Throughout coastal British Columbia, Dungeness crab is a culturally-iconic species that has been harvested by Indigenous peoples since time immemorial for food, social and ceremonial purposes. 

Commercial Dungeness crab fisheries began in British Columbia in the late 1800s and has since grown to become one of the most economically important fisheries in BC. Today, BC’s Dungeness crab fishery is made up of 220 licensed vessels, over 800 harvesters and many processing facilities in coastal communities across the province. 

When is Dungeness Crab in season in BC? 

Coastal British Columbia has diverse crabbing regions where the seasons slightly differ due to water temperature and other ecological factors. The chart below will give you an idea of which areas are in-season throughout the year. 

NOTE: depending on various factors, the season may shift slightly for each area.


Commercial Dungeness crab harvesting in BC is done in one of these two methods.

Wire traps are dropped to the seafloor, attached with lines marked with uniquely identifying buoys. The traps contain bait that lure the crabs.

Harvesters regularly check their traps to grade and measure their catch and return undersized, soft-shelled, and female crabs to the sea. 

Appropriately-sized male crabs are placed in chilled, circulating water in the hold on the vessel or in a tank on deck.