The spider crab Maja brachydactyla is an important fisheries species in Europe. Adults were sampled in Ría de A Coruña (NW Spain) and transported to IRTA rearing facilities. Salinity and photoperiod changes and their effect on reproduction were tested in the laboratory. The number of newly hatched larvae per batch (presence of actively swimming newly hatched larvae in a broodstock tank) was counted and sampled to estimate dry weight and proximal composition. Keeping spider crab broodstock in a high salinity environment (38 ppt) significantly reduced the number of newly hatched larvae, reaching up to fivefold difference in winter. The number of newly hatched larvae produced under a natural photoperiod was 10-fold higher than those produced using a fixed photoperiod at 34 ppt salinity during winter. No clear pattern of changes in larval dry weight, protein, lipid or carbohydrate composition was observed under the environmental conditions tested. The results show that the salinity used for broodstock maintenance, especially during the embryonic development, is an important factor causing changes in larval production of M. brachydactyla and with potential implications for recruitment success.