I’m no sailor, by any wild stretch of the creativeness. Earnest Shackleton I definitely am not. However regardless of my lack of sturdy sea legs, I’m a glutton for punishment – particularly when there’s an honest story and a hearty meal to be discovered on the finish of it.  

So, clad in thermals, waterproofs and metal toecap Wellington boots, I swallowed down a pair of anti-seasickness tablets and determined that a day spent on a 33 foot fishing boat, tumbling round on Norway’s Arctic Ocean, was a possibility I actually couldn’t cross up. 

Initially from Surrey, the boat’s skipper, Jonathan, has been catching king crab within the frigid waters surrounding Norway’s northernmost metropolis, Honningsvåg, for 9 years. Vacationers can be a part of him on journeys out to sea, across the North Cape – the northernmost tip of Europe – however maybe probably the most fascinating expertise is available in merely seeing how his industrial fishing enterprise is, in a tiny means, serving to enhance the delicate native marine ecosystem.  

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“King crab have been introduced right here as an experiment,” Jonathan informed me, as we crashed over icy waves. “However now we now have to try to cease them from going additional south. We have now a duty to guard the marine atmosphere.”

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The northern lights above Hamnoya, a fishing village within the Lofoten Islands

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Reine Village, within the Lofoten Islands, Norway

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The soccer pitch at Henningsvaer is likely one of the world’s most distant

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Henningsvaer, a fishing port within the Lofoten Islands

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The northern lights above Hamnoya, a fishing village within the Lofoten Islands

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Reine Village, within the Lofoten Islands, Norway

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Henningsvaer, inhabitants 500, within the Lofoten Islands

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The view from Reinebringen, a mountain within the Lofoten Islands

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Henningsvaer, inhabitants 500, within the Lofoten Islands

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Henningsvaer, a fishing port within the Lofoten Islands

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The northern lights above Hamnoya, a fishing village within the Lofoten Islands

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Reine Village, within the Lofoten Islands, Norway

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The soccer pitch at Henningsvaer is likely one of the world’s most distant

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Henningsvaer, a fishing port within the Lofoten Islands

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The northern lights above Hamnoya, a fishing village within the Lofoten Islands

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Reine Village, within the Lofoten Islands, Norway

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Henningsvaer, inhabitants 500, within the Lofoten Islands

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The view from Reinebringen, a mountain within the Lofoten Islands

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Henningsvaer, inhabitants 500, within the Lofoten Islands

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Henningsvaer, a fishing port within the Lofoten Islands

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Soviet scientists launched king crabs to this polar area within the 1960s, within the hope of offering a meals supply to the human populations residing on this frozen nook of the planet. They began out within the Murmansk Fjord, a number of hundred miles to the east in Russian waters, however over the course of half a century they marched westwards, and reproduced of their thousands and thousands – destroying virtually each different residing factor of their path.   

Simon tenting in wild northern Norway (Simon Parker)

We’re used to listening to tales of overfishing – however within the case of the king crab, an invasive, ravenous predator, Norwegian fishermen have been given an open quota to drag up all they will. “We will fish as a lot as we would like, every time we would like,” stated Jonathan, as we began to reel in his nets from 700 toes beneath us. “We eat about 50 per cent right here in Norway, and the remainder goes abroad.”

Because the nets broke the floor, we have been met by alien creatures from the deep. With quick, spiky spines, six tentacle-like legs and two muscular entrance pincers, they resembled no animal I’d ever seen earlier than. 

In distinction to every little thing else discovered on the seabed, king crabs are huge, they usually rule with a regal, iron claw. Some fully-grown adults can sport six foot-wide leg spans and weigh in at properly over 10 kilograms. Urchins, snails, mussels and clams are sitting geese for these voracious creatures, however fortunately people have developed an urge for food for these delectable predators.

King crab can weigh over 10kg every

“We get about £20 per kilo at wholesale fee,” stated Jonathan, as we rigorously positioned the crabs right into a holding tank of water. “However by the point they make it to the eating places of Seoul in South Korea, that worth can rocket to over £250 per kilo. In Asia, they actually love them.” 

The a whole bunch of crabs that Jonathan can pull up every day are simply the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands and thousands of those invaders and vacationers can’t eat them fast sufficient. Nevertheless in an period when many people are embracing a flexitarian weight loss program – ditching meat completely and solely consuming seafood infrequently, maybe we must always take into account consuming invasive species like these, as an alternative of relying upon industrial farming and aquaculture?

Simon Parker biking throughout Scandinavia (Simon Parker)

Again within the harbour, Jonathan boiled up a few crabs and cracked open their nobbly legs. Inside, a succulent and nutritious pink meat unleashed thick steam into the cool Arctic air. It was, no doubt, higher than any lobster I’ve ever tasted. Guilt(ish) free protein, present in super-sustainable abundance, on the excessive north of Europe.  

Earth Cycle is now being broadcast on TV channel, Collectively – on Sky (194) Freeview (89) Freesat (164) and Virgin (269) plus Finnair and Emirates. The present charts a 2,000 mile journey biking and wild tenting expedition the size of Norway and Sweden. 

In episode one, Simon Parker, the present’s presenter, heads out into the open Arctic Ocean, earlier than feasting upon invasive king crabs that have been launched by Soviet scientists.