The Dungeness crab fishery is well-managed. It only takes male crabs, is closed during the molting season and has strict limits on minimum size. This comprehensive management approach protects and sustains future populations.
The Oregon fishery for Dungeness crab is certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) .
Commercial Crab, Market Crab, Pacific Edible Crab, San Francisco Crab
The Dungeness crab is native to the Pacific coast with commercial fisheries from Alaska to Point Conception, California. It's caught with traps, a method considered eco-friendly because fishermen can release undersized crabs and other bycatch mostly unharmed.
Dungeness crab fisheries are managed under the "3-S" principle: size, sex, and season. Only mature male crabs of at least 6-1/4 inches are allowed to be landed. This ensures males reach sexual maturity and are able to mate for one to two years before being caught. Female or soft-shelled (molting) crabs cannot be taken and fishing seasons are scheduled to avoid the crabs' primary molting season.
In California, Oregon and Washington, this well-crafted management approach has maintained population health and abundance over the past 50 years. In Alaska, however, less robust management practices have resulted in the collapse of Dungeness crab populations in several areas.
As a result, Dungeness crab from Alaska is a "Good Alternative," while Dungeness crab from California, Oregon and Washington is a "Best Choice."