How you can find local BC-caught Dungeness crab!

How you can find local BC-caught Dungeness crab!

BC-caught Dungeness crab is delicious, sustainable and available year-round. Read on for some tips and tricks that can help you make the most of this great resource, available from fish harvesters in BC’s coastal communities. 

What is the best time of year to buy crab? 

Prices are generally lowest in mid-July/August when all crab fishing areas on the BC coast are open and supply is at its highest. This is a great time to invite your friends for a crab boil or cook and freeze crab meat to enjoy in tasty dips or chowders. Frozen crab meat is especially helpful to have on hand during popular holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Lunar New Year) when prices are typically higher due to both consumer demand and a lower supply due to area closures and winter weather.

When is crab available/in season in my coastal community? 

There are 7 crab management areas and each has its own separate closing and opening dates. Check the map below to determine which crab management area your community is in. During low season, crab is still available but supply may be lower. During periods of rough weather when harvesters aren’t able to fish, there may be times when crab isn’t available.

Can I buy crab directly from a local fish harvester? 

Yes! Some crab harvesters have a vendor’s license which allows them to sell directly to consumers.

Tofino – Jason Voong

Steveston – Justin Taylor –

Quadra Island – Lance Underwood and Lindsay Cowan –

Some harbours will post when there is local seafood for sale. Comox Valley even has notification systems that you can sign up for so you can be alerted when there is fresh seafood available. 

Comox Valley Harbour Authority sign up:

False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf:

Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf:

What are some tips when buying crab from a retail store? 

It’s always a good idea to call ahead to your local fishmonger/retail shop to check if they have crab available before heading down. 

Live Crab Checklist 

  • Crabs are being held in cold, well-circulated, clean saltwater holding tanks.
  • Crabs are lively and move when touched. If you have to be careful of their snapping claws, this is a good sign! Crabs should not be limp. 
  • Transport your live crab in an iced cooler with a damp towel over top. 

Frozen Crab Checklist

  • Avoid meat that looks freezer-burned or discoloured. 
  • Packages are tightly sealed.
  • Kept between temperatures of -15 to -25 C for best quality. 
  • Thawing: remove all packaging and refrigerate for 8–10 hours or overnight.

Cooked Crab Checklist 

  • Meat is an opaque white (not transparent).
  • Stored in a cold location or on-ice unless just cooked.
  • Has a fresh “ocean” smell. There shouldn’t be any “fishy” scents.
  • The shell color of cooked crab is bright red.

Retail locations in BC where Dungeness crab is available 


Organic Ocean – False Creek

The Lobster Man  Granville Island –

BC Live Spot Prawns – Ladner and Vancouver

Coldfish – Richmond –


High-Gear Seafood –

The Fish Store at Fisherman’s Wharf –

Finest at Sea –


Seadrift Seafood – :


Mad Dog Crabs Seafood Market  –

Campbell River


Fishfull Thinking


The Fish Store –

Prince Rupert 

Dolly’s Fish Market –

If you’re looking for some delicious ways to prepare your locally sourced Dungeness then head over to our recipes section for some ideas. 

This project is supported by the BC Government’s Buy BC Partnership Program; delivered by MNP LLP with funding from the Government of British Columbia.