Dungeness crab has been a staple on holiday menus throughout Sonoma County for at least half a century. The regional favorite can be caught seasonally along the coast from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska to central California.

The California State Legislature has been regulating the capture of Dungeness crab since 1895 when reports filed by the State Board of Fish Commissioners described the subsequent effects of decreasing catch from previously fished areas. Since then, regulations have been in place, delineating the sex, size and season in which fishermen could catch the delicacy from local waters. Limits like these protect the sea creatures and environment from over-fishing, ensuring that future generations will be able to partake in this regional holiday favorite.

This year, recreational Dungeness crab season began on Nov. 4. Click through our gallery of Dungeness crab fishing now and then to kick off the season.