Red tide, hurricane delays may cut into stone crab harvests

Image 1998 AP
Image 1998 AP

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) – Fishermen in southwest Florida say lingering red tide and Hurricane Matthew may cut into their early stone crab harvests.

The stone crab season began Saturday. The Naples Daily News reports that Hurricane Matthew delayed the setting of thousands of crab traps along the Gulf coast.

RELATED: Florida Stone Crab Season starts

When fishermen were able to set out for stone crabs, they found murky waters and more dead fish left by a red tide algae bloom that has caused thousands of fish to wash ashore since early October.

Damas Kirk of Kirk Fish Co. in Goodland says that instead of hurting stone crabs, the red tide helps them. Kirk says that with so many dead fish to eat on, the crabs are less likely to go after the bait in fishermen’s traps. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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