A snow crab fetched 800,000 yen ($7,050) at a fishing port auction in Fukui Prefecture on Saturday, as the fishing season began the same day in the Sea of Japan for the winter delicacy.

The price was a record for a prime male crab marketed by the prefectural government under the "Kiwami" brand. The successful bidder, a local restaurant owner, said he purchased the crab so he could welcome customers with his "head held high."

Toshiaki Nakamura holds a snow crab after successfully bidding on it for 800,000 yen in the town of Echizen, Fukui Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan coast on Nov. 6, 2021. (Kyodo)

"The novel coronavirus (pandemic) has finally settled down," Toshiaki Nakamura said in the town of Echizen. "I want people to know that restaurants are doing OK."

Since 2015, Fukui authorities have been selling a tiny portion of locally caught snow crabs as Kiwami, after carefully selecting the crustaceans that meet criteria for the brand, including weight and a symmetric appearance.

In the year ended in March, 67 snow crabs, or 0.04 percent of the total catch, were certified as Kiwami crabs.