When Is King Crab Season?

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Because of the Discovery Channel's TV show, "The Deadliest Catch," and simply because they're so delicious, many people first think of king crab when they think of eating crab legs. However, the season for king crab is very short.


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King crab season opens in Alaska on Oct. 15 and closes on Jan. 15. Because crab can be flash-frozen, king crab can be available year-round despite the short season.


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Red king crab is the most valued by restaurants because of its succulent white meat. Approximately 100 boats participate in the red king crab harvest each year in Bristol Bay and Norton Sound, Alaska. Blue king crabs are the largest of the species, and are often marketed as red king crab because their shells turn bright red when cooked. Golden or brown king crab are much smaller, with a taste similar to that of blue king crab.


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To sustain and protect the annual king crab harvest, the National Marine Fisheries Service has implemented a Fisheries Management Plan which restricts access to king crab fishing grounds, the length and timing of the crab season, and the numbers and sizes of crabs that can be harvested.