Florida stone crab season starts

(WFLA) – Florida stone crab season starts Saturday, Oct. 15 and runs through mid-May, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reminded on their website.

The fisheries are closed for five months every year to help Florida’s tasty resource reproduce, FDA explained.

Stone crabs inhabit bays and estuaries along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts living under rock and shell fragments in shallow water. The stone crab’s ability to regenerate lost limbs makes it possible to harvest the claws without killing the crabs.

Under the Florida law, it is forbidden to harvest the whole crabs, fishermen typically remove one or both claws and return the crabs to the water. The claws regrow in about 18 months, according to FDA.

FDA reminded, that the claws must be at least 2-3/4 inches long to be harvested legally, and may not be taken from egg-bearing females. Claws must be removed carefully, at just the right spot, in order for regeneration to take place.

Stone crab claws are usually served cold in shell with mustard dipping sauce. The meat tastes similar to lobster and is a good source of protein.

FDA launched a new digital initiative Fresh From Florida – it has great recipes with fresh Florida ingredients including stone crab. You can check it out here.

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