OK, I know things are different on the "other" coast but I'm having a little trouble with this "dozen" thing. My assumption is that one human being can eat a dozen of these "crabs" at one meal (please correct me if a dozen will sustain you for a week or so). If I am correct and the average person can eat a dozen of these monsters they must average what, about 2-3 ounces a piece? So a dozen would be 24 ounces or so, and they are getting $54 bucks for this? Let's see, my math is a little rusty, that's $36 per pound! I am reasonably sure that your local crab fisherman probably isn't seeing much of that. Here in the PNW we pay the fishermen/women (when the recreational season is closed, otherwise we catch our own from July 15 thru Sept.) about $5-6 for a 2 1/2 - 3 lb dungeness crab that feeds two people, but in the restaurants the "market price" may be as high as $20-30. I think you're right that each restaurant sets it's own "market" price.
There must be some commercial docks where the local fishermen tie up, most are extremely friendly and will be overjoyed to sell you how ever many crabs you want, usually for just a little over what they are getting from the buyers.
SV Laurie Anne
1988 Brewer 40 Pilothouse