Basil’s on Market unaffected for now after Alaska cancels snow crab season

All-you-can-eat crab legs will continue on Friday nights at Basil’s on Market’s two Dayton-area locations despite Alaska officials canceling the upcoming winter snow crab season in the Bering Sea for the first time.

Co-owner Jeff Finkelstein told Dayton.com he was able to secure 10,000 pounds of snow crab last month and hopes it will last until the summer.

“As concerning as it is for us and our business, we’ll continue to move forward and try to give the best experience we can with all-you-can-eat crab legs,” Finkelstein said. “And just remember it’s for a limited time only and while supplies last. If you’re a crab lover or eater, you better get in there.”

Finkelstein announced earlier this month that the Friday night special was back after being gone for two years due to supply chain issues. He described the price of crab after the coronavirus pandemic as “astronomical” and expects prices to increase again with this news.

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“We will be in the same position we were before we secured what we secured,” Finkelstein said.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game also canceled the fall Bristol Bay red king crab season for the second year in a row.

According to an Oct. 10 story by Seattle Times reporter Hal Bernton, the closures reflect conservation concerns about both crab species in the aftermath of bleak summer population surveys.

“Management of Bering Sea snow crab must now focus on conservation and rebuilding given the conditions of the stock,” the department said in a statement announcing the snow crab cancellation.

The Seattle Times reported scientists are still researching the causes of the snow crab population collapse. They said the causes could include increased predation as well as stresses from the warmer water that caused crabs’ metabolisms to increase and could have led to starvation.

Finkelstein said he wasn’t shocked by the news because he had previously read market reports and knew the season had come up dry last year.

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“There’s nothing else out there,” Finkelstein said. “That’s really where all the crab in the world comes from on the snow crab side. If it’s not there, we’re not eating crab again for a while.”

The all-you-can-eat crab legs special at Basil’s on Market is $49.99 and includes two sides. Finkelstein said the average person typically eats two pounds of crab legs.

Basil’s on Market has two Dayton-area locations: 2729 Fairfield Commons Boulevard in Beavercreek and 18 N. Market Street in Troy.

Finkelstein said they are currently booking large parties for the holidays and encourage those interested to call now as space is running out.

For more information about Basil’s on Market, visit www.basilsonmarket.com.

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