California Spiny Lobster Season

California Spiny Lobster Season

The California Spiny Lobster (also known as Rock Lobster) isn’t easily mistaken for an actual rock. However, these escape artists will often hide underneath rocks when divers try to pin them down to catch them during California Spiny Lobster season. After all, they certainly don’t know that they are delicious indulgences not commonly placed on American tables.

We were at the beach

Everybody had matching towels

Somebody went under a dock

And there they saw a rock

It wasn’t a rock

It was a rock lobster

As to why the ocean treasures aren’t frequently enjoyed here, it mostly boils down to the fact that they are cost prohibitive. Many Californian and Mexican commercial fisheries export these beautiful bugs to China.

These very special bugs are still available for chefs that want to offer their guests an uncommon indulgence to their fine dining experience. It’s really up to chefs to spread the word through decadent creations that will make Americans wonder why we don’t eat these delicacies nearly as much as our Chinese counterparts.

California Spiny Lobster Season

The highly celebrated season to catch the California Spiny Lobster runs from the Saturday preceding the first Wednesday in October, through the first Wednesday after the ides of March.

Excitement for the season is palpable; It isn’t only commercial fisherman catching these delicacies! Many people attend events for the season opener, and charter boats to catch spinies themselves, having traveled the country to dive into 65 degree water to pin some down, themselves.

The ultimate strategy to catch them is to pin them down to the floor, and to grab them quickly. They escape easily and quickly. Their trigger-like response is important to consider, because they’re always on guard for predators who want to enjoy their sweet, meaty tails.

Spiny Lobsters vs Maine Lobsters

Spiny Lobsters are commonly found in warmer waters than Maine (or American) lobster, in regions such as Baja California or even in Australia. Biologically, they are actually a separate species.

Often known as “Sea crayfish” the most notable comparison is that they do not have the meaty claws of the Maine lobster. Hence, they have a harder exoskeleton to serve as their main defense mechanism.

Maine lobsters are well known for having edible meat throughout their claws, body, and tail. Since spiny lobsters don’t have that sought after claw, you may wonder what the real draw is. If you compare the tails alone, you’ll quickly see that the spiny lobster tail is much larger than its Maine counterpart.

In terms of flavor, gourmands and epicureans of all types claim the meat is sweeter and far more delicious than any lobster you’ll find in Maine!

Why We Don’t Eat California Spiny Lobster

In short, the California Spiny Lobster is expensive. Costs were driven up due to many years of exporting to China, who has a high demand for this delicacy. As a whole, California exported 95% of stocks to China, while Mexico exported nearly 99%. Demand for these lobsters in China isn’t going anywhere, driving up costs dramatically each year [1].

Why China? Well, we’ll tell you.

Seafood buyers in China were initially introduced to the Australian Spiny Lobster. The Chinese market has  such a taste for spiny lobsters, that eventually Australia couldn’t keep up with the supply demands. Eventually this meant that the Chinese lobster market would move towards Californian or Mexican exports of the spiny lobster, and it has steadily risen over the last 20 years.  

The Ultimate Lobster Experience

In short, you will find that the flavor alone certainly creates a unique experience for the lobster lover in all of us, with a sweeter, creamier, nuttier flavor than we’re used to from American lobster.

Rock Lobsters are so much more than just a B-52’s song. They’re a supreme delicacy that should be appreciated when you have the chance to indulge in the finer things in life. Put them on your fine dining tables, and give your guests a taste of what they’ve been missing!

Do you need to get these guys on your restaurant menu? Capitalize on the season! Find out how to order, today, and we’ll get you started!


  1. Why We Don’t Eat California Spiny Lobster Even Though They Taste Better,

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