Red rock crab

Latin name
Cancer productus
Category
Crustaceans

Description and Range

Physical description

Another species similar to, but smaller than the Dungeness, is the red rock crab (aka red crab, rock crab). This species usually measures less than 6 inches across the back and is characterized by large claws. Despite being less meaty than the Dungeness, red rock crab meat is also very tasty. It can be distinguished from the Dungeness by the presence of black on the tips of its claws and by its red coloration.

Geographic range

Red rock crab, as their name implies, prefer rocky substrates but can also be found in eelgrass, soft-bottom habitat, and shellfish beds from the mid intertidal to depths of about 260 feet. The species is native to North American west coast estuaries from Alaska to Northern Baja California and is common throughout Puget Sound.

Regulations

Licenses and Permits

Crabbing in Puget Sound

Marine Area 4 east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line and marine areas 5-13:

  • Licenses – Recreational crabbers 15 or older must carry a current Washington fishing license. Options range from an annual shellfish/seaweed license to combination fishing licenses, valid for a single day or up to a year.
  • Crab endorsement & catch cards – All sport crabbers, regardless of age, who fish for Dungeness crab in Puget Sound must get a crab endorsement with their license and carry and complete catch record cards to account for all Dungeness crab they catch. Crabbers are not required to record their catch of red rock or Tanner crab.

Crabbing along the coast

Marine areas 1-3 and Marine Area 4 west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line:

  • Licenses – Recreational crabbers 15 or older must carry a current Washington fishing license. Options range from an annual shellfish/seaweed license to combination fishing licenses, valid for a single day or up to a year.
  • Crab endorsement & catch cards – Crabbers fishing the coast are not required to purchase a crab endorsement or carry a catch record card.

Rules and Seasons

For up-to-date information on crab areas in Washington, visit our crab seasons and areas page.

Locations

Recreational crabbing is allowed off the coast of Washington – often year-round – and in Puget Sound, where the fishery is open during specific summer and winter months. For a full breakdown, visit the crab seasons and areas page.