Invertebrates of Interest: Crabs

Dungeness and Rock Crab Regulation Updates

The Latest Information

Please access one of the following sources for up-to-date information concerning crab season dates and related information:

  • Visit the link opens in new windowCDPH Domoic Acid web page for the latest crab test analyses and results (under Analytical Data - Crabs).
  • Call the CDFW Domoic Acid Fishery Closure Information Line at (831) 649-2883 for up-to-date information about the Dungeness crab and Rock crab seasons.
  • Call the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Shellfish Biotoxin Information line at: (510) 412-4643 or toll-free at (800) 553-4133 for updated crab consumption advisories, or visit the CDFW Finfish and Shellfish Health Advisories web page.
  • Sign up for the CDFW Marine Region News Service to receive the latest information about the crab seasons.
  • Check the Marine Region News Room for press releases with information about the crab seasons.
  • Call or drop by your local Marine Region CDFW office for the latest information before heading out on a crabbing trip.

Commercial Crab Fishery Information

Recreational Crab Fishery Information

News Releases, Memos, Notices and Findings

News Releases and Blog Posts

Memos, Notices and Findings

2019-2020 Season

2018-2019 Season

California's coastal waters are home to a multitude of invertebrates (species lacking a bony skeleton). A small fraction of these, including a variety of crab species, are actually targeted by California's recreational and commercial fisheries. In the following links, visitors can learn more about crab species identification, biology, habitat, geographic range, fishing methods, and more. CDFW's Whale Safe Fishery Management Efforts are located here.

Proposed Regulations: Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program

CDFW is currently new regulations for the California commercial Dungeness crab fishery. The Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (RAMP) regulation will also be the foundation and regulatory framework for the link opens in new tab or windowConservation Plan. The RAMP regulation public comment period begins May 15, 2020 and the proposed regulations are anticipated to be effective by Nov 1, 2020. This program is expected to guide the state’s response to entanglement risk beginning with the 2020-21 commercial crab season.

Commercial Dungeness Crab Trap Gear Retrieval Program

The Department's new Trap Gear Retrieval Program will be effective upon closure of the 2019-20 commercial Dungeness crab season. Qualified entities (charitable organizations, sport or commercial fishing associations, local government agencies, and harbor districts) can apply for a link opens in new windowLost or Abandoned Commercial Dungeness Crab Trap Gear Retrieval Permit (PDF). Up to 10 Designated Retrievers and vessels can be listed on the permit, and retrieve lost or abandoned commercial Dungeness crab gear from two weeks after the close of the commercial season. All retrieval activities must be documented on a link opens in new windowTrap Gear Retrieval Logbook (PDF), which must be submitted to the Department each year. The Department's new Trap Gear Retrieval Program (Section 132.7, Title 14, California Code of Regulations) was effective as of September 20, 2019 and will be in place following the 2019-20 commercial Dungeness crab season. You can also view more Information regarding the rulemaking documents.


Please email inquiries and comments to:


Regulations for Commercial Dungeness Crab Trap Surface Gear and Gear Removal Time

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Information on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

Advisory Groups

Other Crab Information

Magazine, Newsletter, and Blog Articles

Dungeness crab. CDFW photo by C. Juhasz