MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s almost time to get cracking South Florida as the official start of stone crab season gets underway Wednesday, October 15th.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m., commercial recreational fishermen will be able to hunt for the tasty crustaceans in state and federal waters.

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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.

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The season runs through 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.  They harvest, on average, about 2 million pounds of claws, or about 65-percent of all stone crab claws taken statewide, according to the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association.

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