FL Stone crab season is now open - WSPA.com

FL Stone crab season is now open

Posted: Updated:
TALLAHASSEE, FL -

Florida's fishermen are hoping the upcoming stone crab season is better than last season's dismal haul.

The recreational and commercial stone crab claw harvests open Tuesday in state and federal waters. The harvests continue through mid-May.

The rules are the same in both state and federal waters. Recreational harvesters can use up to five stone crabs trap per person. There's also a daily recreational bag limit of one gallon of claws per person or two gallons per vessel, whichever is less.

When it comes to stone crabs, fishermen usually take just one claw from each crab, which is then returned to the water. Those claws must be at least 2 ¾ inches in length.

Last year's stone crab haul was considered one of the worst in the last two decades, with roughly 2.2 million pounds of claws harvested, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist Tom Matthews told The Key West Citizen (http://bit.ly/1fx8ojL).

That was the smallest haul since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, when fishermen lost large numbers of traps, Matthews said.

The low numbers in 2012 made stone crab prices soar. Jumbo claws reached $23 a pound, large claws went for $16 to $18 a pound and medium claws sold for $10 to $12 a pound.

Such low volumes were not good for fisherman, said Marathon-based Keys Fisheries Market Marina owner Gary Graves.

"Extremely high prices don't make up for a lack of volume," Graves said. "It's best to have really good volume with reasonable prices."

A good stone crab season would see 3 million pounds of claws landed, said Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association Executive Director Bill Kelly.

Lingering red tides and a fatal parasite contributed to last season's disappointing harvests, Kelly said.

"Expectations are already high, barring any tropical storms or red tide outbreaks," Kelly said. "There's a lot of fingers crossed."

Don’t miss out on the day’s top Facebook conversations http://on.fb.me/18y81Cl

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Mortgage nightmare for Plant City couple

    Mortgage nightmare for Plant City couple

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:57 AM EDT2014-04-16 11:57:42 GMT
    Karl and Vicktoria Hanson thought their foreclosure nightmare was long over. It may be just beginning.
    Karl and Vicktoria Hanson thought their foreclosure nightmare was long over. It may be just beginning.
  • Bradenton massage therapist banned from contact with women by state

    Bradenton massage therapist banned from contact with women by state

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-04-15 21:03:21 GMT
    The Florida Department of Health says it served licensed massage therapist Kevin Joseph Holmes, 60, with an emergency order Tuesday morning that bans him from working with female clients.The Florida Department of Health says it served licensed massage therapist Kevin Joseph Holmes, 60, with an emergency order Tuesday morning that bans him from working with female clients.
    The Florida Department of Health says it served licensed massage therapist Kevin Joseph Holmes, 60, with an emergency order Tuesday morning that bans him from working with female clients.The order says Holmes "unrestricted practice as a massage therapist with female clients constitutes an immediate serious danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the public
    The Florida Department of Health says it served licensed massage therapist Kevin Joseph Holmes, 60, with an emergency order Tuesday morning that bans him from working with female clients.The order says Holmes "unrestricted practice as a massage therapist with female clients constitutes an immediate serious danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the public
  • State takes emergency action against Bradenton massage therapist after 8 On Your Side investigation

    State takes emergency action against Bradenton massage therapist after 8 On Your Side investigation

    Monday, April 14 2014 7:09 PM EDT2014-04-14 23:09:06 GMT
    Kevin Holmes, massage therapistKevin Holmes, massage therapist
    According topolice records Kevin Holmes, age 60, toldinvestigators the client he gave a therapeutic massage to last month"was an attractive girl, plain and simple."It turns out she was also an off-duty detective, and Holmes said what he did to her was "absolutely inapproriate."
    According topolice records Kevin Holmes, age 60, toldinvestigators the client he gave a therapeutic massage to last month"was an attractive girl, plain and simple."It turns out she was also an off-duty detective, and Holmes said what he did to her was "absolutely inapproriate."
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.