.
Chilling crabs (lobster and crayfish) anaesthetises them, so when you kill them they don’t experience pain. If you’re taking your crabs home or to a campsite with a freezer, pop the crab inside the freezer for ten minutes.
When picking up crabs, grab the from the bottom to avoid their pincers. Yes, if you get nipped it hurts (it it will entertain the children as they watch).
If you aren’t near a freezer during the day, take a cool box with you loaded with ice (you can also buy the ice from a supermarket on the way to the beach) and leave it in the boot of your car. After catching the crab, pop them in the cool box while you head back to the campsite. After you chill crab (or lobster) right down (ideally for 20 minutes), then you need to spike them. This is ideal for larger crabs. The following video shows you how.
The key is to sever both nerve centres within 10 seconds. With smaller crabs, once chilled, quickly pop the shell off by grabbing the legs down one side and prising the top shell away. Pull off the mandibles and face, remove the girls (dead man’s fingers), then flip over and towards the bottom of the shell you’ll find a plate which lifts. Tear this plate away too. Rinse in water and you have a dead and dressed crab ready to cook!