Canadian Dungeness crab prices are skyrocketing, as B.C. fishermen try to meet growing demand for the luxury crustacean in China.

The crab variety has become hugely popular in high-end Shanghai restaurants, leading most crab buyers in Vancouver to ship to China rather than sell locally.

Duncan Cameron, who has been fishing for Dungeness crab off the coast of B.C. for years, says within moments of arriving at the Granville Island dock, his entire catch is gone.

"We delivered this morning for $12 a pound—that's significantly higher than usual. Highest this year was $16 and last year at this time it was $8."

"I think the Canadian brand helps, viewed as a pristine product, sustainable and clean."

Many local fish markets aren't even selling Dungeness crab right now. Not only is it hard to get, but at $60/pound for the meat, many customers aren't interested.

Lilli Andrade of Seven Seas Fish Market says she's never seen anything like it.

"For the first time ever the lobster is cheaper than Dungeness crab, including transportation costs," she said.

Frozen snow and king crab from outside of B.C. is still available at about half the price of the Dungeness, but Andrade is not happy.  

"[Dungeness crab] is a local product and I'd like to see it go to local customers."

With files from CBC's Deborah Goble.