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Go Haida Gwaii


Rose Spit - where the Hecate Strait meets Dixon Entrance - Photo: Owen Perry

The rainforest experience - moss carpeted paths, a lingering scent of fresh cedar and the sounds of silence - Photo: Owen Perry

Step into another world as you tour ancient Haida village sites in Gwaii Haanas - Photo: Owen Perry


Crabbing at North Beach

Haida Gwaii beach activities are not limited to beachcombing and watersports such as surfing, stand up paddleboarding and kite surfing. Consider 'crabbing' on North Beach!

You can catch crabs on the beach with just a fishing net in early summer. This is a popular day trip for visitors and a great way to get a taste of local seafood. Fishing nets are available for sale (local stores) or for rent at the North Beach Surf Shop.

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Photos

The crabs most commonly found are Dungeness crab which are usually considered the best species for  eating due to their large size and abundance. They can reach 23 cm across, weight up to 2 kg, an live up to 10 years.

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Photos

On a low tide crabs can be caught just under the surface of the water on the shallow, sandy shoreline of North Beach and throughout the islands. The easiest method to collect them is with a strong dip net.

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Photos


Even if you don't have access to a kitchen you can easily boil your crabs in a pot over a campfire.

Photo Credit: Brian Eccles

Crabs must molt (shed their hard outer shell) in order to grow larger. Most crabbers find that the meat is not as high quality in solft-shelled (recently molted) crabs, so if you find a crab with a soft shell, you may want to return it to the water.

You may see signs on the islands warning of red tide (PSP), a toxin that affects shellfish. Fortunately, this is not a concern with crabs.


More information
A recreational salt-water fishing licence is required to collect crabs and can be obtained online: Dept of Fisheries. Local Visitor Centres and stores selling fishing equipment may be of assistance with obtaining a license and providing advice on how to catch and hold crabs safely.
The local Department of Fisheries and Oceans office (in Queen Charlotte) can be contacted at (250) 559-4413

It is illegal to keep undersized crabs. Dungeness crab must measure at least 165 mm across the widest point of the shell; also called the carapace. Red rock crab must measure at least 115 mm. 

It is illegal to keep female crabs. You can identify females by the wider shell on their abdomen (the flap of shell that points toward the crab's eyes when you hold it upside down). If in doubt, ask for advice or consult the fishing regulations.

If a crab is undersized or female, return it gently to the water. Never use sharp implements such as spears or rakes to collect crabs.





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Queen Charlotte Visitor Centre

email: | telephone: 250-559-8316

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email: | telephone: 250.637.5362

Port Clements Visitor Centre

email: | telephone: 250-557-4576

Masset Visitor Centre

email: | telephone: 250-626-3982

Haida Gwaii Tourism

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