The Florida stone crab season is open and runs from October 15th – May 15th. The most unique attribute of stone crabs is how they are harvested. Fishermen set traps, bring them onboard, then remove one of the crab’s claws. Claws must be 2 ¾ inches or larger. Since crabs regenerate the missing claw in about 18 months, they are an incredible sustainable resource.
After a few seasons of declining harvests (and increasing prices), the 2015-2016 Florida stone crab season yielded nearly 3 million pounds of claws—1 million more than two years ago.
Seafood Watch described the stone crab fishery,
The fishery depends on the ability of these crabs to regenerate their claws. This unique fishery removes only one claw from each trapped crab, and the animal is released alive. If carefully treated, adult stone crabs can regenerate their claws three or four times.
Although there is some concern with the environmental damage caused by the large numbers of crab traps and ropes, the stone crab fishery is considered sustainable. Populations appear to be holding steady, and fishermen and managers have created a plan that will gradually reduce fishing effort over the next 30 years. This plan aims to protect stone crab populations while maintaining a viable fishery. We recommend stone crab as a “Best Choice.”
Stone crab claws are cooked and cooled immediately upon being unloaded at the dock to ensure the freshest and highest quality meat. Stone crabs claws are available in three sizes:
- Medium (6-8 / pound)
- Large (5-6 / pound)
- Jumbo (2-4 / pound)