The fishing season of “zuwaigani” snow crabs launches in the early morning of Nov. 6 along the Sea of Japan coast. (Video footage by Takaharu Yagi)

TOYOOKA, Hyogo Prefecture--Seafood lovers were licking their lips on Nov. 6 as the “zuwaigani” snow crab season started in ceremonious style along the Sea of Japan coast from Toyama Prefecture to Shimane Prefecture.

Thirteen boats set sail from Tsuiyama port here on the night of Nov. 5, taking around 90 minutes to reach the prime snow crab spot. On the stroke of midnight, they dropped their trawling nets into the sea simultaneously.

Tons of the brownish-red crustaceans were brought to the surface when the nets were lifted about an hour later.

The fishermen sorted their haul out quickly based on shell size and sex, before lowering the next set of nets into the sea.

The shellfish, a seasonal delicacy, will be sold in the first auction of the season, where they will be snapped up by local hotels, department stores and other businesses.

Trawling for male snow crabs will continue through March 20, 2018, while females will be caught until the end of December this year.