Season's first red snow crab auction held in western Japan

The season's first auction of red snow crabs was held on Tuesday at a port in Kami Town in the western Japanese prefecture of Hyogo.

The official crab fishing season opened last Friday.

The auction of more than 24 tons of the crabs started at 6:30 a.m. The most expensive one sold for 500,000 yen, or about 3,400 dollars.

The town's port of Kasumi is the only one in the Kansai region engaged in red snow crab fishing.

The crab unloaded at the port is known for its freshness thanks to the area's original fishing method. Raw crabs are offered as sashimi or used in shabushabu, a one-pot dish.

The crabs are popular at local inns and restaurants in the Kansai region, including Osaka and Kyoto.

The head of a local crab fishing association says it was great that this year's fishing season kicked off as scheduled despite concerns over recent typhoons. He expressed hope that many people will come to the port and taste the delicacy.

Red snow crab fishing will continue in the area through May.