The rise of the offshore lobster fishing industry in the mid 1970’s presented an opportunity to develop an underutilized species of crab located in the depths off of the Continental Shelf - Jonah Crab. Tom Livingston, the founder of New England Crab Company (NECC), spent two years working aboard the F/V Sea Fever and experienced first hand the abundance of Jonah Crab being caught as a bycatch and thrown overboard because there was no market for this type of crab.
In September of 1987, Tom founded NECC and set up operations in Gloucester, MA with 5 employees. His idea was to process live Jonah Crabs in an unconventional manner - to eliminate the greatest problem involved in the Blue Crab industry: “shell fragments” in the ready-to-eat products. He developed the present production system, utilizing compressed air to extract the leg meat rather than the traditional process of cracking the shell with a hammer and separating the meat from the numerous shell fragments. He presented the concept and a sample of the product to several large restaurant chains, and after approval, the new business was underway. Another production innovation developed by NECC involved specialized claw cutting equipment to produce claw and knuckle meat without shell fragments. As the business grew, NECC was able to add additional suppliers and build the trust of additional fishermen to insure a steady supply of Jonah Crabs. This transformed a seasonal business into a full time, year round operation.
As the business grew and mandated processing requirements evolved, the need for a larger and fully refrigerated facility resulted in the 1994 move to the New Boston Food Market. The presence in Boston gave NECC greater access to the ports of Sandwich, Hyannis, Fairhaven, New Bedford, Newport and Point Judith where the majority of Jonah Crabs are landed in the U.S. as well as to the important customer base in Boston. Direct access to Logan Airport enabled NECC's expansion of the “fresh” business beyond the local market and into a national arena.
In the mid-1990's, New England Crab Company was purchased by Evercel, Inc. and operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary. Between this time and early 2014, the ready-to-eat product portfolio was expanded and the customer base grew to include wholesalers, large retailers and large restaurant chains in both North America and Europe.
In early 2014, New England Crab Company was acquired by Peter and Laura Foley Ramsden, who are also the fourth generation owners of Foley Fish, a well regarded seafood processor established in 1906. Since then, New England Crab Company has enhanced its management team, expanded its quality assurance capabilities, invested in equipment (which has increased production capacity) and completed two successful NSF third party audits. Going forward, NECC is committed to upholding its tradition of innovation, superior product quality, strong customer service and good value.