The Humpback (also called King) shrimp (Pandalus hypsinotus) is characterized by a distinctive mottling on its abdomen and derives its name from the arched shape of its carapace. While typically four to six inches in length, the larger females may reach seven or more inches. The Humpback occurs in the Bering Sea, from the Aleutian Islands to Puget Sound, and in the Ohkotsk Sea as far south as the Korea Strait.
Breeding occurs in the fall with the females carrying the fertilized eggs under their tails on small abdominal appendages called pleopods or swimmerettes, until the eggs hatch in early spring. The young shrimp spend their first year in shallow bays and inlets where their feed sources are more abundant. Protandrous hermaphrodites, the Humpback shrimp typically attain maturity as males at two years of age and then transform into females for the balance of their three to four year life span.
Humpback shrimp are harvested in a small artisanal trap fishery conducted in Prince Rupert Harbour and as bycatch in the directed B.C. spot prawn trap fishery.
A carnivorous shrimp, the Humpback feeds on crustaceans and polychaete (marine bristle) worms. Acknowledged as the finest eating shrimp of all six species, the Humpback shrimp are available as frozen at sea tails in brine-filled tubs.