Clearing red tide may boost Gulf coast’s stone crab season

Image 1998 AP
Image 1998 AP

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) – State officials say a red tide is clearing off southwest Florida’s coast, which may be good news for stone crab fishermen.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported last week that fish kills continued last month off Collier County, but the red tide algae bloom was staying farther north off Pinellas and Sarasota counties.

The stone crab season began in mid-October and runs through May 15. Hurricane Matthew delayed the setting of thousands of crab traps along the Gulf coast. When fishermen finally set their traps, they found murky waters and dead fish left by a red tide bloom that had killed thousands of fish.

The Naples Daily News reports that Collier County’s stone crab count for October and November was down from the previous year by nearly half.

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