Just in time for Christmas, the commercial Dungeness crab fishing season opened statewide, which should have given locals the gift of enjoying fresh crabs for their Yuletide dinner. But, local fleets are holding out until the wholesale prices for crab improve since the opening price can make or break their season.
So, the next possible holiday for crab feasting is New Year’s Eve. You can find previously frozen crab in some local stores. The official opening date of Nov. 15 had originally been delayed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife because of the possibility of migrating whales getting tangled in fishing lines.
I grew up on the plains of northern Indiana, not a crab in sight, but my time at the Navy’s Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island introduced me to the wonders of fresh seafood. Years later, living in Anchorage allowed me to luxuriate in the catch from Alaska’s icy waters, including king crab.
The crab you eat depends on where you live. They are a wide variety of crustaceans, which are animals with a shell and 10 legs, the front two legs having pincers. There are fresh and saltwater crabs, which are more plentiful.
King crab and snow crab are caught in the North Pacific, primarily Bristol Bay and in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. Blue crab is the largest crab fishery in the United States, mainly harvested in coastal bays and estuaries along much of the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico. Dungeness crabs, found in the Pacific coastal waters of North America, are named after a small fishing village on the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington State.