Dungeness Crab Management

Although there is no set quota on Dungeness crab they are managed through permits, pot limits and time and area closures.  In addition, only male Dungeness crabs are allowed to be landed.      These male Dungeness crabs must be at a minimum of 6 1/4” in shell length.  Dungeness crabs are commercially caught in Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington.  Each state has an open season throughout the year.    In Washington alone, the demand for Dungeness crab has shown data from 1981 with a landing of 2.5 million pounds to a high of 25 million pounds in 2004-05.

Dungeness crab supply varies throughout the season and is affected by water temperatures, food availability, and ocean currents.  When supply is low this drives the cost of Dungeness crab to historic highs.  Take this year for an example.  California crab fishermen are getting $8-$10 per pound for their catch compared to $3-$5 this time last year.  This high cost unfortunately is passed onto the pricing set in nearby fish markets.  The best time of year to purchase Dungeness crab is typically a week after the season begins when Dungeness crab is plentiful.

For more information on harvesting methods and crabbing regulations, click here: general Dungeness Crab information.

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