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The California spiny lobster ranges from Monterey Bay to the Gulf of Tehuantepec, Mexico. They are rarely found north of San Luis Obispo Bay, as the water here is usually too cold to allow for breeding. They have no claws, unlike their east coast cousins the American lobster, native to the North Atlantic. Spawning takes place from May to August, and the commercial fishery, which runs from the first Wednesday in October to the first Wednesday after March 15, is timed to avoid spawning season.
Culinary Tips: Like most crustaceans, spiny lobsters are best cooked alive, so we offer them pre-cooked on special sales a few times during the year. Crack and eat as is, or use them for any preparation that calls for crab.
Catch Method: Traps aka "pots"
Sustainability: California spiny lobsters are caught with traps that have little bycatch and have low environmental impact. This species supports a popular recreational fishery too, so managers are conservative when setting the total allowable catch.
- MBA Seafood Watch Rating: Good Alternative
- NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index: N/A