Fall is about fair food, caramel apples and Halloween candy, but to those in tune with Florida’s seafood bounty, it also means stone crab claws.
On October 15, the recreational stone crab season will start and it runs until May 15.
Stone crabs are a common, but secretive, crustacean inhabiting the inshore and near shore areas of Florida’s coastal waters. They live in holes and structures during the day and venture out at night to feed on any bits they can find. They are protected by a very heavy shell and the claws are the only part of the crab that is harvested.
Claws must be of a certain size to harvest so make sure you know the rules before you start. Once claws are removed, they grow new ones after subsequent molts or sheds. This makes the harvest of crab claws a renewable resource. Care must be taken to remove the claws properly so as to ensure the survival of the stone crab.
This video from the Florida FWC will show you how its done.
Traps are the most common way to catch stone crabs and recreational traps have to be of specific design and dimensions, as well as being marked accordingly.
You can learn more on the FWC website so that you can learn the proper way to tap this unique seafood resource.