You can only take the boys when out hunting for Dungeness crab. Explains Lori French, whose family fishes for Dungeness and who is also the founder of the website FacesofCaliforniaFishing.com), there are three basic rules to follow in harvest that keep sustainability on track: size, sex and season.
These crabs are a top choice for sustainable seafood in Southern California, when they are in season, which lasts from November 15 to June 30. By removing only the large males, the smaller males do the mating and the fishermen are then making room for future generations of crab. And while most crabs at market are around two pounds and must be at least 61⁄4 inches across to be harvested, Dungeness crabs can grow up to nine inches and can weigh over three pounds in total. With a relatively short lifespan of 4–5 years, these guys grow pretty fast, and live be-tween Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and California’s Point Conception, near Santa Barbara.
By Linzy May Mahoney
Much like lobsters, crabs can be tossed, live, into a boiling pot of water for about 15 minutes for you to end up with sweet, tender meat that can easily turn into a deliciously simple meal, with a touch of butter and a squeeze of lemon—although, dips, soups, curries and, of course, crab cakes are some of the many avenues you can go down with these big guys. Winter kicks off their harvest, making it a perfect time to pick them up at the market.