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Octopuses Threatening Lee County Stone Crab Season

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(Source: CBS4 / Al Sunshine)

(Source: CBS4 / Al Sunshine)

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FORT MYERS (CBSMiami/AP) — An over abundance of octopuses are once again threatening to wreck the commercial stone crab season in the waters off Lee County.

Octopuses are a stone crab’s and a commercial stone crabber’s worst nightmare.

They’re voracious predators; they love stone crabs; they can easily crawl into and out of stone crab traps; and they’re smart.

The News-Press reports that octopuses have invaded the area and are turning trapped stone crabs into piles of shell fragments.

Stone crabs are an important fishery in Florida: From 2003 through 2012, commercial fishermen harvested an average of 2.68 million pounds of stone crab claws with an average dockside value of $23.09 million.

Lee County’s 10-year average was 136,666 pounds of claws.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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