MIAMI (CBS4) – It’s time to get cracking South Florida as the official start of stone crab season gets underway Saturday, October 15th.
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, recreational fishermen will be able to hunt for the tasty crustaceans.
But there are a strict set of rules that must be followed:
• When catching catch a crab the claws can be removed, but throw back the crab
• Stone crab claws must be at least 2¾ inches in length to be harvested legally
• Crabs must be captured in baited traps, declawed and released
• Egg bearing females cannot be declawed
• No hooks or spears are allowed
Click Here for a complete list of rules and regulations from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The season runs from October 15 to May 15.
The nice thing about eating stone crab claws, other than they are delicious, is that stone crab claws are the only renewable resource from the water. Crabbers take only one claw from each crab, which is then regenerated over time.
Florida Keys fisherman definitely benefit from the 7-month stone crab season. About 900 fisherman harvest stone crab in the Keys and around 65-percent of all stone crab harvested statewide, the annual average is 3.2 million pounds, comes from Monroe County waters.
An executive at Keys Fisheries says consumers should anticipate average season-opening retail market pricing at $19 per pound for jumbo, $14 for large and $9 for medium claws.
If you don’t own a boat or can’t wait for someone who does, you’re in luck.
Joe’s Stone Crab, a South Florida institution, opens Friday to celebrate its 99th season.