DUNGENESS CRAB SEASON SAN FRANCISCO

Dungeness Crab season SF is the most wonderful time of the year in Fisherman’s Wharf. The area is known for this specialty as the crab is some of the most delicate and delicious in the world. While there are many fun facts to learn about the city by the bay, we think Dungeness crab facts are some of the most interesting.

When is Dungeness Crab season?

In short, the season typically kicks off around November. While we can’t say when the Dungeness Crab season in San Francisco begins exactly, it is a delight that it happens. It begins during the holidays and lasts through the cold winter months. Fisherman’s Wharf is usually ablaze with fresh Dungeness crabs, available for Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas, which has become an important emotional attachment to many San Francisco residents. They have come to know and love the Dungeness crab season and associate it with the holidays.

Following the holiday crab, the wharf also has fresh Dungeness during the cold winter months when residents and visitors can enjoy a fun seasonal meal that cheers them up. The timing is perfect because the winter months are typically slower around the wharf and Dungeness crab season in San Francisco attracts more visitors when they need it most.

When does Dungeness Crab season end?

Good question. Just the thought of it makes us a bit sad and miss our fresh local crustaceans. But luckily, the crab season is long enough that by the end of the season you will most likely have had your fill of all the crab you crave. However, Dungeness crab season typically ends in June.

What marks the start of the Dungeness crab season in San Francisco?

Sometimes, the Dungeness crab season (Bay Area and surrounding region) opening gets pushed back for a variety of reasons. Just like what happened for Dungeness crab season 2021. Right when we needed it most. Last year the mid-November debut was pushed far past all the way into mid-January. This delay was due first to the concern over endangered whales in fishing zones. After that delay passed, the season opener was further delayed due to fierce negotiations between wholesale buyers and fishers. These two parties must agree on what they will buy and sell the crab for before the season can start. Of course, fishers want the highest price while wholesale buyers want crab for as inexpensive as they can get. Once they finally agreed on a price, bad timing hit again (so it goes in the 2020s) and there were large ocean swells that made it difficult to fish. Understandably, crab lovers have gotten very frustrated due to wrong prediction after the wrong prediction of when their beloved crab will arrive.

One would think that after so many delays, the ocean would be full of Dungeness Crab since they have not been caught for months. However, the natural cycle does not follow that logic and there are not many Dungeness crabs. Limited supply coupled with delayed season means – you guessed it – high demand from crab lovers. Unfortunately, this was a low crab year to begin with. Another factor contributing to the lack of supply was the large fire that tragically hit pier 45 in the summer of 2020. The fire sadly destroyed much of the local crabbing nets and tools needed to catch crab. And that equipment is quite expensive and cannot simply be repurchased at a whim, which impacted the business of commercial crabbing in California.

The advice from people in the know is to buy up the crab as soon as you can because the cost is likely to go up after the first release. The price at the dock started at $3 per pound, which the stores double for the average person at $6 per pound. With high demand, it looks like the prices will go up very soon and this crab fishing industry trend is set to continue for the upcoming years. Dungeness crab season in California typically lines up the same way as the crab season in San Francisco.

The (extremely) good news is, with fewer crabs you end up with the meaty, heavy crabs. Exactly what we all drool over. This is because when there are not a lot of crabs, they have plenty of food in the water, and therefore more of them end up well-fed, and thus meaty. This meatiness makes for the best Dungeness crab in San Francisco.

Another piece of good news? Even if it’s not Dungeness crab season in San Francisco, the restaurants in Fisherman’s Wharf still serve delicious Dungeness crab dishes year-round and are open for service and ready to serve the crab-loving public.

If you’re wondering about the difference between Dungeness crab and other crabs, so you know why Dungeness is the best (yes, we’re biased) then you can read this article here next.