When is Dungeness Crab Season in San Francisco?
In San Francisco, Dungeness crab, also known as the King of the West Coast, is our largest fishing industry and the one most closely followed by locals. San Franciscan’s await news of the opening of Dungeness crab season every holiday. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year, crab is the traditional holiday meal for many Bay Area folks.
When will crab season open? Generally commercial crab season opens mid-November and runs through June, but conditions vary each year.
In the summer months, tourists who visit San Francisco are surprised to hear that fresh crab may not be available. You may still see Dungeness on the menu, so check with the locals (like everyone at Frank’s Fisherman) on Fisherman’s Wharf to see if crab is in season.
Locating Sustainable Seafood in the Bay Area
We believe in sustainable seafood and supporting our local seafood workers. Sustainable Fisheries UW is a great resource for locating small seafood businesses on a global scale.
California takes great pride in protecting its coastal waters and habitat. Commercial crab fishing is no exception and strictly regulated. If you want to get your hands on locally-caught Dungeness, keep our tips in mind.
● When eating out, we recommend asking if crab is local. Your server or chef will be able to tell you.
● If you’re grocery shopping, it’s also a good idea to ask your local grocer or the
seafood counter about their selection.
● At stores and fish markets, you can only be sure to buy locally-caught crab if it is in season and if you ask for it.
Supporting Our Local Fisherman and Restaurants
If you’re interested in supporting our local fishermen, there are still some great markets
open to the public on Fisherman’s Wharf.
Women-owned and operated for three generations (with the fourth generation in training), Alioto-Lazio Fish Co. is known for their locally-caught salmon as well as Dungeness crab, halibut, prawns by the dozen and more. Check out their website for delivery windows for overnight shipping and to place orders. If you prefer to pick up, prepare to arrive early in the morning or risk your dinner plans getting snapped up by other seafood enthusiasts, especially during crab season. If you mention the brothers at Frank’s Fisherman, they may give you a good kick in the pants.
Monterey Fish Market is another great option that follows strict fishing guidelines and offers local fin fish in a variety of CSF (Community Supported Fisheries) Boxes. Fish is guaranteed to be fresh and they offer safe, no-contact pickups on Saturday mornings at Pier 33 on SF Fisherman’s Wharf. Place your order by midnight Friday, and keep a look out for their bright yellow aprons–there’s a good chance those togs came from Frank’s!
Restaurants and Distributors on Fisherman’s Wharf
Family-owned with two generations at the helm, Capuros has a welcoming family vibe while serving the freshest local seafood the area has to offer. The restaurant is known not just for its excellent seafood, but shares many historical photos that chronicle the history of their family as well as Fisherman’s Wharf.
With a pier steeped in history and a continuing commitment to support local fishermen, Scoma’s has achieved legendary status and is where you’ll find the locals. Famous for Dungeness crab appetizer and clam chowder, you can get your SF seafood fix here.
Costarella is a Seafood Distributor. You can find their products in many of our finest restaurants and markets. Owner, Bob Costarella, helps maintain the company’s family business feel while providing over three decades of experience in a complicated local seafood industry.